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.
Nora Gedgaudas from Portland, Oregon
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?
NG: In short, YES — I do generally put quite a bit of thought to where I eat out. Occasionally, I am invited to meet friends somewhere and I just make due as best I can. But I am fortunate here in Portland, Oregon to have quite a number of restaurants that have a farm-to-fork menu, and most offer good gluten-free menus/options, as well.
CA: Most memorable restaurant meal in (or near) Portland?
NG: Wow — that's a real toss-up. Brooklyn House Restaurant in SE Portland works the hardest of any restaurant in town I have found to do all the right things and provide all of their meats, vegetables and other complements — all the way to their wines and distilled spirits — from totally organic, biodynamic, sustainable and/or fully pastured sources. The level of detailed attention to quality and sustainability is pretty unmatched. They also have a 100% dedicated gluten-free kitchen, and are able to accommodate virtually any food sensitivity beyond that that a person might have — all without any weirdness. And the food and atmosphere is really great. So I have been the most impressed with them.
I have also had some pretty fabulous meals at Ox — an Argentine-themed restaurant with some tantalizingly amazing nose-to-tail options.
On the lower-priced side, Verde Cocina is a farm-to-fork, family owned Mexican restaurant that puts a strong emphasis on fresh vegetables on the plate, along with pastured meats and a 100% dedicated gluten-free kitchen and menu.
I have also had some memorable meals outdoors on the rooftop of the Nines Hotel downtown (the restaurant is called Departure). The chef (Chef Gregory) is very Paleo oriented, and is a former winner on The Food Channel's 'Cutthroat Kitchen'. They offer a really decent quality gluten-free menu (the Brussels sprouts are amazing) and the view on a summer's evening is incredible.
CA: Most memorable restaurant meal outside of Portland?
NG: There is a little out of the way café in Byron Bay, Australia called "The Roadhouse". It is a small, unassuming semi-hidden, casual dining environment that has quite a bit of character. They culture their own vegetables and make everything fresh (farm-to-fork and locally caught seafood). The proprietor, Liam Flanagan (now one of my favorite humans) actually recognized me when I came in the first time and his recipes and approach to his menu according to him are largely inspired by my work (so what's not to love, right?). I still have dreams about some of the meals I've had there. All the right touches.
CA: For people with special diets, how do you suggest they talk with restaurant staff in order to get what they need?
NG: When the wait person arrives at the table, I always let them know right away that "You should know that I am both gluten and dairy free and that I don't do any starch at all... but I am also very nice about it and I tend to tip well." They generally get a good laugh and respond really well to that. I also make a point of asking what things are cooked in (i.e. what type of fats/oils) when ordering and always make a point about asking for fully grass-fed options when it comes to meats.
I believe that it is important to be clear about what it is we are looking for when we eat out or shop in a grocery store and that we make sure that the proprietors know. This way, they are alerted to what the customers want (and what they don't want). I also make a point of letting them know what I love about what they are doing, when I see them doing the right things. It's important to let businesses know about the good stuff, too. I am always pleasant about it all in any case and I have found that most establishments respond well.
CA: Do you prepare an emergency meal when you travel? If so, what do you include?
NG: I do tend to travel with my own food quite a bit. I have a really great jerky recipe (you can find it in my new book, Primal Fat Burner) and some others that tend to travel well. A lot depends on where I am going and what I am likely to find there. That said, there aren't many places where I feel confident I will find what I am comfortable eating, so I am often grateful to have that fat burning metabolism that allows me to go for long stretches without eating when I need to. ;-) Most cities have some form of natural market I can stop at to pick up a few provisions, too. More often than not I end up doing that, and make sure that I have a small refrigerator in my hotel room. When I traveled to Peru last year I was grateful to have brought along quite a few of my own provisions, for sure. Otherwise I might have starved most places. It's all beans, rice and potatoes there... and lots of nasty vegetable oils.
CA: Your favorite quick meal to prepare at home?
NG: I will make large pots of hearty bone broth-based soups and/or chili that I make large batches of and can be reheated in a pinch for a quick and easy meal. Or mixed vegetable salad with sautéed ground beef on top. Just last night, though, we had some left over thinly sliced roasted pork where we laid the slices out, added a little bit of Kite Hill garlic-chive almond cheese, along with a little cultured beet kraut and a bunch of broccoli sprouts, which we then just rolled up and snacked on while watching Netflix. Easy peasy in a pinch and oh so delicious!
CA: In terms of food, what is your guilty pleasure?
NG: Bacon. But I'm fussy about it. I like to buy totally uncured and unseasoned bacon (US Wellness meats sells a DIY bacon) and then do all the seasoning myself, typically adding garlicy salt and pepper and then baking it in the oven at 350° for about 20 minutes. OOH la-la, va-VOOM! It tastes SO much better than regularly cured bacon it isn't even funny.
Nora Gedgaudas, CNS, CNT, BCHN is the author of the international best-selling book, 'Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and A Longer Life'. She is also the author of the top-selling ebook: 'Rethinking Fatigue: What Your Adrenals Are Really Telling You and What You Can Do About It'. Her newly released book (Simon & Schuster and Allen & Unwin in the UK, 2017), 'Primal Fat Burner: Live Longer, Slow Aging, Super-Power Your Brain, and Save Your Life With A High Fat, Low-Carb Paleo Diet' has been lauded by critics everywhere and by best selling author and journalist, Nina Teicholz as “a unique and profound contribution to the field.”
Nora is an experienced nutritional consultant, speaker and educator, widely interviewed on national and international radio, popular podcasts, online summits, television and film. Her own popular podcasts are widely listened to on iTunes and are available for free download at her website. She maintains a private practice in Portland, Oregon as both a Board-Certified nutritional consultant and a Board-Certified clinical Neurofeedback Specialist.