A little less cake, but a lot more cows (that are alive)!

Hello, hello, hello, my readers!

There has been a change in my life that has to do with this blog, well, at least the title of this blog. And since I hate living two lives, I feel I must update whomever is reading to quell my conscience.

While my love for cake I hope shall never die, I am putting… attempting to put the love of its consumption on a temporary halt. The truth is: I eat too much dessert (both in terms of size and frequency). It’s gone from being a thing that is done occasionally to being something I’m okay with potentially partaking in at least once or even twice a day (the twice a day is not everyday or even frequent, but it’s happened more than once in the past few years). I think its origins were partly a natural reaction to my one-time disordered eating… but then it became disordered in the opposite direction!

As many of you know, I’m not one of those lucky naturally skinny people. I never have been and I probably never will be. Why that probably? I never will be. I sadly am not Benjamin Button, and my issues with weight are not going to get easier as I get older.

The truth is I’m not happy with how much weight I’ve gained in the past two years. Yes, I got married two years ago and that could explain why. But I am not blaming Mr. Rafia for this (and he should not blame me either!). It was mutual. I am new to cooking (I’m still learning) and we’ve had our fair share of eating out. I’m not going to stop eating out completely, but I have resolved to order salad if it’s an option. Most of the time, it usually is.

I know, I know, I know. I’m a food heretic. For years, I proclaimed I am not going to waste my money on salad. And even though salads ordered from outside are never as “healthy” as we like to think, they are definitely better than the other options. Besides, I realized sometimes the company of friends is more important than food.

That’s not to say I am cutting out cake completely (I did that before, didn’t go down well), but I also don’t have to eat it every time it’s available. I have to learn to accept my body for how it metabolizes and think about the damage that is done when I indulge at every whim.

Since I started this new plan (it’s not a diet) just this past Tuesday (Monday was the (cow)tipping point for me), I need to re-train my brain to make it believe that green things are good and that I really don’t need all that sugar.

It hasn’t been a full week yet, but I’m pretty proud of myself.

I went to my favourite place in Indy yesterday with a friend. I told myself I was not going to get cake – another friend told me that was cruel – but I really needed to test myself. In the end, I think I made a compromise. I wasn’t old-new Rafia who refused to order anything from the dessert menu; I ordered the smallest chocolate thing they had there (eating less cake does not mean I am giving up on my principles! Raspberries do NOT belong in a dessert). And I only had two bites! I brought the rest home and it’s still in the refrigerator. I have not touched it in at least 18 hours.

I know this is kinda silly, but you know what? This is a blog titled Cake & Cows for a reason.

Thank you for reading, if you made it to the end, and please wish me success in this very difficult endeavour.

Oh hey, I took a “detour” to visit my friends at the dairy barn on Friday. Cows make me happy. So to make up for the deficit of cake in my life, I will overcompensate with more cows :)

Because you are all dying to read the backstory of my visit…. These two cows were hiding in the barn when I first arrived. Then I heard some “Mooos.” I turned around and walked toward the gate. I started waving at them and proclaimed, “Hi cows. I came here for you.” I think they may have recognized me and slowly starting walking out. They probably came out to get a bit to eat, but they walked in my direction. I was like, “Yes, they love me. They really love me!” As soon as I started talking again, the cow on the left immediately showed her butt to me. But I did not take offense. Cow #2 continued to look at me for a while. When #1 was done giving me the cold shoulder, she began to walk toward the barn. #2, being the clear follower of the duo, proceeded to follow #1’s lead. But I didn’t take it personally. I knew she liked me.

It was a glorious day.

I think I can do this eat-less-cake thing. I have my cows.

Have a wonderful Sunday, everyone!

Friday Date Night at the Dairy Farm!

Mr. Rafia and I had a little date night yesterday… at the local dairy farm! It was actually the second time we’ve gone to Traders Point Creamery in the past three weeks, but yesterday was so nice and sunny and I even got to see the cows right before milking time, something I had not witnessed during my previous two visits.

Let me tell ya: IT WAS AMAZING!

Normally, I would never think to update my social media presence with random photos of cows (although if you follow me on Facebook, you’ll notice recently the only thing I do on the site is “like” pictures of cows), but you know what? This blog is named Cake & Cows and I haven’t blogged about cows in a while, so… You’re welcome.

I love cows (obviously), but lately, my love for cows has taken over my life almost completely. Most of my leisurely internet time is spent looking and fawning over pictures of cows. Cows make me happy, like babies make a normal person happy. I’m beyond the point of thinking there’s something wrong with me.

So, when Mr. Rafia asked me whether we should go to Traders Point Creamery, I was like, “Ummm, yeah.” It’s the only time I am totally okay with last-minute decisions on what to do/where to go. I can always use more cows in my life!

But when we got to the farm, there were none in sight where they normally lounge around. It’s hard being a cow, OK? They eat grass and poop all day. In their stead were a nasty runt of little oinkers (As a practicing Muslim, I do not like oinkers and I will not apologize for this, no). So you can imagine the smile I had all the way through our drive to the farm instantly turning into silent rage.

But then I noticed some movement way out in the fields. There were the cows! They were walking the trail back to the milking station. Aww, cows do exercise! I ran as close to the metal fence as I could get. I was eating ice cream at the time, so I wasn’t able to get a photo of it, but one cow even mooed at me and Mr. Rafia. We both got a bit of a fright – it was glorious.

Of course, I can’t leave y’all hanging. We did get some photos. I actually have more, but I realize going through 20 photos of cows is probably only interesting to me and people like me. So here are just a few highlights:

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The cows “cooling down” from their workout
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Waiting to be milked. A couple of them peed, just like that. It was pretty funny. I am 6 years old.
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A new mommy and one of her calves.
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This one was quite the bully, pushing the others to get grass. I was literally 5 feet away from her. I wanted to pet her, but I was slightly afraid she’d attempt to eat the grass I was standing on.
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Other than the sun in my eyes and Mr. Rafia’s shadow completely ruining the picture, this is me and my new friend, whom I shall name “Glutton.” We bonded over our mutual insatiable appetites.

Fellas, looking to take your own woman on a nice date? Look no further than a dairy farm… and you’ll probably get dumped. But not me, no. Other than a bakery and library/book store, no place makes me happier!

I am, like, the luckiest woman on the planet.

Part II: Why I Love Cows So Much

Last week, my husband “surprised” me by taking me to a local dairy farm. I had only gone to a farm once before as a child (school field trip, obviously. I’m Indian, so my parents didn’t really get the whole idea of taking their kids to see animals they grew up seeing on the street). But I had never been to a dairy farm before! As a cow lover, I couldn’t ask for anything sweeter. Well, maybe some chocolate cake! Hehe. 

You have to understand that for a husband to surprise his new wife with a trip to a dairy farm, you know you got a freakazoid on your hands. Flowers? Jewelry? A trip to Paris? Nah. I wanna see cows!

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A dream come true!

People usually come to know of my love for cows when we’re gathered around for a meal, if they notice that I have chosen to not take the beef dish(es)… or more overtly, when I’m doing my best to deflect a very loving relative of mine informing me that eating beef will give me strength or whatever.

To which I then almost reflexively respond: “I don’t eat beef because I like cows.”

I’ve been 99% beef-free for a few years now. I did eat some talava gosht (fried beef) my mom made at the behest of my father about two years ago, but it just tasted nasty to me. Or maybe I told myself it tasted nasty. But at least that got my dad to stop “informing” me. To eat beef now would almost be tantamount to betraying my Rafianess.

But that leaves the question: why do I like cows so much?

I can’t exactly pinpoint a reason. I didn’t always love cows. I actually preferred bunnies when I was a little (I never ate bunnies either). But a lot of it has to do with what cows represent to me today.

As you may or may not know, I used to be severely overweight and was so for most of my life. Growing up as an Indian girl, surrounded by extremely thin Indian girls my age, I was reminded of this fact every single day. I guess after a certain point (i.e. high school) instead of apologizing for it, I embraced who I was… at least as a way to deflect people who made me feel awful for looking the way I did. I was like, “You gonna make fun of me? Nah. I like cows! Think of a better insult, lady!”

So, in a weird Batman-esque inspired turn, cows became my spirit animal or something like that. Okay, okay, I know that Batman embraced his fear. But I will never embrace fish. Never!!!!!! (I am afraid fish, for those of you who don’t know).

Funnily enough, I think my cow fetish became even more pronounced after my weight loss. That’s when I decided to stop eating beef. It just seemed to go hand-in-hand, you know? Jillian Michaels once said that stretch marks are like battle wounds. They provide a physical reminder of your struggle and overcoming it. Don’t be ashamed of them, own them, she says. I’m still working on accepting my stretch marks. But cows represent this sentiment in a more palatable (LOL at my word choice) way.

Also, cows are cute. Just look at my new friend 41!

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Oh, I miss 41 so much!

Don’t tell me she’s not precious!

Update on December 30, 2016: I ate beef for the first time in years. I had a very difficult time with this, but MAN, was it delicious (Lahore Tikka House in Toronto). Because I had opened up a Pandora’s box of sorts with this moment, I decided to give into a craving I had been suppressing for years: a good old-fashioned burger. So I went to this one halal place that people have raved about. Well, apparently, I do not know how to order a burger. It was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever had. All that fat. Yuck! I knew I was being punished for going against my solemn oath. Since then, I have decided that I will only eat beef that is lean and prepared by my mother. So I guess I’m 90% beef-free? FORGIVE ME, 41!!!

Update on April 16, 2017: I went to this same dairy farm last weekend. Though I didn’t get to see 41 again, I did learn that her name is Lily and she is a mother now! Her calf’s name is Daisy. Isn’t that the cutest thing ever?