How Ollie’s sweet tooth comes close to being his downfall

Lizzie Banks’ discovery, from a doctor friend, that walnuts could lower cholesterol, amongst a number of other significant health benefits, has husband Ollie thinking along slightly different lines – but she soon puts him straight…

“And you’re looking at those sweets because…?” Lizzie materialised at her husband’s shoulder as he studied the nutritional information on a triple pack of Walnut Whips.

“They’re only 170 calories each; that’s fewer that real walnuts, so that makes them a great source of walnuts,” he said, optimistically pointing to the tiny text.

“And there are far fewer walnuts than real walnuts too. How much fat? And sugar?”, she responded, reading over his shoulder.

Casting around for suitable topics for her blog Lizzie Banks On It, Lizzie had been talking to a family friend who was a GP, and had urged her to write about walnuts. She’d told her that studies had shown the wrinkly nuts had the power to protect against heart disease and strengthen blood vessels, not to mention offer protection against Alzheimer’s and some cancers.

And learning that more than 150,000 people died from heart and circulatory disease every year had spurred her on not only to write the blog, but to make sure that Ollie added eight walnut halves to his daily diet.

Ollie, not being a fan of walnuts unless they were hidden in a cake with their old chum dates, had been reluctant to get on board. However, studying the Walnut Whip packet was, he knew, a doomed attempt to sidestep the real issue.

Ollie stands up for chocolate
He nevertheless stuck up for the chocolately confection: “Walnuts contain a lot of fat as well, and you can have too much of a good thing. Did you read about the number of calories in walnuts? It’s huge!”

Lizzie pursed her lips. “Moderation in all things, Banks. You can have a Walnut Whip later. About Christmas would be the right time. It doesn’t matter what you eat between Christmas and New Year, so long as you’re careful between New Year and Christmas. Judging by those crazy shorts and flip-flops you’re wearing, Christmas is a long way off yet.”

Ollie put the packet back on the shelf with the wistful look of a man being parted from his lover. “But I don’t like walnuts,” he protested weakly.

Lizzie wasn’t to be put off. “You need a balanced and varied diet to make sure you’re in good health. I know you’re a bit of a veg-dodger, but I’m determined that you should eat fruit and vegetables anyway. It sets a good example for Alice and Jack, and you’ll thank me for it in the long run. You do want to live to a ripe old age, don’t you?”

Eating veg with Grandad
“The jury is still out on that one if it involves eating walnuts and kale every day,” muttered Ollie under his breath as Lizzie marched off to buy carrots, cucumber, and runner beans, which their daughter Alice loved. When they visited Ollie’s parents Ron and Lorna, Alice was often to be found sneaking off with Grandad Ron to eat runner beans plucked straight from the plants in his vegetable plot, or tomatoes, warm from the sun in the greenhouse, and dusted with a little salt and pepper from shakers he kept out there for the purpose.

Lizzie dragged Ollie back to reality. “As well as being good for your heart, it’s said that walnuts can protect you against Alzheimer’s and prostate cancer. That’s why you’re going to eat walnuts, because I love you, and so do the children. And if you don’t love me enough to eat a few walnuts and a bit of kale now and then, you’re not the man I thought you were…”

Picture: Christopher Ewell | Dreamstime