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The article above is excellent... but I'll still share what I had in progress when Sugarcube posted :P 

I would ask if I could pick the restaurant, and then see if there were any favorite foods (to consider in your decision) or foods to avoid (so you won't pick a place they'll hate)... and use that information to pick a place that will make it easy to cater to your needs without making it overly difficult or requiring a drawn-out explanation.

Know your options ahead of time. Whether that means calling in ahead of time, visiting in person to ask questions, or digging through information available on the website (if not all of those things)... walk in with a plan. If it'll help, write it out so you can make sure your server understands exactly what you need, and include phrasing like "isolated cooking for food allergies" because this usually means they'll cook your food totally separate (typically on a piece of foil or something).

Have a discussion, even a brief one, ahead of time just to let your date know what to expect. Just a head's up that you're currently on an elimination diet and that means you won't be eating bread, beans, pasta, sweets, etc. Be ready to sit across from them as they're scarfing down things you can't eat, and be okay with that. Nothing about your plate will be strange, it just might not look like theirs... and maybe they'll even be a sport and order like you, to see what you're experiencing.

Go prepared with a tiny bottle of compliant dressing (if you plan to have salad), a teabag to add flavor to unsweetened tea and/or water, etc. Things like this can definitely help, especially if you're still fairly new to the idea of eating out on Whole30.

Don't be afraid to put your foot down. This is about your health, after all, so your date AND the staff where you choose to eat should both respect your needs.

 

Alternatively, you could always offer to cook dinner and give them a smashing Whole30-style meal without them even knowing what they're missing ;) 

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38 minutes ago, Jihanna said:

but I'll still share what I had in progress when Sugarcube posted

So glad you did!  I haven't dated in years... so I'm only good for linking articles in that department ;)

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I echo what @Jihanna said about picking the restaurant - especially on a first date. Your comfort and convenience are important and sometimes as women we just go along with whatever we're "told". 

I disagree about having the conversation about what you do and don't eat - you don't owe anyone an explanation, least of all a first date prospect.  If it naturally comes up in the conversation then great, maybe he also avoids gluten or alcohol. But it's not up to you to design yourself to be the least troublesome, most amenable human being you can be. You do you. They either respect that or they don't. It's a good way to weed in or out.

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Everything @Jihanna said! I usually do a first meeting like coffee or juice bar to make sure they're OK, and then I can explain how I choose to eat if I want. If I have enough time, I'll contact the restaurant or review their allergen menu to see what I can make compliant. Usually American food, steakhouses and breakfast places are easiest. If you don't want to be "that weirdo" that brings their own dressing to the restaurant - (1) uhm why not??!??! It's OK to speak up for yourself! or (2) ask for lemon wedges and olive oil, use the table salt and pepper as your dressing. Look for grilled options (I got a grilled calamari salad once... so good!) and steamed options.

Breakfast - poached eggs, avo, sliced tomatoes. Omelet (no butter, no milk) with veggies.
Lunch/Dinner - steak (yeah, I'm that girl), baked potato, steamed broccoli (some restaurants will have ghee or clarified butter). Hamburger, no bun (knife and fork it). 

And if there's nothing compliant at the restaurant, why is this person not being accommodating and why are you meeting them? ;) but eat something ahead of time and opt for a plain green salad. 

Edited by Shani_SWP
Removed heteronormative wording.
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17 minutes ago, SugarcubeOD said:

So glad you did!  I haven't dated in years... so I'm only good for linking articles in that department ;)

This made me laugh because I've been married over 21 years now, so my only dating is with my husband... but I definitely felt the intimidation of being asked out to eat by friends, and wondering what in the world I could do and HOW I could manage it. It gets much easier with time and practice. My favorite thing was Mongolian barbecue, because I could build my own bowl with massive amounts of veggies, season with garlic, ginger, salt, and pepper, and then pile it all on top of stir-fried cabbage :D

re: having "the talk" about food -- @ladyshanny has a point about them not being owed an explanation. My thought here was simply that it could help avoid an awkward moment during the meal itself, if it were brought up before-hand. She's right that it'll help you weed people out if you just throw them in and see how they swim!

Another thought I had a moment ago, was that a "Dutch" picnic could be nice. You each bring your own lunch and meet somewhere to share time and sparkling water (or whatever). In fact, I might have to plan a picnic day with my husband soon... ;) 

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6 minutes ago, Jihanna said:

. My favorite thing was Mongolian barbecue, because I could build my own bowl with massive amounts of veggies, season with garlic, ginger, salt, and pepper, and then pile it all on top of stir-fried cabbage :D

Oh that's a good idea!

I was saying to my sister @ladyshanny, if I was dating, I'd probably go the 'lets go to a pub route, order a clubsoda with lime - if questioned, just say that was good for me for the moment and then if I stayed, maybe explain why no booze and if I left, then I could run out the back door with no bill to pay cause water is free.

I would likely not go and eat a meal with someone that I didn't already know in advance regardless of whether I was doing a Whole30, because that's a determined amount of time you're expected to stay and if the person is 'not a match' then you're basically stuck... 

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2 minutes ago, SugarcubeOD said:

I was saying to my sister @ladyshanny, if I was dating, I'd probably go the 'lets go to a pub route, order a clubsoda with lime - if questioned, just say that was good for me for the moment and then if I stayed, maybe explain why no booze and if I left, then I could run out the back door with no bill to pay cause water is free.

 

LOL!!! Yes, that's why my first meets are always coffee/tea, something low key, maybe an hour max, and doesn't cost a ton for either party.

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3 hours ago, Shani_SWP said:

Everything @Jihanna said! I usually do a first meeting like coffee or juice bar to make sure they're OK, and then I can explain how I choose to eat if I want. If I have enough time, I'll contact the restaurant or review their allergen menu to see what I can make compliant. Usually American food, steakhouses and breakfast places are easiest. If you don't want to be "that weirdo" that brings their own dressing to the restaurant - (1) uhm why not??!??! It's OK to speak up for yourself! or (2) ask for lemon wedges and olive oil, use the table salt and pepper as your dressing. Look for grilled options (I got a grilled calamari salad once... so good!) and steamed options.

Breakfast - poached eggs, avo, sliced tomatoes. Omelet (no butter, no milk) with veggies.
Lunch/Dinner - steak (yeah, I'm that girl), baked potato, steamed broccoli (some restaurants will have ghee or clarified butter). Hamburger, no bun (knife and fork it). 

And if there's nothing compliant at the restaurant, why is this person not being accommodating and why are you meeting them? ;) but eat something ahead of time and opt for a plain green salad. 

 

@Shani_SWP When you get things like what you said for lunch and dinner, what are the questions you have to ask the server to make sure its compliant? Do you ask that they don't use any soy products to cook it with or any dressings? Am I missing anything? I feel like I might be over-thinking the eating out thing but not sure! I went out with someone for the first time last Friday (pre-whole30, 1/10/20) and it surprisingly went great. They want to take me to dinner this week, but I feel like I'm gonna ruin my first Whole30 the first week if I say yes! I started on 1/14/20 and want to keep going strong after day one! hahaha

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10 hours ago, cegrimes17 said:

 

@Shani_SWP When you get things like what you said for lunch and dinner, what are the questions you have to ask the server to make sure its compliant? Do you ask that they don't use any soy products to cook it with or any dressings? Am I missing anything? I feel like I might be over-thinking the eating out thing but not sure! I went out with someone for the first time last Friday (pre-whole30, 1/10/20) and it surprisingly went great. They want to take me to dinner this week, but I feel like I'm gonna ruin my first Whole30 the first week if I say yes! I started on 1/14/20 and want to keep going strong after day one! hahaha

That's where you choosing the restaurant comes into play. You can call ahead and ask all your questions, do all your research before the date. Figure out what you can eat, bring your own dressing (or go the olive oil and lemon route), and know what you're going to order before you walk in. 
You'll need to ask about marinades and cooking oils (remember that canola is allowed when dining out, so if they say canola's put on the grill/griddle, you're okay there). Usually the easiest meals to shimmy into compliance are plain steak, steamed veg, and a baked potato. Just reiterate when you order that you don't want any sauces or butter/sour cream with your meal. Even if you don't get a salad, olive oil and lemon will spice up the steamed veg. 

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@cegrimes17  are there any paleo or Whole30 restaurants in your area? Paleo restaurants will make it easier to modify to Whole30. I usually ask how the steak is prepared (usually they are grilled or pan fried - canola oil when eating out is OK, but we prefer you to use a better oil at home), and I'm avoiding dairy, wheat, soy (thus, look at their website and the allergen menu). I always like to email ahead of time (at least a week) to ask my questions so the chef has time to answer. I usually say something like "I'm on an elimination diet right now, so I'm avoiding dairy (including butter), added sugar, gluten, legumes (including peanuts and soy), and grains. I looked at your menu and saw "grilled halibut with asparagus", could you tell me how that dish is prepared?". Do the majority of the work in picking a dish, then asking questions about it. DM me if you want, we can find a restaurant together. :) 

Obviously, don't pick a restaurant like...Japanese where it is nearly impossible to make compliant unless you want to eat sashimi with greens.... ;)  Remember, the main point of a date is to be social. The food is secondary to the company :)

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