Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dining Out

Dining out brings a set of challenges which I suppose anyone who has allergies or philosophical issues (vegans) is used to addressing. Our anti-cancer diet at home is quite good. We don't want set-backs when we go out, by fueling the cancer with bad stuff (fried foods, hormone laden protein, refined starches, high sugar). When going out though, if we are not going to a pure vegetarian place such as Thrive or Chaco Canyon, we have had our moments.

Up until the cancer I'd say we both ate pretty well, in terms of selection of restaurants and foods. We had been moving in the direction of less protein and healthy foods. Which we all should - I support the idea of "Meatless Mondays" - and go beyond that for the simple reason that if every human ate as much meat as a person in the U.S. did the planet would not be able to support it. But we weren't strict about it (I love fried calamari), and weren't focused on things such as whole wheat pasta over refined wheat. The cancer brought all that to a halt and we have been very "strict" (ok maybe a little loosening now and again) about eating all the things that are anti-inflammatory and not eating the bad stuff. We've been able to get our protein through the usual good sources: quinoa, rice and beans, peanut butter and whole wheat. We've been doing this for quite some time now - at least six months. Meagan will have an occasional glass of wine (and I'm a non-alcohol person anyway). But desserts, fatty foods, meats and other proteins that aren't grass fed, etc. are off the list. Lots and lots of vegetables are.

Most dining out places have a few choices which I would deem acceptable, with some modifications (hold the heavy cream on the salmon). Sometimes I get creative and order two appetizers and a side (like sauteed greens) instead of an appetizer or salad and main course. Some of our favorite places, such as Cafe' Lago are a little harder to justify going to - while Italian, it's not Italian lite - and has a list of pastas and appetizers laden with non organic, grain-fed protein, fats and refined starches, and very little in the way of fresh vegetables. We are pretty good sports though and aren't looking to make a big fuss when we go out, especially with friends. So sometimes you have to compromise, in small doses (easier for me to do, but I want to be sympatico with my wife).

A while back though, we were particularly challenged at a place we went to with friends. This restaurant (which shall remain anonymous) had classic cuisine, as well as an assortment of specialty meats prepared in various ways. I do not believe there was a single vegetable on the menu, except for the green salad. Quite simply, there was one salad and one entree' which were o.k. from an anti-cancer perspective. Clearly, Meagan was going to get those.  But if I ordered the same thing, would that look too obnoxious or too self-righteous to our friends, who had no such compunctions. I took the "high road" and tried to order some items which I thought were the "least bad". My bad. They were bad.

The funny thing is that once you've gone clean and green, the sight of all the food high in fat, calories, etc. is just flat out unappealing. Both from a sight and taste perspective. Well, maybe good fries are still appealing....

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