Sometimes I think we can be so principle driven that we miss out on some of the finer experiences in life. Take… I don’t know… me, for example. I try to follow a certain set of self-imposed food rules. I don’t do it out of a specific belief, but it’s mostly because I have the knowledge that my body doesn’t tolerate certain foods very well.
I’ve also realized along the way that my mood is greatly affected by whether I enjoy my food or not. I noticed this quirk while on a beach trip to Samara, Costa Rica a few years ago. I found myself having less fun than I normally have on vacation. I was frustrated by this, wondering how I wasn’t loving my 3rd trip to Costa Rica. My other trips there were always much more joyful.
Then I put it all together: we had eaten a string of horrible meals, and it made me grumpy.
I realize this was all my fault. Since I put such tight restrictions on myself to try to eat “healthy” food, I eliminate most Italian (gluten and dairy,) all sandwiches, and even eggs. It works great in Mexico, but elsewhere that doesn’t leave much. And all 3 of those foods are staples anywhere you go. So after a less-than-ideal trip, I decided maybe it wasn’t worth ruining a vacation just to follow some silly rules. After all, the outcome isn’t that bad when I eat “poorly” every once in a while.
At that moment I chose to allow a little flexibility into my life.
In Vieques, it was like being in Samara all over again. Nick and I encountered some pretty significant challenges to find food that fit our requirements. Having learned a lesson in Samara, we just said, “f*@% it!” And we settled on what would be a most satisfying splurge: pizza!
Tired and hungry with very little patience left after searching for the right food, we had a moment of weakness (or some may say strength,) and we stopped in to Lazy Jack’s Pub. We ordered a plain cheese pizza and a few beers and discovered that there’s no better way to welcome yourself to an island… …even if it does cause a mild skin rash.
The pizza was delicious. A thin crust with herbs and spices baked into the crust, the sauce had the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity to balance the savory cheese. I was a happy girl, but I should add a disclaimer: I haven’t had pizza in a year. So I may have just been excited to have pizza, or it really was that good. I didn’t even want any toppings. Heck, I can eat those anytime, and toppings are just a distraction to me now. Just a plain cheese pizza in which all I taste is cheese, tomato, and crust makes for the perfect treat.
And guess what?
We went back for more pizza the next day; because if I’m going to follow my principles, a good vacation beats out an unhealthy meal anytime. Besides, vacation should be a time without rules, right?