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Restaurants will kill me!


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I did my Whole30 restaurant-free, to give myself total control over my food intake, but since it ended I have been eating out on a regular basis.  It's gotten even more frequent lately, because I do my best writing in restaurants--since I've got the table in front of me, I can pull out my notebook and work while people bring me food--and my latest novel is kicking into overdrive now.  (It's possible I use the writing as an excuse not to cook dinner!)  I try to make healthy choices, but I don't inquire too closely into what oils are used or whether something has added sugar. 


I decided to celebrate the Fourth of July by having dinner at the Thai place up the street (my choice of venues within walking distance is limited).  I've eaten there before, and the rice hasn't bothered me as far as I can tell, though the one time I had a curry with peanuts I realized why my gut was always in such a bad state back when I lived on peanut butter sandwiches.  I wasn't in the mood for curry this time, and I'd already eaten pork and lamb that day, so I thought chicken would round things out nicely.  I opted for the cashew chicken without a lot of thought.


When it came, I looked at it and immediately thought, "That looks like it has lots of soy sauce."  I've never done a reintroduction of soy--I just avoided it if it appeared on labels--so I decided it wouldn't hurt just this once, to see how things would go.  The chicken was delicious, and I got a fair bit written, so I was pretty happy as I walked home.


The following day I found myself in the bathroom with some of the worst abdominal cramps I'd had since I first discovered the Whole30.  Friday was not a happy day, all in all.  Saturday, still not so great, but better, and since I had errands to run that involved public transportation, I opted to eat breakfast at a restuarant I don't get to often.  Nothing really horrible--eggs, sausage, and home fries.  Okay, the potatoes were a questionable choice, but I figured they wouldn't kill me this once.  As I was eating, I spared a thought or two to wonder what sort of (probably soybean) oil it had all been cooked in, but I was getting some work done, so I didn't think about it too hard.


Sure enough, my whole system was upset for the rest of the weekend.  I'm not sure it's recovered yet.  I've had to promise myself there will be no more soy, if I could possibly help it.  I guess if I want the book to ever get finished, I will have to assert myself more when I go out to eat.  Either that or I have to clear off my kitchen table and start serving myself there so I can sit and write while I eat (and I'm pretty sure that's not happening...)

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Yikes, sorry you had such a bad experience.


Yeah, Thai food is tricky on Whole30. So many sauces (with who-knows-what in them), sugar, etc.


Heck of a reintro though, wasn't it??!! ;) 

You can be successful eating out the Whole30 way, it just takes a bit of investigation, good restaurant choices and not being afraid to make requests. I was gluten-free for over 6 years before I did my Whole30 last month, and I use many of the principles I use for eating gluten-free when I dine out.  Some tips:
- places that have gluten-free menus or cook to order are your best bet
- view the menu online beforehand and pick 1-3 entrees that look like they either work as is or can be easily tweaked

- call the restaurant beforehand (I usually call the day before), explain what you cannot have, tell them what you're viewing online and see if it can be altered to meet your needs (I have found dry grilling to be a great alternative when they use soybean oil)
- what foods are cooked in, sauces, coatings, soups and marinades are always suspect. Ask if they have anything you're trying to avoid.

Good luck in your next dining out experience! 

EDIT: BTW, soy sauce contains both soy and wheat, so you tested both gluten and soy when you had soy sauce. If you wanted a true gluten test at some point, test other gluten-containing products other than soy sauce (e.g., pasta, whole wheat crackers, dinner roll). Same goes for soy: maybe try soy milk, tofu, edamame, etc?

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