I’ve been getting some questions recently about strategies for eating healthy while out and about. I thought it would be fun to post a question given to me followed by my thoughts for navigating the restaurant scene and on-the-go moments.
I would love to discuss some clean eating strategies for restaurants, travel, etc… If I'm at a place that offers bison or lamb, those will always be my go-tos, but this clearly doesn't always happen! I feel like salads aren't a good option because of the pesticides in the veggies. Things such as black bean burgers/vegetarian options usually have gluten in them. If I am getting a side, I try to stick with asparagus, sweet potatoes or other cleaner vegetables that don't have the pesticide load. When having to choose between chicken or beef, I always choose beef, as I feel like this is the better of the two conventionally raised meats...but not actually sure if that is true at all.
So other than the obvious of planning ahead...when faced with CAFO meats vs pesticide salads...which is the best?!
- Dining in Distress
Dear Dining in Distress,
Great question... and definitely something we will all face at one time or another.
To begin with, many like to approach healthy eating with the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time you can aim to eat a beautiful pristine diet, but 20% of the time things will be less than ideal (especially if you travel a lot, business outings, etc). Even so, I'm not advocating that one goes for the fries and Coke 20% of the time :)
I find the trickiest food item to avoid is the processed oils used in restaurants, at potlucks, or come to think of it...most foods not prepared by or purchased by me. Most restaurants cook their food in canola/soy/corn oil. Very few restaurants use olive oil, and if they do it is an olive oil blend (with canola oil). The meats and veggies you suggested are beautiful items to order... but make sure they are cooking in butter rather than the rancid oils. In my opinion, the harm these oils can do is much more of a concern to me than consuming food with some pesticides or questionable meat once in a great while.
Additionally, there is the situation about eating on the go. We all know there will be times that we will not be able to sit down for an hour at a time and eat a beautiful fresh, home-cooked meal. I find if I take time at night to consider my upcoming day, that I can be pro-active concerning food choices at trickier moments. I always assume that I will be hungry and need food if I am gone from the house for more than 2 hours. I really want to avoid hitting a blood sugar low as much as possible so that my body does not get into a stressed state. In this case, I will bring an easy snack…fruit with raw cheese slices, nuts, or nut butter…a jar full of crispy pecans, coconut flakes, and some dark chocolate chips…homemade rice-cracker sandwiches with butter in between….mashed banana in tons of coconut butter with vanilla. If I have leftover coconut flour pancakes, jello, or granola bars, I might bring something like that too.
If I’m out and forgot to bring something, I will go to Whole Foods or even a grocery store and get some berries and cheese, or a RAW granola bar and buy some butter to spread on it with a kombucha to drink.
In the end, if you are in a situation needing to eat food that you aren't sure about concerning its quality, then it might be better to 1) fast if you are too uncomfortable eating it, or 2) breathe deeply and give thanks for the food. In my opinion, the power of gratitude and peace can overcome questionable qualities of food. Being at peace and full of gratefulness can also alleviate the stress you might have eating questionable foods. Stress around food can be even more damaging than the questionable ingredients.
It can be challenging to strive for optimal health in a world that is full of many types of foods and food sources. Trust your body's amazing capabilities to respond to and overcome questionable foods that it may intake from time to time. The rest of the time you will be giving your body a powerhouse of nutrients to strengthen its capabilities to build amazing health and face the world with confidence.