Health Coach Amie Valpone on Eating Healthy at Restaurants (Plus Why Salads Aren’t So Healthy)

Amie Valpone is the author of the book Eating Clean, and healed herself from a variety of chronic diseases by being incredibly careful about what she puts in her body. She also lives in New York City, a place that has countless restaurants and is notorious for a fast-paced lifestyle where everybody eats out. So how does she balance the two? In this clip, she shares how she protects her health while still indulging in the experience of eating out at restaurants.
First things first, Amie doesn’t eat out very often at all. “I’ve lived in New York for 13 years, and I think I’ve eaten out like five times,” Valpone says. As more organic restaurants have appeared, it’s become easier for her to eat out, but restaurants are still a challenge (as Adrienne learned firsthand when she did Aviva Romm’s Adrenal Thyroid Revolution program) she’s still very careful. When it comes to eating healthy at restaurants, she’s found that there are certain things it’s very important to look out for.
Look beyond the major ingredients
Valpone found that when she went to restaurants, she was getting small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (or SIBO) and Candida overgrowth from everything she ate. Eventually she realized that it wasn’t the main ingredients of dishes that was irritating her — after all, she was ordering organic chicken and other foods that shouldn’t have been an issue — it was the hidden additives. She points to oil and salt as major culprits, since almost all restaurants use canola oil and table salt, both of which are highly inflammatory (better options include olive or coconut oil and sea salt or Himalyan Pink Salt). On top of that, most restaurants add sugar to things like salad dressings and marinades, and use cheap, inorganic brands of honey (not the anti-inflammatory Manuka honey we love), both of which can contribute to inflammation.
Choose your restaurants wisely
Ten or so years ago, the options when it came to eating healthy at restaurants were pretty limited. But now that more and more health- and wellness-oriented eating establishments have popped up, you can use your judgment to pick restaurants that will have plenty of options for you. Though Valpone still doesn’t eat out much, the new abundance of healthy restaurants to choose from has allowed her to find clean, organic restaurants that serve more whole foods.
Don’t go raw
One thing that might surprise health-conscious folks is that Valpone steers clear of places that serve salads. “No salad bars. It’s just too easy to get parasites for me,” she says. She also points out that juice bars have the same issue, since you can’t know for sure the cleanliness of the produce nor the equipment being used. “They don’t clean that thing! It’s the easiest way to get a parasite,” says Valpone. Instead, she emphasizes the importance of choosing cooked greens, which give you all the nutrients from vitamin-rich foods like kale or spinach, without any risk of parasites that will wreak havoc for your gut health.
Of course, the best way to only give your body safe and nourishing food is by cooking your own meals. But sometimes we need (or just want!) to go out to eat. Luckily, with a bit of knowledge and some diligence, eating healthy at restaurants is possible. Do you have your own tips for eating healthy at restaurants? Share them in the comments below!

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