Me: “I’m on a special diet. I can’t have any soy products, corn products, anything made with corn or soy oil, or sugar, or any dairy or meat.”
Kind waitress: “What can you eat?”
I can relate.
I go through that all the time. In fact, it's gotten so that I don't even run down the list of things I don't eat...
(I don't eat meat, dairy, soy, canola oil, anything hydrogenated, bread, wheat, gluten, sugar, alternative sugars, 'natural' sweeteners, pasta... And I also try to eat as little as possible cooked.)
I just instead ask detailed questions about the salads. No croutons on my salad, no cheese or meat, or sugar in my dressing (which usually means just getting olive oil and vinegar, which I'm happy with) and so on.
Generally going out to eat doesn't thrill me, for obvious reasons.
January 3rd 2011
Since I wrote the above tidbit in July (six months ago), much has changed for the better.
My restrictions have actually increased. I no longer eat cooked food which, you would imagine, would make going to restaurants more difficult.
This is a salad I ordered from a lovely little place in Danville around August 2010.
On the contrary, I've gotten back to liking going out. It's all about looking for the right places. Choose a restaurant that focuses on having a wide variety of fresh foods, color and flavor. Then, look throughout the menu for every mention of produce. Perhaps avocados are offered with the meat, and perhaps a side of melon is offered with certain dishes, etc. When the server comes, choose the best salad and say, "Can I also add avocados, melon, seasonal berries..." And whatever else you and the server can come up with. My experiences with doing this thus far have been very positive. I've managed to wind up with some very diverse and delicious salads without running into anything that would upset my body.
And, to take things a step further, I've discovered Cafe Gratitude, which is a lovely restaurant that actually offers a wide variety of specialty raw food. While it isn't a place one can afford to eat weekly, it is worth it to us on a monthly basis to be treated to a gourmet meal that neither my husband or I had to prepare. Even better yet, they make some things that would take us days to create, like "sour cream" made from cashews, and "meat balls" made from seeds and vegetables, and so forth.
Becoming a live-foodist does not mean giving up eating out. In fact, I like to use it as an opportunity to show others that my diet is neither boring, nor unsatisfactory. I was so delighted when my sister-in-law proclaimed that she was "entirely stuffed!" when we went to Cafe Gratitude for a New Years lunch. My husband finished off the last third of her meal, which delighted him as well.
This is the salad I ate at the company Christmas dinner I spent with my husband mid December of 2010
When going to a restaurant that does not serve specialty raw-food cuisine, I often bring a few things with me to compliment my order. Perhaps a few raw olives, a home-made vegetable cracker (dehydrated at 105 degrees), a few dried apple slices (covered in cinnamon), perhaps a handful of almonds, etc. Just enough to round-out whatever is served so that I'm still eating and enjoying just as long as everyone else, if not longer.
Another rule of thumb is to always have one washed fresh fruit and one snack-bar-type-thing in your purse or backpack with you. An apple, or an orange, or a kiwi with the fur scrubbed so well that the fur has rubbed off, etc. If you don't dehydrate your own raw bars, you can pick one up at Whole Foods, or possibly at another specialty store. I like Lydia's spirulina bars in particular.
If you're up for a little more work, another trick I've been using is to pack a glass "Tupperware" container with washed celery spines filled with almond butter. I cover the exposed almond butter with leaves of washed organic spinach so that the nutbutter doesn't get all over everything. The nutbutter will oxidize a little which will somewhat change the color, but the texture and flavor remains for quite some time.
In a nutshell, it's not as hard as I used to think it was. Eating out can still be quite enjoyable given a little forethought.