Last night I ate sushi.
I only recently realized I could do that – that is, eat rice and soy every now and then without much harm done. In the old days of Paleo, about 3 years ago, if I ate rice I’d get… well, drunk. I’d spin off into a near anxiety attack and literally get dizzy. If I ate soy I’d get itchy all over and my nose would run. The next day I’d surely have some new zits.
But a few months ago I went to a sushi restaurant with the intention of just eating raw salmon. But instead I said, “F#ck it. I’m eating some freaking sushi, dammit.” And I did and it was delicious. I mean really… really incomparably good. You can’t Paleo-ize gooey white rice and salty, sour tamari all enveloping that tender raw salmon. No amount of coconut flour or coconut aminos could recreate that alchemy.
After I ate the rice and soy sauce (not even wheat-free tamari), I was fine, so I decided that every once in a while it’d make me very happy to eat some good sushi.
At dinner last night I was asked if it was “acceptable” for me to be eating sushi.
He meant, would my readers and clients be ok with me eating grains and soy. I responded with an emphatic, “Of course!” and then second guessed myself. Am I supposed to be 100% grain and soy free all the time in order to keep your respect and attention? I decided I didn’t care and ate another piece of shrimp roll.
At some point in the evening, our server (a friend of ours who knows how I eat) came to our table wielding a dish replete with not only rice, but wheat and dairy as well. She asked if it was mine, and I mistakenly said, “Yep.” She looked at me like I’d committed a crime, and once we realized my blunder, she admitted that she would’ve been really surprised if it’d been my dish.
That’s when it really dawned on me that I live in a pigeon hole.
That’s fine. I don’t think there’s any way around it, seeing as how I live and work and eat Paleo, and Paleo is considered by the masses to be “no grains, dairy, sugar, potatoes, sweet potatoes, or any-meat-but-chicken ever – wait what are grains again?”
But the reason I’m telling you this very Boulder/1st-world-problem story is that I want to stress, yet again, that Paleo is not one thing to all people. And it’s something very different to me now than it was 3 or 4 years ago. It’s something different to you than it is for me, and your experience with it will continue to evolve just like mine is.
No, I don’t think I’ll ever eat rice on a regular basis again – I think that if I did I’d end up how I used to be (uncomfortably itchy, zitty, and bloated, among other things). And last night, to be quite honest, I paid for my exploits: I woke up in the middle of the night with my mind racing, my feet burning up despite our 55-degree room temperature, and my feet and legs itching like crazy – all things I used to experience regularly.
To me, Paleo just means eating foods that please me – my body and my soul – and last night my soul needed some extra lovin’ from some sushi :)