i ate a burrito and my stomach turned into an extraterrestrial.

This is a story about peer pressure. Plain and simple.

Last night, I pulled up to a stoplight and commenced with my usual voyeuristic observing of the cars and drivers around me. To my right was a guy in an SUV. The first thing I noticed was what appeared to be tears cascading down his face. Second thing: he was doing major, major damage to a burrito. We’ll get to probable tears later. What grabbed my attention was that burrito. It was soft, it looked delicious, and for the first time in my entire life, I wanted one. I’ve never, ever craved a burrito, or any other Mexican food. That’s just me. But the way he held it in his hands…like a beloved friend saying goodbye to his beloved friend before utterly consuming it…

I stared at him and that burrito until the stoplight turned green. Some minutes later, I reached for my trusty smartphone GPS, searched for a Taco Bell img_4527 (there was no time to locate authentic Mexican fare, reader, not when my belly was officially running things), found it, drove there, and ordered my version of what I saw Burrito Man eating. It was delicious. Or was it? I don’t know. I ate it so quickly that I tasted nothing but air, really.

My hunger and burrito longing had been satiated. All was right in the world. Until late in the evening, when my belly felt guilty for what happened and decided to punish me with echoes of weird alien noises, groans, sighs, and other related things. This lasted into this morning, when I became convinced that maybe something was now living inside of me?

It’s better now. Much better. Maybe we’re OK. Maybe we’re out of the woods. Maybe nothing is indeed inhabiting my body. Maybe.

But let’s go back to that moment, shall we? This wouldn’t be your Square Peg if we didn’t analyze every single iota of what happened yesterday.

  1. Yes, I wondered why Burrito Man was crying. Or was he crying? Tears of food-related joy? Was it sweat? But his car windows were closed, so the air conditioning was likely on. And he seemed thoroughly unconcerned. The world, for him, was that burrito.
  2. Honestly, yesterday was a testament to the oodles of junk I’ve been eating since I arrived in this state. I don’t doubt that it has everything to do with the hills and valleys of my fluctuating emotions. Hopefully things will get back to normal and the thought of resuming my four-day workouts won’t drive me right to comfort of my armchair. Le sigh.
  3. Did he see me staring? Did he even care?
  4. The drive-through Taco Bell guy has a story to tell for ages now: when I ordered my burrito, I asked if it was soft. “Of course it is,” he replied, chuckling. “It’s a burrito.” I informed him that it had been a long day.
  5. Living in TX now affords me the change to venture and try Mexican food, no? I’ll try it. As long as there are sweet fried plantains and beans involved. If you’re Ghanaian or West African, you feel me on this.

The end. The moral of the story: the eyes may want something, but the belly will only be temporarily appeased until it turns against you. Make wise decisions. img_4528

Have you ever eaten something that turned your digestive system into a vengeful alien? In other words, tell me all about your suffering in the comments. Please and thank you. Misery loves company.

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This Square Peg and the Hamburglar.

hamburglar
The thief himself, the Hamburglar.

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.)

However.

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…

turkeyburgersweetpotatofries

‘Twas delicious.

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…

 
Anyway, my final thought on the matter:healthyquote