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Peanut Butter Delirium

My advice to anyone traveling to the United States is not eat anything at all. If you must eat, bring a picnic lunch with you from your own country. I know that is a little harsh but hey, it is a whole lot better than experiencing what I am going through right now which is: [...]

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My advice to anyone traveling to the United States is not eat anything at all. If you must eat, bring a picnic lunch with you from your own country. I know that is a little harsh but hey, it is a whole lot better than experiencing what I am going through right now which is: nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and headache.

These are the classic symptoms of Salmonella infection. Not fun stuff at all. Symptoms last from three to seven days. How did I get it? Look at the picture to the left.

I love good peanut butter. I discovered early on that it is possible to live for weeks, maybe even months, on nothing but crackers, peanut butter and water. It is quick and easy. If you don’t get the “Natural” kind, it doesn’t require refrigeration so it can be carried around in a backpack. NOTE: I’m not saying this is nutritionally balanced. I’m saying you won’t starve and you can keep functioning.

When I was a kid and we were really, really poor – way before there was such a thing as food stamps – the government used to give out “commodities” to “poor” people. One of the things that was always included in the handout was peanut butter. Most of the time we didn’t get commodities because my dad didn’t believe in handouts. He was kind of a “What! Me take a handout? I’d sooner let my kids starve” kind of a guy. But when we did get some, I remember that peanut butter! It was loaded with saturated fats and oils but it sure was good. Anyway, that is how my addiction to peanut butter began. It was the government’s fault.

Now that I am a bit older, my tastes and diet have changed somewhat. I read labels before I buy and I steer away from products that contain ingredients I can’t pronounce. I go for the more “natural” products.

Which brings us back to the picture above. What is the biggest word on that label? “NATURAL”! The ingredients list says it contains peanuts and 1% or less of salt. That’s it. No where does it mention SALMONELLA. And, really, I guess if you got right down to it, salmonella is natural, right? It’s just not natural for human consumption.

Be that as it may, it turns out that my jar of peanut butter is “suspected” of containing salmonella and it was recalled two days ago – about ten days after I bought it and about three days after I opened it and ate a good huge peanut butter and banana sandwich.

Oh, hey wait a minute – the banana! That’s it. Bananas come from one of those unclean Central American countries. Yeah, it must have been the banana.


Filed under: Food, Health, USA

About the Author:

Gar Williams liquidated his former life, sold all his possessions that wouldn’t fit into a 46 liter backpack, and left it all behind at age 63. He is now traveling the world, and, in his words, is finally doing what he wants to do. Gar stops by at VagabondJourney.com from time to time to offer his wisdom and advice on the Senior Vagabond series. has written 65 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Gar Williams is currently in: Ecuador

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  • diane November 19, 2011, 3:07 pm

    oh this has to be the bomb, food poison right before you head off to Central America, where every one knows you will get sick from eating the food…lol…sorry to hear you are under the weather!

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  • Gar November 19, 2011, 3:55 pm

    Yes, really it is funny. And I’ll laugh when I’m able. 🙂

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  • John D. Wilson November 19, 2011, 7:34 pm

    Good post, Gar.
    You gonna laugh about it or cry?
    Nice touch of wit, good read.
    John D. Wilson

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    • Gar November 19, 2011, 7:45 pm

      Hi John and thanks. Peanut butter is getting too expensive anyway.

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  • Eva Hamori (@thatshamori) November 20, 2011, 1:18 am

    Think of the extra pounds you will loose! If that doesn’t work, view it like a cleanse;)
    Seriously, that is not cool, and I hope you feel better soon!
    I had food poisoning in my twenties, and I still cannot eat squid 15 years later. I hope it doesn’t turn you off your favourite food. You will let ‘Smuckers’ know though right?

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    • Gar November 20, 2011, 8:08 am

      Hi Eva, Not to worry. Smuckers’ knows about it. My jar is part of a wider recall of thousands of jars of infected peanut butter.

      I think you may have a future in advertising. I can just see the ad campaign now for salmonella tainted ice cream. “Don’t worry. Eat all you want. There’s no way you can keep it down.”

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  • Rob Wilson November 20, 2011, 11:14 am

    Gar – sorry to hear of your suffering. Nothing gets to you like the digestive system…

    Sure enjoy your writing. You have a great style, a voice that keeps the reader reading and makes them a part of the story.

    When do you head south to the land of unclean food?

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    • Gar November 20, 2011, 1:21 pm

      Hey Rob, I’m feeling a bit better today – just not very hungry. 🙂

      I think I’ll be heading out of here about the first week of December. Right now I’m just playing it by ear. I want to do my traveling between the Thanksgiving and Christmas rush if possible.

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  • Rob November 21, 2011, 1:43 am

    That’s a good Idea Ed..Avoid the peak times at Airports…I remember clearly my first visit just before we first met, Got as far as Dallas FW and half of the airports in the US were snowed in!!! Boy was there a backlog of travellers. I guess with the worlds crazy weather that could happen again any time from here in. Good Luck Mate!!!

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    • Gar November 21, 2011, 8:22 am

      Yeah – been there done that. When I had to fly for my job, I was always getting into messes like that. Now my time is my own. Nothing is worth that kind of stress to me anymore.

      Looking forward to seeing you again when I get to NSW.

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  • Nancy Taylor December 13, 2011, 8:37 pm

    What a great read, Uncle Edgar, I find your posts very witty!!! You have a knack at the writing thing! This will make me think of you from now on when I eat peanut butter!!! Love Ya!

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    • Gar December 14, 2011, 8:01 pm

      Thanks, all kind words greatly appreciated. Love you too.

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  • Rod Stark December 26, 2011, 9:09 am

    Just wanted to drop by and say HI.


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