One Idea to Help You Stick to Your Anti-Inflammatory Diet When You Are Away From Home
Sometimes the chef at restaurants will be your greatest ally in helping you avoid pro-inflammatory foods—it you just ask for help.
That was the case for me when I attended a client’s annual conference earlier this year.
The first night of my client’s annual conference includes an elegant four-course banquet.
This year I told him I wouldn’t be able to attend the dinner, because I felt sure I wouldn’t be able to eat anything.
He expressed his disappointment. “I wish you could be there. Are you sure you can’t eat anything?”
“I’ll talk to the hotel’s event coordinator to be sure,” I relented.
The coordinator was extremely gracious when I told her I had a special diet that wasn’t just gluten-free or paleo.
“I’ll get the chef,” she said, much to my surprise.
The chef was equally kind. I told him about my need for only organic, gluten-free, sugar-free, etc., food.
“One of the meal choices tonight is antelope, which is from a local rancher.”
I lit up. “Really? That’s fantastic. I can eat that,” I said.
I’d never had antelope and assumed it would taste gamey like venison. But since it was organic, I was willing to give it a try.
“I won’t be able to eat the ravioli that goes with it,” I said.
“That’s no problem. We’ll give you two vegetables,” he said.
I smiled. This was getting better and better.
“What about the salad?” he asked.
“What about dressing?” I asked.
“It’s just olive oil, vinegar, and spices,” he said.
“Then I can have it.”
“What about the corn soup?”
“No. I don’t eat corn.”
“I’m not sure we have another option.”
“Don’t worry about it. I don’t need soup.”
“And for dessert we’ve got red velvet bread pudding. What about a bowl of fresh berries instead?”
I could not have given him a bigger smile. “That will be perfect,” I said.
“Thank you both so much. This is just wonderful.”
I told my client that I could attend dinner. “Great!” he said.
I was even happier when the waiter set my plate of antelope, asparagus, and spaghetti squash in front of me. The meat looked like it had been slow roasted.
I cut into the meat with my fork and it melted under the tongs. I didn’t even need the knife.
I couldn’t believe the flavor. It was literally the best piece of meat I had ever tasted in my life.
When they were picking up plates, I had a bit of the meat left on my plate.
The coordinator reached for my plate and said, “How did you like it?”
“I loved it and I’m not done. I’m eating every bite,” I said with a laugh.
She laughed. “Good for you.”
I was thrilled that I had gone the extra step of asking the hotel personnel about the food — otherwise, I never would have known the exquisite succulent flavor of ranch-raised antelope.
Dining Out Tip: Don’t shy away from explaining your dietary needs to the kitchen staff. Either they won’t care and can’t help you, or you may enjoy an unexpected and unique new dining experience.
Caveat: In future posts I’ll discuss the very real problem of cross-contamination in restaurants. Depending on how sensitive you are, this may be a real concern. I am finding that for me that small doses of pro-inflammatory ingredients do not trigger my inflammation. But every body is different.