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.
Nasha Winters from Durango, Colorado
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?
NW: I am a canary in a coal mine so must think through my food choices carefully if I want to feel good. I always seek great, local, seasonal, organic, farm to table fare on my travels and seem to have good lucky finding places like that all over the world. If I am at the mercy of being in a restaurant I didn't personally vet, then I keep it very simple and speak to the chef about my food allergy issues to ensure a pleasant experience for all.
CA: Most memorable restaurant meal in (or near) Durango?
NW: Eolus is my favorite restaurant as the chef, Chris is paleo and willing to accommodate all food issues. He keeps a container of my coconut aminos in the walk in with my name on them. I know I am always in for a treat and never leave the table hungry or feeling ill later. The staff and chef also treat me like family and it is a pleasure to go there with my husband but also family and friends and out of town visitors. There is no one memory as each meal he creates is local and seasonal and infused with his creativity and passion for quality.
CA: Most memorable restaurant meal outside of Durango?
NW: Either Herbabuena outside of Pescadero on the Baja or Flora Farms in San Jose del Cabo on the Baja — both are literally farm to table and your table sits in the middle of the farm. Being at the source of the food artfully presented with such vitality that you can taste the sunshine is one of my favorite experiences. I love fresh, quality food and foodies and the people drawn to these restaurants share a similar passion and it is a joy to share in the delight of others. There is another similar restaurant in Portland, Oregon that I recently enjoyed on a few occasions — Tasty n Alder. The grilled octopus made me want to cry. I don't know what they did to it but the simple marinade and the perfect smokiness as it melted in my mouth is a memory I won't soon forget.
CA: For people with special diets, how do you suggest they talk with restaurant staff in order to get what they need?
NW: First — never apologize and never keep quiet. My town of Durango was very resistant to offering gluten free options ten years ago and now, most of the restaurants offer gluten free, paleo, keto, vegetarian, organic, local and seasonal thanks to the willingness of their customers to speak up. I find calling or emailing the restaurant ahead of time to inquire about their ability and willingness to accommodate your food issues is key and the response you receive is the deal maker or breaker. Look at the menu online ahead of time and make a plan. Keeping certain sauces off and going with simple butter, olive oil, grilling, poaching, etc will overcome a lot of road blocks and asking for additional veggie sides instead of all the starches.
CA: Do you prepare an emergency meal when you travel? If so, what do you include?
NW: Usually on flight/travel days I fast. But I always have Paleo Valley Beef sticks, single serving packages of olives, Dr. Cowan's Garden Greens powder and Leek Salt, Drop an F Bomb individual packets of various oils/fats. That way I have great dressings for salads, concentrated greens when variety is low and a protein source if I don't trust what is on the menu to be clean. Again, I do a simple search before landing somewhere to find restaurants that will work or health food stores where I can load up on some supplies and always request a fridge in my room. If driving I can take an electric hot water kettle and a single burner cooking surface along with a hand held blender which does amazing with in room bone broth based pureed veggie soups.
CA: Your favorite quick meal to prepare at home?
NW: For a quick home meal it is usually ground turkey, chicken or buffalo meat-based tacos on cabbage leaf with fresh chopped cilantro, sautéed zucchini, loads of Mexican spices like coriander, cumin and chili with a bit of avocado, fresh squeezed lime and a dollop of full fat organic sour cream. They hit the spot and I make a big batch that can be eaten the next day. We also make cauliflower-based pizzas a lot with homemade pesto, kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and spicy elk or chicken sausage. And soups/broths are always an easy go to as a pot of bone broth is always going at our house in the winter months.
CA: Do you consume alcohol? Explain why you think it is or isn’t a good idea.
NW: I enjoy an organic, dry-farmedglass of wine on occasion or a home made margarita — fresh squeezed lime, a splash of Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar Limemade, tequila and mineral water with a few drops of essential oil of mandarin. I avoid drinking if I am feeling like I am trying to use it as a crutch to relax. I also prefer to imbibe more in a gathering of friends and loved ones in a celebratory fashion so it becomes more of a treat versus the norm. If I drink too much too often I don't feel good and it messes with my hormones and sleep patterns so for me, less is more. Most of my client population can't drink at all or very little and low glycemic is key.
CA: In terms of food, what is your guilty pleasure?
NW: OK — my guilty food vice — French Fries! The saltier the better. Thanks to what I know about their starch/sugar content, acrylomide and often nasty rancid oil, it is not one I reach for often but I certainly get a hankering for this greasy, salty treat.
Dr. Nasha Winters, ND, FABNO, L.Ac, Dipl.OM is the visionary and CEO as well as best selling author, lecturer, and the primary consultant of Optimal TerrainTM. Informed by more than 25 years of experience in the health care industry and a thought leader in personalized precision medicine, Dr. Nasha works to educate clients, doctors and researchers world wide on how to apply integrative oncology philosophically and therapeutically.
A diagnosis of cancer in 1991 redirected her focus from pursuing conventional medicine to exploring at that time, the emerging field of psychoneuroimmunology. Her interest in all things related to health landed her in rich learning environments from Naturopathic and Chinese Medicine to Ayurvedic Medicine and beyond, further rooting her in a scientific but holistic, terrain-centric approach that leaves no stone unturned.