Dating can be awkward – there’s no way around it. Eating Paleo can add another level of awkwardness since so many dates and interactions are centered on dining out, which can be more difficult for Paleo eaters or those with food allergies. Every time I see one of those successful first date Match commercials where they go to sushi, I’m thinking “I hope that soy sauce doesn’t make homegirl break out for their second date.” So, if a hottie with a meaty squat and a Down To Paleo tank top has caught your eye from across the gym – go ahead and ask them out. This post will give you a few pointers to capturing a Paleo eater’s iron rich heart.
Do: Learn The Basics
It’s pronounced PAY-LEE-OH, by the way and it will definitely benefit you to gain a rudimentary understanding of what foods are eaten, and which are avoided. This has all sorts of practical applications: picking up coffee for two, going to the grocery store, ordering an appetizer you can share, making cocktails, booking restaurant reservations, etc. And basically, Paleo means eating meat, seafood, vegetables, nuts, seeds and healthy fats. For the basics low down, there are a ton of resources. One of the most respected of which is the infamous Mr. Robb Wolf’s site.
Don’t: Call Us High Maintenance – We’re HEALTH Maintenance
Sure, it may seem like we’re asking the waiter a million questions about cooking oils, dressings and cross contamination – that’s because we are. Those of us that eat this way by choice care more about our health and what we put in our bodies than someone thinking we’re annoying or high maintenance. Those with allergies have to be careful – it’s not an option not to. That is, unless they want to end the night early with a stomach pains (no couch makeout session for you!). Still think we’re high maintenance? Get to steppin… it’s not our fault, it’s the food system we have in place that makes us eat things we’re not meant to most of which have been heavily genetically modified.
Do: Ask The Right Restaurant Questions
It is beyond impressive when someone takes initiative and plans a date at all. But you can really score some extra brownie points if you take it one step further, and research your restaurant choice before confirming reservations. See, most restaurants and commercial kitchens are gluten dens – grills aren’t thoroughly cleaned during the course of a night and cross contamination from other foods can be passed to other dishes, even if those dishes are “gluten free”. If you have no idea where to start in finding good, accommodating restaurant start by googling “gluten free” restaurants in your desired neighborhood. Then, you’ll want to check out their menu online and see if there are dishes whose ingredients appear to be all Paleo. If all systems are go, give them a call and ask them about they oils they use to cook the dishes you’ve pin pointed, and if their grills are ever at risk of being cross contaminated. Essentially, you need to find out if they’re truly able to accommodate those with allergies or who are Paleo by choice. If they seem to not know what you’re talking about, steer clear – being unintentionally glutened will sap the romance out of a date pretty quickly!
Don’t: Try to Debunk The Way We Eat
The number one way to stop any potential romance with a Paleo eater is to debunk or attack the diet as a “fad”, or inferior to another way of eating. Most Paleo eaters have spent a lot of time reading and research the effects of certain foods, and have settled on eating this way for a reason. Sure, some of the concepts may seem “radical” but keep in mind that the idea that the earth was round was also considered radical once. Be curious, not confrontational.
Do: Cook For Us!
Because we spend so much time meal planning, shopping and cooking it is a real treat when someone else does the heavy lifting in the kitchen and treats us to a delicious meal full of things we can eat without having to think about it. And it doesn’t have to be intimidating, think simple recipes: meat + vegetables + fat + seasoning. Add some simple healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, ghee (clarified butter), tallow (beef fat) or lard (pork fat) and you’ve got a nutritious, and flavorful dinner on your hands. If you need some Paleo culinary inspiration – check out my Resources page featuring the best food bloggers in the game that keep it simple enough for newbies to follow.
Don’t: Feel Pressure To Eat Paleo Too (Unless You Want To)
A lot of Paleo eaters’ lives revolve around food. Shopping, meal prep, cooking, slow cooking and packing snacks becomes a way of life when you generally can’t count on your surroundings to have a ton of options that fit into your regimen. If you’re dating a Paleo eater, food finds its way into a lot of your conversations. But that shouldn’t be taken as pressure for you to convert or change the way you eat, unless you’re really wanting to for your own personal reasons. For example, when people find out that I eat and cook Paleo, they immediately turn to my dude and ask “What about you? Are you Paleo too?” The answer is no, and just like anything else it’s great if you have a way of eating in common but generally doesn’t amount to a deal breaker. That said, don’t be surprised if you get lured in the by the siren song of bacon smells, slow cooked meats, and homemade cooking from scratch. Just by virtue of my cooking, my boyfriend is now about 75% Paleo, save for his weekly burrito habit.
Have more questions about how to sweep your Paleo or allergic crush off their feet? Let’s book a Paleo coaching / Q&A session! For those in Orange County or San Diego I have a directory of restaurants that can accommodate Paleo eaters / those with allergies and can help give your event or night out that extra attention to detail!