How to stay Healthy while still eating out a lot

I have been dining out at restaurants on an almost daily basis, for many years now. A good fortune I know I have, as opposed to those who cannot afford to do so, and stay home to save up some money. That said, I may have taken for granted my youth, thinking I will live forever. As I approach my later years, I’ve discovered some annoyances that occur, which I never would have predicted.

For one, this reoccurring experience:

I started to notice an unpleasant taste coming up the back of my throat. Hard to explain, but it was mildly sour, and I attributed to meat, or the bad breath you get first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. But this was certainly unique. Having traced back what I did wrong, I noticed for the past several days, I had been feasting on copious amounts of pork and beer. Nothing really started to show yet… but during lunch one day, I was eating a sort of Huaxi/Guilin/Yunnan style rice noodle soup. In goes a tablespoon of vinegar. One bite… that was all it took. Felt like someone had punched me from the inside of my throat. The unpleasant taste lingered in my throat and mouth for the next 3-4 days.

The next time I noticed something similar, it came seemingly without any warning. This time in the form of a sort of sourness forming in my throat and around my mouth. As I had been eating relatively healthy, and could not have found anything that would have tripped up an alarm. Then I started to think… could this be… Acid Reflux? After reading over a list of high acidic foods thought to attribute to this, in my despair, I realized it includes virtually all the foods I like to eat. Including one unsuspecting culprit: coffee. I drink a lot of ‘third-wave’ coffee shop espresso and pour overs. As you know, they roast beans far lighter, giving it a more acidic quality, with variations depending on natural or washed beans. Having kept a record of my recovery, and the reappearance of the sour note in the back of my throat, I had to admit, it didn’t happen during weeks where I went without coffee, and came back almost on cue the weeks where I drank it several days in a row.

Another case of the above, where I was not expecting it, but should have realized. I was going through a phase where I was really into eating sushi several times a week. We’re talking, excessive amounts too, not just 10 pieces in a meal. Paired with a large helping of beer and sake, this became sort of a weekly standard of mine. However… I noticed the sour taste had come back. And it boggled my head, trying to figure out why. Because I had not really been drinking much coffee lately. Then it hit me… the rice contains vinegar, and quite often the more sour akasu. Then again, I wonder, could this also be due to ingesting just way too much seafood? I hope it’s not an issue of cholesterol from shellfish, or something in fish.

Having tried to balance my diet out with excessive salads and greens, antioxidants, juice cleanses, pH water, and whatnot, I found nothing really did much. The only preventative measure and way to reduce the effects I’ve ever found, were on trips to other countries, where I would spend most of my day (hours) walking from place to place. So constant walking and exercise somehow sustained me, allowing me to eat these lavish meals, alcohol and coffee, with seemingly no presence of the problem.

If any of you have some input, similar experiences, and discoveries on what you’ve done to combat similar health conditions, please tell, I would love to know. I would very much like to keep my habit of dining out at tasty restaurants, without worrying if I eat too much of this or that.

Well, GIVEN THE GLOBAL PANDEMIC, none of us will be eating out much. So now you can see what happens. (Seriously, do you NOT realize what is going on in the world?)

No idea why this was flagged for moderation. It is a sincere question considering the reality we all unfortunately live in.

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Ask a medical professional. Preferably not one currently involved in keeping other people from dying.

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I have done so, and received conflicting advice. I would like to hear from a more experienced diner’s point of view, including things a doctor or nurse wouldn’t say. They have to follow certain guidelines afterall, and less experienced ones for instance are only making assumptions from a book.

Call your doctor. I’ve said for years that sites like this are no place to ask for medical advice - especially anonymous strangers.


Doesn’t have to be so much ‘medical’ advice. I’m also open to suggestions in terms of balancing out one’s diet with greens and whatnot. As I mentioned above, the silly obvious solution of mine has been back to back days of walking for hours, but that is under special circumstances, and I can’t do that all the time.

I’m open to any sort of tips, even if it comes from an anonymous stranger. I’m pretty good at filtering, and consider anything as worth researching.

Are you serious - what “better” advice did you want to hear from a diner than from a doctor about a health issue ? (And it is often normal to get not the same advice from different doctors (as there are often multiple approaches possible to solve a problem)


An old friend who was a restaurant critic got sick regularly. She thought it went with the territory. Her editors were constantly telling her not to tqlk about diarrhea in her columa.

Even during virus lockdown many people are eating mostly takeout.

I’ll answer why I’m going to others, aside from just doctors. I don’t so much want to go into my history of hospital/clinic appointments and whatnot. But allow me to illustrate here, that I’ve not had the best of luck in these things.

Of several case stories, I went to a doctor of a famous hospital who was highly recommended, and after being examined, I was told there was nothing she could think of that would help me, and advised to look for other ways myself… and if I considered going to the spa sauna. They sent me a big bill, which at first I requested to dispute or at least ask for a referral to another doctor, followed by a letter threatening legal action.
On another occasion, I had a surface injury requiring some work. The doctor told me, I have to sign a waver first, but not to worry, it’s perfectly safe. Short story, his lack of care involving an injection led to me taking on a severe permanent damage. After realizing his mistake, he cautiously had me leave, and avoided any post contact I tried to make. This was supposedly someone at the top of his profession.

Needless to say, these experiences have left a bad taste in my mouth, and I’ve found it safer to ask for advice from those who have personal experience, not a medicinal professional who ‘poses’ as being an expert, and relies only on their degree and title. Put on a white coat and clipboard, and anyone could fool you as to their ability.

Sorry for the background story above. So yes, I have good reason to find better advice from unbiased people who don’t hide behind their ‘credibility’.

I too have close friends who are doctors and researchers in the medical field, and they too double up on my observation, that you need to be careful when taking advice from people who work in this field, although they would never publicly say it, or risk being blacklisted by the ‘scientific community’.

@robert It is unfortunate that a journalist is screened and kept quiet about things, under the fear of losing her job. Even if she expressed her health concerns through another channel, they would probably find out, and it goes against any non-disclosure agreement she signed. Restaurant critics have a difficult job, in daily having to eat all kinds or rich, cholesterol high, salty, and generally unhealthy foods. People don’t realize how taxing that is on the body.

Thank you for making this point. Even during this time, takeout food still contains many of the potential ingredients I’ve mentioned above. I would still be affected if I ate too much restaurant made takeout food. Though I would love to support my local restaurants and buy more often… it might come to a point where I simply can’t, due to health concerns.

That’s part of a normal columnist-editor relationship and she was in no fear of losing her job since she was hired by the big boss. The editor’s judgment was that people reading a restaurant review probably didn’t want to hear about digestive problems.

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@Dropkicku, It sounds like your issue is short term, vague and not that clinically significant (given all your other recent posts about eating) which is not likely to draw too much interest from the majority of doctors. Source: I am a doctor. If you’ve already been to see a doctor and tried whatever they’ve told you and it didn’t help, by all means do your own research or ask others for help. I don’t Really understand why you’re getting criticized for asking a food related question. Good luck.

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I appreciate your insight @RedDevil. I’ve spoken with a few doctors, who are friends I trust to give me honest advice. Perhaps my initial writing was not worded the right way. Thank you for your support.

Sometimes I casually bring this up while I’m out, and people will kindly give their similar experiences. Some have cited just the effects of old age. I’ve heard a lot, to try ordering more vegetables at restaurants.
One person I know makes it a routine to take pepcid before heavy meals, and says it works.
I told a friend of mine that I tried drinking alkaline pH water to balance out the acidic foods, but it left me dehydrated. He explained that was predicted to happen, when your body isn’t accustomed to drinking that type of water.

These are a few conversations I’ve had in person.