The following are tips compiled from other Greysheeters, pointers to help with eating out abstinently. I’m not a huge fan of doing it – finding it easier to simply bring my own food – but on special occasions it is nice to go out for a meal, and to enjoy the experience. I hope this will be helpful for others.
Obvious warning: specific foods are mentioned in this post.
- Steak houses often have a salad bar. Steak places with salad bars are the easiest. Or actually all diners are the very easy since they have plain food and many, many choices.
- Barbeque restaurants and tex-mex restaurants food is usually thought of a high-cholesterol floating in grease, but they also have food we can eat; same with some of the fast-food places.
- Always keep wheat germ to use as a cooked vegetable in the car or in the purse if needed.
- I find Chinese restaurants are VERY accommodating, IF you can get someone to wait on you who can truly understand what you are asking for.
- Most of their dishes mix meat and veg, but since they prepare them on order, they can prepare it however you ask for it. Chinese isn’t hard at all if you get it all sauteed with no sauces, just oils used.
- To them, “plain chicken” means chicken without any vegetables added. In Chinese restaurant, we say, “no sugar, no flour, no cornstarch, no msg.” You can say that anywhere, actually, but we really NEED to say it in Chinese, because otherwise they are very likely to use flour or cornstarch to thicken the dish.
- They pride themselves on making each dish only when it is ordered, so it’s no problem for them to special order, leave out one thing or another from their standard menu.
- I ask for my fish, lamb, pork or chicken to be panfried with spices, garlic, chilli and butter when I’m in an oriental type restaurant.
- Entrees I typically order are chicken and broccoli, ginger beef with string beans or just plain vegetables in a garlic sauce.
- My favorite veg. there is dry sauteed green beans or the eggplant.
- At one Chinese restaurant they told me that ALL their food was already in sauces that had sugar in them! (I didn’t go there.)
Greek-owned restaurants have a similar style and menu to Italian. I will often order 1/2 roast chicken. Just to be safe, I always say “NO gravy, NO dressing.”
- Order abstinent vegetables (nothing but mashed/pureed veggies)
- Chicken tandoori (although often dry and tasteless) is often abstinent.
- They don’t usually use sugar.
- They usually have sauteed veggies on their menu: escarole, or spinach, or broccoli (in oil with fresh garlic); or sometimes grilled veggies such as peppers (bell), eggplant, onion.
- They usually serve a nice big salad, and I tell them “no croutons, no cheese, no olives, and no dressing on the salad, please – oil & vinegar on the side.”
- One restaurant I go to uses pimentos on their salad, which are lightly picked (in vinegar and water). They are so sweet, I have asked twice if they have any sugar, tell them I am diabetic and must not have sugar, and they go and ask.
- If any kind of meat has a name I don’t know for sure, I ask how it’s prepared. One time I ordered “pepper steak,” assuming it had pepper on it – but it had a white sauce made cream (not on the GS), so I had to send it back. They usually have a good choice of proteins that are prepared abstinently without one having to ask for it.
- I ask for my fish, lamb, pork or chicken with fresh herbs, garlic and butter when I’m in a French, Italian or Spanish restaurant.
If you can learn to love sashimi, a Japanese restaurant is such a treat! 4 oz. of delicious fish and then a salad, and just bring your own green beans and/or wheat germ patties for the vegetable.
Thai is VERY difficult, I’ve found, because so many dishes have peanut sauces.
- I bring my own food, and tell the waiter before i sit down that “i’m on a special diet for health reasons and i’ve brought my own food – is that all right?” i’ve never been turned away.
- I order a drink, and i always tip very well.
- I bring everything in small plastic cartons and nothing is runny or drippy.
- I wait until everybody has been served, and then eat when they do.
- Always tip lavishly, no matter what happens.
- I have eaten abstinent, delicious food at Italian, Spanish, Turkish, French, Moroccan, Egyptian, Etheopian, Indian, Malaysian, Japanese and Chinese restaurants. Planning ahead is what helped to make the evening enjoyable and relatively stress-free. I leave nothing to chance.
- I either call or visit the restaurant before agreeing to eat there and ask to speak to the manager and the chef. I explain that I have a medical condition, and special dietary requirements. By then I have seen the menu and chosen a number of dishes that sound like they could be abstinent, and I go through each ingredient, asking if the same dish can be made without any non-abstinent ingredients, should this be needed. I have yet to come across a chef who has not been delighted at the challenge.
- I have also asked the chef to make me exactly what I feel like for supper that evening – asking to either steam, grill, panfry or roast the fresh fish or shellfish for the day, meat and poultry without sugar or flour.
- I ask for my vegetables to either be roasted, grilled, steamed, panfried or stirfried. I often get a selection, some in oil and some without, depending on what I’ve committed with my sponsor for the meal.