Serious Fuel: Recovery to Rival P.B.
Entrepreneur with a cause takes the triathlon superfood to taskMarch 6, 2011
Improve on peanut butter? Anyone claiming such nonsense was either delusional or misguided. One of the greatest food inventions ever to hit store shelves, spreadable peanut is one of life’s simplest pleasures. Why mess with it?
At least this was how I felt until I tried NuttZo Multi-Nut Butter. I’d tried almond butter (healthier, but disappointing), cashew butter (creamy, but bland), and low-fat varieties (spare me), but good old-fashioned peanut butter—the kind where the ingredients read just peanuts and salt—kept a firm hold on my heart. On cinnamon raisin bread, celery, or straight out of the jar, PB was it. Never one to pass up a new food experience, however, I jumped at the chance to try this strange new product that had made its way into the LAVA office fridge.
I was wrong. It turns out peanut butter has a higher calling after all: the makers of NuttZo have invited a bunch of other nuts along for the party, not to mention chia, flax and pumpkin seeds. That creamy staple I love is going to have to make some space for a newcomer.
Not only is NuttZo satisfying, flavorful, and healthy, it has a pretty cool story behind it. Founder Danielle LiVolsi, who launched the brand in April 2009, created the product after adopting her sons Greg and Matthew, two vitamin-deficient boys, from the Ukraine. Adopting the boys inspired Danielle and her husband Kevin to start the foundation Project Left Behind, a nonprofit “dedicated to providing human touch, nourishment, and surrogate nurturing tools to orphans around the world.”
Set on preparing super-nutritious foods for her boys, LiVolsi tinkered until her omega-3 powerhouse butters were exactly right. The market voted in approval, and her product is now available in 200 retail stores and online. NuttZo Original (blue label) contains Valencia peanuts, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds and flax seeds—all organic. It provides 50 per cent of your daily values of omega 3 ALAs per serving, with a texture and taste much like chunky peanut butter. NuttZo PF, or peanut-free variety (red label) replaces peanuts with chia and pumpkin seeds, and delivers 75 per cent of your DV of omega 3 ALAs per serving.
Aiming to please everyone who loves natural butters but hates stirring them, LiVolsi has placed the NuttZo labels upside-down. This allows the oils to separate to the bottom of the jar, making easier first-time stirring. The butter can then be stored in the refrigerator lid-side up.
NuttZo is also becoming increasingly popular among endurance athletes. James and Beth Walsh, two California-based triathletes, are some of NuttZo’s biggest fans. It’s been a big year for the two of them, with Beth qualifying for Kona at the California 70.3, and James winning his age group at the Steelhead 70.3. He says a lot of their success has been due to diet and nutrition, much of which comes from large amounts of quality food like NuttZo.
“We have been known to eat a full jar of NuttZo at a time, with just a spoon after a long training day,” said James. He added that he and Beth use the product in everything from toppings on gluten-free waffles and Greek yogurt, to protein and recovery shakes, to energy bars. “We just can’t put it down,” he said.