Eating Out the Omni Way

Being on the Omni Diet doesn’t mean you have to eat at home for the rest of your life (although I hope you’ll give fast food restaurants a permanent pass). But it does mean becoming more thoughtful about where you eat and what you order. The more comfortable you become with the diet, the easier it will be to communicate your needs and ask for — yes! — some special treatment. Don’t think you’re the only one who asks restaurant chefs and managers for help. What about those folks with diabetes or potentially lethal food allergies or any number of conditions that require dietary adjustments?

I recommend starting with nearby restaurants that you like. Phone during the day when the kitchen isn’t busy and ask to speak with the chef (or you could stop by to talk with the chef in person). Explain your dietary needs, or give the chef an index card that clearly explains what you do and don’t want to eat. If you’re a regular customer, be sure to mention that. You’ll be surprised how many chefs are willing to meet their customers’ special dietary requests. Some even relish the challenge of going off-menu to create new dishes.

When you arrive for the meal, tell your server (or the manager) to discuss your order with the chef. Be clear and specific. Say something like “I spoke with Chef Tom earlier about my order. He said he is happy to make me baked salmon and steamed vegetables. Please tell him Mrs. Amen is here.” (Yes, I practice what I preach!)

Don’t forget to thank the chef (and tip the server nicely) when the restaurant comes through for you. If a restaurant can’t be bothered to accommodate you, spread the word among friends and family members who are also on the lookout for restaurants that will make an effort to please you and keep you coming back.

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