Blog


Oct 26, 2022

5 virtues of our nut butters #2:
Maximally Nutritious

Continuing our five-part series detailing the value-adds we're seeking to bring to your life!
 

For us, nutrition goes way beyond the limited confines of the nutrition panel, which only displays roughly 13 macronutrients you need to survive, and ignores thousands of other micronutrients and phytochemicals that you need to thrive.

When we think holistically about food, these days it’s comprised of at least four main components:

1. Nutrients

2. Anti-Nutrients

3. Toxins from processing

4. Agricultural pollutants

Many of the toxins and agricultural pollutants that we see in food have only been there since the end of World War II.

When we want to achieve the most nourishing food outcomes, we need to maximize nutrients, while minimizing anti-nutrients, toxins, and agricultural pollutants.

Regenerative farming and craft processing are two of the most effective ways to achieve these outcomes that need more research to fully quantify their holistic benefits.

How this plays out in the way that we create our products:

1. Nutrients - the impacts to these are quantifiable both on the farming and processing sides.

a) Farming - Consumers struggle to get proper nutrition due to conventional agricultural practices that deplete the health and mineral profiles of the soil, which make for less nutrient-dense produce. One great example of this is magnesium - 48% of the US population consumes less than the recommended amount of magnesium from food.

Almonds like ours that are grown regeneratively contain more than 13% more magnesium than conventionally grown almonds, so by offering regeneratively grown almonds as the base ingredient in our almond butters, we help solve this pain point for our customers.

Regenerative farming also results in an increased presence of all manner of phytochemicals, including polyphenols, which are often completely lacking from conventionally grown food.

Phytochemicals include the medicinal compounds in food that have the ability to decrease the likelihood of cancer, heart disease, and many other degenerative diseases. Dozens of studies detailing this can be found in What Your Food Ate, which has over 1,000 scientific references.


b) Processing - we know from scientific research that sprouting makes the almonds more nutritious by increasing levels of phenols, further enhancing the nutritional value adds we offer over both conventionally grown and non-sprouted almond butters.

Excerpt:

“Sprouted (soaked) almonds had higher phenol content as compared to dried almonds. The phenol content was highest in the skin of the sprouted (soaked) almonds as compared to the seed of the sprouted (soaked) almonds.

Thus our findings indicate that sprouting increases the total phenol content and subsequently the antioxidant capacity is also increased. This increase in total phenol content and the subsequent increase in the antioxidant capacity directly indicate the significance of consuming sprouted almonds.”


2. Anti-Nutrients - some sources suggest that sprouting decreases phytic acid, lectins, and oxalic acid. If true, this would make the almonds more digestible and healthful.

We believe that more research is needed on the subject, which we intend to engage in through partnership with third party non-profits, universities, and labs. More on that soon!

Anecdotally, many of our customers report to us that they can digest our sprouted almond butters, and not other non-sprouted almond butters. We’re committed to discovering why this is the case.

“I have severe food allergies and have found that I can tolerate your almond butter. Unfortunately, I've had reactions to all the other "clean" brands available.” - Kathlena, “The Allergy Chef”

I have a lot of digestive sensitivities so usually I can’t eat nuts or nut butter because it creates horrible bloating and discomfort but the sprouted is incredible and I don’t have any of my usual side effects. My digestion has been great while eating this and I usually struggle with eating nuts and nut butters.” - Anna

“I was never able to digest nut butters before. I’m so glad my friend told me about you guys. It’s a miracle. I have so many dietary limitations due to severe Lymes disease and your butter is a dream come true for me. Such a gorgeous treat.” - Zora

Other almond butter is ruined for me now! Yours is so delicious and I digest it way better. Too good!” - Sam

3. Toxins from processing - aflatoxin, propylene oxide, and acrylamide are a few of the carcinogenic elements that almonds are exposed to or develop during storage, in processing, or after harvest.

We’ve tested our products for aflatoxin, which did not show up.

Propylene oxide is a carcinogenic chemical used to chemically pasteurize non-organic almonds. We only use organic almonds, so we avoid this completely.

Acrylamide is a carcinogen generated during the roasting process. Because we sprout, dehydrate, and stone-grind our almonds at slow speeds and low temperatures, we avoid generating acrylamide.  

4. Agricultural pollutants - consumers unknowingly and unwittingly consume many carcinogenic and toxic compounds from agricultural inputs from conventional agriculture.

Almonds are the most heavily sprayed agricultural crop in California, according to publicly available data from the state, with over 39 million pounds of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and fumigants sprayed every year.

One key example is glyphosate, the carcinogenic active ingredient in Roundup, which is the most heavily sprayed herbicide on almonds in California.

We found glyphosate in unsafe levels above the 10 ppb “safe” threshold in every conventional almond butter we tested, and none of the organic almond butters we tested (including ours).

81% of North Americans don’t know what glyphosate is, but 80% of Americans test for it in their urine, including 87% of children.

Our friends at Farmer’s Footprint are doing great work seeking to ban glyphosate, which we fully support.

We offer the first and only Glyphosate Residue Free certified nut butters on the market to display our commitment to getting this ingredient out of our bodies and environment, starting with all the products made by our brand.

A great website for finding out the various kinds of agricultural pollutants that are on a given food is What’s On My Food?, a handy resource from the Pesticide Action Network.

Nutrition is a complicated science, and we don’t claim to be experts on it. We’re on a learning journey, and simply sharing our results so far, all of which are subject to change as new information becomes available.

We invite you to hear the inspired 3-minute clip below by founder Tim Richards on why we'd be wise to value food quality over price and add other metrics of value to our food.

Please let us know your thoughts! Would you value having this information about your food? Should we invest time and energy into quantifying a "True Nutrition Facts" label for you?


Oct 19, 2022

5 virtues of our nut butters #1:
Maximally Delicious

Today, we start a five-part series detailing the value-adds we're seeking to bring to your life!
 
Maximally delicious - this is admittedly subjective. However, we get overwhelming feedback in support of this, and there are several reasons why we believe this to be the case.

We're bringing the craft movement to nut butters by stone-grinding in small batches. The experience of enhanced flavor and texture is what keeps our customers coming back and telling us they can't go back to what they were eating before.
 

Stone-grinding is a low-temperature, slow-speed, and small-batch traditional process that brings out enhanced flavor, texture, and nutrition compared to high-speed metal grinders. See it in action here.

It creates smoother, pourable creamy textures that don't stick to your mouth. These are fine enough for a 6 month-old baby with no teeth to consume:


By contrast, the crunchy textures are thicker and spreadable with more multidimensionality than standard crunchy nut butters:


If you've tried craft beer, cheese, wine, spirits, bread, or chocolate and experienced how they are better than commercially mass-produced versions, then chances are you will love our craft nut butters.
 
The sensory differences of a truly artisanal processing technique are dramatic - think Coors Light vs your local craft brewery, Hershey's vs Dick Taylor chocolate, or Wonder Bread vs traditionally fermented whole wheat sourdough - we're taking the same quantum leap apart from our commercially mass-produced competitors.

Simply put, craft processing in small batches at low speeds and low temperatures makes for the best nut butters. The oils in nuts need time to release, otherwise they do not fully express, causing nut butter to stick to your mouth and easily separate.
 

We were tired of almond butters that we have to stab with a knife for 15 minutes to re-integrate the severely separated oils before being able to eat. We were also tired of chalky, rock hard, and dry coconut butters that have unevenly distributed fat, fiber, and protein.

Both of these issues are caused by the commercial mass production of nut butters using high speed metal processing machines that process thousands of pounds an hour.

We offer a tastier alternative with our craft nut butters, which are slowly stone-ground in small batches to fully express and evenly distribute fat, fiber, and protein to create enhanced flavors and textures that our consumers prefer.

Sprouting also makes the almonds sweeter and more nuanced in flavor in our sprouted almond butters, thus resulting in a more multi-faceted flavor profile.
 

We'll close by sharing some screenshots of our fan love:



Aug 24, 2022

Thus Spoke Our Chief Philosopher, Tim:

Hi community! I realized that we have all you amazing fans in our email community who support our products, business, and mission, but that I don’t write to you very often!

I’m going to change that by sharing content that inspires me so we can engage with each other as thinking, feeling humans, and hopefully enrich each other’s lives in some way.

Today, I’ll introduce myself so you know more about who I am, where I’m coming from, why I’m choosing to invest the intense amount of energy, money, and time it takes to rn an organic food business, and what we’re hoping to accomplish as a result of it all!

To kick it off with a philosophical flare, I’ll share one of my favorite Nietzsche quotes that I’m living on a daily basis as I build this company (emphases mine):

“For what purpose humanity is there should not even concern us: why you are there, that you should ask yourself: and if you have no ready answer, then set for yourself goals, high and noble goals, and perish in pursuit of them! I know of no better life purpose than to perish in attempting the great and the impossible.

I am here to promote the flourishing of all organisms and ecosystems on Earth through my life’s work. Currently, my purpose is expressed through my work with my business, Philosopher Foods. Why did I choose this path, and what are we really trying to create with these cult-favorite nut butters?

I didn’t always care about organic food. I arrived on Earth in a living breathing human body on March 29th, 1987 in Frederick, Maryland, USA. As a kid, I enjoyed a deep visceral connection with the food I ate: pancakes, bacon, cereal, pizza, burgers, milkshakes, fries, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on white bread with no crust.

I didn’t much care for vegetables, especially green or red ones. Even my pizza had to be without tomato sauce (Pizza Hut would often give me a free replacement pizza when they invariably messed it up!)

I ate my food, it tasted good, and generally I felt good. But then, as I got older, I started noticing that some of these foods weren’t actually making me feel that good, and that over time, aspects of my body and mind began dysfunctioning.

I had no idea that my Standard American Diet was harming me with copious amounts of agricultural chemicals, preservatives, dyes, and sweeteners. I really knew nothing about my foods, other than taste, and even the taste was engineered to influence my brain chemicals into thinking it was good for me when it wasn’t. By 16, I was overweight, acne-ridden, and depressed, with no idea why I looked and felt the way I did.

Simultaneously, I had a greater-than-average amount of teenage angst, and a lot of burning questions about myself, society, and being a living being in this universe. I started furiously writing lengthy volumes to explore all of this, which led me on a path to create an independent study in Philosophy during my senior year of high school.

As a freshman at Haverford College in 2005 (yes, I majored in Philosophy), all my thinking led me to join several activist groups, wherein I learned about how conventional agriculture was harming the health of people, animals, and the planet. I changed my diet to organic whole foods, which caused me to lose weight, clear up my skin, and make me feel happier and healthier.

I couldn’t believe that my food choices so profoundly changed not only how I looked and felt, but also the quality of my consciousness. I became keenly aware that there was a direct connection between what I ate and my quality of thinking, feeling, seeing, relating, and being.

I started Philosopher Foods on Earth Day 2013 to help people critically think about their food and make food choices that promote the flourishing of themselves, the rest of Life on Earth, and the ecosystems we all depend on to survive and thrive. The way food is grown and processed has a profound impact on those outcomes, which we intend to illuminate through our work (and through this writing).

Our slogan is Know Thy Foods. We believe that if you are what you eat, then knowing your food is knowing yourself, and that to be the best you, you need the best food. The best food requires regenerative farming and craft processing. We currently make delicious, nutritious, ethical, and ecological craft nut butters.

Our sprouted almond butter, coconut butter, and chocolate versions of both are consciously crafted to promote the flourishing of all stakeholder organisms and ecosystems. Everything we make or buy is USDA Organic certified, Fair Trade Certified where possible, and Glyphosate Residue Free Certified. This year we achieved Regenerative Organic Certification on our coconut butters, and we plan to achieve this on all of our products by this fall, which may make us the first company to do so.

Maybe I’m overcompensating for a particularly poor diet during my first 18 years by swinging in the direction of maximum food virtue, or tapping into my residual teenage rage against the food system for all the harm it’s caused me and so many other people, organisms, and ecosystems, but I’d like to think that I’m creating my Magnum opus contribution to my life’s work of promoting the flourishing of Life on Earth with this company. I’m exceedingly grateful that you’re enabling me to do so!

I have a lot more to say about all of this, which I will cover in future posts. In the meantime, I want to let you know that my family and I will be presenting about our business, tabling, sampling, and selling at the Slow Money Farm Fest in Petaluma, California this Sunday! I’d love to meet you there in person and connect. We’ll also be sharing a big announcement there!

Be nourished,

Tim

“For what purpose humanity is there should not even concern us: why you are there, that you should ask yourself: and if you have no ready answer, then set for yourself goals, high and noble goals, and perish in pursuit of them! I know of no better life purpose than to perish in attempting the great and the impossible.”
- Nietzsche

Written by Tim Richards



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