My Virgin Diet Experience, Part 5

Restaurant Dining

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Welcome to MomsSurfToo!  I’ve recently taken a writing detour into a dietary playground.  It started with a little research on how foods can affect your allergies and cause joint inflammation.  I found J.J. Virgin and her video on The Virgin Diet.  In The Virgin Diet, J.J. Virgin specifically targets foods that you may have an intolerance or insensitivity to.  Since I was planning on pulling dairy out of my diet anyway, I decided to read her book and give The Virgin Diet a try.  I’m so glad I did.

My goal for today’s topic is not to give you a rundown on every restaurant in town and what you can eat.  Instead, I’ll let you know my experiences and how you can hopefully avoid the same issues.  You will probably also be interested in how often an item is in your food but not listed on the menu.

If you feel like you can’t prepare every meal at home, you’ll have to do your best to stick to the diet while dining out.  Phase one of the Virgin diet is very restrictive.  We’ve pulled out Gluten, dairy, eggs, sugar and sugar substitutes (exceptions being stevia and xylitol), corn, soy and peanuts.  As you may have guessed this is very doable at home but a little harder once you go out.

During week one, I went out to lunch to Duffy’s with a friend and had an asian salad with shrimp.  Once I received my bowl I saw the little crunchy strips of fried gluten.  “No problem,” I thought to myself, “I’ll just eat around it.”  Later, I also realized that I didn’t ask what was in the Asian dressing.  Despite keeping the dressing to a minimum I knew that it was a problem.  So… I started over the next day, determined to do this right.  I didn’t go out to eat for three more weeks.

By the way, I don’t recommend starting this right before valentine’s day, your birthday or a big food holiday.

Steve and I went out to dinner at the end of week three.  I was planning to start re-introducing foods into my diet the next day couldn’t wait to eat eggs again.   Very carefully, I chose the salmon, with steamed vegetables and a sweet potato with no butter.  Pride ensued as I realized how well I selected my dinner.  The waitress brought bread to the table and I didn’t touch it.  When my dinner arrived, it was warm and looked delicious.

I tried the salmon, perfect as usual.  Then I tasted the steamed veggies and “Wait one darn minute!”  “I taste butter.”  As the waitress walked by our table, I asked if the steamed vegetables were cooked with butter and she confirmed my suspicions.  I was beside myself.  Fortunately, I still had time to change my introduction week from eggs to dairy since I hadn’t yet done my grocery shopping for the week.

During phase two (during a recovery period) I had a work lunch scheduled at The Olive Garden.  I ordered the gluten free pasta with marinara sauce and shrimp.  I ate my salad without cheese and felt that I accomplished ordering a great meal.  My back started hurting about halfway through the night and I woke up miserable the next day.  I did a search on The Olive Garden’s gluten free pasta ingredients and found that their gluten free pasta is made with rice and corn flour.  Corn? Really?  I later identified corn as the number one inflammatory grain for me.  I eat it and I’m miserable for the next day or two.  It’s now my mission to make sure it doesn’t slip into my meals somewhere.

Thank goodness, Chipotle is on the approved eating list.  Their meat is free range and/or grass fed.  They do not purchase food with GMO’s and it’s delicious.  Starbucks has an option for almond milk in their lattes and I carry my own container of stevia in my purse.  It’s in one of those squeeze containers that is easy to carry around.  Also, I highly recommend looking up farm to table restaurants.  You may be surprised at the local dining establishments that use organic veggies from local farms and grass-fed / free-range meats.

Since I’m writing on this topic I’ll come clean.  I went to BurgerFi last night and had a burger on a lettuce bun, no cheese, grilled onions and mustard.  The girls and I share some fries (which I rarely do) and I was a little miserable the next day.  The next day, I looked it up online and fount that they use peanut oil for their fries.  It’s very refined but, peanuts are one ingredient that stays out of your diet long term.  I’m glad I looked it up but, I should have asked before ordering.  If it was corn oil I’d be in for a world of hurt today, literally.

In the future the recipes I’ll post on the blog will be a lot cleaner and I’ll try not to focus on what I pulling out but how well the recipe works for us.