Oil Free & Dining Out? | The Do’s & Don’ts

One of the greatest challenges I face (and my clients) while living an oil free lifestyle is the social aspect of food. It’s a large part of social living here in the United States, and everywhere else, really.

Maintaining an oil free diet while dining out is not the easiest activity, especially if you don’t know how to do it, or what questions to ask!

When you become more health aware, exposure to mass amounts of information naturally lead to new patterns of healthy living 🙂 ,  if you’re looking to get well.

My idea of food changed in 2007 after watching a documentary, Food Matters. It influenced me enough to change my lifestyle literally the next day. My soul sister was visiting from Maui when she had suggested it to me, knowing that I was fascinated with health and nutrition. Throughout the entire documentary, I was amazed with the amount of information about whole foods, various nutritional therapies, government regulations, and how passionate these Doctors shared their passions of nutritional therapy with such heart, conviction, knowledge, and wisdom. Each moment of the film drastically morphed my perception of life and heath into further understanding my body as a whole, and what I needed to do to reinforce quality food as the foundation to my lifestyle.

The very next day, I drove straight down to my local health food store and fully stocked my shopping cart with loads of greens, veggies, and fruits load into my blender to pulverize.

The goal was to apply the foundation and principles I had absorbed from the documentary; To receive nutrition from plant based foods, and flood my body with the ever-so lacking nutrition.

The foundation I began to adopt as my set of principles highly began to influence what I ate, beyond what I ate at home.

I began paying much closer attention to menu options, sourcing, and preparations of food. Some may have thought I was over the top, but in reality, it didn’t matter! I took, and still take my health very seriously.

Fast forward to today, I currently live an oil free lifestyle that consists of mostly plant based food options, fermented foods, raw foods, fermented dairy, and cooked foods that are composed of grains or specific starches.

How do you eat out and live an oil free lifestyle?

No matter what restaurant you go to, it’s always easy to order a salad. But the reality is, not everyone is going to want to order a salad, like me 😉 

So, how can you eat out an enjoy a nice evening with friends or family if you’re sticking to oil free lifestyle? 

I’d like to take this brief moment to clarify that oil free eating does not classify as vegan,  nor vegetarian. Nor do I label myself as vegan nor vegetarian.

I’m going to break down how to order proteins, starches, and vegetables for you…The main elements on a dinner plate 🙂 


Protein

Fish

The first think you want to look at with fish is if it’s wild caught, or raised sustainably. Don’t let “Sustainably farmed,” fool you. The best way to think of sustainable raised fish is like so…Fish swimming in their own pools of infection. Living, breathing, and eating within an infected area.

It’s always best to order wild caught!

The farmed salmon, living in close quarters in the nets, are highly susceptible to diseases and parasites, such as sea lice, which can be transmitted to wild salmon that swim near the farm. When producers then treat the farmed fish with antibiotics or paraciticides, residues of chemicals can have a range of negative impacts on consumer health. Salmon production can also increase fishing pressure on wild stocks, because it takes about 3 to 4 pounds of wild fish in feed to raise one pound of farmed salmon.    FThe good news is that wild Alaskan salmon populations are well managed and sustainable, so choose wild salmon over farmed for your health and to protect the environment.

[Source]

So, the choice is yours. If you’d like to consume sick fish, then go right ahead. Otherwise, go with wild caught. 

For preparation, it would be best to order your fish pan seared without oil. 

Depending on the restaurant, some will have no problem pan searing in water. There have even been a few places that have even steamed my fish! 

At first, your waiter may look very confused by your request with no oil. I’ve seen this look 100 times, and 99% of the time, its been done!

 

Red Meat

The first step to ordering red meat is making sure it’s grass fed, organic, and hasn’t had any hormone or antibiotic exposure. Consuming meats with these types of exposures have been shown to be a huge health detriment that many Americans are still unaware of.

For further information, click here.

If you eat red meat, the best way to request this would be pan seared (as close to rare) without oil. 

This is also a prep method your waiter may need more clarity on, as they may not have had this request before. Like fish, let them know you’ve had it prepared this way plenty of times with no problemo 🙂

They may say that they can prepare your meat in butter instead of oil. If this is the case, & they’re not willing to prepare your meat to your request, then okay…go for it. Better to be REAL butter than processed oil.

Most meats are prepared over the flame on a grill. This’ll be something  you’ll want to deviate away from if you’re wanting to embrace your health…

Tust me, I love BBQ, as I was raised on it. However, long term, studies show how these denatured fats, proteins, and cross linked sugars negatively effect the DNA structure.

With the great amounts of research that support the carcinogenic effect of BBQ food, pan searing your meats would be considered one of the safest methods of prep!

Chemicals Formed During Grilling Frying and Barbecuing Heterocyclic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are chemicals that are formed during the grilling and frying and barbecuing of certain so called “muscle meats” such as beef, pork, poultry and fish . Muscles have a lot of protein and the building blocks of proteins are called amino acids. When amino acids are exposed to the cooking processes of grilling, barbecuing and frying, heterocyclic amines also called amino-imidazoazaarenes (AIAs) are created.

According to the NIH artice, “Research has shown that cooking certain meats at high temperatures creates chemicals that are not present in uncooked meats. A few of these chemicals may increase cancer risk. For example, heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are the carcinogenic chemicals formed from the cooking of muscle meats such as beef, pork, fowl, and fish. HCAs form when amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) and creatine (a chemical found in muscles) react at high cooking temperatures.”

[Source]

When I was eating red meat, I was searing it in a stainless steel pan with a 1/4 inch of simmering water. There was no absence in flavor or texture in a negative way whatsoever. Actually, there was much more flavor, aroma, and it was most definitely much more digestible!

While dining out, I’ve experienced very few issues where the chef is unwilling to prepare my meat pan seared this way.

Again, if they refuse to prepare in water, and only allow searing in butter due to their cookware, then yes pan searing in REAL butter would be the best option.

 

Poultry

Okay, you may not like this. From what I have learned, absorbed, conceptualized, and applied, I do not like to advocate any type of poultry. Poultry has to be completely cooked, with not one bit of “raw.” The best way I like to explain this is like so….

If you were to take your hand and place it over a flame for 20 minutes, do you think you would have function left of your hand? Your answer should be “NO….”

So, if you’ve lost function of your hand because its been burnt to a crisp, then how do you think your body is supposed to utilize the nutrition that is supposedly available in fully torched poultry, or any other meat, really?

When your body consumes such a food, it literally has to find a way to break it down, as it’s also reacting to it as a foreign invader, with the body on high alert status.

Aside from that, due to the mass production and demand of poultry in the US, meat and eggs that are poultry derived have not undergone the full immune maturation process.

Baby birds are born with an incomplete immune system. Maternal immunity is passed on in the amniotic fluid and yolk of the egg. It is transferred to the embryo when it swallows amniotic fluid during hatch and in the absorption of the egg yolk after hatch.² These antibodies give the newly hatched chick’s immunity a start while their own system is developing.

The bird’s immune system begins developing before hatch and is complete by sexual maturity. One of the most important stages of this development happens in the first six weeks of the chick’s life, when gene conversion is taking place in the bursa.

[Source]

As we’ve read, animals that are subjected to factory farming are forced to grow at rapid rates, beyond what they’re body’s are capable or built to do on their own.

An immature bird = no established immune system = pathogenic contaminants when consuming = suppressed human immune system

The best thing to do in the situation of choosing a poultry dish is to simply not order it.

Sorry! But it’s for your health 🙂

 

Starches

Most starches can be prepped by steaming, boiling, or baking. 

Potatoes are easy. I love to request a simple baked potato with a side of sour cream & chives 🙂

Surprisingly, not all restaurants are able to prepare a baked potato, dependent on their kitchen capacity. So, this has been about a 50/50 chance. 

If this isn’t an option, then I’ll just ask for them to prepare their potatoes or other starches without oil.

Anything is easy to steam or boil 🙂

Some of the common restaurant starches:

  • Sweet Potatoes, yams, taro
  • Russet potatoes, red potatoes, yukon,  fingerling, etc.
  • Winter Squash, such as acorn or butternut squash
  • Beans
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Green Peas
  • Parsnips
  • Plantain
  • Pumpkin

 

By now, you may feel like you’d be embarrassed to ask for all of these special requests. However, let me remind you that your health is priceless, restaurants are becoming much more health conscious, and wherever you dine WANTS your business! 9 times out of 10, they’ll do what they can to accommodate you 🙂

Now, there’s also the situation where the chef preps certain dishes ahead of time, where no modifications can be made. There’s no real wiggle room for that one, so perhaps you can look a your side options, making sure they can prepare them oil free 🙂

 

Grains

From experience, grains have come pretty easy when it comes to ordering out. All if not all can be prepared simply with no oil 🙂

Majority of the grains available when dining out are:

  • Amaranth
  • Corn
  • Millet
  • Oats, including oatmeal
  • Quinoa
  • Rice, both brown rice and colored rice
  • Rye
  • Triticale
  • Wheat, including varieties such as spelt, emmer, farro, einkorn, Kamut, durum and forms such as bulgur, cracked wheat and wheatberries
  • Wild rice

When ordering pasta, it may be challenging to achieve no oil, because most sauces are made with it. However, I’ve dined at some places where they have been more than happy to accommodate my request. Often, it depends on how you ask, and who you ask 😉

 

Vegetables

Vegetables are a bit easier to order when eating out 🙂

Whether they’re in a cream sauce, sauteed in oil, or however they prep them, it’s best to order them as a simple light steam 🙂 Even a lemon saute!

 

Salads

Salads are another easy one! Welcome all the veggies you want.

Scratch the dressing, crispy bacon, fried onions, tortilla chips, or anything that’s been in the fryer.

For dressing options, almost all restaurants will have Balsamic WITHOUT oil. Make sure to emphasize the no oil part. There seems to be a large miscommunication with this one, or just use lemon. Lemon can get a bit boring though…

Add some avocado to meet that desired dressing creaminess to satisfy your oil craving 🙂


 

Overall, eating out is pretty basic, and could even seem boring to you!

It may seem challenging at first when you are learning this process of how to maintain an oil free lifestyle, while also experiencing the restaurant world. 

Regardless of whatever type of dish you’re having, the goal is to ask your server if the chef can prepare your entree with NO OIL!

I hope you find this helpful, as I’ve learned this process through my own oil free living! If you have questions, please feel free to contact me 🙂

There is a way you can eat out while still supporting your health! It just takes a little experience to get it down pact!


Popular restaurants that have been more than happy to accommodate oil free preferences in Los Angeles & Orange County:

Real Food Daily – Plant based
True Foods Kitchen – Farm to table
Ollo – Farm to Table
The Water Grill – Seafood & Meat
Au Lac – Vegan
Healthy Organic Positive Eating – Vegan, Vietnamese
Mother’s Market & Kitchen -Vegan, Vegetarian
Ivy At The Shore – Italian
Kaya Sushi – Sushi, Vegan rolls
Kreation – Plant Based

 

If there are any restaurants that you’ve eaten at that have accommodated your lifestyle, please feel free to leave a comment! Let us know how you prefer to eat, and what your favorite restaurant of choice is!

 

Great love & support,

Tannisha

 

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