Can you still dine out and keep to your raw diet? Sometimes what is holding people back from eating an all raw diet is the missed social experiences. This can be a huge drawback for some who would really miss having these important experiences with their friends and family. It can even keep some people from adopting a healthier diet altogether. But it doesn’t have to.
You can stay raw and still enjoy going out with people, and you don’t have to look strange either. I have in the past brought my own food to a restaurant, or asked the server to make me something off the menu. I often felt like an outcast when I did this, which could sometimes even ruin my entire experience. Other times, I left hungry and not satisfied, and felt like there wasn’t even a point in going out at all if I can’t enjoy it.
What I wanted to talk about now is how you can go out and socialize, without too much compromise to your diet but also without throwing in the towel altogether. There are three basic principles that will help you with this difficult task, and make the experience more enjoyable. It has a lot to do with preparation, mindset, and possibly a little bit of compromise.
The first step is…
1.Decide that you are going out for the social experience, not for food entertainment.
This is very important. If you go out looking at the situation as an opportunity to spend time with someone or the people you love, then you are going in with a whole different mentality. Restaurants are often seen as a source of “foodertainment” or using the taste of food as a way of entertaining ourselves. This isn’t something that is “wrong” but it can make some situations less enjoyable when you feel like you aren’t able to have as much fun as other people.
But if you see the situation in a different light – as a social experience – you will put your focus more on the social aspects of relating to others instead of on the food (that you may regret after anyway). You will create more in-depth conversation, connection and come across more warmly if you are focusing on the people you are with.
It will also create less attention on your different way of eating, and therefore not make that a division between yourself and the others at your table. Use this opportunity as a way of connecting with someone and not about talking about why raw food is the best (cause we already know it is right?! lol).
This is something I always do before I go out to eat – I eat! It might sound a bit weird and even counter-intuitive, but if your goal is to socialize and not worry about food, then you should make sure you’re not starving before you go out.
I’ll often make myself a large smoothie before going to a restaurant so that I have less cravings and feels mostly satiated. Then when I get to the restaurant, if there isn’t much on the menu that I would like to eat, I don’t have to worry too much. I can just choose something and eat as much as I want.
The third step is to…
3. Find the “raw-est” item on the menu.
This is where your level of compromise will come in. If you’re ok with a little bit of oil, salt or flavorings that you wouldn’t usually eat, then you can choose to compromise with enjoying something straight off the menu.
But you also don’t have to be afraid of altering some things on the menu either to suit your preferences. Waiters are used to this in our day and age and you should usually not have too much of a problem.
Most places will have some kind of a salad option. This is probably your safest bet most of the time, and if you are already mostly full from your pre-meal warmup, you should feel fairly satisfied afterwards. You can also take a look at other items on the menu and see if you can order them as a side or added onto your meal.
Of course, this part is entirely up to you and what your preferences are. You are not obliged to eat anything you don’t want, and you can also likely afford some compromise if you are otherwise healthy. If going out is something you are going to do regularly, you might want to think about finding ways to compromise less on your diet by becoming familiar with certain restaurants or calling ahead to ask questions. If you still do want to bring your own dressing or avocado, by all means, do it! This is about finding what you are comfortable with, while still being able to enjoy your experiences out with other people.
I hope this article will help some people not fear social gatherings and feel like they can relax and enjoy the experience a bit more. Having a different way of eating doesn’t have to mean having a dull life. You can still feel free to experience the same things other people do, without making your lifestyle too much a part of your identity. So enjoy your friends and family AND your raw diet too!