Don't get me wrong. I like peanut butter as much as the next person. Hell, that's a lie. I probably like peanut butter a whole lot MORE than the next person. Like my latest favorite, Peanut Butter & Co.'s White Chocolate Wonderful. But I know what it is, and I know what it isn't.
Today, I was on the elliptical reading one of the magazines they provide and there was an interesting interview with Kathy Griffin where she talked about how, as a stand up comic, she finally realized that she didn't have to be as obsessive about how she looks (as she might if she were an A-list actress or a model, or something, I guess). But then, she said that she swears by peanut butter as her primary protein source, that she even keeps a jar of it with her on the road.
Now in the past, I would have taken this advice and run with it. Not just because I used to blindly take whatever I read as gospel, but mostly because I love peanut butter and would love to be able to give myself permission to eat it by the jarful. The truth is, I know better. While peanut butter has some protein, it is more accurately a FAT source than a PROTEIN source. Two tablespoons of regular peanut butter has 190 calories and a whopping SIXTEEN grams of fat, and only 8 grams of protein. That is by no means the same as other lean sources of protein: a cup of egg whites has 80 calories, SEVENTEEN grams of protein and no fat. Two ounces of chicken breast also has 17 grams of protein, but only 110 calories and 4 grams of fat.
Don't get me wrong. Peanut butter has a place in my life. I luuuurv it. I have learned to have a teaspoon of it, which has negligible protein but also fairly low calories. I have also learned to relegate it to the fat category so I don't get overconfident about adding it to my meal plan. When I'm calling it protein in my head, I can justify eating a tablespoon of it (or two or three) right out of the jar as I rush out the door to grab my kids off the bus. Just like that, I've consumed an extra 200+ calories and close to 20 grams of fat. SO not worth it.
Skinny as she is, I'm imagining Kathy's not doing that. She's probably much more careful about how she doles out the creamy good stuff. She also is probably working crazy hours and having no problem keeping her calories under control. I, on the other hand, need to really keep it in its proper place.
I love you, Peanut Butter. But you are NOT a protein source in my head. Chicken breast, salmon, tuna, egg whites, yes. Peanut butter, no. You're way too yummy to be an even exchange for any of that stuff. :)