I love shopping at stores that carry healthy, organic, local foods. I like to support businesses that are vegetarian and vegan-friendly. I believe that we vote with our dollar every single time we make a purchase so I try to buy products that have a low impact on the environment, are fair-trade and made without scary ingredients. I look for gelatin-free candies and allergy friendly products. In other words, I often end up at natural food/health food-type stores. However, I am frequently frustrated by the presence of big vats of peanut butter at these stores. See, I also have a severe (as in anaphylactic shock) allergy to peanuts. I think it is great that these stores sell peanut butter to those who want it, but my issue is with the way it is sold.
It seems to me that it is becoming increasingly common to offer up peanut butter at these kinds of stores in a self-serve set up. Big whopping scoops of peanut butter being dished up into small plastic containers by eager customers who, like me, are concerned with buying products that are healthier alternatives for themselves, their families and the planet. But this, of course, leads me to question which kinds of health issues are more valued by these businesses. The second someone lifts the lid of the big ol’ vat of peanut butter in one of these places is the second I have to bolt for the door. I’ve had to stop going into many of these shops, even though in my heart I’d like to support these businesses.
I have read research that says it is “impossible” to have a reaction to peanuts just by smelling it. Funny…I’ve had my throat swell, my eyes run and witnessed hives develop on my skin when I’ve been around peanut products. I know from first-hand experience that I don’t need to ingest a peanut to have a reaction. When I was a small child my teachers discovered the hard way that putting me in a separate part of the classroom when other kids were eating peanut butter sandwiches did not prevent an allergy attack. The same thing has happened to me in these stores.
My frustration with this issue has been boiling over lately, which is why I was so delighted to discover The Healthy Cupboard in Fonthill today. This store carries peanut butter (along with other kinds of nut butters), but they sell it in sealed jars. No fuss, no muss. No deadly scent, no chance of someone scooping peanut butter under my nose and a minimal risk of peanut butter residue being all over the rest of the store, the counter, the door handle, etc. (a trace amount on one of these surfaces can also trigger a reaction to an allergy sufferer who happens to touch it). So a big thank you to The Healthy Cupboard, a shop that will undoubtedly become one of my favourites in the Niagara region.