A.I.E.O…. Adventures in eating out plant based style!

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When people find out that eat mostly a Plant Based, Whole Food diet their eyes glaze over and ask me if I am Vegan? To which I reply, no even Vegans will eat fruit loops, or at least some, and if they don’t it is probably more for social or animal rights reasons. I eat plants, or seeds, or grains, or fruit, and I like them in as natural form as possible.

Then comes the question: “Do you go out to eat? What do you eat?” Believe me I enjoy eating out! I have always been one who likes to go to the diner type place, off the beaten path. I get it honestly from my parents aka the ‘rents, who by the way I dine out with a lot! In my travel days I could tell you a good local restaurant in every city I had lived in. The Mustard Seed in Charleston South Carolina still ranks quite high.

The weekend is fast approaching and I will be off to Columbus to celebrate my friends birthday! So I am sure I will be eating out, but today I will give a recap of last weekend, just so you can see that it really can be done. It’s like a challenge with me too!

Friday night the ‘rents and I met up at Chappy’s Tap Room. Yes it is a tap room. They have a wide variety of beers on tap from all over the country and imports too. My Dad will tell you he went from drinking lots of cheap beer, to drinking one good beer since God got a hold of him. So we like this place to taste test a good brew and eat on occasion. It has pretty typical bar type food, I will admit to eating a few of the appetizers which are not WFPB, and have felt the effects, so Friday I challenged the waiter, the manager said I could! I ordered their vegetarian Po’boy without the bun, or cheese and only lightly sauteed… to which the waiter said, well then it isn’t a Po’boy and smiled, your right. To which he asked if I wanted anything else? Sure whatever veggies you want to throw in there too would be good! He was quite nice about it all, and he brought me out a plate of onions, peppers, jalapeno too, broccoli sauteed then sprinkled with fresh ice berg and tomatoes. Okay, not the most creative, but it was good. I wouldn’t go out of my way to make this, but what I am getting at is I ate well, enjoyed being with my parents and I was “out.”

Saturday was “field trip day” down to Mt. Carmel with of course my parents and friends, (hey they are one of the reasons I moved back to Ohio to hang out with family!) Bring on another eating out adventure,  this time at Flipdaddy’s, which as you can see is pretty new! This is a burger joint and to me, if you are a burger joint then to be a real burger joint, you should have a vegetarian option, I know call me crazy, but this place did not disappoint. Thankful I would not have to order the iceberg wedge, what is that by the way? They actually had a black bean burger and portabella mushroom burger. I ordered the black bean with salsa, no cheese, no bun with the grilled asparagus, yea a burger bar with grilled asparagus, why do I think this is funny I don’t know! A couple of my friends ordered the mushroom burger, my Mom the fish, my Dad the only one to actually order a beef burger! The waitress was most accommodating with our request of no buns, no cheese, you see I have influenced a few of my friends too. My only regret was asking whether there was egg in the burger. I really think not as it was chock full of veggies, and while I didn’t ask for the whole list of ingredients I am pretty confident that it wasn’t too far off my norm! It was tasty too! So with lunch down, we were off to Geocache!

I like Sunday’s to move with their own flow, I go to church mostly on Saturday nights. For awhile I was in a routine of eating lunch with Mom and Dad after they were done with church, but now that I have Bible Study on Sunday morning we haven’t done that as much. This past week though I got a text from Mom asking if I was able to meet them at Meadowlark! Oh yea, I would be happy to. Meadowlark is a nice little gem that actually uses a lot of local produce and caters to more of a fresh, even vegan diner, I know I said I wasn’t Vegan, but this is the closest most people get to understanding the way I eat! My Mom likes to go here for their Shrimp and Grits, which I have to say are up to par with what I remember having in the South, again before WFPB! Although I had a burger the day before, I had never tried Meadowlarks. Here I don’t have to be as pesty with my request as the menu states if you want it vegan just ask! This burger was superior to the burger joint, which I expected. Obviously hand made with chunks of veggies, topped with slices of avocado and served with a nice dressing of greens, green being the operative word, not just your standard iceberg. My only regret here is they use an olive oil type dressing on the greens. They don’t use a lot, but I am trying to watch the oil intake! All in all a tasty lunch.

NOW to clarify a few things! I start off explaining that I eat mostly WFPB, this is my preference, always, but I am not yet, or probably ever will be a legalist about the way I eat. When I go out I know that I am going to have to go for the best options, and usually I am going out more for the company then the food. First I am always prepared by keeping some fruit and trail mix handy in my purse. If need be the trail mix can become a topping on a less then best dressed salad! The fruit, usually an apple is a great filler if I am still hungry! Eating in local, not chain restaurant’s is your better option too. They are more willing to work with you, and may even cut the price on things if ordered without meat etc.. I am getting better about asking what is in the food I am ordering! Hey I am paying for it, well unless Pa is along : then I am known as the mooch). We are the consumers and we can set the standard as far as what we want when we go out, so ask for it, maybe we can start a revolution :), oh Jamie Oliver already has!

Yes I am the crazy lady the waiter talks about to the cook. I am the one at the table my friends smile at and tolerate my goofy eating… I’m the one who walks away from the table 99% of the time satisfied, full and happy with the choices I made! Who knows what influence a simple change on a standard dish can say to those watching!

So what are your crazy dining adventures in eating out healthy? Who knows what this weekend will bring!

 

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