Monday, December 29, 2008

The French Quarter on Eat to Live

The next few days will be the first trip that my wife and I have taken since I started Eat to Live. This will be a significant challenge since we are going to the French Quarter in New Orleans, a place not known for its healthy lifestyle. We left home on Friday. Saturday is a wedding and then my wife and I are celebrating our anniversary on Sunday. We will return home to Atlanta on Monday night.

My goal is to enjoy the entire four days without slipping off of Eat to Live.

Day 1

Before heading for the airport this morning, I had for


Green Smoothie (grapefruit, 6 oz organic baby spinach, 1 ml DHA Purity, 1 TSBS ground flax seeds, ½ cup pomegranate juice, 6 dates, and ¼ fresh pear). It was very good. By the way, I take 1 ml (twice the normal dose) of DHA Purity based on Dr. Fuhrman's recommendation. He suggested this higher dose due to my history of arrhythmia.

After we arrived at the hotel, I took two apples from the bowl at the registration desk. When we arrived in the room I had a couple of handfuls of my raw trail mix. We then headed out to do a walking tour of the French Quarter. We stopped for lunch at a quaint restaurant near Bourbon St. I had


A large green house salad with some vinegar. Mediocre

We then walked around Jackson Park. When we arrived back in the room a couple of hours later I ate one of the apples and some more trail mix. Dinner is at a famous New Orleans restaurant. My wife checked the memo and found some vegetarian entrees, but couldn't remember what they were. We are going with another couple. This will be fun.


Four of us went to an old famous New Orleans restaurant. They were not ready for me. They did have two veggie options, but I had to tweak them to taste.

House salad; hold the cheese – got iceberg lettuce with a little onion shaved on top – bad

Grilled vegetables; hold the oil and salt. It had no spices and was very bland – mediocre. I need to give more specific instructions to the waiter, especially with something like steamed or grilled veggies. Some spices make all the difference.

So day one was not that great, from a food standpoint. I am beginning to think that the New Orleans tourist scene is not that Eat To Live friendly. Better luck tomorrow.

Day 2


I brought some oatmeal with me in a baggy. I tried preparing it in the hotel room coffee maker, but there were old coffee grounds in the heating units so the water had a coffee flavor.

We then went to the hotel breakfast buffet and were greeted with a very nice setup. They had loads of fresh and dried fruit and oatmeal. It was a great breakfast. I carried away an apple and a pear to eat later. We paid $13 each for the buffet, but it was worth it.

The next time I travel I need to bring a shoulder bag to carry fruit and my trail mix with me while we are walking around during the day. I am hopeful we can find a restaurant in the French Quarter that serves a decent salad for lunch.



Four of us stopped at the Palace Café on Canal St. and had a nice lunch. The waitress was very accommodating.

Double order of beet salad with mixed greens, candied pecans and tomatoes. Very good



The wedding was very nice and although my selections from the buffet were limited I did okay:

Pasta with tomato sauce

Cooked veggies

Raw veggies

2 small bites of wedding cake – I didn't think I could shun the wedding cake.

As I think about it, I would have done better with sticking with just the cooked and raw veggies. That's what I would do if I had to do it all over again. The pasta with tomato sauce was a compromise, but okay I guess.

When I got back to the room I had a couple of handfuls of trail mix.

All in all not a bad day.

Day 3


Reception breakfast was rather skimpy for me. They didn't have oatmeal. All the traditional SAD breakfast items including the southern SAD favorite grits swimming in butter.

Fruit plate (orange, melon, strawberries)

Raw trail mix


Veggie sushi rolls with wasabi

Seaweed salad and cucumber salad

Raw trail mix



We went to Sophia, a very upscale French Quarter restaurant. After some assertiveness with the waitress, I got a great meal.

Beet salad with beet sorbet (really, it was delicious), beet mixed with honey (maybe a little off program) and fresh red and yellow beets. This salad was really special.

Seasonal vegetables steamed and nicely seasoned ( mushrooms, kale, carrots, etc.)


The meal was very expensive, but I think we did well.

Today was a success. I think I am getting the hang of this. I have for many years been used to dealing with restaurants. But, ETL is a bit more difficult with the requirement of salt free meals. Keeping the food tasty but free of salt and oil is challenging. I used to order vegan meals and not worry about salt and vegetable oil. Taking those things away, reduces my options considerably.

There is no question that food my wife and I prepare at home is often more tasty than I can get in restaurants. My family loves to go out to eat occasionally, so I'll have to learn to live with it.



Day 4


The hotel restaurant has a good (expensive) breakfast buffet. This morning I had two bowls of oatmeal with sliced orange, cup of strawberries and raspberries. I sprinkled some raw trail mix over the oatmeal. I have been eating a lot of trail mix on this trip.


We walked around the French Quarter again today after checking out of the hotel. Our plane leaves at 5 pm so we had some time to kill. Lunch was at a Cajun bar. I had a salad with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, garlic, and Greek olives. It was pretty good. The garlic came from my wife's salad. She had too much of it and wanted to share.

At the airport I had a couple of handfuls of trail mix and a fresh pear.

Well, the trip is over and except for eating more trail mix than I probably should have, I did not do too badly. Lessons learned:

  • Bring a shoulder bag to carry food and other travel necessities
  • Be assertive with wait staff and be very specific.
  • Most restaurants can provide grilled or steamed veggies, but I have to tell them specifically that I don't want salt or oil. I am still wrestling with the question of whether I'll accept a tiny bit of olive oil with some grilled veggies. There is a big taste advantage of grilling vegetables in a restaurant rather than steaming. Steaming = bland in a restaurant unless I get into asking for spices, etc.
  • Salads are my saving grace for lunch and can be ordered at most all restaurants. Being specific is important with salads also unless you want to end up with fried crawfish, breaded shrimp and/or salt sprinkled all over your salad. New Orleans sure know how to ruin a perfectly good salad.
  • Ask in advance about breakfast availability at hotels. Those with good buffets, including oatmeal, allow the day to be started with a decent filling meal.
  • Portion trail mix into baggies to keep from overeating.






kneecap said...

Hi Howard,

That was a very instructive post. You did very well sticking to ETL in restaurants in New Orleans, wow. I don't know how to be assertive at restaurants. I'd be curious what your conversation was that led to the beet salad. I have the worst time at expensive restaurants (actually, all restaurants!) and end up paying too much money for a boring salad. You seem to be very good at negotiating your restaurant meals. If you have the time, a post about your conversations with servers would be helpful.


Howard Veit said...

The beet salad was a standard menu item. I just asked how it was prepared and had to change nothing. It was really good.