The Travelin’ Paleo Man


Being gluten-free by necessity makes dining out an outright challenge.  If you aren’t gluten-free, ask for a gluten-free menu sometime.  All those foods that LOOK gluten-free on the menu, really aren’t sadly enough.  Thankfully the paleo, gluten-free trends are making it easier for folks like me as most places are increasing their selections but what about when you are strict paleo or doing something like a Whole30 or 21 Day Sugar Detox Level 3?  Well, then dining out usually, in a word sucks.

OK, I do have a couple of local places where I know I can get a nearly squeaky clean delicious paleo meal but I also travel a fair amount and then, it’s not so easy as I often find myself in strip-mall hell.  So what do you do?  Well, if you are going to have meat of any kind, expect that it will have been touched by soy, canola or corn oil sometime in the preparation.  You can ask that it is not but chances are not good.  So just accept it and move on (unless you are allergic).  Tell them you are gluten-free and ask for a gluten-free menu.  If nothing on that menu looks good ask if they will do meat and steamed veggies or salad with grilled lightly seasoned meat.  If they won’t, move on.  If they will, watch what they bring to the table as they still often want to dress things up because the plate doesn’t look good.  Case in point, I ordered grilled steak and double steamed broccoli this week and told the waitress about my gluten issues.  The steak came out on a bed of breaded onion straws because the plate didn’t looked dressed without it (it got sent back).

Take care when looking at the gluten-free menu.  My cousin the Travelin’ Primal Man will have an easier time finding something but you’ll find that most chefs and most restaurant chains want to tickle your fat sensors so dairy is often heavily featured.  This is also true for pseudo grains and pastas.  Generally speaking you will be able to make something work.  Also be aware that some restaurants, particularly slower fast food ones like Panera will have secret, nearly paleo meals but you have to know before you go.

In my kitchen, I can whip up exotic flavors and amazing combinations of foods.  Don’t expect this when you are on the road.  Expect middle of the road protein and veg; resign yourself to it, then when you’re pleasantly surprised, all the better.  This is even more true when you go out with a group or worse eat in at lunch.  They’ll have five pizzas in front of them and the waitress will look at you like you have eight heads when you ask for a gluten-free menu and end up with iceberg lettuce and hockey puck of a chicken breast and some red wine vinegar because they use canola.

So salads are your friend while on the road (watch the cheese monster and sugar coated nuts) but pack some tasty treats when the meal leaves you flat.  Take some kale chips or beef jerky along for the ride.  Macadamia nuts for me are a life saver and even sneak a tin of sardines in that carry on luggage.  This three day trip I just completed left me culinarily empty.  Thankfully, the rocking Cavemom had made the family free-range pork chops, roasted bacon sprouts and carrot-ginger soup.  At least in this restaurant, I can always eat fabulous, whole food meals!


Copyright © 2014 “The Culinary Cave Dad”

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1 comment to The Travelin’ Paleo Man

  • Try going to eat and asking for grain free gluten free variations at a restaurant (nearly all gluten free foods are rice based which I can’t have)! At least with the gluten free fad there are a few places that do cater a little. Going out to eat is when I don’t like living in our junk food driven country!