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Thread: What can I ask the restaurants I eat at? page

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    DisappearingOne's Avatar
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    What can I ask the restaurants I eat at?

    Primal Fuel
    I eat a lot at restaurants (regular ones, not fast food joints) and I'm wondering whether they are offering high quality foods (health-wise). I want to e-mail them a few questions. I mainly order beef, pork, chicken, all w/ vegetables and rice. What can I ask them about their cooking standards (questions about oil?), what about the quality of the meat/vegetables?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by DisappearingOne; 10-19-2012 at 11:17 AM.

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    Misti's Avatar
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    You can start by asking what oils they cook with and whether they offer grassfed, free-range meats. The likely answers are "soy" and "no".
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    Any of the larger (US) restaurants are required to have nutritional information about their food; easy to find by googling the restaurant name and "nutrition", but that will only give you an idea of macro-nutrients.

    As Misti said, ask what kind of oil they use and where they get their meat from.

    The way they answer will give you clues... "vegetable oil" is all the nasty stuff. If they make a point of specifying what sort of oil, there's maybe a 50/50 chance that it's what they say. They might use Costco 5-gallon jugs of olive oil that have been sitting around for a year to make their salad dressing, but the nasty stuff for cooking.

    I can guarantee that if they don't advertise as supporting local farmers/ranchers, it's going to be CAFO meat and bulk veg. And even if they do support local farmers/ranchers, unless they make a point of saying so, it's still going to be grain fed and not organic.

    I don't eat out very often, but when I do I try to opt for "grilled" and the "light" menu options. At least then it minimizes the amount of nasty oils I have to ingest. A lot of restaurants will toss their regular "steamed" veg in soybean oil! Aarrgghh!

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    I was suprised to find out how many restaurants use soy oil. Even the "olive oil" to dip your bread in at Carino's is mostly soy with just a bit of olive oil in it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Periwinkle View Post
    I was suprised to find out how many restaurants use soy oil. Even the "olive oil" to dip your bread in at Carino's is mostly soy with just a bit of olive oil in it.
    Really!?! That is bordering on criminal if you ask me. So wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Misti View Post
    You can start by asking what oils they cook with and whether they offer grassfed, free-range meats. The likely answers are "soy" and "no".
    This.

    Restaurants are out to make a profit, not to nourish you. If a restaurant is using quality ingredients, they'll be bragging about it, not keeping it a secret. If they aren't using quality ingredients, they'll likely boast about their "fresh cut" vegetables, etc.
    Last edited by 2ndChance; 10-19-2012 at 03:18 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Periwinkle View Post
    I was suprised to find out how many restaurants use soy oil. Even the "olive oil" to dip your bread in at Carino's is mostly soy with just a bit of olive oil in it.
    This is true of many bottled olive oils as well, actually.

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    Ask your waiter how his/her day is going. If you go to any restaurant these days expecting something remotely in line with your diet, you are a silly individual.
    You lousy kids! Get off my savannah!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpycakes View Post
    Ask your waiter how his/her day is going. If you go to any restaurant these days expecting something remotely in line with your diet, you are a silly individual.
    There are a few, but they're pretty rare in general. Unless a restaurant explicitly advertises their meat as "grass-fed", their seafood as "wild-caught", or their veggies as organic, it's a pretty safe bet that you're getting generic, factory-farmed foods, and your foods are most likely cooked in soybean and/or canola oil. Restaurants that offer grass-fed meat and organic veggies are usually VERY proud to advertise as such.

    For most "normal" restaurants, usually the safest bets are things like:

    -steamed veggies(almost every place has these)
    -baked sweet potato with no toppings(if offered)
    -Some kind of steak, chicken, or seafood that's simply grilled, with no sauce(try asking for it without the oil)

    Note to those outside the U.S. - Australian beef is pretty common/popular in a number of countries, and my understanding is that it's quite often grass-fed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpycakes View Post
    Ask your waiter how his/her day is going. If you go to any restaurant these days expecting something remotely in line with your diet, you are a silly individual.
    Probably the best advice. Emailing restaurants with these questions is a waste of time. 99% use vegetable oil and grain feed animals. Asking the waiter in the restaurant itself is even sillier as it is just going to delay your service while he's back in the kitchen trying to figure out the sure to be disappointing answers to your questions.

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