Oh man. So much demand for this post, yet honestly not the best options to share. Yet, I’m going to write it anyway, to the best of my ability. Because it is important. Because there’s no way any of us are cooking 100% of our meals. In week 1, I’d already eaten out 3 times. Cooking every single day is really hard, and meal prepping so that you are never hungry when you’re away from your kitchen is also unrealistic.
So here goes!
I’ve started using this basic statement to talk about my diet (it’s not entirely encompassing, but it serves as a good start):
I’m on a diet where I eat only meat (including seafood), eggs, vegetables, and seeds.
Leading with what you DO eat vs. what you don’t makes things much easier.
Basically, the easiest thing to do is to eat some form of meat with some sort of veggies. Do roasted/grilled/sauteed meat/seafood with a green salad, roasted veggies, or veggie stirfry. Or if you don’t eat meat (god bless you doing a candida diet with no meat, btw), eat almonds, seeds (except sesame!) with quinoa, buckwheat, or millet along with the veg.
It’s always a good idea to look up the menu before you go out to make sure there will be something feasible. Also, remember that you’re making an exception about the oil, because if you’re really being strict about what oils your food is cooked in, there will be nowhere for you to eat out.
There are a few big minefields to watch out for even with the “meat and veggies” guidance.
Here they are below:
Do’s & Don’ts
- Nightshades: tomatoes, bell peppers, shishito peppers, eggplants
- Starchy vegetables: sweet potatoes, beets, non-red potatoes
- Legumes that seem like vegetables: peas!
Best practice: honestly, the easiest thing to do is get a green salad. Kale or romaine are your friends. No tomatoes or beans. Or, get roasted veggies but be very clear about no potatoes, beets, or peppers (you’ll find a lot of those in most roasted veggie dishes). A vegetable soup would be fine as well, but good luck finding one without a legume (remember, PEAS are a legume!)
- Sesame seeds — this one is the big minefield, especially in Asian cooking, but also Mediterranean. Remember that TAHINI is made from sesame seeds.
Best practice: honestly, avoid all Asian restaurants. Except for poke, because I think you can more or less make it work if you ask for no sesame seeds.
- Soy sauces: all Asian food will have soy sauce or a fish sauce that has soy.
- Sesame-based sauce/oil: also a no-no. Prevalent in all Asian food.
- Creamy sauces with dairy: many sauces that they will put on vegetables will have some sort of dairy — cream or cheese.
Best practice: ask for the sauce on the side when possible if you’re sharing with other people (and no sauce if it’s just for you. If it’s just for you, best to ask with light oil, lemon, S&P to be safe in terms of seasoning. Herbs also OK.)
Recommended LA Restaurants (and approved meals)
Look, the easiest thing here is really any type of American food or BBQ (like Brazilian BBQ). Anywhere where it will be easy to just do meat and vegetables of some kind (roasted or in salad form).
Erewhon (Venice, Beverly, Calabasas, Palisades, Santa Monica): $$
Probably the easiest and most compliant place to eat on the candida diet. The hot bar has tons of great meat, seafood, and veggie options that are compliant. Just avoid the buffalo cauliflower or pretty much anything nut based (I’m talking about you, vegan eggplant lasagna). Most vegan food honestly is a no-go because of the cashews and legumes.
California Chicken Cafe (Venice): $
Easy! Get the 411 salad. Choose any protein (I recommend some kind of rotisserie chicken + avo). Add broccoli, carrots, green onions, sprouts. No dressing. Italian if you must, I guess. No sides if you’re doing chicken. If you’re doing no animal protein, you can do a side of steamed squash.
Flower Child (Santa Monica): $$
This is tricky, because none of the sides are actually compliant ( they all have some sort of non-compliant ingredient). The salads and bowls are fair game, though.
- Chopped Vegetable no tomato, sesame seeds, or dressing.
- Vegan Artichoke: no tahini vinaigrette
- Turkey & Avocado Cobb: no gorgonzola vinaigrette or tomato
- Glow Bowl: no sweet potato or jalapeño (for the love of god, add a protein)
- Mother Earth: no ancient grains, sweet potato, or vinaigrette
- Forbidden Rice: no rice, pea, sesame, or sauce (honestly I would pass here. You’re taking out too much for it to be worth it).
American Beauty (Venice): $$$
- Charred Hamachi Collar
- Grilled Prawns
- Crispy Brussels Sprouts
- Spinach and Endive Salad: no persimmon
- Chopped Vegetable Salad: I think so, but who knows what veggies are in here
- Swiss Chard: no parmesan
- Maitake Mushrooms: technically the sherry is not OK
- Roasted Cauliflower: sesame is not OK, try get it without (I haven’t tried)
Steaks – go crazy.
- Tomahawk Pork Chop: no apple
- Pasture Bird: no potato
- Ocean Trout Steak
The Window (Venice): $
The cheap and fast casual sister of American Beauty. And I say “The Window,” as a pick, but honestly really any burger place with a bowl option that lets you put a patty on a salad. Think Pono Burger or Umami Burger or The Counter. Honestly, you could even go to In-N-Out and get something protein style. But technically then you’re looking at probably 80 meat/20 veg and should be flip flopped.
Get the grain bowl, no grains, top with a burger patty. Get extra avo. Why not.
Hatchet Hall (Culver City): $$
The whole (short) menu is pretty much fair game here. If you don’t eat meat/seafood, this is not the place for you.
- Oregon Albacore – ask what’s in that ginger vinaigrette
- Chop Steak
- Grilled Baby Broccoli
- Grilled Monterey Squid
- Poached Gulf Shrimp
- Sand Dabs
- Grilled Lamb Chops – no salsa verde
Akasha (Culver City): $$
- Faroe Island Salmon (as a main or on top of salad. If salad, hold tomatoes).
- Market Green Vegetable & Holy Basil Puree
- Grilled Artichoke
- Millken Farm’s Broccoli, Carrots & Green Beans
I guess you could try… Again, you’ll be probably eating a mixed green salad and any meat they have there. Some Italian places have more main course type things other than just pizza or pasta. If they have a meat or seafood option, you’ll be just fine. If not, well….good luck.
Bossa Nova (West LA, West Hollywood): $$
This is a steakhouse, so you can basically eat any meat/seafood, and then add roasted veggies. There are a couple of salad options too that work. Make sure to specify no tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, sweet potatoes, beets, or yucca.
Here are some good options:
- Chicken, Steak, Seafood, or Vegetable Bossa Nova Grill – pick any except the breaded chicken and pick 3 sides of roasted veggies (specify no beets, yucca, or sweet potatoes), no salsa, no yucca
- Tenderloin Medallions – no risotto
- French Cut Pork Chop – no garlic mashed potatoes
- Sea Bass al Limon – no cream sauce, no mashed potatoes
- File a Cavalo Steak and Eggs – no sides. This is kind of a lame one to choose because you’ll just have the steak and eggs. Maybe you can get veggies.
- California Salad – no balsamic dressing, tomatoes or black olives. Any of the protein add-ons are fine.
- Hearts of Palm Salad – same as above – no balsamic dressing, tomatoes or black olives. Any of the protein add-ons are fine.
- Camarao a Brasileira – this is just garlic shrimp. Hold the salsa and bread.
- Chimichurri and Picanha Na Parrilha: this is basically just cut steak. Hold the gorgonzola mashed potatoes.
- Linguica Frita with Yucca – this is fancy sausage. Hold the yucca and salsa.
- Seasonal Vegetables – indicate no tomatoes, pepper, eggplant, sweet potatoes, beets, or yucca
Pretty much absolutely not. Try finding something here that doesn’t have beans, tomatoes, or peppers. By the time you’ve stripped it all away, there’s not much left. You will be sad. Come back post-cleanse. Maybe there’s some soup here you could have. Or fajitas…without tortillas, peppers, or tomatoes… Look, you could try. I wouldn’t recommend it.
The only thing you really could do would be… I cringe even recommending this as “Mexican food,” but Chipotle has a Whole30 salad bowl that you could get without tomato salsa or fajita veggies. But realize that you’re looking at lettuce, chicken/pork, and guac at this point.
Poke bowls are the way to go here. Everything else will be nearly impossible. Everything has sesame or soy (sauce or tofu) pretty much. Definitely no ramen or dim sum. Chinese food? Forget about it.
Sweetfin (lots of locations! Santa Monica, Venice, Westwood, etc): $$
My top pick here (yes, I have been twice in the past week).
You can build your own bowl and do any fish, creamy togarashi or yuzu kosho sauce, kelp noodle slaw and/or citrus kale salad and/or cauliflower rice.
Toppings: Asparagus, avocado, mac nuts (I think), shiitake mushrooms, white truffle oil, cilantro, daikon sprouts, bean sprouts, carrots, chopped kale, cucumber, jicama, market radish, napa cabbage, ginger, rapini, seaweed salad (technically no because of sesame), shaved red onion, shimeji mushrooms.
If this is overwhelming for you (it is for me), you can also just choose the Keto Bowl or Truffled Yuzu Albacore. Or Yuzu Salmon without edamame.
Sushi places: any, but remember that you can basically only get sashimi, grilled fish/seafood, and salad. And that technically you can’t have seaweed salad, since it’s going to be dressed in sesame oil. Or soy sauce/tamari!
Indian food: a dairy-free, tomato-free curry would be fine. Where are you going to find one of those? I’m not sure. There are tons of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, and lentils in Indian food. Plus, cream. Saag is a safe bet (no paneer!).
Tandoori chicken/meat/seafood (or anything kebab) is fine (again, BBQ is your friend here), provided you avoid the creamy sauces.
Anything “karahi” is a good idea — basically wok fried food. Hold the tomato!
Some of the soups might be fine, like a chicken soup without lentils/other legumes and cream.
It should go without saying that all the naan, raita, and rice is a definite no-no.
CAVA (Santa Monica): $
This is a great chain-food option. Just get a salad, and don’t add any dips or spreads. Do that full portion of protein. Anything except the honey harissa chicken is ok. Choose the seasonal roasted veg and mind the nightshades. Top with cabbage slaw, diced cucumber, pickled onions, shredded romaine, cauliflower quinoa tabbouleh (I’m not 100% on this), and AVOCADO (you’ve earned it!). The best thing to do would be no dressing, but I know you probably want to live a little. Greek vinaigrette or garlic dressing feels like prob the best bet.
Not technically a type of cuisine, but worth mentioning because vegan food is a MINEFIELD. Why? Because vegan food is full of LEGUMES (beans, chickpeas, lentils), grains, and non-compliant nuts (cashews, I’m looking at you!). That being said, if you are careful, there are dishes that are more or less compliant.
Cafe Gratitude (Venice, Arts District, Larchmont): $$
The granddaddy of vegan food. A lot here is NOT OKAY. But if you modify, it will be. And being that it’s a vegan fucking restaurant, they are SUPER UNDERSTANDING of dietary restrictions and modifications, which is nice — so you don’t have to feel bad about being that person.
Salads – anything here is OK, hold the cashew cheeses, tahini dressings, and tamari almonds. The one you can choose which will be the least amount of sacrifice will probably be “I am Expansive,” hold the cashew moazarella.
Bowls/entrees – I Am Whole – hold the garnet yams, adzuki beans, and tamari almonds. Get regular almonds if you can or some seeds. Add the fricking avocado. Treat yourself. Get the quinoa instead of the rice, and add cauliflower rice and/or kelp noodles for heft.
Apps/sides – Coconut bacon, kimchi, mushroom carnitas, jackfruit tinga, spinach, kale, guac if there’s no tomatoes or peppers in it (which I think there are).
Look, the above list is super non-exhaustive. At some point, I just got tired of writing about restaurants and quit. I’ll come back and add more to it later when I feel like it.
The main takeaways here are:
- Eat meat and vegetables. Or quinoa/seeds and vegetables.
- Avoid Asian and Mexican food.
- Remember to mind the pepper, tomatoes, and sesame seeds. They are freaking everywhere. Especially in sauces.
- Speaking of sauces- sauce on the side! If you can.
But you will be OK! Really, stick to American food. Life will just be easier for you. Wishing you well — feel free to hit me up with questions in the comments. I will help you find something that works, wherever you are in the world. Guaranteed. You will not be a hermit for life.