Taking Your Anti-Inflammatory Diet Wherever You Go

This blog is sixth in a series on implementing an anti-inflammatory lifestyle (If you’d like to start at the beginning please see Inflammation – An Epidemic posted March 31, 2013). 

Now that you know more about how to eat to fight chronic inflammation it’s time to put your new diet into practise.  The challenge for most is that because of our busy lives we often find ourselves eating out.  Take-out, restaurants, social events, friend’s houses, travelling…it is harder to control what we eat when we are not doing the grocery shopping.

But don’t let your busy lifestyle get in the way of healthy eating, it can be done. 

Take-out: Most often take-out happens at lunch while we are at work.  Make a list of healthier take-out options around your workplace.  Look for fresh salad bars (try the grocery store) with protein options like chicken, salmon, eggs and legumes.  Avoid fried take-out food, white potatoes, white rice, pasta and bread.  Freshii is a North American chain that offers salads with a variety of protein options.  It also has brown rice or quinoa bowls but note that take-out ALWAYS serves too much starchy carbohydrates.  You can ask for ½ the rice or quinoa and double the vegetables and they will do it.  Try this at other establishments as well.

Restaurants: It is easier to custom order at restaurants.  Research restaurants on-line first to make sure they have an anti-inflammatory menu and are open to making substitutions.  Again skip the white potatoes, white rice, pasta and bread and stick with protein and vegetables.  If you’d like some starchy carbohydrate have a small handful of brown rice, quinoa, sweet potato or legumes.  Adding fat to a meal (avocado, olive oil, butter, nuts, cheese) will help you feel full and satisfied.

Social Events and Friend’s Houses: These are trickier situations, often at social events you have less control over your food choices.  Make sure you eat something before you go.  The more hungry you are the less control you’ll have, and you don’t want to consume half the bread basket (you want to avoid it).    When with friends don’t be shy to discuss your health goals and give them a heads up if you are avoiding gluten, dairy or other foods.  Offer to bring a dish that you know you can eat.

Travelling: Whether you are travelling for work or pleasure always pack some healthy snacks (nuts, protein bars – Vega is a good brand) so you can avoid picking up junk at the airport or cookies in between meetings.  Breakfast is usually not a problem because oatmeal or eggs are always on the menu.  Avoid potato, breads and pastries.  If doing gluten-free bring your own bread, I’ve never been to a hotel or restaurant that won’t toast it for me.  And keep the treats as treats, while away don’t have dessert twice a day.  Stick to your regular eating routine as much as you can, having a treat here and there is fine.  Overdue it and it will be hard to get back to healthy eating when you return!

One last point, keep the caffeine and alcohol down.  Use food for fuel not caffeine.  Limited consumption of red wine is your best alcoholic choice.