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Originally published January 3 2009

The Raw Food Lifestyle: How to Dine Out at Non-Raw Food Restaurants

by Lenette Nakauchi

(NaturalNews) Now that you've decided to eat a primarily raw-vegan food based diet, you may wonder how you can dine out at regular food restaurants. Of course you want to maintain and even grow your social life, right? Right. Well you have good reason to be thinking ahead about this because dining out at restaurants and in other people's homes are definitely going to happen. In fact, dining out is our culture's most popular social activity. Rest assured, it is possible to eat a healthy, raw, satiating meal while out with friends or family. The key here, as with maintaining a raw lifestyle while traveling, is planning and packing.

Most likely you're going to be ordering a salad. It can be a chicken salad without the chicken, a shrimp salad without the shrimp, or an order or two of the simple garden salad. If the restaurant offers an organic or local salad—even better!

Never be afraid to ask your server to "customize" a salad for you. You can create your own salad by looking at the menu's salads and entrée side vegetables to know what ingredients the restaurant has on hand. Ask for a big salad with greens, other than iceberg, as the base and lots of different chopped raw vegetables on it. Ask for as many different colors as possible. If the restaurant has any guacamole or avocado anywhere on the menu—great! Now you know they have avocados back there and can ask for avocado to be put on your salad as well if you want to. Of , course, be as polite and as discrete as you can and they will most likely to their best to help you. Your customized salad can lead to the most gorgeous and most colorful salad the restaurant has ever seen! Your salad is most likely going to have people turning their heads in your direction asking "where was that on the menu? That looks great!"

For dressing you could choose the restaurant's vinaigrette, lemon juice, or oil and vinegar on the side. I usually don't worry about the house vinaigrette being entirely raw. After all, that's what detoxing is for!

Now, you may not get enough protein, fat, carbohydrates, or calories from this salad and this is where a bit of planning comes in handy. In your purse or pocket, you might want to bring along a handful or two of nuts or seeds, dried fruit (can be your dessert!), flax crackers, or a raw food bar, in a small plastic baggie. You'll be glad that you did. It's very important for your raw food success to do whatever it takes for you to feel full and happy with your dinner so you feel comfortable enough to be in the present moment with your dinner party. The worse thing would be for you to be still hungry and thinking about food, missing out on all the conversation!

You could also supplement your salad with hemp seeds and sea veggies but be prepared, as this will definitely turn some heads. It depends on how comfortable you are around the party you're with. There is a well-known raw foodist in Chicago who does this to her salads at cooked-food restaurants and swears by it. She knows it raises the vibration of the food before it reaches her mouth.

More tips for the raw foodist dining out at a non-raw restaurant: