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With Peanut Butter Love week well underway, I wanted to offer those of you with peanut allergies some alternative options and knew exactly who to enlist for this informative post. Katie Goodman of the gorgeous blog, goodLife {eats} is here today to share her knowledge of peanut allergies and peanut butter alternatives. Katie has become one of my favorite people; she’s smart, adorable, helpful, and takes the most amazing photos you’ll ever lay your eyes on.  Head over to goodLife {eats} and be sure to bring your appetite because she’s sharing everything she finds good in the kitchen and in life.

Is it just me or does it seem like peanut butter is becoming increasingly popular for use in recipes? During my childhood the only peanut butter goodie that I remember eating was a simple peanut butter cookie. But peanut butter isn’t just for cookies and sandwiches anymore.

I’ve seen peanut butter frosting, peanut butter torte, peanut butter cake, peanut butter and jelly bars, and that’s just the sweets. It’s no secret that cooks and bakers are becoming more and more creative with how they use ingredients and all sorts of fun flavor combinations are popping up on the web. Unfortunately, for those suffering from a peanut allergy, this is not good news.

Peanut butter is tasty and something that I think many of us consider an all-American comfort food. When my son Logan was diagnosed with a peanut allergy 5 years ago it meant a big change was in order. Logan allergy is severe enough to induce anaphylactic shock.

Not all Reactions are Equal

Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction that can happen within moments of exposure to the allergen. During anaphylaxis the body releases histamine, which effects the body in a number of ways, most notably – a swelling of the airways. Other symptoms may include: difficulty breathing and/or swallowing, hives, swollen lips, vomiting, and dizziness.

Nutella Cupcakes | Photo courtesy of goodLife {eats}

Some are lucky enough to have very minimal reactions. Others just avoid peanuts and do not have to worry about cross-contamination. Those like Logan have to avoid peanuts, anything processed on shared equipment or in the same facility as peanuts. And, finally, a select few can’t even be in the same room as peanuts without consequences (though some believe that is debatable).

As you can see, severe peanut allergies are not something to be taken lightly. Additionally, repeated exposures to the allergen will often cause faster and more serious reactions each time.

Food Blogger Peanut Allergy Experiences

“My cousin-in-law was admitted to the hospital after a reaction was caused when the table next to her ordered a Thai dish with peanuts that was cooked tableside.” – Shaina Olmanson

“It would be so nice if I could even eat products that are manufactured in a facility with peanuts and tree-nuts. That alone would make life a lot easier.

“I make a lot of homemade recipes, but when you need something quick, want to eat out, or when a friend offers you a snack…you wouldn’t have to agonize over it. Chocolate is a huge problem for me. So many varieties aren’t safe due to cross-contamination.” – Tracy

In the News

Duke University has produced some promising research on peanut allergy treatments over the past couple of years. Through this research, Duke has been investigating the possibility that a child’s peanut allergy can be desensitized, thus providing peace of mind for parents – treatment like this should only be done under doctor supervision. Do not attempt to treat a peanut allergy like this on your own.

“At the start of the study, these participants couldn’t tolerate one-sixth of a peanut,” Burks said. “Six months into it, they were ingesting 13 to 15 peanuts before they had a reaction.1

“A treatment like this means that some families won’t need to be as concerned about their children taking a bite of something that has peanut in it and could cause a life-threatening reaction,” said Wesley Burks, MD, chief of the Division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology at Duke and senior author of the study. “It would really provide them a margin of safety.2

I can only dream about the day that research such as this will become a widely available treatment option, but for now we’ll have to settle for some simple peanut butter alternatives. In the past 5 years since Logan’s diagnosis I have learned a lot about peanut allergies.

Almond Dipping Sauce | Photo Courtesy of goodLife {eats}


5 Peanut Butter Alternatives

Depending on your level of allergy, you still may have multiple alternatives to peanut butter. If you aren’t sure what nuts are safe for you or how strict you need to be, make sure to discuss this with your allergist before eating any of the listed peanut butter alternatives.

1. Soy Nut Butter – I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter doesn’t contain peanuts, tree nuts of any type, sesame, dairy, egg, wheat (gluten), or shellfish making it a perfect product for someone with multiple allergies (unless that includes a soy allergy). Additionally, they manufacture their products in a facility free of those ingredients to eliminate cross contamination.

2. Sunflower Butter – Sun Butter is another great alternative for those who might have tree-nut allergies. Sun Butter products are all processed in a peanut-free and tree-nut free facility, making them an excellent choice for people with peanut and/or tree nut allergies .

3. Barney Butter – Barney Butter is my favorite. Available in creamy or crunchy, it is an almond butter that is processed in a dedicated Almond Only facility. Meaning that with this particular brand, you don’t have to risk cross contamination with peanuts. Hurray!

4. Other Nut Butters – If you don’t suffer from a severe peanut allergy and also don’t suffer from tree-nut allergies, many other widely available nut butters (such as almond, cashew, macadamia) might serve as an acceptable alternative.

5. Nutella – I know this is a different flavor, but I recently learned the Nutella is not processed with peanuts, so it’s safe for even Logan with his severe peanut allergy. My kids really enjoy Nutella sandwiches since peanut butter isn’t an option. Plus, you can substitute Nutella in recipes calling for peanut butter for a different taste while still maintaining a similar consistency.

Popular Peanut Butter Recipes Made with Alternatives

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  1. Prerna@The Mom Writes says:

    OMG! Nutella as a peanut butter sub.. THANK YOU! I have been looking and looking for something that I can use in a jiffy when subbing peanut butter and this is the answer.. LOVE!

  2. Teresa says:

    Hi I am allergic to all nuts, flax and soy too. We purchased the sun nut butter for my peanut butter loving hubby and daughter. I cannot tolerate the smell so I haven’t been able to try it since it to me smells just like pb. So what is there that is healthy to substitute in these recipes? A friend gave me a recipe for her power bars and it has peanut butter in it.

  3. megan @ whatmegansmaking says:

    great post! I was just wondering about sunflower seed butter for my father in law who had a nut allergy. Good info!

  4. Gina @Addicted Baker says:

    I actually prefer Sun Butter. I like the texture a lot better, so I definitely recommend it to anyone who would substitute it in a recipe.

  5. Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles says:

    This isn’t something our family needs to personally deal with, but plenty of people we know, do. So I’m happy that there are alternatives for our family and friends to still enjoy all the deliciousness of home baked treats. Lots of great info!