My husband and I met in 5th grade. Of course, it sounds really cute & romantic, but I promise the process was anything but magical. We each had many obstacles to overcome during our adolescence and early adult lives, but thanks to the rise of social media networking and parents who paid the phone bills, we were able to cultivate our relationship throughout the years. We broke up & made up many times. We dated other people and tried to carry on our lives apart. Our love grew and matured like a well cared for plant. Eventually, we would always come back to each other. And once some of those obstacles were removed permanently, we headed right down to the courthouse & got married.
It was one of the best decisions I have made in my entire life.
A friend reminded me not too long ago that people search this whole world searching for the kind of love we have. That being said I had an epiphany:
LOVE MAKES PEOPLE FAT
Yep, I said it. Love makes people fat. Nevermind genetic predisposition, the overabundance of processed foods, lack of nutrient-exercise balance, or whatever else they’re saying these days. Never fear my fellow foodies, I have found the real culprit to all the fatness!
(In my Jilly from Philly voice) “Ooooooooh ooooooh…It’s Looooooove.”
I mean, think about it…when you first start dating….
- You don’t go for a 5k run & a movie do you?NO! You go out for DINNER and a movie.
- You don’t wake up after a night of Netflix & chill to a granola bar in bed, right? NO! You wake up to a real BREAKFAST in bed (unless he’s a douche btw)
- And when he starts messing up & wants to get back on your good side, do you think he’s bringing you flowers and a fruit cup? NO MA’AM! Flowers & CHOCOLATE it is!
Now I recognize that we are a society that interacts and bonds with each other over food. I mean, the sure fire way to make sure that everyone comes to the office party is to at least have a potluck, or a chili cook-off, or a cake walk, hell SOMETHING!
I was a residential advisor and a member of a sorority in college. And I guarantee you that if the events we organized did not contain food…oh, baby the attendance was sure to be low! Guaranteed!
And if you’ve ever been to ANY urban black church function, you grit your teeth through the half-day long sermons knowing that the program explicitly stated that “Refreshments Will Be Served Following Service”. And you go, not just to fellowship, but because refreshments usually means a restaurant sized to-go plate stuffed with the main dish, at least 2 sides, a roll or biscuit, a dessert AND a drink.
Jesus Christ himself, the ultimate example of unconditional love, even said “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me (Rev 3:20 ESV)”
Don’t let those 40 days & nights of fasting fool you…Jesus got hungry too, boo!
LOVE FOR FOOD, FOOD FOR LOVE
For my husband and I specifically, food has always held a special place in our hearts… It is the running joke amongst friends that the few most intense arguments we’ve had have been over food. They ain’t wrong though. To this day, I won’t let him live down our epic frosted animal cracker quarrel or the grilled cheese fiasco of 2013. That was a dark time for us, but God delivers. SHONDOOO!!!!
So for me to make the decision to go meatless, oh honey he was NOT having it!
I would make these full plates of garden-grown deliciousness..really thinking I was doing the dang thang..only to find McDonald’s, Rally’s, & Taco Bell listed on the bank statements multiple times.
Now as a single girl it was nothing for me to live on oatmeal & salad, but I realized real quick that if I wanted us to both benefit from a healthier lifestyle, I had to think of ways for us both to find more variety. When you’re raised on the cooking of a Mississippi-born grandmother, healthy eating literally puts your system in shock. I had to figure out how to cook in a way that ensured we received great nutrition without having to feel like we’re eating unseasoned air.
YouTube was and still is my saving grace. If there’s a piece of produce I’ve never heard of before in my life, you’d better believe YouTube has the tea on how to cut it, how to cook it, and all you’d ever care to know about its nutritional value. Like rutabagas…what the HELL do you do with a rutabaga?
YouTube be like “It’s cool boo, I got you. Now click on a video, any video”.
He couldn’t stand them before, but my husband now eats mushrooms.
KEEPING PEACE IN THE FRIDGE
“So how do y’all meals go if he eats meat & you don’t?”
It’s surprisingly easy, actually. Western society has somehow conditioned us to believe that our meals won’t be satisfying and fulfilling unless they contain a meat, a bread, a veggie, and maybe a dessert. It’s just not true. You can be fully satisfied without following this formula. As for me, when I cook I’ll fix it up exactly how I ate before I went meatless..it’s tempting to nibble but I’ve trained myself to just make my plate omitting everything I can’t have and loading up on the rest to compensate. For example, if I make loaded sweet potatoes, I’ll top his with cheese, green onions, tomatoes, & bacon. Mine will have the exact same toppings, minus the bacon.
Or, if I have an abundance of ingredients, I’ll make two versions. One for me, one for him. This option is a little harder if you’re short on cash or short on time, but it is an option nonetheless.
As for eating out, I’ve found that ordering the vegetarian versions of my favorite foods is actually a money saver. A chicken bacon ranch foot long at subway will easily run you about $7-$8. But that veggie delight? 5 or 6 bucks, easy! (That’s 1 or 2 extra dollars you can put towards some subway cookies, fyi 😉
Speaking of cookies, I will say this… Don’t think that being meat free always means being healthy. A vegetarian eating 5 bags of potato chips in one sitting is no healthier than a meat eater polishing off a Double Rallyburger with bacon. Junk food is just that. Junk.
Now I’ve learned that the best way for me to keep myself from junk is to make it hard to access. I’m quite lazy, to be honest. And it’s particularly difficult for me to part with my money, especially around pay day. So I make it a point to fill our fridge with fresh produce. That way, if it’s late at night & we are craving fried chicken, I have to ask myself if I really feel like putting clothes on, and getting in my car, wasting my gas, just to go buy a 2-piece when I can make a veggie wrap at home? More often than not, the veggie wrap wins. I’d rather eat up everything I’ve already bought, rather than let the produce go bad and shell out even more coins at the drive thru.
But hey, if it’s a splurge day I’ll be front & center at that same drive thru loading up on the meatless side items like…”Lemme get a uhhhh….green beans..potato wedges..hell, throw in a fried pickle if you got it…and uh……”
Y’all pray my strength. I’m a work in progress.