Being a health conscience consumer and eating out on a regular basis can be a tricky combination, however if you are armed with knowledge regarding what questions to ask it is guaranteed to make your experience more pleasurable and it is a sure way to take ownership of your health journey! Before we jump into the Q&As it is worth mentioning that looking to eat at restaurants which support local farmers and use local ingredients is a jumpfire start for ensuring you are getting the best tasting and most nutrient dense food per bite. At Beetnik we support the notion of simple ingredients with refined flavors! Taste is a huge priority for us and it is safe to say the fresher the ingredients and closer to home the better the taste!
1.) “What is locally sourced on your menu tonight?” review/ search the menu for local items. Most places are very accommodating in this area I have found. Since I started embracing and living a paleo lifestyle for several years now I usually ask my waiter to create a special dish comprised of a local veggie combination and a local protein source if it is not already listed on the menu.
2.) “What protein sources are grass fed and finished?” Ask for grass fed and finished sources of meat and protein. There is a major difference between a “grass fed” and a “grass finished” product. Sadly, the term grass fed has gained so much popularity in recent years in many cases it has become solely a marketing ploy. Grass fed meat that is not 100% finished is guaranteed to have lived its last days eating grains which results in meat that is significantly lower in omega-3’s. Striving to keep a symbiotic relationship between the omega 3/6/9 ratio in the body is hugely important to protect against the development of many diseases, including, but not limited to cardiovascular disease, cancer, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Last, but certainly not least it is important to note that the last part of the cow’s life is the most critical in terms of fat quality as well.
3.) Oils,Oils,Oils!!! Repeat the following 🙂 “I have an allergy to all industrial seed oils…name a few…(soybean & Canola for example) can you please use only (butter or cook the meat in its natural fat without added oil) please? This question and topic comes full circle right back to the omega 3/6/9 ratio. Asking your waiter to steer clear of using any industrial oils to cook your food in other than clarified butter otherwise known as “ghee”, pasteurized butter if you can tolerate dairy, coconut oil, or an organic cold-pressed olive oil is always a better route than what most places use (soybean, vegetable, and the highly praised canola oil) Industrial seed oils are the number one economic choice in most cases which is the number one reason why they are still being used. Why do restaurants continue to use rancid industrial seed oils you say? And why should you care? Several reasons, but in summary cooking with modern cooking oils/ or industrialized seed oils create huge amounts of oxidized fatty acids (which are carcinogenic and lead to inflammation in the body) which in turn throw off that delicate balance of omega 3/6/9 in the body. Since our western society has started to embrace these modern cooking oils in the late 1970s heart disease, obesity and cancer rates have skyrocketed!!
p.s. Random last tip! Always make it a point to always call between 2-4p if I haven’t ever been to the restaurant before I make a reservation and I ask to speak with the main chef. They are always in the “know” regarding ingredient sources and are usually very happy to share their insight if you call at a “convenient” time for them!