Ben Winston

Not your average travel blog

Nothing to do with the feet of elephants, but may contain nuts (and a crème brûlée)

It was about eight years ago when I re-attempted to enjoy the buttery peanut. I failed. However, not lacking my boyish grit and drive, I was determined and one day, approximately four years ago, with no other lunch available, a colleague gave me, with jam and butter, a pre-made, slapped-together peanut butter beauty. It remains, quite literally a significant turning point in my adult life…


Cover it with fruit and no one will ever know

Maybe it was hunger, maybe it was my matured taste buds (unlikely) but I actually enjoyed the small amount of buttered nuts under my fruity glaze. My determination renewed like a salmon needing to spawn; over weeks of endurance and years of David Blaine mind power, I slowly began to increase the nut and decrease the jam. It has taken over four years, but if I had continued to hate it, like I did when I was a boy, this trip across north America would be a damn sight harder!


Decreasing the jam

The buttery paste was invented, and remains possibly the most calorific snack available in a jar from the modern supermarket shelf. At least whilst attempting to strive for any single health trait, anyway. Anything with a higher, one-bite calorie mouthful and you’re into James Martin pudding territory.


Creaming everywhere

The learning curve has been worth it and I now actually love peanut butter enough to eat it straight from the jar. Yes, sometimes I dream I am Brad Pitt in Meet Joe Black, “I thoroughly enjoy this Peanut butter, I’ll be moseying on”.
At no point has any peanut butter manufacturer approached me to advertise their nuts, but if anyone wants to put my face on their nuts, we might be able to work something out. It would have to be crunchy though. I tried smooth once and it was like having my mouth glued together with stale linseed oil. Granted, it was cheap, but even the frenzied-corn syrup producers had gone too far on this one. It simply ouzed oil and sugars and salts and heart disease. Now? Grab me a spoon and a jar of crunchy.
I am rambling. Why I hear you wonder, do I waffle on about people’s buttered nuts? Its a calorific, energy-giving, fibre and antioxidant-harbouring, sports nutritionist’s dream food. For my multiple miles on the road, its not only available across the states in probably every convenience store, but its likely to literally save my life and wallet. Here is some relevant science, as well as my favourite dessert:

    • Over 540 peanuts are needed to make one 12-ounce jar of peanut butter (that’s a harvest from roughly a dozen healthy plants)
    • Peanuts are not even a nut, they’re a legume and they grow just under the ground in a root pod.
    • People who eat nuts or peanuts four times a week may lower their risk of dying of coronary heart disease by 37 percent, according to a review in the British Journal of Nutrition. Compared with people who never chow down on any nuts, they’re likely to have healthier hearts. Eating peanut butter may lower bad LDL cholesterol while maintaining good HDL cholesterol.
    • Peanut butter reduces the chances of gallstones, most of which start to grow from the catalyst of bad cholesterol.
    • Apparently, eating nuts at least twice a week, means you’re about 30 percent less likely to gain weight than someone who never eats nuts, according to a study in the journal, Obesity (who actually buys that and reads it on a train?) Dieting on a food with 180 to 210 calories per serving, is my kind of diet. In essence, it fills you up, contains fibre, keeping you feeling full longer and therefore helps you eat less to stay trim.


      Nothing to do with this blog, but let us just admire, please

    • Researchers from Rush University Medical Centre say that by adding eleven tables spoons of peanut butter to your daily diet (ok, so that sounds like quite a lot) may decrease your risk of developing Alzheimer’s (if you forget this fact, I don’t know if its reversible). A daily dose of this amount (it’s niacin content that helps) results in a 44 percent lower risk rate of having Alzheimer’s, compared with those who consumed half this amount.
    • Peanuts contain more high quality plant protein than any other kind of legume or nut and so peanut butter is a big hitter when it comes to supplying energy as well as repairing tired, damaged tissue and muscles cells. Peanuts also boost the immune system and are super helpful for our body’s enzyme efficiency.
    • Vampires are peanut butter fans as it contains high quantities of iron and calcium for lovely blood (and bones).
    • Boffins at Florida University say that roasted peanuts contain about 22 percent more antioxidants than the uncooked variety and about the same amount of cell-protecting substances as strawberries. Go nuts!


      Not Florida, but you try obtaining a photo of Floridian peanut butter scientists!

    • Nutritionally, a serving of peanut butter has 3 mg of the powerful antioxidant vitamin E, 49 mg of bone-building magnesium, 208 mg of muscle-friendly potassium, and 0.17 mg of immunity-boosting vitamin B6. That’s good science.


      Suspicion of certain studies because “they” also tell us this

    • Research shows that eating peanuts can decrease your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic health conditions. One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that consuming an ounce of nuts or peanut butter (about 2 tablespoons) at least 5 days a week can lower the risk of developing diabetes by almost 30%. Hmm.
      20140126-192850.jpgI will add, that I am speculative about some of these facts, especially ones which back the notion that a processed food aids diabetics. I am no nutritionist or doctor and I would chose the product with care. However, consumed correctly, peanut butter is exceptional for type 2 diabetics.
    • Peanut butter is stuffed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Studies have found that insulin-resistant adults who eat a diet high in mono-fats have less belly fat than people who eat more carbohydrates or saturated fat. Typically, modern food procedures sadly add extra ingredients to make up for extracting natural (and beneficial) fat – including more sugars, which make you, you’ve guessed it, fatter. To be blunt, low fat foods are more unhealthy that full fat ones and they make you fatter faster. It’s that simple.


      Makes you fat and certainly not flighty

I am getting off the topic of how absolutely crucial and amazing peanut butter is and will be for the next eight months. I don’t think it gets enough credit. Of all the required foods available for my trip that are not high in volume, will not deteriorate or decompose rapidly and won’t break budget, peanut butter will almost certainly be consumed nearly every day of the week. Now you understand why that day, four years ago, with jam (jelly), butter, bread and a lack of alternatives was such a vital day for my survival in 2014. Without it, and without the defining lessons that followed, I am not sure I would attempt crossing America on my budget or without such a super food that I have learnt to consume.

Following my nut-post this week, something to look forward to soon for the podophiliacs….


5 comments on “Nothing to do with the feet of elephants, but may contain nuts (and a crème brûlée)

  1. Babs
    January 26, 2014

    Been eating peanut butter and jelly (seedless jam) for years. Going to America? Ask for Goober Grape! (Had uncle who flew to America regularly) Peanut butter and jelly in a jar…nom nom nom!


    • winstonwolfrider
      January 27, 2014

      Premixed?! That’s just crazy talk.


    • winstonwolfrider
      February 10, 2014

      Hi Babs, have had some mixed reports over Goober Grape…the jury is out. Will just have to get stuck in when I arrive!


  2. bristoltocapetown
    March 14, 2014

    Yuk, I can’t believe you turned to the dark side. Yuk. You haven’t started liking Marmite as well have you? I might disown you.


  3. Marmite will not save my life. I’d rather drink the water from elephant dung. On a positive note, the USA does not have any elephants.


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Where am I now?

After extensive work and tours through Southern Africa, most of my time is spent between Malawi and Europe.
Go Untamed Safaris was striding into top gear, but volatile poitics in 2019, Covid in 2020, the impacts of Russia vs the World as well as insesent corruption forced my hand.
The dust is now settling. Everything has changed. New chapters are about to be written.

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