I Ate Sushi Rolls and I’m Not Ashamed

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 :)



  1. I miss eating sushi but I’ve only been paleo for 6 months and I’m not ready to have a cheat that big yet. I like the 80% paleo during the week plan. If I eat out , that 20% gives me peace of mind that if there is an oil or butter on my food than it’s part of my cheat and I can move on.

  2. I try and eat as healthy and as paleo as possible. That said, when I started I assured my family and friends that I wasnt going to force this on them, or let is limit our relationship. That means I still go out to eat with my friends (I DO try and stay fairly paleo, season veggies instead of the bread basket) and it also means when I stay with family I eat what they eat (again, in moderation, and Mom’s nice and gives me veggies or fruit instead of carbs). I dont want to inconvenience anyone else. I do paleo because it helps me stay fit and manage my IBS, not because I have particular sensitivities, which certainly makes it easier for me to cheat a bit. But for anyone, its important to not be so strict all the time that you miss out on a special occasion.

  3. Thanks for this article. I started to eat Paleo approximately 8 months ago but I also realized that sometimes you just have an urge. I think the important lesson about eating Paleo is learning what foods your body has negative reacations to. If you venture out and eat non-paleo, you may have a reaction … BUT … you know what to do to correct it. Many people live by the 80/20 rule for eating. Eat on plan or on task 80% of the time and off plan 20% of the time in order to accomdate those urges. I may be 90/10. A part of this journey is discovering what works and what doesn’t!

  4. Cheese… yeah, I thought of cheese when I read this. I am new to paleo eating. I have always LOVED lean meats, fish, fruit and huge variety of veg, so it seemed like an obvious fit. Dairy was the one thing that was a little bit of a challenge to give up. I used to advocate for dairy, but it didn’t take me long to see the benefits of giving it up. There are occasions though where I just shred a little cheese and melt it on top of whatever I made. Gone are the days of eating 4 oz at a time… Now I am more apt to use 2 oz on a meal that serves 4.Thanks for posting, nice to hear all the stories that people have to share.

  5. I am just starting the Paleo/primal living and so far I feel like I am doing well. I think it is just real life to read blogs like this because it makes others like myself realize that if I eat something that is not Paleo well then so be it. Life goes on and start over the next day. What gets me through the week is knowing that I do have one day that I have given myself to enjoy. I will not go overboard but I will have one thing that will get me through to the next week.

    Thank you so much for your blogs! I am having a great time reading them and learning so much for my new lifestyle!

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