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.
Dr. Judy Tsafrir from Boston, Massachusetts
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?
JT: Yes, I definitely take a look at the menu before I go to see if there are things that appeal and that agree with me. I have multiple food sensitivities and if all that is offered is pizza and pasta, that would not work.
CA: Most memorable restaurant meal in Boston?
JT: The experience in restaurants is for me as much about the emotional experience as the food — it's hard to pick just one. I love to go out to eat with my kids, we have so much fun going to an all you can eat Sushi restaurant in Brighton called Yamato. The sushi is really fresh, it's really a great deal, and the kids love it there. There is a Cuban restaurant in Waltham that is delicious that we love called Gustazo. There is a Venezuelan restaurant in Watertown called La Casa de Pedro that is so good. And in Newton, we adore a restaurant called the Little Big Diner that has an Asian Fusion theme. Finally, there is one restaurant that is consistently fantastic where I regularly meet an old friend about three times a year called the Washington Square Tavern in Brookline.
CA: Most memorable restaurant meal outside of Boston?
JT: Again, for me it has to do with the feelings associated with the restaurant.
There is one very beautiful soulful restaurant that comes to mind called The Inn of the Seventh Ray in Topanga Canyon, outside of Los Angeles. It's in a terraced garden filled with twinkling lights and fountains, the food is all organic and lovingly prepared. The high vibration of the spot both soothes and elevates you. I had a memorable dinner there, seated at a table in front of the fire place, with a very serene and thoughtful Californian friend who is also a psychotherapist and astrologer.
CA: For people with special diets, how do you suggest they talk with restaurant staff in order to get what they need?
JT: I would suggest being as direct as possible and emphasize that it is really important that they let you know if there is an ingredient that you do not tolerate, because it will make you ill. This can be done in a friendly non-demanding matter of fact manner and of course, to express gratitude for their consideration and care.
CA: Do you prepare an emergency meal when you travel? If so, what do you include?
JT: Yes. I will take along sardines or cans of smoked oysters, raw vegetables, jerky, nuts.
CA: Your favorite quick meal to prepare at home?
JT: I often buy a leg of lamb from Costco and roast it, and then cut it up into portions and freeze it. I defrost the portions and then sauté them in duck fat and cook some vegetables to go with it. I also often cook a big pot of chicken stew/soup and then freeze portions. I defrost it and have it for breakfast or lunch.
CA: Do you consume alcohol? Explain why you think it is or isn’t a good idea.
JT: I rarely consume alcohol, because even small amounts typically disrupt my sleep and often gives me a headache the next day. I really wish that this were not the case, because it can be such a great pleasure to have a glass of wine with a meal or a drink with friends. Occasionally I just decide to accept the consequences and have a drink even though I know that I will pay by sleeping poorly and not feeling my best the next day.
I recommend to my patients to really limit alcohol. It typically is not healthful for people suffering from anxiety and depression or other psychiatric symptoms. If it's a special occasion, then yes, have a drink, but as part of a routine practice, I really discourage it. Unfortunately most people generally feel much better when abstaining.
CA: In terms of food, what is your guilty pleasure?
JT: I love Indian desserts!
Dr. Judy Tsafrir is a board certified, conventionally trained adult and child psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, a Harvard Medical School faculty member, located in Newton, Massachusetts. She has a deep curiosity about development and healing, and has an open mind about trying diverse approaches to help her patients.
She is familiar and skilled in working within a traditional medical/psychiatric model, but is now much more drawn to nutritional approaches to healing, as well as more unconventional energetic/holistic/spiritual approaches. She loves her work, which she sees as helping her patients become most fully themselves, enjoying optimum health and vitality, and creating and living a life they love. She believes that healing occurs through the integration of heart, mind, body and spirit. It is only through healing ourselves, can we most effectively contribute to healing the planet.