Lately the Mister and I have been enjoying sushi rolls on a regular basis, which is surprising because until about three months ago, you probably couldn’t have paid the Mister to eat raw fish (pro tip: not all sushi features raw fish). The restaurants serving sushi also served teriyaki and sweet and sour pork, which were much more his style. But that has changed. Sushi is beautiful, and I feel perfectly decadent eating it, even though it’s all good for me. Not only that, but using chopsticks makes me eat more slowly, because I’m not very adept with them.
For us, sushi is a win-win. It’s not deep fried; it’s not covered in sauces or full of preservatives. The combination of flavors and textures is quite satisfying. It’s also fun to watch sushi being prepared. Recently, the sushi chef came to our table to present us with buttery pieces of raw fish, or sashimi. He shared bright orange, fatty salmon, from the belly of the fish, and gorgeous, ruby-hued Bluefin tuna. Now that was truly a treat.
I wish I could say that my pantry contents are strictly clean and healthy, packed with nutrition and no longer peppered with salt, fat, and sugar. Like many folks, before I went under the knife, I pledged to overhaul my intake as well as my outlook, and I decided that things like coffee, chips, soda, and sugary snacks should not survive the purge. I just knew I’d be preparing little Bento Box meals with melon chunks, cheese sticks, and hard-boiled eggs, and I’d steer clear of the stuff that was little more than empty calories and additives. After all, this is the rest of my life, right?
That was then.
They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Well, I’m guessing the road to my refrigerator is, too. Although I do eat far more healthily than I used to – I rarely eat beef, I don’t drink soda, and I have all but eliminated potatoes, noodles, and bread – I am not the perfectly pious post-op I predicted. I am not averse to having bacon with my eggs, treating myself to rice pudding, or enjoying a cocktail. I even whipped up a blue box of Kraft Dinner once because I had a hankering for a couple bites of mac n cheese.
Yes, I admit it.
My point is that even though I did not adhere to my initial (strict) expectation of only consuming the ‘right’ food, allowing myself the odd indulgence is not a bad thing. The key is that it’s infrequent. If I stray from the path once in a while, I don’t need to beat myself up for it. If my diet is primarily chicken, fish, dairy and vegetables (with a lot of sushi for good measure), then a couple of pieces of chocolate, or a beer, or a cookie won’t have much of an effect.
Sometimes, just a taste of something is enough, and I’m on my way. I consider that smarter (for me) than totally banning those things, and it emphasizes my understanding that my success begins with my head. I have to learn how to manage my food cravings and behavior in a way that works both physically and mentally. Of course, not everyone handles their cravings that way – for some, it’s far better to avoid the foods that are most troublesome to them. Whatever works.
We’re happy to have a sushi habit to replace some of the bad habits we used to have. Sushi is so beautiful and tasty that on some level, it seems like cheating – like I must be getting away with something. And I suppose, in some way, I am: I don’t have to prepare it, it’s relatively inexpensive, and it makes a satisfying, nutritious meal that doesn’t feel ‘heavy’ after I eat it.
The sushi roll we like best features avocado, cucumber, and imitation crab salad rolled up in rice and seaweed and topped with velvety slabs of the freshest raw salmon and tuna. One roll, cut into eight pieces, is the perfect size for us to share. The taste is amazing, especially with ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce.
This is the rest of my life, right?
photo credit: me (sushi) and kalleboo