How to Eat Out When Eating Raw


by Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN
Author, Eating for Energy

One of the greatest challenges facing someone who wants to improve their overall health with a raw food diet can be finding raw meals when you go out on the town with friends and family. Not every restaurant is forward thinking enough to provide a raw menu selection. Heck, even finding a vegetarian option can be a challenge some times, and vegetarianism went mainstream years ago. The raw food movement is fairly young, and there will be a lot of places that have never heard of it.

So, what’s a social creature to do? You can’t just hold raw food dinner parties for the rest of your life. There are restaurants that you and your friends want to experience!

You can go out and enjoy a nice evening at a restaurant, but to make things go smoothly, there are three steps you can take to ensure everyone has a great night, you, your fellow diners, and the restaurant that serves you.

Do your homework. If you know where you will be going ahead of time, there are plenty of ways to check out what’s offered, and see what you can eat. Many restaurants post their entire menus online, allowing you a sneak peek at the different options. If you don’t see a purely raw option, take note of some of the closest options, ones that would require the least work to convert for your purposes.

Next, call the restaurant. Ask to speak with the concierge, manager or someone who is knowledgeable about the menu. Tell them up front about your dietary needs, and ask their opinion. Tell them what you’ve found on their menu, and see if they agree with your choices, or if they can suggest something better. Offer to share your insights into the meal they create - they may get interested, and consider adding it to their menu to draw in other raw food aficionados.

Talk to the chef. If you’re going to a high-end restaurant, ask to speak to the chef once you are seated, but before you order. They may escort you to the back to speak with the cooking staff, or one of them may come to you. Be polite, express your gratitude, and explain what you’re looking for.

Most gourmet chefs enjoy a good challenge, and if they’ve never had a chance to do a raw meal before, they may be quite happy to experiment on you. If the restaurant you’re going to isn’t the sort of place to send out the chef for a chat, ask to speak with a manager instead. They can relay your messages back to the kitchen for you.

If all else fails, get the salad. You can always try to fight the good fight, but sometimes, you can’t get what you want. Whether the restaurant is too busy to do custom orders, or they don’t allow any substitutions to their designer meals, you may have to take one for the team. Your fellow non-raw diners will appreciate your sacrifice, but really, a good salad is never a bad thing. Be clear when you order that you do not want anything cooked on your salad ñ no roasted pine nuts, no croutons, no roasted garlic dressings.



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