All posts by True Foods Market Team


Nut and Seed Butters

Nut Butters

What is better than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Well, how about a cashew butter or almond butter and jelly sandwich? Have you heard of hazelnut butter? Nut butters are a great source of protein and flavor. Spread on whole grain bread and pour a glass of your favorite plant-based milk and enjoy!

In addition to being a great source of protein, nut butters also provide vitamin E, dietary fiber and iron. Some even have small amounts of calcium. Nut butters are free of cholesterol and but do contain moderate amounts of fat depending upon how much you eat. Eat them in moderation as part of a healthy, low-fat diet.

Nut Allergies

Maybe nut butters are not an option for you. Nut allergies are becoming more and more common, especially among children. Nut allergies encompass peanuts and tree-nuts.

Tree nuts cover a vast variety of nuts. Tree nuts include macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, chestnuts, beechnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts and the lesser known gingko nuts and hickory nuts.
An allergic reaction to a food often starts within minutes but may not manifest itself for two to four hours. The reaction is usually gone within a day.

The most serious allergic response to consuming peanuts and tree nuts is anaphylactic shock. This can be life threatening. An epi-pen (epinephrine) should be available at all times for use in this scenario. A trip to the emergency room is necessary immediately after the epi-pen is used.

Cross Reactivity

There can be cross reactivity between peanuts and tree nuts and also between one kind of tree nut and another kind of tree nut. This means if you are allergic to one you may also be allergic to another. For example, if you are allergic to peanuts you could also be allergic to walnuts, or if you are allergic to cashews you could also be allergic to almonds.

This is one of the reasons it’s important to read labels for allergen information. Labeling laws require the presence of peanuts and tree nuts to be listed on the label. Cross contamination is a concern too. It is not mandated that foods that may have come into contact with the product be listed. Most companies do so voluntarily. It’s always a good idea to call a company to inquire about their labeling practices.

Protein Versus Oil

New studies are showing that some of those afflicted with a peanut allergy may actually be able to consume pure, refined peanut oil if it is properly processed. The allergy is to the protein, not the fat. The production of oil extracts the oil from the protein. There is much controversy over this, especially regarding children. Great care must be taken when exploring this information. This does not apply to tree nut oils.

Sunflower Seed Butter

Even if you are allergic to nuts there are still options for a tasty, buttery sandwich spread. SunButter or Sunflower butter goes great with jelly too! Sunflower seed butters, like nut butters, are also a great source of protein and flavor. They supply many nutrients to the body. They are high in copper, vitamin E and magnesium. Sunflower seed butters have significant amounts of niacin, zinc, and iron, along with small amounts of calcium.

TrueFoods Market is a great resource for all kinds of organic nut butters and sunflower seed butter too. Check out their great selection on-line.



Natural Sweeteners – Alternatives to Sugar Part Two

Here are more alternatives for your sweet tooth.

Brown rice syrup

Brown rice syrup (rice syrup) is made by cooking brown rice flour or brown rice starch with enzymes. It has a mild, buttery flavor, along with a light sweetness and nuttiness. Rice syrup is good for all kinds of baking as well as dressings, soups, and sauces. It is half as sweet as sugar so you may need to use more. It retains the fiber of brown rice including all of the nutrients. 2T contains 110 calories. Even though it has a glycemic index of 25, it is not recommended for diabetics as it has been shown to cause spikes in blood sugar.

Date sugar

Date sugar is made from 100% dehydrated, ground dates. This sugar offers the same satisfying taste as unground dates do. You can use date sugar just like you use brown sugar or regular sugar. It is a whole food, high in fiber and vitamins and minerals. A drawback of using date sugar is it doesn’t dissolve in liquids. The glycemic index is not available; however the GI for dates is 36-63. It has 11 calories per tsp.


Honey is produced by bees. The bees make honey from the nectar of flowers. It has a distinct taste which is hard to identify, but that most find pleasurable. Honey can be used in cooking, as a spread for toast, a sweetener in tea and other beverages, as well as in baking. When baking, honey has a slightly less than 1 to 1 ratio, e.g., 1 cup of sugar equals ¾ cup honey. Honey provides small amounts of protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Honey has a slightly slower absorption rate than sugar. Diabetics should use honey in moderation. Infants under 1 year of age must never be given honey due to the possibility of being infected with the germ that causes botulism. 1 T has 64 calories. This sweet nectar has a glycemic index of 55.

Maple syrup

Maple syrup is a sticky molasses type sweetener with a slightly sweet taste. It is produced from xylem sap originating from several species of maple trees. The sap is concentrated by heating to evaporate the water. Maple syrup is used in baking and often used on breakfast foods like waffles, pancakes, and french toast. It can also be used to sweeten foods. It is a good source of zinc, a very good source of manganese and has 15 times more calcium than honey. Maple syrup has 52 calories in 1 T with a glycemic index of 54.


Stevia comes from a South American herb which is in the Chrysanthemum family. It has a slightly bitter aftertaste and is 10-15 times sweeter than sugar. Stevia can be purchased in individual packets like sugar, as an extract or in a bulk powder. This sweetener doesn’t caramelize or brown like sugar, making its use in some recipes limited. There is very little nutritive value to refined Stevia. In small doses Stevia’s glycemic index is zero, with no effect on blood sugar. It also has no calories and is probably safe for diabetics.

Depending on your taste and what you are making these sweeteners offer variety and a healthier route than conventional sweeteners. TrueFoods Market offers all of these natural sweeteners. If Stevia is your sweetener of choice check out the stevia cookbook on the website. It is “Sugar-Free Cooking with Stevia.”
With all these natural choices it’s time to find a recipe, choose a sweetener, and hit the kitchen for some satisfying treats without all the guilt.