So, you have chosen to try the raw food diet however you feel as though you are tied to your kitchen for food? Do not worry, you can eat out almost everyday and not feel like you are cheating on your new lifestyle. There are some tricks to the trade to eating out without having to eat exclusively at raw food restaurants; I’m talking “real” restaurants also!
When I first started to eat raw food almost 100% of the time, minus the, ahem, cheating nights, I thought my days of eating out were gone. It was nice at first because eating in is so much cheaper than eating out at posh restaurants. Some of my favorite ethnic meals are from Japan (since I used to live there), India and of course good old German comfort food (I come from a German family). Eating raw vegan does allow for some foods within these ethnic foods to be enjoyed however lets face it, nothing is the same as the original thing. In addition, there is nothing raw vegan that I have come across that caters to a good German Sausage! If you have a recipe, share your secrets.
So, my curious mind started to wonder how I could stick with my raw vegan diet without cheating each time when eating out. The results were simple:
1. Take along a few needed items in your purse (or pocket). For instance, there is nothing like a salad that has been made by someone else. No matter how hard I try to make salads in the house, they always taste better when you do not have to do it yourself for some reason. So, I usually take along a small bottle of salad dressing that has been made raw vegan. My simple recipe is a few tablespoons of cider vinegar, a few of Nama Shoyu, a few of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and some crushed thyme. Then, when I order my salad I just order it with new dressing. Yes, you are going to get some looks however who will be the last person laughing later in life?
2. Call ahead before you go to the restaurant if possible. I do this especially for business meetings so that I do not take away too much attention from the reason the meeting has been set. When you call, talk to the chef if possible and ask for the items that are 100% raw vegan. Beware though; you will probably have to tell each person that you talk to what raw vegan really stands for. A lot of restaurants also post online menus.
3. Look through the menu thoroughly before ordering and feel free to ask questions from the waiter/waitress. Some menus are very vague while others tell too much information so do not feel afraid to ask questions, that is their job. In addition, if the waiter/waitress does not know the answers to your question, or they seem to take a guess at the answer, ask them to double check. Usually there are a few items on each menu that are raw vegan; you just have to look hard.
4. Try to stay away from fast food restaurants at all times. Although it is hard to understand, fast food restaurants can not offer raw vegan food options that are really organic. For instance, have you ever looked at how many calories a salad from McDonald’s has compared to a burger? Take a look, you will be amazed!
5. Look for restaurants that are made-to-order style restaurants. These are usually slightly more posh restaurants however your health is worth the few extra dollars. These restaurants can cook your food just as you ask them to, so ask away.
6. Keep away from buffets and “family-style” restaurants. Most of these restaurants do not take as much consideration into healthy alternatives as others. For instance, a few years ago I went to Denny’s (which is a reputable restaurant however not raw vegan friendly) and ordered two eggs and toast. As I was ordering I asked that no meat was added to my meal since I was not eating red meats. The waitress stated that I would not want the eggs and toast then since all the food is made on the same stove. That means the eggs and toast were made right next to the sausage and pork. Even if you order healthy from these restaurants, most likely you are eating some of the other foods also.
7. When you sit down to the table, remove the bread or other carbohydrate-delicious foods. Most likely you are going out to eat because you are hungry, so sitting right in front of bread is not a good idea. Many people eat things that are placed on the table just because it is sitting there. So, I usually ask the waiter/waitress to kindly remove the bread or other item. That way the temptation is not there.
8. I know this sounds crazy however remember to carry germinated nuts with you all the time. For instance, when I plan on going out to eat right after work with my husband I tend to snack on germinated almonds to suppress my hunger. By suppressing my hunger I do not have to worry if the restaurant has no raw vegan selections, besides a salad. At least there is something in my stomach so I do not cheat.
9. Drink lots of water when you are out to dinner. This will also suppress your hunger if the restaurant does not have the right items you were seeking. Then, when you get home you can eat as much as you like.
10. Pick restaurants that are Asian if possible. Most Asian restaurants that I have been to, including in Japan, offer raw vegan foods that are perfect to eat.
See, eating out can be easy if you take a few extra steps to success while eating out. It is important to always be aware of what you are going to eat, so please do not be afraid to ask questions. Just remember that this is a lifestyle, not a diet so try to work with what you have been given at a restaurant and enjoy your time out.