The official start of summer is just around the corner. Many people might find themselves entrenched in diet and detox programs to shed those extra pounds for tank top confidence. My tried-and-true Fat Flush Plan offers daily detox, healing foods, metabolism-revving spices, calming rituals, and more that has helped thousands around the world find lasting success. When you're at home, sticking to your healthy eating plan is easy, with the right weekly preparation. But, what about when you're traveling or enjoying a dinner out? I have found that times like these can be the most challenging for folks and are a venerable time to "fall off the wagon." In this preview from my book, The NEW Fat Flush Plan—a full update of The New York Times Best Seller—I share my tips to make three popular genres Fat Flush-friendly while dining out.
This is the cuisine where, at least in the type of Americanized Italian food in the United States, you have to watch to not overdo carbs such as pasta, beans, and that delicious garlic bread. Thus you might want to have the server take the bread basket away as soon as you sit down. If you are really hungry, then order an appetizer right away. Grilled Portobello mushrooms or an artichoke (hold the breading) is a tasty starter. You may want to indulge in a Caesar salad, which is perfectly Fat Flush legal. Just ask for it without croutons and get the dressing on the side. And if you have a taste for anchovies in the Caesar dressing, go for it! They are high in the omega-3s, although a bit on the salty side. The best news at an Italian restaurant is that you usually can get a wide variety of delicious, colorful veggies that are not as easily available elsewhere, such as zucchini, peppers, cauliflower, eggplant, and spaghetti squash. In addition, you can typically get a leafy green, such as spinach or escarole, here as well. Sautéed with onions, fresh garlic, and a little lemon in olive oil or chicken broth, these vegetables are out of this world and very Fat Flush friendly.
And oh yes, there's that cheese—the mozzarella, ricotta, and provolone. For those of you on the Lifestyle Fat Flush eating plan, keep them to a tasty minimum and use them as a condiment, please. You can even have your pesto (that sensational combination of olive oil, garlic, basil, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese) and eat it too. Ask for it on the side so that you can enjoy a couple of tablespoons slowly and deliberately. Do not overlook the veal dishes (the Marsala, piccata, or scaloppini), which are usually quite outstanding in the finer Italian restaurants. Watch to make sure you are adhering to high-quality oils like olive oil, and learn to lemonize by ordering several lemon wedges that can help emulsify excess oil.
Things are really simple when you go to Chinese restaurants. Just find out which dishes can be made to order and request no MSG, sugar, salt, or soy sauce. If you must, you can always add your own soy sauce at the table. If the oil is anything other than sesame or peanut oil (and there's no allergy to peanuts), then order your food steamed. I always request a stir-fry that uses chicken broth and is made from such combinations as beef, chicken, seafood, or tofu with snow peas, water chestnuts, bean sprouts, broccoli, scallions, bamboo shoots, and bok choy (Chinese cabbage).
If you are in the Lifestyle phase and want a good vegetarian meal, try Buddha's Delight, a mix of vegetables and rice cellophane noodles that can be stir-sautéed in vegetable broth. Buddha's Delight can be modified for any Fat Flush phase by omitting the noodles. You can have tofu added to the dish with a side of steamed veggies topped off with scallions, garlic, and a bit of Chinese fivespice powder, a delightful mixture of unique spices related to cinnamon. Most of the soups offered in a Chinese restaurant are made with lots of cornstarch—including egg drop soup—so it is best to skip the soup course. On the Lifestyle Fat Flush, lo mein dishes—cellophane or mung bean noodles with some chicken, beef, shrimp, or other kinds of seafood—also might be appealing. Just remember that those oyster and black bean sauces are loaded with salt, which can result in boggy, watery tissues. Try a bit of the hot mustard, minced garlic, scallions, and even some Chinese five-spice powder instead. As for the fortune cookie—by all means have fun and open it. Read your fortune, and then leave the cookie behind. Also, try eating with chopsticks. It may help to slow you down and enhance your digestion as a result.
You may want to select such entrées as chicken, shrimp, or beef and eat them without the tortilla unless you are on the Lifestyle Fat Flush. Look for main dishes with fish, chicken, or beef that can be prepared with onions, tomatoes, and peppers (such as Veracruz snapper), or look for dishes that can be sautéed in olive oil with a touch of garlic. If you are on the Lifestyle Fat Flush, a tasty Mexican soup (such as black bean soup) would be a great way to start your meal. If not, then how about some guacamole (loaded with the healthy monounsaturated fats) with lots of fresh lemon or lime juice? Salsa is probably your best all-over topping. Use the sour cream and cheese as condiments, with just a dollop or a few sprinkles here and there for flavor. If you are fortunate enough to locate an authentic Mexican restaurant, such foods as squash blossoms, jícama, and chayote cactus are treats for the palate. If you happen upon a restaurant on the other end of the American-Mexican food spectrum, like Tex-Mex, you can order a beef, chicken, or seafood fajita with extra vegetables, and if you are not yet in the Lifestyle Phase, eat your fajita without the corn tortilla. Be sure, as always, to watch the kind of oil that the restaurant uses to cook the fajita meat and veggies, and ask them to use as little oil as possible.
To take back your health and reach your goals, at home or away, pick up your copy of The New Fat Flush Plan.
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Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS
Visionary health expert Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, has always been a trendsetter. With millions of followers nationwide, she has the uncanny ability to pinpoint major health concerns and provide solutions years ahead of anybody else.
Highly respected as the grande dame of alternative health and award-winning author of 30 books, she single-handedly launched the weight loss/detox revolution in her New York Times bestseller The Fat Flush Plan. A Connecticut College and Teachers College, Columbia University graduate, Dr. Ann Louise was recognized as one of the top ten nutritionists in the country by Self magazine and was the recipient of the American Medical Writers Association award for excellence. She has been a popular columnist for First magazine since 2003.