Let's be honest: You can't eat out on Whole30


vacafrita

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Yeah, eating on plain w30 is really challenging. Especially if you don't like "bothering" people with a lot of questions. Pretty much the only thing that is quasi-safe is a plain grass-fed burger with dry salad or a fruit salad. Which isn't usually worth the $$ or, like Bethany said, the stress of worrying you're going to blow your w30. Though it is sometimes nice to have someone else prepare the food and clear the plates.

 

Every time I've worked up to asking a lot of questions and eaten something besides plain dry burger I've left feeling weird and been sure I consumed soy or seed oils or hidden sugar. I'd be really wary of "olive oil" you're going to get in most places--except a higher end farm-to-table type place. Which, honestly, if I'm going to spring for I want to not be stressing about every ingredient.

 

I think it's impossible to eat at any chain without eating seed oils or soy or sweetener. For awhile everyone said  you could eat the carnitas at Chipotle and then everyone said that was no longer acceptable. Mass produced, inexpensive food is simply not made without these ingredients. 

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True, one cannot eat out in whole30. I’ve tried the concept of travel and dining out and I ended up travel and cook-your-own-food. I went St. Bart’s for a week with DH, in my whole30. Luckily we rent a beach side house, a small one with a kitchen. On the first day, I was on high spirits and decided that I’ll find a good restaurant where I will get the Whole30 food. By EOD I was starving and brought some fresh vegetables and fish from the market; cooked them and dined on them. Second day tried a different location for good restaurants, and none satisfied me. By lunch we decided that we are cooking and having the whole trip. By the end of the trip we wished we also had a good cleaning service that we can trust to clean the mess in the house we’ve rented; something like Sunrise Cleaning in our residential area.

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Don't doubt yourself.  You can go anywhere and eat out.  I don't care if it's at a mini-mart gas station.  They have hard boiled eggs and dill pickles.  If I was stranded, I would even eat one of the brats that are rolling 'round n 'round on the grill.

 

If I had access to anything in any town or city, I could eat out anywhere.  A country girl can survive.

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You CAN eat out on the Whole30.

 

That doesn't mean you can expect to eat just ANYWHERE and find compliant food. Sad but true, many (but not all) of the cheap, fast places won't have an option other than a dry salad. You might have to go to a more expensive restaurant. You do get what you pay for, most of the time.

 

Yes, you have to ask questions and get answers. Some of us aren't that comfortable doing so, but you know what? This is personal growth!

 

Don't be "That Guy/Gal" who shuffles meekly about taking what you are given. If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten - and you deserve better than the stuff these companies offer you as nourishment solely for their own profits. Demand what you want and you'll get it.

 

You shouldn't feel you have to accept food that isn't made of quality ingredients. It's really not asking too much.

 

You can do this!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Vacafrita,

 

Your post made me smile and I agree with a lot of what you said. My husband and I usually eat out a couple of times a week and really enjoy going to ethnic restaurants, in particular. I also live in a big city with great food and am always looking for a new place to try. Not being able to continue to do that kept me from starting the Whole 30 for a long time. I finally made the decision to do the Whole 30 a couple of weeks ago for my health. I'm choosing to limit eating out during that time because I'd rather be in control of the ingredients and I'd rather cook delicious meals. I will also bring lunch to work, which I do most of the time anyway. Next week is another story.  I'll be traveling for work and I'm going to have to be "That Guy", well, woman. My plan is to bring some foods with me so I know I will have breakfast and maybe lunch options, and to eat dinner at restauraants where it will be easier to follow the plan (steak house, seafood restaurants) even if it is not particularly exciting. Yes, it will be restrictive and, no, I won't be having gourmet meals out. BUT, the way I look at it is, it's only for limited time and then I will be in a better position to decide how eating out fits into my life going forward. I am already feeling fantastic and continuing on is more important to me right now than anything else. The time goes by quickly.

 

BTW, I would have guessed that someone with your screen name would love steak houses! : ) Good luck to you and your wife.

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I just ate out for the first time on Whole 30 and I have to agree with the original poster. It was very hard especially when I saw so many beautiful, tempting dishes. it did however made me understand what it is like for my 5 year old who has food allergies. I basically have to order for her as the original poster described every time we go out. It is somewhat heartbreaking for me to see what it is really like for her and know that she may never be able to order off the menu like everyone else. But that's a different issue not all related to whole30:))))

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Well, I agree the this forum. I spent 90% of the time out of my house and out of those 7 days i eat out 5 of them and twice in an airplane which they only have sandwiches or noodle soup.

I try to choose the healthiest option, but it's impossible to eat that way for 30 days, i can manage to reduce sugar, bread, alcohol and milk. For example breakfast today: the scrambled eggs had sour cream, a few tomatoes, ham, cheese, pickles, bread, and jams on the buffet.

I'm still planning to fully do it when I get a chance to go home for a long time, but it is quite complicated.

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I've just successfully dodged my first potential 'eating out' meal.... I knew there'd be nothing compliant at the cafe/bistro that my Boss had chosen to take our auditor to as they buy everything in ready made.I knew that trying to explain whole30 in 30secs to a junk food junkie was gonna be too complicated so I just said I'd take a rain-check as I was on an elimination diet to identify a possible food allergy & there'd be nothing there that I was allowed. There was a lot of eye rolling & tutting, and comments about the world having gone mad etc. - followed by a huge sigh of relief on *my* part!  :D

 

Now I get to tuck into my home-made jerk(ish) chicken & roasted root veg - yum!!

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Let's be honest, you can go outside of your home and comfort zone.   I could make a meal out of compliant sauces and condiments.  I would order lettuce and  make my own wraps.   There's no way Cinderella is going to stay home from the party.   If I was invited anywhere, I would pre-load with some compliant foods but I wouldn't stay home.   I would go and mingle.   I would use distractions and conversation....no one would notice I wasn't eating cake or fried tiddly winks.

 

It can be done.  Just use your imagination and keep your wits.  I would eat pinecones and dirt if I had to.  The Boss would   know I was his team player.  You can do it.

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I agree that it *can* be done, I'd just prefer to be the one making the decision as to where (ie. quality of food) & when (after I've my first whole30 under my belt). I've 'been there, done that' with paleo choices and had some awesome meals - today just wasn't gonna work for me given that the staff themselves probably don't know what's in their food...  :wacko: 

I'm at a school reunion in April (post whole30) and having seen the set menu & decided this isn't a special occasion & opted to specify my dietary requirements I reckon everyone else will be salivating... 

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I've eaten out twice during this W30.  First time, I had Jamaican jerk roast chicken, broccoli, and mashed sweet potato with cinnamon.  I did NOT ask the server a gazillion questions about how everything was prepped because I just don't obsess over it all.  My tea was unsweetened, when my sweet potato had some crunchy things stuck in it, I just moved them to the side.  My 2nd dinner out, I had steak, a plain potato, and plain seasonal vegetables.  Again, if something off W30 happened to touch that steak, I wasn't going to stress about it. 

That said, I'm supposed to be going to lunch with hubby tomorrow.  I've looked at the menu.  It's a deli and except for eating salad of some sort or another, NOTHING is compliant.  All sandwiches, lunch meat, cheese, etc.  So we'll be going someplace else for lunch...

 

I agree it's not very easy to eat out and I've done a lot more traveling this time around.  There have been a couple of 10 hr days where I've eaten nothing after breakfast because I'm choosing to be compliant.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am on Day... 23?  Lol.  Of my 2nd Whole 30.  I haven't had any reason to go out to eat yet, but today I'd like to.  We are going to be out and about, away from home, running errands in the big city for most of the day. 

 

So I looked around and around at Five Guys info online.  And I think what we usually do -- the bunless burger -- is completely compliant.  Doesn't look like they do anything funky to their beef, to me...?  I am perfectly happy with a burger, lettuce, tomato, pickle, all chopped up like a salad in the nice little tin tray they put it in.

 

Just thought I'd throw that out there for anyone interested.  And so anyone can correct me if they find info otherwise.  ;)

If you have any issues with gluten, I do not recommend Five Guys. The burgers are all assembled in the same place. Lettuce wraps have visible bread crumbs.

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Since i've been diabetic and gluten free for years, i'm used to asking.

But it's about attitude. Tell that you are very sensitive to the items, and make sure your clear on your instructions.

Let's face it they are there to serve us and our needs and that's why we pay and tip them.

I just got back from traveling while on the program. 

This is what i did:

I told my server my issues.

I suggested they steam my veggies, asked for avocado on the side.

Meat and eggs, eggs pouched with mushrooms and spinach. of course their servings size on veggie's are small order two.

Meat grill with no extra oil unless olive.

Once i was able to get to a store, hard boiled eggs, fresh fruit, veggies and avocado.

A quick meal.

It can be done, yes it's harder but our health is worth it.

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If you have any issues with gluten, I do not recommend Five Guys. The burgers are all assembled in the same place. Lettuce wraps have visible bread crumbs.

It depends on the location: some will even change their gloves when doing a bunless.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm in Houston, TX of all places, and I can think of two awesome restaurants who have extensive Paleo menus.  And the food is delicious!  And there is also a Paleo prepared foods company where you can get full fresh Paleo meals.  These are trendy, very cool places with great chefs.  So I bet there are more places in other cities following Paleo.

 

Of course, these places also serve wine, lol.  I often drink San Pellegrino in a wine glass (even prior to W30) with a lime.

 

Where are these Houston places?

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This thread fascinates me, but I think there's a lot of needless disagreement because we're talking about three distinct versions of dining out:

1. I'm stranded out in the world and need to sustain my existence for five more hours

2. There's a social event I want/need to attend for unrelated reasons, but it happens to involve food

3. I, personally, am feeling fancy and want to treat myself to a nice meal.

 

I suspect the OP was talking about the third option, and I agree.  My birthday was this week and I asked my bf if we could just not do anything.  I'm very non-confrontational and the idea of spending my birthday dinner asking about oils and sweeteners just ruined it for me.

 

Most of the advice here is good for the first two situations.  And I, for one, now have a mental image of a woman eating pine cones and dirt, shaking her head reproachfully at me when I'm too timid to ask a server what's in the vinaigrette.

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This thread fascinates me, but I think there's a lot of needless disagreement because we're talking about three distinct versions of dining out:

1. I'm stranded out in the world and need to sustain my existence for five more hours

2. There's a social event I want/need to attend for unrelated reasons, but it happens to involve food

3. I, personally, am feeling fancy and want to treat myself to a nice meal.

 

I suspect the OP was talking about the third option, and I agree.  My birthday was this week and I asked my bf if we could just not do anything.  I'm very non-confrontational and the idea of spending my birthday dinner asking about oils and sweeteners just ruined it for me.

 

Most of the advice here is good for the first two situations.  And I, for one, now have a mental image of a woman eating pine cones and dirt, shaking her head reproachfully at me when I'm too timid to ask a server what's in the vinaigrette.

This is a good point, but I would add that there are folks who, pre-Whole30, ate out frequently as part of how they got through the day. The idea that the food that has been part of their everyday lives needs to be replaced by provisioning, preparing, and consuming food that fits with Whole30, can be very daunting. Some folks really want to find a way to continue the daily patterns of life that they had before Whole30, and that may include eating out.

 

One of the biggest changes for many Whole30ers is the change to actually feeding ourselves. It can be a shock to realize how much time and effort it takes - and most of us don't grow our own food! We just expect food to sort of pop up around us when we are hungry, and then we're surprised at the complete change in lifestyle when we have to make our own and make sure it's nutritious.

 

None of that answers the original poster's specific issue, but it does address a larger Whole30 issue - it's just such a shock to realize that much of what is provided to us as food, really isn't.

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