There is something in a lot of restaurant food that sets my stomach off. I often come home with cramps and a "forced trip" to the bathroom, probably 2 times out of 3 when eating out.
I am not sure if it is some kind of oil, or food preservative, or what. It is really a bummer. I eat processed foods very infrequently (a few times a year) so it could be that I've grown sensitive to something in your typical restaurant fare.
For me it's the opposite. Restaurants can afford much nicer food ingredients than I can on a regular basis (eg grass-fed beef, etc.). As long as you're in a nice place (and I mean an actual nice place, not a chain) and order something sensible, I always feel great after eating out.
Not that I eat out more than once every few months or so, but when I do, I eat well.
I prefer to go to a few places but get to actually know the cooks and/or owners. This is especially important for me with my allergies (peanuts, nuts, soy) but might be a good thing for anyone who wants to eat healthy. They know I can't have margarine and don't eat bread, so I don't have to worry.
Definitely depends on the restaurant. Most places, even if they say they're healthy, use the cheapest ingredients they can get away with. They are running a business after all.
My hubby and I meet friends weekly for "All You Can Eat" Wings at a local place, but I no longer get the wings. The oil they are fried in upsets my stomach. I can barely wait an hour after the first round of wings before I need a bathroom. It's definitely the oil doing it, as I make sure to get a "good" wing sauce. I now get a salad topped with grilled chicken and use the wing sauce as a dressing. No digestive issues with this fix.
My favorite restaurant is Carrabba's. They are on the pricey side, but I think it's worth it for the higher quality food. I avoid the bread basket and steer clear of the pasta/pizza. They make everything from scratch and we always ask for the same waiter who knows I'm on a different eating plan. I'll ask him about specific ingredients and they have a big poster that he references in the back that tells him every single ingredient in each dish. I've never had a problem eating there (except that it's hard to resist the breaded calamari!).
Oh man... I love eating out. Everything about it. Science be damned!
The thing is, I was starting to develop a fear of eating food that others had prepared for me. I actually caught myself having a small panic attack one morning when trying to order a simple brunch- and I LOVE brunch. I didn’t feel like myself and I certainly was not enjoying some of life’s small pleasures. So, I made the decision to change my approach. My new motto when dining out is:
“Do your best. Don’t sweat it. Enjoy it.” works for me. I stick to my diet (more or less) and actually enjoy the experience. Seriously. What do I have to stress about at a restaurant? They even do the dishes for me.
With us, eating out was such a convience, a source of entertainment for us. Plus it was "lazy" because we didn't have to cook or clean up. Since going Paleo/Primal we have really just gotten use to preparing, cooking, and yes even cleaning up at home! I prefer it to eating out. We have eaten out a few times in the last few months, and it is always a diappointment! Even at Moe's, where the steak on my salad is grass-fed, I see them divy out the meat like it's gold. I never get enough on there! Plus it's probably cooked it canola oil. I leave telling myself-I could have made a better (tasting) salad! So for me, it is a better experience to make it myself. I have grown way too picky! :)