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Sunflower Seed Butter: Great Alternative for Those with Peanut Allergies

When I was a young child, back in 1971, I was diagnosed with asthma at age three. After an extensive bout of testing to target the things I was allergic to, one of those allergens was found to be peanuts.The allergy to peanuts apparently stems from an allergic reaction to the protein in them.Back in 1971, I was the only kid I knew who had peanut allergies, and I was almost looked upon as being freaky or weird because of it. It made my life really difficult, because no one understood or was aware of peanut allergies back then as they are today. Now, every product containing peanuts or tree nuts is specifically labeled with allergen information. Even if an item was processed in a facility that used shared equipment with peanuts or tree nuts, the manufacturers let you know.

Peanut allergies, according to MedicineNet.com, is the most common cause of death from a food allergy, and affects 1.3% of the population. Peanut allergy can cause a wide array of symptoms, ranging from gastrointestinal, skin and respiratory, even sometimes causing death.One of the most severe reactions to peanut allergy can result in anaphylactic shock. When anaphylactic shock occurs, there is a release of histamine that may cause swelling, difficulty breathing, heart failure and even death. I am sure many of us have heard the sad tragedy about the young girl who had a severe peanut allergy, who died after kissing her boyfriend who has just finished eating something with peanuts in it.

Needless to say, peanut allergy is a serious health concern. My allergies to peanuts as a young child would result in an asthma attack, and I would begin wheezing. So, I was forced to give up one of my favorite childhood foods. That’s pretty tough for a little kid. (I also was found to be allergic to my puppy and had to give him up, but that’s another story!) Then as an adult, I have grown accustomed to avoiding foods containing any type of nuts, and that was just the way it was…until I got pregnant. Oh man, those cravings! I would always crave peanut butter when pregnant, and the urge was extremely difficult to fight. I would have to make PB J;’s for either the kids I was babysitting, or for my own children, and it would get overwhelming. One time I caved and took the tiniest lick, which was really stupid, by the way, so do NOT try it! I could almost immediately feel the spot on my tongue where the peanut butter was, begin to swell. It subsided after several minutes, but even that confirmed the allergy was still ever present and serious.

So what are we people who love peanut butter to do? Without is usually the answer! I remember eating sunflower seeds one day and mentioning that I wished they would make something like a peanut butter from them, because to me, they taste so much like what I remember peanuts tasting like. Apparently , others thought the same thing, because one day a lovely little Trader Joe’s flyer came in the mail, and lo and behold, it was advertising their Sunflower Seed Butter. After doing a little online searching, I guess other stores, such as Whole Foods and others, offer a sunflower seed butter too, and apparently the idea is not quite as new as I thought it to be, but nevertheless, here is a great alternative to those who love peanut butter but cannot eat it

After I first saw the ad this past year, I rushed out and bought some. Unfortunately the price is about twice as high as the standard peanut butter they offer, but it was worth it to finally “experience” something SO similar to peanut butter again!! Oh the taste, the texture, the creamy smoothness,and man is that stuff sticky! I’d forgotten the sticky part. What a fabulous alternative to peanut butter for people like myself!

Most people do not tend to be allergic to sunflower seeds, as they are a seed and not a tree nut. (However, some people have extreme allergic reactions to sesame seeds! Always check with your/your child’s doctor if you are unsure, before trying anything new.) So, once you are certain you are not allergic to sunflower seeds, try some of this great sunflower butter. I even had my kids do a taste test and they thought it was extremely similar to peanut butter, and after all, kids are the PB J; experts.

So, now that you know, you can go make yourself a SSB J; sandwich, enjoy!