UGH! I had an experience this past weekend that I can only describe as a "Neolethal Booby-Trap" (NBT):
I decided to try a local "authentic" Spanish restaurant/bar, possessing rave reviews for their variety and quality of tapas and small plates. The menu was very diverse, with many dishes described as being cooked in and/or finished with "garlic butter".
I tried 6 different tapas, all tasting great, and soaked up most of the butter with tiny pieces of their freshly baked bread (paleo cheat, I know).
When I was completely gorged I mentioned to the proprietor how great all the food in garlic butter was. His reply to me was, "Thank you! There actually isn't any butter in anything here. We've been using a great commercial soy product for years, a lot like I Can't Believe It's Not Butter. It's so much healthier!"
I nearly yacked up my entire dinner after hearing that! I was so PISSED OFF! Why didn't he tell me about the franken-oil before I ordered, or at least note it in the menu? What if I were actually deathly allergic to soy? Do I now need to ask the "REAL BUTTER" question everywhere I go, even if the menu says "butter"?
Do any of you have a similar experience where a restaurant, friend or family member pulled a NBT on you? What was your reaction?
As a side note: I had the WORST gas and stomach cramps the whole night after that meal, and couldn't sleep well at all. It might've been all in my head, but it still sucked!
Yes. You have to ask EVERYWHERE. Not only do most restaurants use soy oil, it is HYDROGENATED soy oil. That's what they're cooking your food in, too, so beware. It's not just the butter on the table. I have not had any success in getting anything fried in butter recently at all - the best solution a small mom and pop place could give me last week was canola oil, which I declined. Any large chain restaurant you are S-O-L. I suggest bringing your own butter. When I eat at a place like Red Lobster, I bring my own butter, my own melting pot, my own tea-light candle and matches. I stare defiantly at the staff, DARING them to say something to me, but no one ever has. They know the "butter" they serve is actually hydrogenated oil. Why do you think it doesn't EVER congeal?!?!? Sorry, now I'm getting pissed off all over again. I had a similar experience as you, to include migraines and diarrhea, after being reassured that the "butter" was indeed "butter." I eat out less than once a month because of this crap. Oh, and did you know that most steaks, chicken, etc. are brushed with a solution containing gluten before they're cooked? It's what gives the meat the "grill marks." And what makes me very, very ill. I didn't know this until Outback Steakhouse offered "gluten free steaks" and a waiter explained it to me. Have fun, kids. It's a dangerous, effed up world out there.
Seriously, I've given up when it comes to restaurants. I ask my questions, and I do my best to avoid the things that are real problems for me (gluten-free for 10 years), but in the end, it's all a best guess kind of thing because so many places either don't know or don't care.
My advice: Learn to love to cook. It's the only way to be sure.
Yeah, the bottle labeled "Olive Oil" on the salad bar in the cafeteria at work is actually an olive/canola blend. The guy was arguing with me - I knew by the taste it wasn't the real thing - until I MADE him go look at the original packaging. At least he had the grace to blush when he came back and told me I was right.
And everybody knows that the reason the scrambled eggs are SOOOO fluffy at some chain breakfast restaurants is that they put a little bit of pancake batter in them, right? Oh ... you DIDN'T know about THAT one?
It's crazy how even the most innocuous and Paleo-seeming foods can harbour hidden nasties. It's reached the point where I feel almost as if there's some sort of conspiracy, where industrial food manufacturers are actively looking for ways to adulterate the food supply.
Case in point: I had some fruit salad at a friend's house the other day. Afterwards, when I casually complimented her on it, she told me it was pre-made. I helped her tidy up, and almost choked when I picked up the packet. Not only had it been sweetened with wheat glucose syrup, but vegetable oil had been used as a "glazing agent" on some of the dried fruits.
So that's all 3 Neolithic agents of disease, handily smuggled into a perfectly Paleo food, all for your health and convenience!
It's come to a pretty poor pass that we can't even control what goes into our mouths, unless we make it from scratch, in our own kitchen, with our own two hands.
Anyway what I guess I meant to say was; yes, I feel your pain, and empathise with your inevitable slow descent into food paranoia. ;)
The gluten in the bread was probably as bad or worse than the hydrogenated oil, and also likely had some seed oil in it as well. You also probably got huge doses of MSG, too, especially if they had any "Sazon Goya" in the back.
ahahah. That's gross, but I'm not surprised at all. My first and current jobs were back of house in casual dining restaurants, I recommend it to anyone who wants to be stunned at the sheer amount of gross crap that goes into the food. It's unfortunate but given that frankenfats are cheap and most customers don't care, I don't blame the restaurants. The owner is a bit of an idiot for misleading customers by labeling soy margarine as butter. One day he'll have a customer with a real soy allergy and, though it's technically the customer's responsibility to inform the restaurant of allergies, he should still know better than to mislead people like that. How hard is it to put "may contain soy" on the menu at least?
Can't believe how full of disgusting non-foods our food system is, it's like some kind of cruel joke being played on the human race : how much of this stuff will they shovel into their mouths before they realise how sick it's making them?
Oh, I thought I'd found a really great Indian restaurant because they said they cook their food in ghee. But when I questioned them further I found it was the dreaded vegetable ghee, which is really just hydrogenated vegetable oil and probably worse than the standard canola oil...
I find that I still have good luck at Eco-crazed or locavore restaurants. They at least love discussing exactly what is in their food and don't do any cutesy renaming that leads me down to poisonous path.
Also, sashimi is hard to adulterate!
Update for a upstate NY locavore place I love... Check this menu out!