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.
Lara Briden from Christchurch, New Zealand
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?
LB: As a general rule, I'm not a fan of eating out because it is almost never as good as we could make at home. When I do have to eat out because I'm traveling, I will generally pick what looks like a better quality restaurant and then make do by choosing a meal of meat plus vegetables. No bread. No dairy, if possible.
CA: Most memorable restaurant meal in (or near) Christchurch?
LB: Roots Restaurant which has an amazing seasonal degustation menu crafted from high-quality local ingredients.
CA: Most memorable restaurant meal outside of Christchurch?
LB: What comes to mind is a little café we wandered into late one night on a road trip in rural New Zealand (Collingwood, population: 235 people). It was after hours and nothing was open except MAD Café so we took our chances. Our first choice was "hare" but it was sold out so the chef made us salmon fillets on hot stones and even changed it to gluten-free when we asked.
CA: For people with special diets, how do you suggest they talk with restaurant staff in order to get what they need?
LB: I prefer to avoid wheat and dairy, but fortunately, I can get away with eating it, if I have to. So, I'm pretty casual with my requests. For my patients who are very gluten-sensitive, I recommend that they tell a little white lie and say they are celiac. So the staff will take it seriously.
CA: Do you prepare an emergency meal when you travel? If so, what do you include?
LB: If possible, we choose accommodation that has a kitchen. Then prepare meat + potatoes + veggies--as we do at home.
CA: Your favorite quick meal to prepare at home?
LB: Lamb chops on the BBQ. Mashed potatoes. Steamed veggies.
CA: Do you consume alcohol? Explain why you think it is or isn’t a good idea.
LB: I think we're better off with no alcohol — especially as women. But I permit myself a few ciders or wine per month.
CA: In terms of food, what is your guilty pleasure?
LB: Dark chocolate. I don't feel guilty about it, exactly, but I do eat rather a lot of it. Probably more than necessary for sustainability reasons.
Lara Briden is a naturopathic doctor passionate about women's health. She works between Christchurch, New Zealand and Sydney, Australia, and is the author of Period Repair Manual: Natural Treatment for Better Hormones and Better Periods.