Lifestyle, nutrition: SunButter: a school-safe substitute for peanut butter?

Lifestyle can mean constant self-tutoring. The tutor introduces SunButter as a possible solution to the “No Peanuts” rule in so many schools.

I’ve talked to parents who point out that peanut butter and jam sandwiches are their kids’ favourite. Others say that, at the very least, their kids will reliably eat them. As a parent with two kids in school, I understand the challenge of filling the lunchboxes with appealing foods.

With peanuts forbidden at so many schools, the PB&J, for many, is out. Yet, the SunButter and Jam, or SB&J, might be a viable alternative.

SunButter is made from sunflower seeds. On the jar it claims to be “school safe,” being free of peanuts, tree nuts, and numerous other allergens.

Yesterday I did a taste test of SunButter vs Planter’s Peanut Butter. I’d describe the SunButter as being more oily, with a lighter, sweeter taste.

I tried giving SunButter to my younger child at home, pretending to serve a PB&J. He didn’t seem to notice until afterwards, when I told him I’d used SunButter instead of peanut butter. Kids can be surprisingly conservative about food. I believe he would eat a SunButter and jam sandwich if I put one in his lunch box, although I haven’t tried yet.

In my experience, SunButter is more dear than peanut butter.

SunButter is made by SunButter LLC, based from Fargo, North Dakota:)

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle, nutrition, health: Fibre battle: apple vs orange

More lifestyle self-tutoring: the tutor researches which fruit – apple or orange – has more fibre.

Just before bed I tend to eat fruits and/or vegetables if I haven’t had enough during the day. One reason to eat fruits/vegetables is for fibre.

I’ve been wondering which fruit has more fibre – apple, or orange?

Apparently, they are dead equal, both averaging 2.4g fibre per 100g.

Oranges can be much easier to eat, though, especially when you’re not hungry but need to consume your daily allotment of produce.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Nutrition: what does vitamin K do?

More lifestyle self-tutoring: the tutor shares a few facts about vitamin K.

I didn’t hear much about vitamin K as a kid. It can be found in multivitamins and I notice it in literature.

Vitamin K is fat-soluble. It promotes proper blood clotting and also helps movement of calcium.

Vitamin K deficiency is uncommon among people who eat a healthful diet.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle, health: MSG (monosodium glutamate): is it best avoided?

Engaging in more lifestyle self-tutoring, the tutor shares his findings about a topic he’s long considered: consumption of MSG.

MSG, I was told as a kid by a cook, can intensify the taste of food. Another kid, sitting at the table as well, said he’d been advised to avoid it.

For decades I’ve followed my old friend’s counsel (although I haven’t seen him for decades): I’ve tried to avoid consuming MSG. Often, one food will have it but a similar food won’t, so I pick the one without.

Today I checked the mayo clinic as well as healthline. To me, they both render the same opinion: MSG has been suspected to cause problems, but there’s no hard evidence it does. Some people may be sensitive to it.

Joe Leech at healthline points out that MSG is often used in processed foods, the likes of which are best consumed sparingly. Someone who eats a good diet, therefore, doesn’t likely consume much MSG, so probably needn’t worry unless they find, in their own case, that they’re sensitive.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Diet and weight loss: Is the banana to be avoided if you want to lose weight?

Dieting, I’m constantly self-tutoring. The tutor shares, to him, a surprising find about the calories in a banana.

banana beside three Easter eggs:  same calorie value!

Easter can be a challenging time for someone on a diet. Putting out eggs last night, I gave in to temptation and ate a few, then checked the wrapper for an idea about the consequences. The kind of Easter egg in the photo above is about 6.5g, 33.33 calories each. Therefore, three of those eggs together are worth 100 calories – about the same as the banana.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Nutrition: what does folate (folic acid) do?

The tutor explores the function of folic acid in the body.

Folate is a B-vitamin; the synthetic form used to supplement foods is folic acid, which the body converts to folate.

Folate is needed for cell division and producing certain amino acids. A deficiency may result, for instance, in megaloblastic anemia: impaired cell division produces too few, but larger, red blood cells.

Folate is important during pregnancy.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Biology: insulin response and insulin resistance

The tutor defines insulin response and insulin resistance and explains their connection.

Recall: herein, ACV means apple cider vinegar.

In yesterday’s post I mentioned my discovery that apple cider vinegar potentially increases the effectiveness of insulin.

As carbohydrates are digested, glucose (a type of sugar) enters the blood from the digestive system. The body’s response to the rising blood sugar is to release insulin. It’s known as the insulin response. Insulin enables glucose to enter cells so they can use it for energy or fat storage.

Sometimes, body cells may become less sensitive to insulin, which is known as insulin resistance. Then, the insulin is less effective at conducting glucose from the blood into the cells; more insulin is needed to do the same as before.

Therefore, if insulin resistance increases, so must the insulin response. The fact that ACV seems to increase insulin’s effectiveness leads to the consequence that it apparently lowers the body’s insulin response.

I’ll be discussing related ideas in coming posts:)


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle: diet and weight loss: apple cider vinegar

The tutor seeks the truth about a celebrated health food, apple cider vinegar.

Herein, ACV means apple cider vinegar.

Fifteen years ago, I overheard my boxing coach recommend ACV to a fighter who was struggling to make weight. Since then, I’ve noticed the promotion of ACV from diverse sources. Casually I’ve wondered: Is it really as beneficial as suggested? Today, I decided to begin research towards finding out.

ACV, it seems, could very well offer at least two health benefits. Most importantly, it apparently increases the effectiveness of insulin, depressing blood sugar after a carbohydrate-rich meal.

Secondly, ACV may hinder digestion of carbohydrates, so less calories are absorbed from a meal. In nature, passing up calories would not be advantageous; however, in a culture that’s generally overweight, it seems to be.

The two benefits mentioned above, to be done justice, need to be followed up with further posts. I’m intrigued with what I’ve discovered so far.



Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Fibre: soluble, insoluble?

The tutor has wondered about fibre ever since he heard about soluble fibre.

Back in the early 90s, when I was in university so cut off from day-to-day culture (no TV, no money, no time), a few snippets still did reach me.  One was the term “soluble fibre.” I was highly skeptical; how could fibre, undigestible by definition, yet be soluble?

At an early age I was taught that fibre passes through the intestines, keeping the bowels loose and the stool easy to pass.  It can do so because it’s not digestible.  At the same time, it holds water, keeping the stool soft.  Therefore, it speeds the movement of material through the gut.  To do so, wouldn’t you expect it to be insoluble?

Well, the insoluble fibre is the kind I’ve just described above.  However, soluble fibre also exists, but serves a different function.  In contrast with insoluble fibre, soluble fibre slows food’s exit from the stomach.  Apparently, as it dissolves in water, it forms a complex with the water molecules, giving them more inertia.  Possibly, cholesterol can get stuck in the complex as well, making it less likely to be absorbed.  Anyhow, the effect is that, with the soluble fibre binding together the water molecules in which it’s dissolved, the liquified food in the stomach is more sluggish.  Therefore, it stays in the stomach longer.  One result is feeling “full” for a longer duration after eating.  The other is a slower release of glucose into the bloodstream, which may help offset – or even prevent – symptoms of diabetes.

The sources of both soluble and insoluble fibre are numerous.  A variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, plus a variety of whole grains, will likely avail plenty of both. Here’s a fun fact, though:  oat bran provides soluble fibre, while wheat bran provides insoluble.  I seem to recall, from the 90s to the early 2000s, an increased focus on oat bran rather than just bran.

Soluble and insoluble fibre: now we know:)


Web MD

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Ancient grains, cont: quinoa vs durum wheat

The tutor offers a quick comparison: the ancient grain quinoa vs a modern favourite.

In yesterday’s post I started about ancient grains and why they might be growing in popularity. As I mentioned, quinoa is one my we’ve adopted to our table.

Here’s a quick comparison between quinoa and durum wheat; durum is a favourite among grains eaten today:

nutrient (% rda) quinoa (per 100g) durum wheat (per 100g)
protein 28 28
carbohydrate 21 24
fat 9 4
iron 25 20
magnesium 49 36
zinc 21 28

While the common nutrients are useful to consider, I believe that often, the less-documented properties of a food can be very important. Both durum and quinoa may well contain other health-promoting molecules that are not commonly discussed. Furthermore, they likely contain different ones. Hence the importance of variety in the diet.

I’ll be continuing about ancient grains, as well as modern ones, in coming posts:)


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.