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Low carber avoiding restaurants

Since I started eating low carb to control diabetes I find myself not wanting to go the restaurants much anymore. Now, before this dietary change nobody liked eating out more than I did. My favorite thing was getting together with friends for an extended cocktail hour then sharing a meal @ a restaurant. Now, I’d rather eat @ home because I have the components to make low carb meals available. I know I can eat low carb at most restaurants if I choose wisely and I do but I feel “cheated” that I can’t eat what I want there be it bread, pasta, pizza, potatoes, rice, starchy vegetables, dessert etc. The restaurant experience doesn’t seem worth it now if I’m only having a steak or a piece of fish and a salad. I can cook that easily @ home for a fraction of the cost. I’m surprised that more good restaurants don’t offer low carbers options like baked goods both sweet & savory made with wheat flour alternatives like nut flours or lower carb sides and tout these on the menu. Waiters are generally clueless when you ask questions about ingredients/preparation of items on their menu. I thought there are millions of people eating low carb in the US, like the Atkins Diet adherents? Do fellow low carbers avoid restaurants too? For me the thrill is gone!

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  1. We eat out a lot less not due to low carb (both of us, husband has no health issues, but feels better, stays slim and not hungry on lc) but since I've become more concerned about the quality and sources of our food environmentally and health and humane wise.

    We love eating out, make sure to pick a menu that has plenty of veg and proteins on it, and can pretty much always sub, whether it's lobster salad atop greens instead of a roll, or veg subbed for spuds, or pasta at Italian. Thai is the one thing I avoid, so much of it has too much sugar in it for my taste or health, Korean is tough, too. Last night I made Banh mi and we ate them on low carb flat breads. Next time I'll probably skip the bread and use more cuke and herbs and pickled stuff.

    If you're hungry, it's hard to resist good breads brought to table while you wait, but if it's never brought to the table, we find we don't miss it at all.

    Restaurants are really accommodating about veg subs, they're very used to that. Desserts are another matter. We rarely have room or desire (it would have to be extra wonderful and unusual), but if ordered, it's always split two ways, and flourless choc cake (one chef makes it with almond flour) dark chocolate molten chocolate cake or mousse are occasionally OK. Someetimes we'll come home and make some coffee and have a dessert I've made.

    We're at very different points in our journeys with lc for diabetes; it's been many years for me, and I can't say the cravings went away in the earlier years. But the lower carb I went, the less I wanted sweets to where even stuff I have in the house can sit around uneaten and I am rarely moved to bake any desserts. I find myself tossing out dark chocolate chips, carbalose flour and carbquik due to their age and lack of use. Took years of adjustments, though.

    5 Replies
    1. re: mcf

      Hopefully, I'll evolve like you have but now I do feel cheated.

      1. re: zackly

        I can only tell you from hindsight what I (and many others I know of online and personally) learned over time. When you first start low carbing, you really miss all the stuff you ate that got you into trouble, and put a lot of energy into making lower carb versions of those. The problem for *some* is that seems to keep the cravings alive, even if those sweet or starchy things don't raise glucose a lot.

        And it was years and years of gradual changes in response to my continual documentation of what I was eating and what worked best for me.

        That doesn't mean it will go the same way for you or another person, but I just lost my taste for sweets almost all the time, or have them seldom enough that they aren't triggering me to want more. It's not will power or virtue, it happened over a long time. In fact, when I first bought lower carb noodles, it was a couple of months before I even bothered to try them (DH likes them now and then). Just an anecdote. In the first years, I tried all sorts of low carb, ersatz versions of carby foods.

        If staying out of restaurants is helping you keep all your parts attached and working, congrats for making that choice to change.

        This is a marathon, not a sprint, so whatever you do to stay on course now may not be what you feel you need to do down the road a piece. Pay attention to what works for *you* and adjust when it feels like it makes sense.

        1. re: mcf

          I agree, after being low carb for most of my life the carb food literally does not exist in my mind so it's not about willpower I just don't eat it.

          1. re: mcf

            whether it's carbs or calories or anything else, for the most part my friend's admonition to me has been accurate:

            "You crave what you eat."

            the longer i go without eating a particular food or a particular category of food, the less i crave it.

            1. re: westsidegal

              Not equally, across macronutrients.

              In studies, anyway. YMMV.

      2. I know what you mean. I've been mostly avoiding restaurants too. I am OK avoiding the obvious starches for the most part but the hidden sugar is problematic. Last week we took my mother in law out for lunch and my salad had a raspberry vinigarette that must have added sweetener. I had a few pieces of calamari even though I know that was a no go. Desserts have never been very appealing to me so I can easily skip them.

        1. "I know I can eat low carb at most restaurants if I choose wisely and I do but I feel “cheated” that I can’t eat what I want there be it bread, pasta, pizza, potatoes, rice, starchy vegetables, dessert etc. The restaurant experience doesn’t seem worth it now if I’m only having a steak or a piece of fish and a salad. I can cook that easily @ home for a fraction of the cost."

          But can't you cook bread, pasta, pizza, potatoes, rice, starchy veg and dessert at home for a fraction of the cost? It's not making sense to me why not eating the bread ruins the experience for you. Is it just the temptation and feeling limited instead of being able to enjoy the entire menu? I guess you have to embrace the experience and service and enjoy not having to cook or clean.

          I'm sure there are some restaurants - vegetarian, vegan, or otherwise catering to special diets that might feature low carb sides and desserts, but otherwise, most chefs aren't that interested in whether you prefer cauliflower to rice. Order off the menu and make substitutions if they are allowed, and have cheese for dessert. Pastry chefs are there to make splurge-worthy desserts. A good dessert menu should have options - I always tried to have something on the less sweet side, and something gluten free or dairy free, but those are still going to have some sugar and probably fruit. What low carb dessert can you think of that would have enough mass appeal to stay on the menu? Slow sellers are the ones to get replaced, it's not worth making something that you sell 1 or 2 of a night.

          I understand that you're frustrated by having to cut out all these foods from your diet, but I think it is unfair to blame restaurants just because you feel limited.

          6 Replies
          1. re: babette feasts

            Those are really good points, but as for the last, I didn't see any blaming of restaurants, just a wish for more choices.

            It takes a while to stop pining for the carbs and to start thinking of them as a waste of time and taste buds, at least a long time for me, but it happened.

            If I know I'm going somewhere with a pastry chef and excellent desserts, I plan for it, don't eat carbs that day or at dinner except for veg, and I share the dessert.

            One of the most lauded places around here makes an almond meal based flourless chocolate cake, always a menu staple, and a really different twist on the item.

            1. re: mcf

              You're right, it's not blame, just wishing.

            2. re: babette feasts

              I'm not blaming restaurants at all. They should make what sells. I just wondered out loud why they don't cater more to low carbers if in fact there are so many of us. I think that many people who low carb for weight maintenance vs people with metabolic disorders "cheat" when the dine out which is fine. As far as low carb desserts I made this last weekend for friends and it got rave reviews:
              http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/dess...
              I also make fruit cobblers and chocolate or coconut cake with almond flour & coconut flour and artificial sweeteners that are fairly low carb. Because restaurants don't cater more to my eating habits I'm choosing to stay away.

              1. re: zackly

                As a pastry chef, I would NEVER use artificial sweeteners. To me, they are not food. Maybe you know more about them than I do, but I'm in the 'less of something real rather than more of something fake' camp. But I don't have diabetes (yet), and I'm pretty sure I could live with a cheese plate for dessert.

                Maybe restaurants focusing more on small plates rather than traditional entrees would be more satisfying for you? Tapas style, where you have more selection and don't have to try to make substitutions.

                Here is the menu from a good local (to me) tapas restaurant. Would you be able to find a meal in all of this? http://www.harvestvine.com/files/Harv...

                1. re: babette feasts

                  I should have written sugar alternatives like erythritol or xylitol which are considered "natural", whatever that means. Being diabetic I have the choice of sugar or one of these. Sugar, I know, will kill me the alternatives maybe not. As far as the menu which is very low carb friendly by the way, I know what to order, that's not my problem. My problem is I want what I can't have.

                2. re: zackly

                  They don't offer it in part because they get a better profit on the cr@ppy fake food made from non-nutritious, high-carb fillers.

                  If it doesn't come naturally to one to ignore empty taste and value foods, then the real work is in re-wiring one's mindset to perceive foods more accurately.

                  Break the association correlating mom's teat and instant gratification to healthy and appropriate eating habits as an adult.

                  Teaching oneself effective self-soothing habits to fill unmet emotional needs goes a long way towards repairing that leaking dike.

                  It's harder work for some than others, but the potential is real and the rewards are well-worth it.

              2. I'm not a low carber but I generally avoid restaurants because I can usually make the same thing at home for a lot cheaper. Usually we only go out to places where it would be too time intensive or complex to make the dishes which, in my Midwestern city, doesn't leave a lot of options! We usually invite friends over or they us. However, I do think that restaurants should offer more low carb friendly options. Considering it's a diet movement that's been here for over a decade at least, you'd think they would. Gluten-free seems to be getting all the buzz these days, with a least 10 dishes touted as gluten free at a recent restaurant we visited. SMH.

                5 Replies
                1. re: BostonLover

                  That and food quality are pretty much the only reasons we go out to eat any more, too. Unless it's just a night we want to sit in a pub over Very Good Burgers (we have local grass fed, house ground ones nearby) with a brew or wine.

                  One of the best ways to go gluten free is low carb, minus any non starch components that might have traces of it, too, like some soy sauces, etc.

                  I think gluten and peanut sensitivities are getting so much play because the consequences are so dire when folks eat them, and a lot of non celiac folks seem to feel better avoiding wheat, especially, too, so big bandwagon.

                  Honestly, except for the amount of sugar in Thai and Korean foods, I can eat very well pretty much anywhere while low carbing. Even vegan places (*shudder*) have tempeh and other soy foods I could have with veggies.

                  1. re: BostonLover

                    It is odd that gluten free gets all the options, I think mcf has a good point about more dire consequences. It is also a lot easier for restaurants to offer a few gluten free things than to count grams of carbohydrate. Potatoes, rice, polenta - all gluten free and all cheap enough to round out an entree without raising the price. Gluten free desserts are easy too - custards, ice cream, crisps, mousses, flourless cakes - but low carb desserts without resorting to artificial sweeteners? Those would be harder. Restaurants also have to consider the ingredient and labor costs. You can't please everyone all of the time, but I think most good restaurants do try to offer some options for various diets. And you can always call ahead and ask the chef about low carb options. Talking to the people who actually make the food may get you farther than the 'generally clueless' waitstaff.

                    1. re: babette feasts

                      Yes, and while there are serious consequences for diabetics, they are not acute, immediate and gut wrenching, as a rule, damage is more cumulative over time.

                      Sugar alcohols are considered natural, though risky for restaurants where some folks may have gastric issues and can also produce an unwanted cooling effect, stevia is a taste not for all, agave has some serious potential for metabolic harm, inulin the gut thing again... mixing a few together usually produces superior sweetening with less or none of the icky stuff.

                      My defualt for quality and low carb is not all natural; I blend granular xylitol with liquid sucralose drops to lower the carbs in the former and avoid the bad taste and mouth feel I get from the latter. But I generally avoid making stuff that requires sweeteners, just not that interested or wanting it much any more.

                      1. re: babette feasts

                        This is a good site for low carb baking recipes.
                        https://www.facebook.com/LowCarbZen?f...
                        As a pastry chef is there much buzz in the industry regarding low carb desserts? I recently took a family cruise on Royal Caribbean and took a tour of the kitchen I asked the pastry chef about low carb desserts and he clearly did not know what I was asking. His reply was "sure, we offer many sugar free options". Like you said, gluten free is all over the place but low carb isn't.

                        1. re: zackly

                          No, no buzz about low carb. Sorry! There may be more low-carbers, but the gluten-free-ers are louder :( I think low carb seems 'over', because nobody talks about Atkins anymore, a lot of people don't take paleo seriously, and the GF, vegan, and allergic contingents have been louder & more demanding.

                    2. I empathize since as a vegetarian (who can't have much dairy) going out to eat can be difficult and/or frustrating.

                      I've found that ethnic restaurants are more accomodating- i'm not sure where you live but japanese restaurants often have a large selection of interesting vegetable preparations that are simply grilled, or pickled, and of course seaweed salad, as well as proteins that are often made with just miso or are plain with a flavorful soy sesame dipping sauce.
                      No tempting bread basket there!
                      Greek restaurants will have grilled fish, great vegetable sides and salads. Indian for kebobs and tandoori vegetable preparations. Peruvian for ceviche and roasted chicken, salads with avocado.....
                      Anyways. My point is that maybe you should look beyond the same restaurants you patronized before adapting this lifestyle for unique ethnic foods that still offer options that work for you yet are not what you prepare at home.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: Ttrockwood

                        Seaweed salad has sugar; that's why it tastes so good. A lot of restaurants get it pre-made and frozen, by the pound, and simply defrost.

                        Miso cod or other fish with miso is often marinated with sugar as well. Same for the soy-sesame dipping sauce.

                        You should also watch out for imitation crab/crab stick, which has hidden carbs and sugar.

                        1. re: kathryn

                          Japanese restaurant food is highly sweetened, much of it, from anything with teriyaki to pickled ginger, salad dressings, crab stick as you say and especially seaweed salad. Anything with teriyaki, too.

                          1. re: kathryn

                            Didn't realize that about the seaweed salad- i buy it often from whole foods and they just list seaweeds, sesame oil, sesame seeds, rice wine vinegar and chili flakes.....

                          2. re: Ttrockwood

                            Finding something to eat at restaurants is not my problem, finding something I want is:
                            I'll list by cuisines:

                            Most restaurants: Breadbasket, potatoes/French fries & sweet desserts

                            Chinese: Fried noodles, egg rolls, fried dumplings, batter dipped fried items

                            Mexican Chips for salsa, tortillas, rice

                            Italian Pasta, pizza, polenta, risotto, arancini, cannoli

                            Middle Eastern Pita

                            Indian Samosas, Nan & many carb rich dishes

                            I'm a big boy and I know what I have to do to stay healthy and I also count my blessings because they are many. I just love to cook and eat & I sorely miss many things that are not good for me.

                            1. re: zackly

                              Exactly, that's what some here are pointing out, albeit a little indirectly: It's a grief process (emotional and psychological), not a nutritional one (physiological).

                              Unless someone wants to quibble that the body can develop a physical addiction to foods... And addiction still leads back to emotional and psychological.

                              It's a tough nut to crack, that's for sure!

                              1. re: Enso

                                Food cravings are biochemical, not emotional. Driven by hormones.

                            2. re: Ttrockwood

                              Try being a ~low-fiber~ vegetarian. Hah!

                              All I can say is that it is great way to lose weight and save $$$, since super-limited/restrictive diets tend not to be catered to at commercial restaurants. It can leave one feeling like the lonely little alien on a strange planet.

                              That is pretty much what I am taking from this thread and from the OP. After a few weeks/months of trying to eat out...it dawned on me that it was soooo much easier just to cook for myself.

                              Luckily most Chowhounds seem to be fairly adept in the kitchen.

                              I tend to save restaurants for "social occasions". And I eat beforehand if need be. I can order sparkling water with a twist and push food around on the plate with the best of them.

                            3. No health issues as such, but we did start a minimum starch diet (one starch / week in moderation) about eight months ago. We've both lost 15 lbs - easiest and only effective weight-lost diet we've ever tried.

                              As you mentioned, eating out can be a challenge. Then again, it's not clear if our weight loss has been due to significantly reduced starches or simply not eating out much where restaurant food seems to be tends to be fatty /salty / laden with starches. Probably a combination.

                              For fast food, KFC original breast plus a side of slaw works fine for us when traveling or when we simply want fast food. Breakfast has been a challenge since I like potatoes and toast with my eggs, but meat and eggs with fresh fruit have worked out the few times we now eat breakfast out.

                              At home, we tend to substitute fresh apple slices in place of the typical side starch (potato, rice, pasta, etc). Dinner out now tends to be soup appetizer & salad or a meat with two non-starch vegetables, the few times we eat dinner out anymore.

                              1. You've been low carbing for a year now, right? At 75g/day?

                                I'm wondering if your cravings / desire to eat carby foods shouldn't have decreased by now.

                                Have you tried cutting carbs even further down to 25-40g? That may help with the temptation to eat the forbidden foods.

                                When eating out...I try to think more positively about foods that are OK to eat. Hack your brain!

                                Focus on the foods you can eat and how delicious they are. Go for the stuff that feels indulgent in other ways. Fatty 30-day dry aged beef, lobster, etc. Divert as best you can.

                                Focus on the people you're with.

                                Refuse the bread basket entirely if the others don't mind.

                                Remind yourself of your overall goals.

                                If all else fails, bring an "Oopsie" roll or two to simulate a bun?

                                Save a delicious low carb treat for yourself when you get home.

                                Eat a fat bomb or two before you go.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: kathryn

                                  I don't have a problem restraining myself from eating carbs. I'm just saying it sucks to do so. I hold my nose and take the castor oil cause mama said it's good for me. Yes, I'm still trying to eat 75 grams or less daily.I really don't want to eat any less carbs than that and yes my cravings have abated significantly I think because I eat plenty of protein & fat calories.

                                  1. re: zackly

                                    IME, the protein and fat reduce hunger, but only carb restriction eliminates cravings. In my experience, it's very analogous to trying to quit smoking while having a few cigs per day. What carb level each of us finds that loss of cravings at is variable.

                                    If you ever want to see about getting rid of it, you could try to cut your carbs to your personal level at which the cravings go away (discuss with doc for help with commensurate meds adjustments if indicated by carb load per meal), and see how long that takes. Usually about 3 weeks to 3 months. At that point, you may not feel deprived any more (though some of it is a genuine attitude change that takes some time, too) and may also find that you're more tolerant and less eager for them after the occasional off plan serving.

                                    That's what's worked for me and many other LCers. It might help you have a few weeks or months vs. a possible lifetime of feelings of deprivation. It might make the off plan excursions less damaging, too.

                                    1. re: zackly

                                      Yes, it sucks. But you don't have to dwell on it. Are you looking for commiseration or useful & helpful advice?

                                      1. re: kathryn

                                        If you read my original post, I'm not looking for advice, just hosting a pity party and asking if others feel cheated too and are avoiding restaurants

                                  2. I've been going to restaurants quite a bit, lately, because I'm really tired of doing dishes, and missing the social aspect.

                                    I go to places I had sworn off many years ago, such as Outback and Ruby Tuesday. It's easy to get simple meat and veggie dinners at either, even if they're nothing special. I try to prevent the bread from ever coming to the table.

                                    I don't feel cheated at all (sorry ;^) ). In fact, I'm more patient waiting for food, now that I'm not in need of a carb fix. I used to get pretty upset when I was expecting my food, and running into delays.

                                    I wish I had the budget to explore some places serving classic gourmet cuisine. I can handle a little flour in a fatty sauce, and I'm sure they'd accommodate a request for no starch. These might be good places to check out some organ meats that are particularly nutrient dense.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: johnseberg

                                      Since this thread got bumped, I'll update that I have sworn off Ruby Tuesdays, once again. My last meal (ribeye) was horrible on almost all counts, mostly due to the quality of the ingredients. At least they cooked the steak right. I really wonder what's in the "butter sauce" they top the steak with. I just don't trust any chain to serve real butter. Anyway, I've decided to buy a couple of steaks from my local rancher, and eat quality food.

                                      I did go to a new BBQ place here in Phoenix (Little Miss BBQ) that makes TX style brisket, and it was really good. Two big fatty slices of plain brisket, and another two of pastrami. No sauce added.

                                    2. We're in a hotel due to water damage remediation at home. Last night my son and I went to a quickie pan asian type place. He got pad that, I started quizzing them on which sauces might be sugar free. They ended up making me a veggie/tofu stir fry which was good and low carb but bland as hell. I should have mentioned to add hot peppers. Zackly, I totally agree with your point that low carb dining out can be done but the thrill is gone.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: tcamp

                                        I'm just thrilled if I can find something to eat -- but really, low carb is a lot easier than no added salt as my dh requires.

                                          1. re: zackly

                                            If you're a diabetic, you can at least use your glucometer to verify whether or not you ate carbs. Can really do that with salt, I imagine.

                                            1. re: tcamp

                                              No it's pretty much salad with no croutons, no cheese, and just vinegar and oil and in places we trust plain grilled fish. He usually carries a homemade (salt-free) roll and some nuts. Needless to say we don't go out that often. But frankly we eat very well at home.

                                      2. I do eat out much less than I used to, especially since I am a good cook and can make a much more delicious low-carb meal than most restaurants, with better ingredients for way less money. I definitely avoid going out to any restaurant where I know my only option will be a grilled protein + a salad or vegetable - it's totally not worth it.

                                        However, here in NYC there are a lot of restaurants that are starting to do more interesting things than your typical "protein, starch, veg side" meal. For instance, I had dinner with a friend at Jacob's pickles the other night, and enjoyed a selection of their house-made pickles and pickled veg/eggs (most made without sugar) and house-made beef jerky, plus a pot of braised mussels with pork belly. Would I have enjoyed bread with those mussels? Of course - but I was able to piece together a satisfying LC meal that I didn't mind paying for.

                                        1. I can't remember the last time I ate out, it's probably been years.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                            !!!??

                                            I love eating out, but the more things I can cook well and buy from clean sources, the less we go.

                                            1. re: mcf

                                              I've never been much for eating out and as I learned more about cooking I realized every time I went out I sort of wished I had stayed home. Of course, there are certain special occasions where I will go to a very particular restaurant (though in the past 8 years most of these occasions involved a special meal at home instead) but for the most part I just prefer to stay home and cook :) try out new things, experiment and importantly to me, know what I'm eating.

                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                That last thing is huge for me, too.

                                                1. re: mcf

                                                  Yes, a huge factor and also the reaspn why I don't just grab random food at conferences and meetings. The "see food, eat" diet does not appeal to me. People judge but I like to know what I'm eating :)

                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                    So true -- I was at a reception tonight and thought I was biting into beef and it turned out to be a stuffed date. Luckily I was able to discard it discreetly.

                                                    1. re: Teddybear

                                                      Reminds me of a chicken liver being passed around via hors d'oeuvres at a business function. Started to go down, came up, tried to go done - all while trying to remain cool and collective. Was able to finally find a place to discard it.

                                          2. I eat low carb by choice and wheat gives me brutal heartburn so I avoid it like the plague. There are two things that work for me:

                                            1. no desire to boohoo about it because that doesn't do any good and I'm not interested in being negative about my food or my health. I used to LOVE pasta and bread, etc. but I love looking and feeling good even more.

                                            2. reading menus online before going so I am focused on what I CAN have and not what I don't want (If the one you are going to isn't online pick a similar one to get an idea.)That makes it easy to keep the focus on the good company I'm in and not on what I'm not eating.

                                            We only eat out if the quality of the place is worth going to- otherwise we can do better at home- so when we do go out to eat it's most likely going to be a good meal and a good time. I don't miss going out for mediocrity at all.

                                            2 Replies
                                              1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                I wish we could bottle that attitude--it would help so many!

                                              2. my name is hotoynoodle and i was a grain-aholic.

                                                5 years ago i went lc to lose weight and the bonus of better health all around was shocking and wonderful. i am in better shape than most women 10-15 years younger than me, with zero health issues.

                                                although i love to cook and love to entertain, i also enjoy eating out and have no trouble at all avoiding the foods that made me FAT AND SICK. if you're eating someplace with clueless waitstaff it's a place i wouldn't want to be eating. if foh people are poorly trained, it means little care is put into the food, so yeah, don't waste your money there.

                                                we don't eat at chains because the quality of the food is terrible. places like applebee's and chili's are serving much the same slop as mcdonald's -- the only difference being table service. i also don't want anything to do with the garbage oils they use to cook everything. most of the kitchens don't even have real butter!

                                                instead of a pity party, you should feel confident and proud that you are being pro-active about your health and your well-being in the future. am quite sure you are well aware of the dire consequences for poorly managed diabetes.

                                                13 Replies
                                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                  Basically I agree but one problem diabetics face that "regular" lc eaters don't is that of hidden sugars and carbs. It is easy enough for me to avoid grains, rice, potatoes, corn, fruit, and obvious sugars/starches. The hidden sugars/flour in sauces, dressings, drinks, soups, etc. are trickier to avoid and IME even nicer restaurants' servers aren't always fully up to speed on ingredients. Nor do I enjoy quizzing them when my party is ordering.

                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                    I'm doing the right thing but I hate to have to do the right thing. A year ago with lunch time approaching I'd be thinking "do I want to go out for hot dogs and onion rings, a couple of slices of Sicilian pizza or maybe a late breakfast of a bacon egg and cheese on a Kaiser roll? Instead I have a Thai pork curry simmering on the stove.

                                                    1. re: zackly

                                                      And then you lost a toe, so pat yourself on the back for taking charge and enjoy that curry!

                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                        At least I'm cooking it in a Teflon pan so I haven't completely surrendered:}

                                                        1. re: zackly

                                                          Listen, I remember my shock and grief at losing the ability to safely eat all that I loved most. It's been an evolution for me, a lot of years, but I can honestly say I just don't miss that stuff any more. I look at starches as white, pasty, insipid cheap stuff and the rest as beautiful, aromatic, full of color and flavor and a lot more creativity. For real.

                                                          But it took time for this former Pasta Prom Queen to retire her tiara.

                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                            I agree. I am low carb by choice and natural preference but I never get the sense that I "hate doing the right thing" as I truly believe the way I eat is best for my body. I don't miss carbs, never will. They literally don't really exist to me. People ask "well don't you just want a donut or a bite or a plate of pasta?" Honestly, no I do not.

                                                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                              They actually kind of disgust me now. Except NY pizza, fresh and hot. I never eat any crust, but if I ever find out I'm terminal...

                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                So true, I was just mentioning that to a friend. The smell at conferences in particular really makes me somewhat nauseous.

                                                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                  I wish I could say that - but a really GOOD donut or perfect plate of handmade pasta will always have appeal. However, after being LC for almost 15 years, I have VERY high standards for these things, and it's easy to say no to anything that doesn't meet them.

                                                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                                                    I just don't see the point of eating library paste with sauce. Don't see pasta as worth it in any way, never have a yen for it. I don't feel bad when others are eating pizza around me, but I do very fondly recall the first hot, melty bite.

                                                          2. re: zackly

                                                            The pork curry sounds really good, BTW.

                                                            1. re: tcamp

                                                              I'm getting pretty good @ throwing together a quick Thai curry.Thai is my wife's favorite cuisine. I use Mae Ploy curry paste, oil, coconut milk, onion, garlic, cilantro, ginger root, fish sauce, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce,lime juice, hot chili sauce lemongrass from a tube and whatever vegetables I have lying around. Today I used pork shoulder steaks that were probably the cheapest meat in my supermarket's case. I braised them for about an hour until they were fork tender. As good as a Nathan's Hot Dog? No, but pretty tasty.

                                                        2. We were going to go to lunch today and I was trying to think of where we could actually go with my husband's dietary restrictions... he's allergic to shellfish, and 2 out of 3 times we've eaten at a seafood restaurant, he's had a reaction to his fish, presumably because of unavoidable cross-contamination in the kitchen. (they didn't rub shrimp on his plate, but if they fried shrimpies before his fish, he's in trouble...) So seafood restaurants are out... he's allergic to fresh peppers, not life-threateningly but major digestive distress, so there goes Mexican and most Asian food... and now he's diabetic, so there goes the rest of the Asian arena (sayonara sushi, bye bye rice, noodles, and battered fried stuff), Italian food (carbs everywhere), and of course our favourite BBQ is a gonner... I'm afraid all we're left with are hamburger places (hold the bun and fries), diners for eggy/meaty breakfasts, and Sports Bar/American style restaurants where he can eat meat and vegetables or salad. And I HATE steak... it doesn't seem like there are many options left aside from chicken wings, which we've ordered twice for home delivery and munched away at happily with our own sugar-free sauces.
                                                          So no, we're not actively avoiding restaurants (except for allergy reasons) but it's hard to figure out where we can go and find something to eat that I can't make as well or better (and certainly cheaper!) at home...

                                                          6 Replies
                                                          1. re: Kajikit

                                                            I eat extremely low carb and I eat Chinese, Italian, Japanese regularly.

                                                            All the flavor in Italian food is in the stuff put on pasta, not the pasta itself, and if you ask, they will always sub a side of sauteed veggies in olive oil and garlic, YUM.

                                                            Japanese is sashimi instead of sugared rice/sushi and some hot dishes.

                                                            I've never opted to eat battered, fried Chinese food, so not an issue for me. We order Chinese food without rice and without added sugars in the sauce, light on corn starch thickener. I avoid some Szechuan dishes that are notoriously sweet, but find plenty of vegetable, meat and seafood and tofu dishes to enjoy, as well as soups sans noodles or won tons.

                                                            I order bbq dry, I hate candied meat. If there's a low sugar sauce, I might use a little on the side.

                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                              so many americans think "italian" food is a big pile of pasta or that "japanese" means monster-sized fusion maki rolls slathered in sweet sauce. no and no.

                                                              as an aside, generally moo-shu (skip the pancakes), stir-fried greens, whole steamed fish, egg drop soup are all fine at chinese-american places. you can also ask for stir-fry whatever meat, no sauce.

                                                              every cuisine offers something battered and fried, but that rarely is the be-all-end-all of that type of food.

                                                              i already mentioned this upthread: i eat out often and don't have an issue finding work-arounds. however, i DO avoid chain restaurants because the food is utter krap.

                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                When you're already dancing around food allergies, being low-carb becomes harder, and a lot of the time eating out just isn't worth the effort.

                                                              2. re: Kajikit

                                                                I understand. I'm not much of an italian fan, TTTT, so skipping that is not a heartbreaker. Asian food is my go-to but it is hard to tell what is in sauces so I'm leary about ordering without a lengthy inquisition. And, then, they think I am some finicky gringa and leave out the spice, which I love and can totally consume.

                                                                It is easier to cook at home.

                                                                1. re: Kajikit

                                                                  I watch my carb intake. I've been cooking & going to Middle Eastern restaurants a lot lately. Hummus, baba ganoush, falafel, kebabs are all fairly good low net carb choices that don't spike my blood sugar too much. Add a nice cucumber salad and you've got a complete meal.

                                                                2. A good restaurant for low-carb is the Brazilian "Churrasqueria" (sp?) that offers an elaborate salad bar followed by 10-20 choices of grilled meats, brought ad lib to the table. If you avoid the rice, black beans, and other carb-sh sides, you can do well. Check out Fogo de Chao and other such chains.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Querencia

                                                                    True but not really a weekly go to, but yes great for low carbers

                                                                    1. re: Querencia

                                                                      Yes, that's a good low carber's choice. I was going to the Rodizio Grill http://www.rodiziogrill.com/ in Stamford, CT but apparently not often enough. They recently closed. Too bad it was good and reasonable especially @ lunch. They just never found an audience.