** Mrs. LB caught the blogging bug (albeit briefly) and is guest-blogging once more. I turn my blog over to my better half **
“What are you looking for?” my husband asks as I spin wildly through our kitchen opening and re-opening cupboards.
“A donut,” I say emphatically. “Or a cookie, a sweet snack of some sort.”
“I made homemade granola bars. Do you want one of those?” he asks helpfully.
“No! I want a donut. Something with refined sugar and possibly some trans fat.”
“How about I peel you a mango or cut some bananas into some non-fat plain yogurt? I’ll sprinkle some Equal and cinnamon over the yogurt. It’ll taste just like the ones you buy in the store.”
At this point, instead of being grateful and accepting of my husband’s attempts to ease my sweet-tooth craving, I storm out of the kitchen and wonder what happened to our days of cupboards filled with snacks at the ready.
I know that my husband has transformed our kitchen for the better. The above-mentioned snacks he has made for our daughters on many occasions and they love them. Our children so rarely get candy that a Hershey’s kiss makes them squeal.
I also know I still want a donut sometimes. Luis will take pity on me and once in a while buys me treats. They’re not good for me, they’re not necessary and lending to an already-emotional connection to food but my brain wants them anyway. Not my stomach, my brain. Trust me, there’s no lack of food in my tummy. I know, in the same way that Luis has done us a favor by transforming our kitchen and potentially our lifestyle, that I don’t need donuts.
The most amazing part of Luis bringing unhealthy snacks into our house is that, for the most part, he’s able to ignore them. Apparently, he cannot hear the cookie dough ice cream in the freezer calling us in the dark hours after dinner. He is impenetrable to the shortbread cookies that send their siren song to me.
When I first starting dating Luis, it was obvious that although love knows no boundaries, we had grown up in different cultures. Nothing too radical, mind you, but different, nonetheless. I invited Luis over to my parent’s house one day after class and went in to the kitchen. I asked him if he wanted something from the pantry. He asked me what a pantry was. I peeked around the 6-foot-tall cupboards with amazement. Did he really not know what a pantry was?
I described it and then invited him over for a look. Our pantry was brimming with cereal boxes (no Grape-Nuts or Special K here), Little Debbie snacks (who doesn’t love a good Star Crunch?), Cheeze-Its, etc. Luis’ eyes got big and he struggled with the decision. He asked me when we eat this stuff. Again, incredulous, I told him they were for snacks.
“Snacks?” he asked. “Mexicans don’t really eat snacks. We eat big meals and that’s it.”
“Really? Well, interesting. Would you still like a snack?”
Of course he did. And this was his introduction to between-meal eating. Today, Luis still does a lot of between-meal eating but it’s most often some fresh fruit, a protein bar or raw veggies. A lot less calories than a Twinkie but where’s the satisfaction in crunching on baby carrots? If they had cream in the middle, maybe. . .
Luis has learned where the satisfaction is. He has now learned that the long-term goal is much more important than getting the immediate satisfaction of a handful of chips. He knows how his body will respond if he fills it with good fuel instead of Pie Bites from Fresh N Easy (those things are damn good, though).
The best thing about Luis and his food transformation is that he never, not once, has preached or pushed it on me. He just continues to set the good example hoping that one day I’ll join him. I love that about him. He’s patient in almost every way in his life. This patience is part of what helped him along his 21-month journey to shed 120 pounds and change his life for the better.
I see and hear the example but I’ll admit, I still enjoy Friday nights before a weekend of long runs because that means he’s going on carbo load and we all get to have pasta. Of course, he does add sauteed vegetables to the pasta even when I’d prefer to have Alfredo sauce but hey, he’s cooking and I’m eating so I just try to enjoy.