We all talk a good game about how to eat, what to eat, and the importance of preparing our own food from quality ingredients. The truth is that everyone faces the same dilemmas from time to time. Whether it's travel, working late, business lunches, social outings, or simply not being interested in cooking, there are many reasons that eating that home cooked meal may not always be possible.
I've decided to pose a series of questions to our members on a weekly basis on what gets them through these situations. You might be surprised at some of the answers and others might be exactly what you expected — either way, I'm hopeful that this will help you navigate your way through the myriad of awkward, inconvenient, or simply lazy situations you find yourself in.
Amy Savagian from Los Angeles, California
CA: Do you put much thought into where you eat out? Or do you simply go anywhere and try to make do with what's on the menu?
AS: I generally put a lot of thought into my restaurant choices. I love farm to table restaurants. We have many great options in Los Angeles. Locally, one of my neighborhood go-to restaurants is Le Petit Greek. They have organic produce, wild caught salmon and pasture raised meats. If I am with a larger group that has already chosen a restaurant, I can generally find something on the menu that fits my low sugar/ big taste lifestyle.
CA: Most memorable restaurant meal in (or near) Los Angeles?
AS: My most memorable meal in Los Angeles was at the Hotel Bel Air, when my husband proposed to me. The atmosphere is spectacular. That night I had a salad and a steak, but everything I have had there has been great. There are always interesting people there. The evening my husband proposed, Nancy Regan was sitting at the table across from us.
CA: Most memorable restaurant meal outside of Los Angeles?
AS: My most recent memorable meal was in Cusco, Peru. I went to Senzo. The food was spectacular, and at 11,000 feet you definitely have an appetite. The restaurant was set in an old convent. The space was beautiful. The food presentation was a form of art, and the taste was out of this world. I ordered a salad and a rack of lamb.
CA: For people with special diets, how do you suggest they talk with restaurant staff in order to get what they need?
AS: I suggest trying to simplify your order to make it easy for the waiter to help you. Ask for what you want, in the simplest way possible.
CA: Do you prepare an emergency meal when you travel? If so, what do you include?
AS: I generally use travel days to fast. I will bring almonds and macadamia nuts for later in the week. I also bring fiber, supplements and a shaker cup.
CA: Your favorite quick meal to prepare at home?
AS: My favorite quick meal is roasted chicken with rosemary salt and olive oil, with fresh spinach or kale and avocado.
CA: Do you consume alcohol? Explain why you think it is or isn’t a good idea.
AS: I consume about a 1/2 glass of alcohol with my dinner many nights. I enjoy wine, especially with great food. As it relates to the reasoning, there are not great studies to guide our choices in this. Older epidemiologic studies suggested a u shaped curve where zero use and heavy use was associated with earlier mortality. A newer epidemiologic study has suggested that ANY alcohol use may have adverse effects. We don’t have definitive guidance from the data. From the best evidence we have, zero to moderate alcohol consumption appears to be the safest choice.
CA: In terms of food, what is your guilty pleasure?
AS: 90% dark chocolate.
Dr. Amy Savagian was trained at the University of Southern California and finished medical school in 2009. Since that time she has done internship and residency at USC, White Memorial and Huntington Memorial Hospital. Dr. Savagian uses a personalized, system based approach to wellness that empowers patients to achieve their highest expression of health. This systems based approach is also known as functional medicine. She has a preventative focus and uses a blend of conventional western medicine, holistic medicine, and medical nutrition to achieve optimal health for her patients. She is board certified in internal medicine, integrative medicine and obesity medicine. On her boards, she earned the top decile scores reported.