Of the many, many nicknames my bestie has for me, there’s a particular one that pretty much speaks for itself: The Hamburglar.
Do you remember The Hamburglar from McDonald’s of old? The petty thief who liked to filch people’s burgers? Of course, I wasn’t going around stealing people’s food (I mean, not all the time, anyway), but I’m not exaggerating when I say that burgers were everything to me growing up. Look, I even remember my first Whopper. Can you imagine the wide-eyed reaction of a 9 year-old African girl who was only used to eating fufu and soup and rice wrapping her nervous little fingers around an enormous piece of bread, cheese, and meat? It was both curious and heavenly. And it was the beginning of my long journey with junk food. As an aside, I will say that when you have four young children with very little money to spread around, sometimes the cheapest option is fast food. Sad but true. If healthier fare were less expensive, perhaps chicken nuggets wouldn’t be the go-to option. In other words, it would be nice if healthier food had a dollar menu. Anyway. As stated, I loved burgers. Forget the past tense: I love them. Whether from someone’s backyard grill or a gourmet burger from a fancy pants restaurant, it’s usually what I choose when I’m eating out. (Needless to say, I’ve never considered myself a foodie.)
With time comes expanding bellies, getting older, and wanting to be healthy.
I want to be healthy. I need to be. Not just in 2015, but beyond. So for the past several weeks, I’ve made significant changes to my eating habits. No bread. No rice. (Regarding the latter, note that again, I’m African, so yes, this is killing me.) More vegetables. And yes, sigh, no more hamburgers. There’s no diet going on here; just healthier options and a continuing effort to change my lifestyle. Is it easy? No. Do I feel much better? Absolutely. Do I believe that I will 100 percent stay away from junk food? I don’t have an answer for that one. Ultimately, doing the work and being realistic and taking it all one day at a time is the bottom line for me.
All that said, last weekend, some friends made good on a promise to take me to their favorite hamburger spot for dinner (I wasn’t exaggerating about that nickname…). Of course, with my changed eating habits, I wondered how this would work. So I went online to the restaurant’s website and rejoiced at seeing a bun-less burger on their menu: a burger of your choice on a bed of baby spinach and salad. And let me tell you, my bun-less turkey burger was delicious. Yes, I stared at other patrons eating their beef burgers dripping with mayonnaise and cheese like a weird voyeuristic creeper, but I didn’t long for what they were eating. Along with a small portion of sweet potato fries (they brought me a heaping plate but I ate less than half and gave the rest to my friend’s hubby), I was actually quite content with everything. Are you wondering if I took pictures of my meal for you? You know I did…
By the way, I won’t insist that the bestie changes that nickname. C’est la vie. I do like the black, white and yellow combination he has going on up there…