The ten commandments to eating at chain restaurants:
1. It is always best to eat in restaurants that provide fresh produce, processed as little as possible (salad and lightly-steamed vegetables)
2. Avoid most commercial sauces like ketchup and mayonnaise. Instead go for lemon juice and olive oil. Balsamic vinegar is also acceptable.
3. If you spot a deep-fried section on the menu (e.g. chips, and anything deep-fried), then it is best to move on to the next part of the menu. Some outlets do not change regularly their bathing oil, which may be damage by intense heat and by being exposed to the environment (e.g. oxygen).
4. If you are coeliac or have a sensitivity to gluten (and/or grains), this is another reason you should avoid avoid deep-fried foods, as the same oil may be used to fry gluten-containing foods and foods that do not contain any gluten.
5. Be also aware of gluten-free pizza. Some restaurants do not have a dedicated gluten-free area and may use the same surface to roll out gluten-containing and gluten-free dough.
6. Sushi made from wild fish may be a rarity but if you are eating sushi regularly, you may ingest many toxins that are found in fish (PCBs, DDT and other pollutants, as well as mercury) but also in rice (the longest the grain the more arsenic it contains). Most fish (even organic) served in restaurants, unless stated, is from intense farming. If it isn't, the menu should clearly mention wild.
7. Preferably, eat chargrilled meat less often. Charred meat may actually become toxic if eaten regularly (contains acrylamides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are formed fat and meat juices drip onto flames, and Heterocyclic amines (HCAs), occurring from a reaction between carbs and proteins).
8. Most food contain butter (unless you are in a vegan restaurant). For example gravy and velvety mash potatoes are known to contain copious amount of it.
9. Vegan is not synonym to healthy if you eat ultra-processed foodstuff, like vegan sausages or burgers, which contain an entire 'book' of ingredients, many of which are unpronounceable (additives, preservatives and other texturising agents)
10. The food should make you feel good. If you feel a severe dip in energy after your meal and feel like taking a nap (or drink a strong coffee), then the food may not agree with you and may be difficult for your body to handle, digest and absorb, which requires a huge amount of energy.
Registered Naturopath, Nutritional Therapist, Iridologist, Lecturer, NLP practitioner and Personal Performance Coach.
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