I grew up in Vermont – a world center for maple syrup production. Vermonters are very proud of maple syrup and celebrate it, in March and April when the syrup is boiled from the sap, folks have Sugar on Snow parties. The main dish is maple syrup boiled to a thick caramel and poured over a big bowl of fluffy pure snow; the coldness instantly turns the molten fluid into maple taffy. Traditional accompaniments are warm raised doughnuts and dill pickles to cut the sweetness. Vermonters are serious about maple syrup!
When I was heading for my gastric bypass surgery, I had a moment of reality that Maple Syrup would be something I would never be able to eat again. Not that I ate it every day, or that I couldn’t live without it, but the fact that I could never have it bothered me. Anyone headed into surgery understands that we all have our own personal list of items that we grieve over before we even have it taken away. We forget what we gain and are only saddened by the loss. Last Suppers have our emotional attention and normally add a good ten pounds to our pre-op total. The Last Supper I forgot to have was the Pancakes and Maple Syrup meal. Of course as time passed it made me laugh, as I have gained so much by having my bariatric surgery that NOTHING really bothers me.
Yesterday at Whole Foods, there was an end cap with three or four varieties of maple syrup and Ty asked me if I would make him pancakes as he placed a bottle of the most flavorful medium amber into our cart. Now Ty may be from Georgia and before he met me put corn syrup or Log Cabin fako syrup on his pancakes – but once he had the real deal there was no turning back. I make pancakes for him a couple of times a year when he asks.
Sunday morning, I got out my Cooks Illustrated cookbook and got busy. In about half an hour I had turned out a big stack of beautiful pancakes worthy of the cover of a magazine. Ty carefully buttered them, poured on way too much of the dark Maple Syrup and retreated to his tray table in front of the television.
I added a scoop of ricotta and some blueberries to the bowl and made myself one saucer sized ricotta pancake, no syrup.
When Ty saw that I wasn’t eating the same breakfast that he was immensely enjoying, he paused. ‘You can’t have pancakes!’
I answered, ‘I can have them if I want, but I dont eat them. I made myself a ricotta pancake. It’s fine!’
He apologized for having me cook something I couldn’t have. I repeated ‘I can have them if I want to have them but I choose NOT to eat them. It is okay, what I have is absolutely delicious.’
In my opinion, this is the key to post op life and making your changes permanent ones. It’s NOT what you are missing, it’s what you choose to have instead. It’s not that we can’t have a particular food, as we have free will and we can have anything we want. It is my choice as to what I put on my plate.
Try seeing it my way – I think you will find that it is empowering!