How to dine out like a caveman

Posted: March 27th, 2012 | Filed under: Lessons Learned, Paleo | Comments Off

Did I forget to mention how I’m now that guy at restaurants?

A few weeks ago, at Rice Paper (a vietnamese pho noodle house), the chef and owner actually came out and asked what’s up with my diet. It’s not difficult to eat right, it’s these social interactions that drive me slightly more crazy. Explaining the diet was fun during the first year, but now I sound like a broken down recorder.

Since I’ve been doing Paleo for awhile, I’ve discovered easy ways to keep on track.

  1. Snack or eat at home before going out. Don’t stuff yourself. The goal isn’t to get full. Dining with friends is a social event, don’t make it additionally painful on yourself. The idea here is to make it easier to pick side dishes or salads. It’s a lot harder to do this when you’re famished.
  2. Be that guy at the restaurant. You do meats, veggies, fruits, nuts & seeds. Another way of thinking about it: you are gluten free, soy free, dairy free, and as-sugar free as possible. Sometimes it’s easier to say you have allergies, but you get the evil eye if you can’t back it up (try it, trust me, they ask, if you decide to fake it, make sure you can talk the talk). Pay attention to ingredients, particularly in sauces. Don’t be afraid to ask how a particular dish is made. If you’re new to the restaurant, you have to be that guy.
  3. Making easy decisions. Here’s almost a years worth knowledge:
Quick appetizers
  1. Olives
  2. Nuts (almonds, macadamia, walnuts, brazilian). No peanuts!
  3. Nachos without: nachos, sour cream, beans and with: extra chicken, guacamole
  4. Guacamole
  5. Extra veggies (no corn)

Sometimes, it’s easier to load up on a few good appetizers instead of an entree.

  1. Salads. with meat, guacamole, and your favorite extra veggies. Season with salt, pepper, and extra virgin olive oil. Skip the cheese, croutons, and dressing.
  2. Meat & chicken. Skip the sauce.
  3. Fish, baked or seared.
  4. Burgers. Skip the bun and cheese.
  5. Sashimi. Skip the rice.
  6. Fajitas with extra veggies and guac. Skip the tortillas, beans, and sour cream.
  7. Naked burritos. Skip the cheese.
  8. Shrimp tacos, no shells, cheese
Chain restaurants:
  1. Chipotle: Fajitas, steak, guac, lettuce.
  2. Pho: Pho without noodles- Yes sacrilege, so ask for extra meat. Stuff it with lime, bean sprouts, no sriracha, or oyster sauce. Make sure the the broth is made on site, preferably a vegetarian broth.

Another great reference on how to dine out from Mark’s Daily Apple. This is a work in progress. If you have suggestions, please send them my way.

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