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.
Jessica Pantermuehl 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?
JP: I'm more of a "go anywhere and make do with what's on the menu", but fortunately, in Los Angeles, there are so many healthy options available that it's not very difficult to make good decisions.
It's also pretty rare that I go out to eat, so when I do, I'm not overly concerned with strict adherence to my typical diet. I love exploring new foods, and fortunately don't have any severe food allergies or intolerances, so my favorite kind of eating out involves trying new dishes and ethnicities, which don't always follow the guidelines I normally stick to.
CA: Most memorable restaurant meal in (or near) Los Angeles?
JP: Meals by Genet in West LA. It's a small Ethiopian restaurant with the most delicious lamb stew and injera (bread made from fermented teff).
Meals by Genet
CA: Most memorable restaurant meal outside of Los Angeles?
JP: Chicken tikka masala at an Indian restaurant in London. How does London have such incredible Indian food?
CA: For people with special diets, how do you suggest they talk with restaurant staff in order to get what they need?
JP:Don't feel like you need to be bashful about courteously communicating your needs. Food allergies and special diets are becoming more and more common, so it's likely something the restaurant staff has encountered before. If you are on a very restrictive diet, it's a good idea to look at their menu online before you go to get a lay of the land. If you have a long list of unusual restrictions. it's not a bad idea to call the restaurant itself beforehand to ensure they can accommodate you.
CA: Do you prepare an emergency meal when you travel? If so, what do you include?
JP: If I'm going to be on a long flight, I generally will pack something for myself so that I'm not at the mercy of airport food.
Unfortunately, some of the easiest-to-pack meal-type foods aren't particularly plane-friendly (sardines, tuna), so I usually rely on more snack-type foods when I travel, such as sweet potato chips with some nut butter, walnuts with dried blueberries, an Epic bar, or a plain avocado.
I brought sardines on a plane once and felt like the most inconsiderate person of all time when I opened them, so I try to keep my travel food passenger-friendly!
I also always bring a large tumbler and herbal tea sachets with me during flights, and tend to rely on that more than food when I travel. Any coffee shop in the airport will fill up your tumbler with hot water for you, and the flight attendants will as well. For me, it makes the entire traveling experience much more relaxed.
CA: Your favorite quick meal to prepare at home?
JP: I usually prep a big batch of my go-to salad over the weekend that I can throw some quick protein and healthy fat into when I get busy during the week. I make my salad with red cabbage, lacinato kale, and fresh parsley.
For dressing, I use a blend of equal parts olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and fresh lemon from my lemon tree. I usually slice in some avocado for an additional boost of healthy fat, or sprinkle in some nuts or seeds. I practice seed cycling to support hormonal health, which means, every day, I have a tablespoon each of ground flax and pumpkin seeds during my follicular phase (day 1 of menstruation through day 14), and a tablespoon each of ground sesame and sunflower seeds during my luteal phase (day 15 through 28). If I didn't get my seeds in during my breakfast, I'll add them to my salad.
As far as protein goes, most often I'll do ground turkey or a few sardines, otherwise I'll add chicken or a little beef. I try to have fermented vegetables daily, and this salad is a great place to get them in - fermented beets are particularly good with it!
CA: Do you consume alcohol? Explain why you think it is or isn't a good idea.
JP: Every few months or so I'll have a glass of wine, but I generally don't consume alcohol. Living in Los Angeles, my liver has enough environmental toxins to contend with!
Ironically, my go-to methods of unwinding tend to promote detoxification. Two of my favorites include some time in my infrared sauna, or a long detox bath with a good book (in my detox bath, I use equal parts Epsom salt and baking soda, a slightly lesser amount of Ancient Minerals magnesium flakes, and a few drops of lavender essential oil).
CA: In terms of food, what is your guilty pleasure?
JP: It's probably a little cliché, but dark chocolate all the way. And good coffee. Even better, dark chocolate with coffee bits inside of it!
For a relatively healthy treat, I like stirring a tiny amount of honey into a few spoonfuls of coconut butter and eating it straight from a little bowl with my little spoon :) Small utensils make treats last longer and taste better!
Jessica Pantermuehl is a nutritional therapy practitioner specializing in helping women resolve digestive issues, balance blood sugar levels, resolve PMS and prepare their bodies for healthy pregnancies. In addition to working with clients in her private practice, she serves as the Head of Nutrition Counseling for integrative medical practice Angel Longevity Medical Center.