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!