5 tips for dining out on a detox diet

When doing a detox diet I know how hard it is to say no to an invitation to eat out or to withstand the social pressure to eat foods that are off limits if you do choose to dine out.  I never want anyone to feel they must stay at home like a hermit with their special detox menu and avoid all social engagements, so here’s a few tips to make dining out on a detox diet a little more stress free:

1. Investigate: look at the restaurant menu beforehand to make sure options are available to you. Call ahead to ask about alternative options. Restaurants like Il Fornello, Diverso by Ferraro, Magic Oven and even Pizza Pizza have gluten-free replacements for their pastas and pizzas. Some sushi restaurants even do brown rice sushi like Lan Sushi which just opened in the Junction.

2. Do the math: most restaurants will allow you to add, subtract or subsitute menu items. Simply doing the math can provide you with more meal options. For example, substract tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, croutons, cheese and creamy salad dressing from salads. Add in other vegetables or grilled chicken for protein. Replace the salad dressing with oil and vinegar. Entrees which come with some form of white potato like french fries can be substituted for garden vegetables or sweet potato fries. Ask for special sauces on the side so that when the food is served you can determine if the sauce falls within your diet guidelines.

3. Go vegetarian: Most vegetarian restaurants are very accommodating to changing meal ingredients because there are many degrees of vegetarianism. For example, some vegetarians choose to maintain eggs and dairy products in their diets while others eliminate them completely. Vegetarian meals are usually very colourful and therefore packed with nutrients! I really enjoy eating at Fresh and drinking their delicious fruit and vegetables smoothies.

4. Have a potluck: Instead of dining out with your friends, invite them over to your place for a potluck. Create a fun theme surrounding the food and set out guidelines for the meals for your guests to follow. For example, you can do an ‘Iron Chef’ night where you set out a special ingredient such as avocado or beets and ask everyone to make a dish containing the special ingredient.  Whoever makes the most popular meal of the night can win a prize and be named the ‘Iron Chef’ for the night!

5. Don’t feel bad by cheating a little: Sometimes there are just no options on the menu but you must eat out anyway so try to make the best of it. I went for chinese food with my family and ended up choosing unbreaded white fish with snow peas as well as a garlic with chinese broccoli dish.  Even though I know everything is deep fried and there is probably msg sprinkled on top this was still better than choosing a sugar filled sauce (like sweet and sour) overtop of breaded (gluten-filled) chicken.  I’m hoping the anti-oxidants in the vegetables will help my liver detoxify that msg out of my system!

I decided to detox, now what do I eat?

Once you decide to do a detox, one of the hardest things is figuring out what to eat.  One of the first steps to help you is to be prepared and have fresh, healthy food on hand (see my previous post: https://drellensimonend.wordpress.com/2011/04/10/what-foods-do-you-buy-for-a-spring-detox-diet/)

Next is to decide on some food options for each meal:

Breakfast: I chose 3 things and I alternate through them. First, a smoothie with rice milk, berries, pear and rice protein powder. Second, rice cakes spread with almond butter, honey and sprinkled with cinnamon. Third, rice porridge with stewed apples, walnuts and sunflower seeds.

Lunch: I think salad is the easiest choice for lunch. You just need to start with a base of lettuce then add whatever you want in terms of fruits and vegetables. I usually just add olive oil and vinegar for dressing.

Here’s some salad combo ideas:

This is a salad I made with mangos, walnuts and sunflower seeds. Mangos weren’t on my original shopping list but since they are in season my mom bought a case and gave me half of it. I think I’ll be making some mango curry chicken soon.

More salad combos: lettuce + berries + lemon juice + almonds

lettuce + shredded carrots + avocado slices + olive oil + balsamic vinegar + walnuts

lettuce + grilled zuccini + roasted garlic + grilled chicken + olive oil + balsamic vinegar

Basically, you can’t go wrong with salad 🙂

Dinner: The basic template for my dinners has been grain + protein + 1-2 vegetables. Grains include quinoa, brown rice and rice pasta. Protein has been chicken, salmon, lentils or beans. Vegetables can be whatever you want within the limits of the detox diet.

Above is an example of the dinner template: 1 large serving of liver friendly broccoli + brown rice with onions and sunflower seeds + baked salmon with olive oil and paprika.

Snacks: Besides a serving of fruit or vegetable, I always have a container of mixed nuts and seeds with me in case I am not at home and get hungry. Otherwise I’d be more tempted to buy some chicken mcnuggets. So always try to have snacks on you at all times.

Rice cakes and rice crackers are always good for a detox diet.

Rice cakes spread with hummus!

Rice cakes with avocado spread. Avocado spread is basically mashed avocado + olive oil + salt + pepper + lemon juice. It only takes 2 minutes to make! Hummus and avocado spread can also be used on chicken, grains and vegetables to give them more flavour.

I think tonight’s dinner menu will be rice pasta with chicken, zuccini, basil and garlic pesto! Check back for my next post about dining out on a detox diet.

What foods do you buy for a spring detox diet?

Today was session one of the spring detox we are hosting at Retrofit Pilates and I feel refreshed and motivated after our invigorating “expressive dance pilates” workout with Ana. Thanks Ana!

I started my 10 day food elimination detox this morning when I rolled out of bed and drank some warm lemon water instead of coffee.  It is now around 4pm in the afternoon and I’m starting to get the “I need caffeine” headache and the “I just want something sweet” craving.  Your body can become dependent on these and other food substances so it may take a couple of days of feeling yucky before you start to feel amazing.  But that’s ok because I am prepared and I’m one step ahead of the cravings.  Here’s a look at my shopping list:

In addition to the above items I had these staple foods at home which you can purchase in bulk:

Almonds, almond butter, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds

Rice and almond milk. If you can’t find the original unsweetened kind then the sweetened vanilla flavour is fine.

Brown rice, a brown and wild rice mix, quinoa, rice pasta, rice porridge (like cream of wheat), rice crackers, rice cakes and lentils.

Garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Indian curry spice mix, paprika, sea salt, Italian seasoning spices.  All herbs and spices are acceptable. You’re going to need them to make your food less bland.

100% natural fruit juice (don’t go overboard with this, even though it is natural fruit sugars too much of it can negatively affect your blood sugar levels). A 1/2 cup of guava, pear or apple juice is enough to satisfy my sugar cravings.

I use honey to sweeten things like herbal tea but stevia is also good.

Why did I choose some of the foods on my shopping list?

Apples, pears, frozen berries: these are cheap and sweet so they can satisfy your sweet tooth.  You can eat them as a snack, blend them into a fruit smoothie, chop and add them to salad, boil them to the desired consistency with some lemon, honey and cinnamon for a snack, breakfast or to use as a spread for rice cakes.  Adding nuts and seeds to the boiled fruits adds protein and good fats to keep you feeling full for longer.

Broccoli, kale, cabbage: these are also relatively cheap and are all part of the Brassica family of vegetables.  Foods in this family contain phytochemicals which support liver cells in their detoxification process.  Their high amount of fibre also adds bulk to your stools making you more regular.  Cabbage can be made in so many different ways and seems to last a long time because whenever I buy one I can use it for two weeks (or until I’m sick of the cabbage flavour!)

Hummus and avocado: Hummus is a spread made from chickpeas and comes in a variety of flavours. You can dip raw vegetables or rice crackers into it for a snack. You can spread it on rice cakes or mix it into your brown rice and quinoa for added flavour. Avocados are great for salads. I also mash them with some olive oil, salt, lemon and garlic to make a guacamole spread for rice cakes or to mix with brown rice.  Hummus and avocado spreads are quick and easy to make and provide good protein and fats.

Tonight my plan is to prepare some meals for the week and tomorrow I will share some more `meal and snack ideas.