Your Definitive Clean Eating Guide to Eating Out: How to Avoid the Land Mines of Food Toxins

by Gregory
"eat clean" guide to eating out

Beware of Landmines!

Eating out is akin to “No Man’s Land” in WWI trench warfare.  Between the two trenches laid this area full of landmines, barbed wire and booby traps.  On occasion the troops would charge the enemy and run through “No Man’s Land,” bobbing, dodging bullets and artillery.  They would get close to the end of the run only to be decimated by an unsuspecting landmine.  Eating out is no different.   You certainly see the bayonet-charging enemy charging at you; not so much the landmine.  So today we offer the definitive guide to eating out to help you stay clear of those hidden “landmines.”

{Read our guideline to most nutrient-dense fruits.}

Let’s define the “landmines.”  These are the hidden ingredients which may turn your meal from nutritious to disastrous.  First of all, let’s rid ourselves of the idea that restaurants care about your health.  They don’t.  They solely care about your return business and the profit to be made of it.  As a result, they lace their dishes with addictive food additives, food dyes, and extra sweeteners to ensure what food scientists called the “Bliss Point.”  That is the perfect combination of sugar, fat, and salt that excites your tastes buds and mind to the point of euphoria.  It is well-documented in the book Salt, Sugar, & Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. 

Upon entering a restaurant make the assumption that the following additives are in the food.

Before we get to the succinct, definitive guide to eating out, let’s cover the go-to good things.  Always.

  • Build your entree around protein meat source and vegetables.
  • Your meat should be cooked rare to medium (overcooking leads to carcinogens being released).
  • Change side dish choices. From pasta to grilled vegetables; French fries to beans
  • Request your entree be cooked in butter. Most places uses vegetable oil.
  • Salad dressings stick to olive oil, lemon juices, or vinegar mixed on the side.  {For a great one click here.} Most dressings are made with inflammatory vegetable oils, MSGs, and an empty waste of calories
  • Ask for half your entree to be packed away in a to-go carton. Less likely to overeat

So let’s cover the major cuisines of food.


Chinese food, even the American corruption of it, can be quite nutritious.  Avoid items that are drowned in sauces and/or fried.  Be explicit in asking that no MSGs be added.  (Don’t make the assumption that all Asian restaurants are now MSG-free.)  Avoid the noodles and choose white rice over fried.  Limit the GMO overly-salty soy sauce.  A Beef Broccoli or Chicken/Shrimp with Vegetable dish are ideal. Ask for Spring Rolls instead of fried Egg rolls. If at a Thai/Vietnamese restaurant, opt for a tasty coconut, red, or green curry.


Mexican food has a quite a few superfoods, but it also features artery-clogging items.  The best route is grilled meat with a la charro beans, guacamole, and rice with corn tortillas.  Think of sizzling fajitas with all those grilled peppers and onions!  Stay clear of the fried items (flautas, chimichangas, taco & tostado shells etc), heavy sauces, heavy dollops of cheese & sour cream.  And do your best to stay clear of those tasty tortilla chips!


Avoid the pasta, bread, and heavy creams.  Choose marinara-based items with grilled meats or vegetables. (Eggplant or Chicken Parmesan).  Ask if certain typically fried dishes may be grilled.  And of course ask for food to prepared in butter not vegetable oils.  {Read this article on the effects of vegetable oils.}


Good luck on this one!  Opt for thin crust over deep.  Avoid the cancer-causing processed meats at all costs.  Have a slice or two and load up on the salad bar.  The best choice is to stay home and make your own cauliflower-crusted pizza with fresh tomato sauce, real  mozzarella, and grilled vegetables. {Great YouTube recipe.}

Hamburger/Fast Food

This one is a tough one.  Make the assumption that the meat is chemically-laced and antibiotic and growth hormone-injected.  The fries fried in rancid vegetable oils.  The breads bleached and sprayed with chemical and the sodas and desserts injected with so much sweeteners and sugar it will propel you to the moon.  The best advice is choose places in which the meat is higher-quality and cooked fresh (In & Out, Five Guys).  Opt for bun-less items, grilled chicken as opposed to fried, and drink water.  The best option is to avoid fast food altogether, but we know this is unfeasible.  Go heavy on the protein and little on everything else.

Sandwich Shops

Quiznos, Schlotsky’s and Subway are pretty flexible in allowing you to alter your dish.  Though most deli meats are processed and the breads sprayed with flame retardant chemicals, go for a made-to-order salad and pick-and-choose what vegetables you want on it.  Throw on some chicken and stick to the aforementioned advice on salad dressings.  If possible avoid the bread.

Middle Eastern/Greek

Fortunately, most of these places are not run by franchised conglomerations so you have a better shot of fresher ingredients.  Middle Eastern foods are quite healthy.  After selecting your meat, you have a host of great side dish selections: hummus, tabouli (parsley) salad, baba ghanoush (eggplant dish), &  dolma (meat & rice wrapped in grape leaves).  Avoid the fried falafel and try to lay off the naan (good luck on that!).


Same may be applied here.  Mostly ma & pap establishments so good quality ingredients.  Meats and vegetables as always.  The curries are full of turmeric which is a cancer-fighting natural antibiotic super spice so eat tons of it.  Lay off the heavy creams if possible.  The naan is exquisite!  (It’s okay to splurge once-in-a-while.)

Coffee Shops

Coffee and tea are superfoods.  The problem is the garbage we add to it.  Opt for black coffee with a pinch of sugar or honey.   The same may be said for the tea.  Always opt for the “colored” teas of white, green, or black.  Avoid the syrups, extra sugars, and other concoctions.  And of course stay clear of the muffins, croissants, and baked goods. (The ketogenic-inspired Bulletproof coffee is very popular these days.)

{Read our article on most important spices to implement in your diet.} {Read on importance of tea & coffee.}

Eating out is not a death sentence for healthy eating…so long as you make minor adjustments.  For example any reputable restaurant would gladly cook your entree in butter.  Remember, restaurants don’t care about your health.  The onus is on us to make the right choices to change your inflammatory meal to a salutary one.

Please subscribe to the Naturopathic Earth podcast here.

A. Gregory Luna (Call me Gregory!)

(We appreciate your comments below.)


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