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Thread: My First Primal Experience with Eating Out -- Lesson Identified!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Fredericksburg VA

    My First Primal Experience with Eating Out -- Lesson Identified!

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    Well, I'm a week into my Primal transformation and I had my first experience with eating out yesterday. I learned (the hard way) that it will take a lot more planning to stay successful! (I refuse to call things "Lessons Learned" -- if we really learned them, we wouldn't repeat the mistakes!)

    After a great afternoon at Cirque du Soleil (talk about a bunch of fit, Primal looking people!), my family stopped for lunch before the long drive home. I opted for Panera, because I knew they had some salad options that would be the closest fit for me.

    I ordered the Roasted Turkey Harvest Salad (with Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing) and an Iced Green Tea. I figured the green tea was a better choice than the diet soda I would have ordered in the past. Well, one sip of the tea and I realized it was sickeningly sweet! That's when I whipped out my phone, Googled Panera nutrition, and found out that the Iced Green Tea had 27g of sugar and 44g of carbs!! Needless to say, I dumped it in favor of some acai berry tea (unsweetened) with no carbs.

    The salad was tasty, but the dressing was overly sweet, too. I looked that up and it has 6g of carbs (all from sugar). Not horrible, but not what I wanted.

    On the bright side, the dose of sugar from the tea and the salad dressing showed me just how well my body is adjusting to the Primal lifestyle. The sugar tasted horrible, and it didn't take long for it to cause a not-so-happy reaction in my body (fortunately we were home by then). So that just helped reinforce to me that Primal is the right way to go.

    So now I've learned that I need to do my homework before I order. Fortunately, many places have their nutrition information available online (certainly the national chains), so I can look it up ahead of time and see what the pitfalls are. I know Grok didn't have a smart phone, but he also did have to face the same choices that the Korgs have to today!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    I eat out quite a bit - too much business travel. I've learned to stick to meat, veggies, no desserts, water with lemon (sometimes they forget the lemon - I've survived that so far ...). Salads can be traps - usually in the dressings, sometimes fruit or candied nuts are added. A caprese salad (tomatoes, mozzarella, balsamic) is usually safe. You can also ask for extra butter on the side, and liberally dose your veggies and meat. Quality won't be as good (grassfed meat is rarely found), but it's a practical alternative. Omelets are also a good choice.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    It becomes easier with time.

    My job has me eating out 30-45 meals a month. You find ways.

    Grilled meat + steamed veggies is pretty safe, and most nicer restaurants are pretty primal anyway. Things to watch out for though? Thatn salad dressing? Betcha it was a soybean oil base. That concerns me more than the sugar content. 6g of sugar in a salad ain't going to kill you; that's less sugar than an apple.

    Water, coffee, club soda, wine. That's about all I drink out anymore. Oh, and unsweetened iced tea.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Fredericksburg, Virginia
    Hi Jim. Eating out is certainly a challenge. I'll usually try to find a place where I can get meat and veggies and maybe even a baked potato (only if real butter is available to smother it in.)

    I'd recommend caution with prepared salad dressings. Besides added sugar, preservatives, etc., most of them use soy or some other nasty oil. Haven't been to Cracker Barrel in a couple of years, but they used to offer plain extra virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar for their salads.

    Not sure if you saw it, but I responded to your post asking about shopping choices in the area. The short version: the Spotsylvania County farmer's market at the commuter lot at the intersection of Plank Road and Gordon Road every Saturday morning in season, and Harvest Market, a primal-friendly store near the Spotsy County courthouse.
    Live your life and love your life. It's the only one you get.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Fredericksburg VA
    Thanks for the tips! I think I'll find myself ordering salad with no dressing...then figuring out how to add something "good".

    I also travel a lot for business...most of it overseas. Fortunately I should be able to find some healthy options, especially in Asia. I'm sure it will be a matter of trial and error, but once I find some "winners" I'll know what to order next time!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike in Virgina
    Not sure if you saw it, but I responded to your post asking about shopping choices in the area. The short version: the Spotsylvania County farmer's market at the commuter lot at the intersection of Plank Road and Gordon Road every Saturday morning in season, and Harvest Market, a primal-friendly store near the Spotsy County courthouse.
    Mike - I did see your response. Thanks. We've been to the Spotsy Market but Harvest Market is a new one. We'll have to check it out. We'll be heading to Fredericksburg this afternoon for the Sunday farmer's market to stock up on veggies and check out the meat selections!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Santa Barbara
    If you get the cobb salad no dressing it has bacon and bleu cheese and that seems to do the trick okay. It's a little dry but it isn't horrible.
    Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    The only beverage I order in restaurants is coffee. The kids might get a beverage if its included with their kid's meal. Otherwise just water. Not only are the extra sugar and calories a waste, but restaurant beverages are a ripoff!
    *My obligatory intro

    There are no cheat days. There are days when you eat primal and days you don't. As soon as you label a day a cheat day, you're on a diet. Don't be on a diet. ~~ Fernaldo


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Agree on the oils being more of a problem eating out than sugar. Everyone's different but I can tolerate some sugar (we get it if we eat fruit etc. anyway) but hyperprocessed oil from non-oily things makes me sick as a dog.

    Also, be really careful on the extra butter. So many places have bought into the "butter is evil" meme. I've asked for extra butter in a pretty decent seafood place, gotten it, tasted it, and asked again. "Oh, that's not real butter; it's margarine." THEY HAD NO BUTTER IN THE WHOLE RESTAURANT. Needless to say I won't be going back there again.

    Ask first, regret less later.
    "If man made it, don't eat it." ..Jack LaLanne
    "It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are.
    If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." ..Richard Feynman

    beachrat's new primal journal

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Wet Coast of Canada
    Yes, on the oils! Just yesterday for the first time in about four months I ate yam fries from a fish and chip place (don't eat out much at all). I thought how bad can it be to have just a bit of crappy oil just once. For several hours afterward, I was burping and the taste in my mouth was oily and I am sure I could taste rancidity.
    Female, age 51, 5' 9"
    SW - 183 (Jan 22, 2012), CW - 159, GW - healthy.

    Met my 2012 goals by losing 24 pounds.
    2013 goals are to get fit and strong!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Eating out was a big challenge when I first started, but now I have a go-to places and things to eat when out.

    First preference is Chipotle, as their meat/daily is "natural". Get a salad bowl with extra veggies/tomatoes/etc. The carnitas are preferable as they are not cooked in soybean oil, the other meats are.

    Second choice is Whole Foods salad bar/prepared foods. Always something for everyone here. I'll usually get a salad with some hard boiled eggs for protein, dress with oil & vinegar. For a salad in a restaurant, oil and vinegar is good or sometimes I'll ask for some mustard and use oil and mustard (yummy!).

    Third choice is a good burger place, ideally one that has "natural" beef. In an urban area you can usually find a good grassfed burger place.

    Anyway, that's just my 2 cents for how I forage out in the wild, FWIW, lol. Have fun!
    Happy Wifey and NEW MOM!
    Pre-preg weight: 130
    Current: 145 (eek!)
    Goal: ??? <-- whatever it takes to get rid of this tire!
    Started Primal in May '12.
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