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.
Donna Crous from Godalming, United Kingdom
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?
DC: When we (my family and I) initially started following a Paleo diet we were really strict about what, how and where we ate. To the point where it was difficult to socialise with others as they were worried about what to feed us or where we could go. We soon realised that if we wanted to keep our friends we had better adopt a more flexible approach to our eating. This is where we follow the 80/20 rule.
If it's just the family we will choose a restaurant that we know we will be able to have an easily adaptable meal, we have our regular favourites that we know have a gluten free menu or are happy to swap a bun for a salad. If we are with friends then we will go with the flow and work around what is on the menu.
CA: Most memorable restaurant meal in (or near) Godalming?
DC: Today actually, we popped into a local pub called The Red Lion which has recently been revamped and had an amazing lunch. Enormous homemade burger patties with salad, my husband had a delicious steak and salad and we shared a large bottle of sparking water — I'm always so glad to have a break from preparing food and washing dishes so a meal out is always a treat.
Primal Roost in Bagshot is one of my favourite place to meet for coffee as it is fully Primal and I love not having to navigate the menu for options.
CA: Most memorable restaurant meal outside of Godalming?
DC: Cape Town, South Africa — most restaurants have low carb options and one of my many favourites is a chain called Tashas, their liver salad makes me weak at the knees. I usually step off the airplane when I land in South Africa and head straight for the nearest Tashas and just pray they have not changed their menu!
CA: For people with special diets, how do you suggest they talk with restaurant staff in order to get what they need?
Most importantly, be friendly and ask for help don't demand it. By asking the restaurant server or manager for help and not being overly demanding will immediately get them on your side. they can't produce something they don't have. Always check the menu ahead of time and even better give them a call to find out options, if this is not possible then a salad is always a safe option.
CA: Do you prepare an emergency meal when you travel? If so, what do you include?
DC: I like to make my own homemade seed bars as they are not overly sweetened and I know the exact ingredients that they contain. Being South African I'm never far away from a bag of biltong. I love blending greens, mint, lime and coconut water with a raw egg yolk and collagen for an on-the-go smoothie.
Traveling with a small sachet of coconut oil which can be added to a black coffee in an emergency really helps and failing which if totally unprepared an opportunity for intermittent fasting never hurts.
CA: Your favorite quick meal to prepare at home?
DC: Kale, fried egg in coconut oil and buffalo burgers (which I always have a small stash in freezer) — faster than ordering a take out for delivery!
CA: Do you consume alcohol? Explain why you think it is or isn’t a good idea.
DC: Yes I do consume wine, although I do have two dry months in the year (January and September). I don't think it is a good idea as alcohol is damaging in so many ways both physically and emotionally. That being said, socially there is a time and place for it and I love nothing more than having a glass of red wine in winter next to the fire or a glass of rosé in summer sitting around the BBQ with friends.
CA: In terms of food, what is your guilty pleasure?
DC: Coconut Collabs raw chocolate dipped coconut ice-creams — utterly heavenly and way healthier than regular ice-creams. My absolute weakness is potato crisps which thankfully I have recently found a healthier version that are baked in coconut oil in my local health shop, they may be expensive but a small packet is all that is needed to curb a craving. 80/20 all the way in my home — there is no such thing as guilt which is how we have stayed consistent for 8 years!
From my country kitchen in Surrey UK I create recipes that I really hope will inspire people to cook, especially parents with little children! Wholesome baking and cooking using fresh, natural, and wholesome ingredients should not be complicated or boring, but rather fun and something the whole family can enjoy whilst still being utterly delicious! Being a Primal Certified Health Coach I feel that good health starts in the kitchen.