I had to travel into London this week to go to the US embassy to apply for a new passport because, like the genius I am, I lost my last one. Going from Bath to London is kind of a pain in the ass. You either have to cough up an unreasonable amount of money for a train ticket, or get on a coach that takes 3+ hours each way. But I was determined to make a good trip out of it.
The universe had slightly different ideas. Starting with the fact that the aircon on my bus from Bath to London on Monday night was broken AND the radiators were on full blast because of an engine fault.
But turns out that was to be the least of this Whole30-er’s issues.
I love living in Bath, but one thing I find myself seriously deprived of here is decent sushi. I’d never ask for ‘great’ or even ‘good’ sushi in this country outside Nobu because that’s just unrealistic. But I got used to having constant access to Itsu in Brighton, so I now go out of my way to find an Itsu whenever I’m in London or Brighton. Luckily, I knew that there are two Itsus close to the US embassy in London, so I planned to have lunch at one after I’d sorted my passport out. Only problem is I can’t eat soy sauce.
But I have had a savior this month in the form of Coconut Aminos; a sauce made from the sap of coconut trees that is a surprisingly OK Whole30-friendly soy sauce substitute. I bought a bottle off Amazon for a whopping £9 when my Whole30 first started, but it’s been a worthwhile investment.
So by now you probably know where this is heading. I brought my whole bottle of Coconut Aminos with me into London so I could bring it to Itsu and have it with my sashimi. I cannot tell you how how much I was looking forward to this meal after 3 long weeks of god damn salmon and sweet potato fish cakes and protein salads.
But, as it turns out, the US embassy really didn’t care how excited I was to have sashimi with my precious Coconut Aminos because, as they informed me when I was going through security, it doesn’t matter how much money I spent on the stuff on Amazon.
“Large bottles of liquid aren’t allowed in the building, madam.” Well, at least he called me “madam” as opposed to “ma’am” like they do in the States. I hate that.
Now, I could break here to go on a rant about how the US embassy (and the US in general) takes itself so cripplingly seriously it’s almost comic. But I won’t, because I haven’t received my passport yet and I really need it to go on honeymoon next month soooo…
Honestly, when Mr. Security Man told me I’d have to dump my whole lovely bottle of aminos, I very nearly had a panic attack. He was fucking with all my sushi plans. DIDN’T THIS TOOL KNOW HE WAS FUCKING WITH ALL MY SUSHI PLANS? But, using my mindfulness, I attempted to find a solution instead of having a – what would have been entirely justified – meltdown over a bottle of imitation soy sauce. Mr. Security Man told me that I could either ask a pharmacy a few roads away to store it for me for something like £10 (LOL no) or I could leave it precariously next to a bin outside and just pray that it would still be there when I finished up my passport appointment.
I weighed up my options (few) and how much I valued my dignity (not very) and tried as subtly as possible to leave my Coconut Aminos next to the aforementioned bin, all the while maintaining eye contact with Mr. Security Guard hoping that he might back me up in case anyone accused me of attempting to plant a bomb. Who knew my Whole30 journey would find me at one point getting dangerously close to being accused of attempted terrorism? Life certainly does take unexpected turns.
So I spent my 1 1/2 hours in the embassy asking the universe, without a hint of irony, to please protect my Coconut Aminos. It was stressful.
Leaving the imposing concrete building once my appointment was over, I attempted to remain calm. After all, a crazy lady running out of the embassy towards a bin was bound to look even dodgier than leaving the bottle by the bin in the first place.
I saw a grounds worker collecting rubbish from off the pavement. My heart began to thud. I was too late.
But then there it was. My Coconut Aminos still tucked next to the same bin, mercilessly untouched.
I speed-walked up to it. I picked it up. I hugged it. I saw a bunch of people queuing outside the embassy looking at me funny. I did not care. I had officially become a Crazy Whole30 Lady, but what the fuck ever.
I got my sushi. All was well.