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I am also super excited to take some time this summer to try out some new restaurants. I love meeting up with friends and family and talking over long meals. It gives me a chance to thoroughly enjoy the company of the people I love and the deliciousness of new food.
I know what you’re thinking. “But what can you eat when you go out?”
It took me a while to learn this, but even a vegetarian, dairy-free, gluten-free, minimal soy and sugar eater like myself can find something to eat at most restaurants with enough preparation. Just tonight I went out to a pizza place (Adrienne’s Pizza Place on Stone Street) and was able to find a delicious vegan and gluten-free meal!
I’ll get into what to do at specific restaurants in later blog posts (Italian, Mexican, etc.) but just to wet your palate for now, here are some of the things I make sure to do when going out to eat:
Check the Menu Online
Like I said, there’s always something available for everyone—the trouble is being creative enough to find it. Sometimes finding the right thing to eat requires combining sides or anticipating taking out an ingredient. You have to get a little creative, which can be difficult to do on the spot or while you are in the middle of conversation. So it’s smart to look up the menu ahead of time so you can get an idea of what you can eat once you get to the restaurant.
Yes, you will become that person. You will ask to leave things out, to put dressings on the side, to order chicken salads without the chicken. Do it with grace. I usually start out by saying, “I know I’m about to be really annoying—I’m so sorry!” From my experience, if you immediately put yourself down, others are less inclined to be annoyed with you. But if I get a vibe that the place does not take such requests too seriously, I may even say I have an allergy…gotta do what you gotta do for your health!
Don’t Drink Too Much Water
It is important to drink a ton of water—but not during mealtime. It turns out that drinking too much water dilutes the enzymes in your body that help with digestion, which can lead to that tired and bloated feeling. So stick with a sip here or there and save your larger portions of water for an hour before or after eating.
Enzymes, Enzymes, Enzymes
When you’re eating out, it’s likely you’ll be eating foods that you’re not used to. So you probably will want some extra help in digesting it all. A good multi-enzyme supplement will give your body more of the enzymes that it naturally makes for the purposes of digestion. Take one or two digestive enzymes about twenty minutes before eating a big meal. I personally take Udo’s brand.
Eat slowly, enjoy your food, and engage in conversation with your friends. That’s why you’re there! And you can indulge…a little. If the place specializes in their crème brulee and your friend offers you a bite, it won’t kill you to take it—as long as the rest of your meal is healthful and it’s just one bite!
Happy eating! And stay tuned for my next entry, where I’ll talk about Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed ban for jumbo sized sugary drinks!