Column: Eat like a rancher, work like a rancher

Local ag columnist focuses on food this week

I sat at the kitchen table, my chin cradled between two fists, as I yearningly watched my husband dig into his tub of delicious salted caramel ice cream.

There was a time back when we started dating that we could eat anything. Those dates to the movie theatre were filled with peanut M&Ms, Fuzzy Peaches, and slushies. As we got older it became pizza nights at his house, or fancy restaurants with exquisite desserts.

Then the time came that we had been married for several months and I discovered a passion for baking. Cookies, cakes, you name it, I made it. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I made a small business out of it called But Her Buttercream, where I made cupcakes for the local farmers market for just short of a season.

Though the business was too hectic for me to continue, I continued to bake for my husband every chance I got. (I say I baked for my husband, but I enjoyed the fruits of my own labor just as much as he did, maybe even more). For years we enjoyed the diet we indulged in as teenagers. The dates may have become few and far between, but the habit of treating ourselves to peanut M&Ms and Fuzzy Peaches certainly had not let up.

And though we no longer frequented fancy restaurants for those decadent desserts the way we used to, I had developed the skills to make them from the comfort of my own kitchen.

Three delicious years went by, and with each year I’d watch the numbers on the bathroom scale get just a little higher.

My husband, however, was at the worst, maintaining his regular figure.

Oh, how I wish I could eat like a rancher. Perhaps it’s not the healthiest diet in the world, but my goodness, if I could eat all that and keep the scale at bay, you bet I’d be in that tub of salted caramel ice cream right there with him. But alas, all I could do was gaze longingly with each dive the spoon took into that sweet and salty pool of creamy goodness.

Finally my husband asked me to stop staring at him while he ate, which seems to be something he requests of me a lot lately. It’s a running joke with the ladies on our farm (AKA me and my mother-in-law) how all we want is to be able to eat the way those men eat and keep the pounds off the way they can.

However, as much as I deeply would like to enjoy that ice cream without any reservations, I truthfully do not want to have to work as hard as he does to maintain a thin physique. Most ranchers, my husband included, spend well over eight hours a day doing physical activity. The farm is the ultimate gym; especially during these winter months when a simple trip up the steps into the tractor is made harder with pounds of extra clothing and heavy winter boots. Not to mention that in four months they’ll be walking over ten miles in the middle of the night to check for calving cows. Those two long months probably add up to more than fifteen hours spent per day of being physically active.

When considering what I’d have to do to enjoy that ice cream guilt free, I will gladly let him enjoy the tub all to himself – he’s earned it.

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