Updated: Aug 3, 2022
At the Self Healers Guide, nutrition & nourishment are a key focus for a healthy, happy life, and ingredients always come first. While being aware of the ingredients you use at home is easy, restaurants aren't as straightforward. Gluten-free or Vegan doesn't mean it's healthy, and almond milk doesn't mean it's free of refined oils and MSG. So I pulled together my tips for eating out and making the best choices possible. Scroll down to read more.
Photo Credit: Natasha Poly
Below are a few tips if you’re eating out and avoiding gluten, dairy, corn, soy, and refined oils ⤵️ 1. Ask about the ingredients and how the food is prepared. For example, ask what oils the restaurant uses. If they use canola oil, ask if they can replace it with olive oil (the only problem with this is sometimes it can be an olive oil ‘blend’ so be sure to clarify that it’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil). If it’s not possible, you can request no oil (ie, fish can be steamed or grilled without it) or order an item that doesn’t need any oils. 2. Keep it simple. If gluten-free options aren’t on the menu or if you don’t think the gluten free option is clean (ex: many restaurant gf pasta options are made from corn or the gluten-free breads have oils) opt for a simple protein & a salad or steamed vegetables. Remember, whole, unprocessed foods are always healthy and won't contain too many hidden ingredients. (unless someone drenches them in canola oil or sauce).
3. I personally tend to avoid trendy vegan restaurants because they tend to over-serve fake meats and vegan cheeses made out of soy and processed chemicals. 4. Ask about the dressings and sauces. Salads can be a great option but watch out for the salad dressings. Ask about the ingredients; if they contain vegetable oils, you can always ask for fresh lemon as an alternative. 5. If you’re traveling, research restaurants before you go to see what the healthiest options are. My google searches usually include "organic restaurants + the city" or "healthy restaurants + the city." I try to find places that serve organic meats, wild fish and organic produce. It's what inspired me to create my city guides. Also, pack spring water, your favorite healthy snacks, or pick up fruit when you’re on the go. 6. When you’re ordering a latte or drink with alternative milk - ask if they have raw or homemade almond milk. If they don’t, just skip it. Many places use brands containing vegetable oils and natural flavors (MSG).
7. Order spring water if it's in your budget, especially if tap water is the only option. Spring water contains important minerals and natural electrolytes that filtered water doesn't offer + it's free of heavy metals, fluoride and chemicals. 8. Find the places you trust and love, and stick to ‘em but don’t stress if it’s not perfect! One bad meal won't undo all your healthy habits. 9. I often forget to take digestive enzymes with me, but if you're traveling, these can be helpful if you have a reaction (like stomach bloating or cramps) and need help breaking down the food.
10. Is everyone else ordering desert and you're feeling tempted? Order some tea, and remind yourself why you started and how much better you'll feel if you skip it. Step into your future shoes, and ask yourself which decision you wish you had made. Trust me, the more you eat out and build these habits, you won't even think twice when the desert menu comes around. On the other hand, if there is a dessert option that fits your requirements and you're in the mood, indulge yourself and enjoy it! The joy of food and a satisfying meal is just as important for your happiness.