Sure, it’s easy to have quinoa and kale stocked at home. But what do you do when you go out with friends or family? No one wants to feel like the “weird one” at the table.
Rest assured, you don’t have to! When you’re following the Beauty Detox principles, you don’t have to feel stuck or just watch everyone else eat while sipping water. But you also don’t have to end your meal feeling bloated, heavy, headachy, or uncomfortable because you abandoned everything you know about food pairing in order to enjoy your family and friends’ company without announcing that you’re on a “diet.” (Besides, this isn’t a diet–it’s a healthy, beauty-boosting lifestyle!)
What to Order First
Skip the bread basket, the hot wings, the shrimp scampi, the deep-fried green beans and pickles, and the loaded potato skins. Instead, go straight for the enzyme-heavy raw foods that will get you started on your Beauty Detox-friendly meal.
Almost any restaurant you visit will have a side salad option. Some are on the dinky side, but ordering a double salad will take care of that. Be sure you choose a non-dairy dressing. Squeeze lemon juice over it or have a light vinaigrette option on the side.
Salad and celery sticks work well, too, especially if you’re in a bar and grill type of place and your friends want to order hot wings. Those usually come with celery sticks anyway; you can ask for extra and then order a side salad to start.
Celery sticks alone are an option, too, if the starter salad options are especially unappetizing. Just try to get some kind of raw, green food into your stomach before the entrée comes.
Don’t forget to take your digestive enzymes or probiotic pills at the beginning of the meal!
There may be no “perfect” options on the menu, but do the best that you can with the way you pair your foods to keep meals simpler (and therefore more easily digestible), and the avoidance of unnecessary fats and oils. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- You can pair vegetables and a starch. For example, you could order veggies and brown rice in an Asian restaurant (so many options at Asian restaurants! )with no meat. You can ask for a veggie plate including lots of mushrooms, as I do at “American” restaurants, and if they have a veggie soup or brown rice or even quinoa (it’s getting more popular!) I get that as well.
- A meat-free pasta dish with vegetables and tomato sauce is another option (choose buckwheat noodles or another gluten-free option when possible, though this may be hard in many places, I know). Sometimes, at Italian restaurants, I get them to give me a lot of veggies and mushrooms with the marinara sauce.
- Another option may be pizza with a gluten-free crust and lots of veggies. In a Mexican or Tex-Mex restaurant, I ask for a huge green and vegetable salad, and top it with beans, rice and salsa (no cheese or sour cream). If I get the rice and beans (which I do love sometimes!) I leave off the guac, which is a lot of fat and feels heavy all together. Or you can opt for the guac and salsa on the salad, and leave off the rice and beans. You could even choose a baked potato ( sweet if they have it) and vegetables.
- A fruit-free salad either with a little fish or chicken or no meat at all can work. If you’re in a place with a salad bar, load up with veggies! You can’t go wrong there! If you’re ordering a salad off the menu, just ask them to leave the cheese off and if necessary (and if you are choosing to have meat), ask for grilled meat instead of fried.
- Vegetables and a concentrated protein work for dinner. If you’re not a vegetarian, you can skip the pasta or rice (because starches and proteins don’t pair well together) and go for fish or chicken with a side of double vegetables. Remember that even if you eat some animal protein it should be in strict moderation- cut it down to only a few times a week. Watch out for popular toppings for different types of meat, like mango salsa (remember, fruit needs to be eaten alone) and creamy sauces that could be made with dairy or extra fat (like gravy).
- If there’s a vegetable soup on the menu, you could warm up with that after eating a large salad. If you want even more veggies added to it, don’t hesitate to ask.
- Hummus and vegetables make a good, filling option. Just be sure you order it with vegetables instead of filling up on the bread that particular restaurant serves with it. (Some restaurants actually have their hummus paired with loads of vegetables instead of bread on the menu. Look for it in the appetizers section.) You can even put the hummus on salad as a dressing, so you don’t get stuck with a mostly olive-oil type dressing!
- You can enjoy sushi even on the Beauty Detox plan. While you shouldn’t pair meat with starches (like fish and rice in traditional sushi), there are ways you can still visit a sushi restaurant and leave satisfied. Sushi rolls with veggies, avocado, and brown rice don’t break any rules and they’re still absolutely delicious. Don’t forget to have some seaweed salad if it’s available!
See what I mean? These kinds of items are already on the menu, or something very similar to them is. You can make minor changes to some of the menu options without seeming like a high-maintenance diner, and everyone wins.
Splurging on Dessert? Skip the Fruit!
I recommend taking a little bit of dark chocolate in your purse if you know you’ll want something sweet after your meal or you know you’re likely to cave because the other people you’ll be dining with are big on ordering dessert. If you do decide to splurge and have dessert off the menu, stay away from the ones with fruit in them. The fruit will sit on top of everything you just ate and ferment, causing discomfort and bloating. But of course, desserts full of refined flours, sugar, butter, dairy, gluten and oils are not doing your diet any good either…
The best thing you can do is skip dessert completely, but I know we can’t all be perfect 100 percent of the time, and that’s okay! Just make the best choice you can under the circumstances. If one or two of your friends will split the dessert with you, that’s even better! You’ll all get a taste without going overboard. Just make it an occasional treat when you go out.
What to Drink
Have water with your meal, but try to drink most of what you’ll have well before the meal comes, then take sips with your meal. When you drink a large amount of water during a meal, it dilutes your stomach acid and makes digestion more difficult. It can also contribute to the dreaded post-meal bloat.
What to Avoid
Though you don’t have to be perfect all the time and there’s certainly room for a slip-up or a splurge every now and then, there are certain things you should avoid at all costs:
- Fake meat (usually made from soy, which is often GMO and difficult to digest, or seitan, which is pure gluten.)
- Seitan- this deserves its own bullet actually! Look out for it on vegetarian menus and avoid it at all costs. It’s gluten and it’s hard for your body to break down and yes, super bloating.
- Combining proteins and starches (keep meals simple for easy digestion)
- Dairy-based dressings
- Fried foods
- Creamy soups (usually dairy-based)
- Cheese (I know it’s hard, but just say no to the cheese dip!)
- Highly contaminated types of fish, like shark, tuna, and swordfish
Some diets may make you want to give up your social life and stay home to hide rather than deal with the temptation of the menu options, the disapproving looks (or words) from your friends and family, explanations you’ll feel obligated to give, or a feeling of despair when looking at your very limited list of acceptable options.
Though some restaurants and types of foods are easier to work with within the guidelines of the Beauty Detox program, there’s no reason to avoid going out to eat, ever (well, maybe if your friends are going to a place that only serves greasy burgers and hotdogs…). I’ve even survived for months in New Orleans, home of all sorts of decadent (and meaty!) foods, while I was there as the nutritionist for a film.
Sure, you may have to get creative and tweak a dish here and there or order something that isn’t necessarily on the menu in order to adapt the meal to your lifestyle while dining out or traveling, but that’s no reason to miss out. Make the best choices you can with the options available and continue to live—and love–your life.