That started a conversation about my experience on Saturday of going to an Indian restaurant with a group for what was supposed to be a fast lunch between two services at two different churches. I didn’t stop long enough to think that I had not been to an Indian restaurant since beginning my low-carb high-fat dietary protocol. The greatest concern was being able to find something that was not spicy–mild enough for Linda to be able to eat. The following conversation ensued:
LG: Uh oh.
RR: It’s delicious, isn’t it!
Me: It *would* be if it weren’t so spicy that it hurts my tummy!
RR: So sorry! There is Indian food that is very mild. I make a rainbow curry that even T. will tolerate. “Rainbow” because it has veggies of every color in the rainbow in it!
Me. I think the ONLY way I would be able to get Indian food that (a) doesn’t hurt my mouth and my tummy and (b) is low-carb enough for a diabetic is to cook it myself! We won’t even consider whether it’s vegetarian or not!
RR: My rainbow curry is! Rice is optional. Lots of coconut milk.
Me: I could easily use cauliflower rice. And unsweetened coconut milk is fine.
AR: Eat with plain yogurt.
Me: Well, that’s a good idea, but they usually don’t offer plain unsweetened yogurt in typical Indian restaurants. [I was actually mistaken about this because I didn’t know the Indian word for yogurt.]
NJ: Here are recipes for Indian food that is diabetic friendly: http://simpleindianrecipes.com/DiabeticRecipes.aspx. “Over 100 Indian style food and recipes for diabetic patients. India is the diabetic capital of the world. Every diabetic patient needs to take care their food intake in a serious way. We have a collection of diabetic-friendly food recipes to help you to fight diabetes.” [I checked the link and, as expected, the recipes were all ADA-compliant. Still, this did not address the issue of eating in Indian restaurants.]
NJ: Also, always ask for mild food if spice is not tolerable. I usually don’t recommend buffets and say order off the menu if generally spice is not preferred. Another idea is to order raita or a salted lassi. Both of which are plain yogurt. Sometimes the raita has cucumbers and tomatoes. One other idea: get recommendations from someone that might have a similar preference of no spice of a restaurant that cooks in this manner or dishes at particular restaurants that are no-spice-friendly. There are a good number in the Bay Area that cook in the no spice/mild manner.
Me. Thank you for your helpful suggestions! I wish you had been with us yesterday. We ate at a restaurant called Shalimar that was near the church where the memorial service was held.
NJ: I wish I was, too. I was at a board meeting across the street from Fisherman’s Wharf from 830am-5pm. I so wanted to be there. Sigh. Another time when I’m up here and not working on a Saturday!
Me: What I had was saag chicken. The waitperson said it was “medium.” The taste was really good, but it was so spicy I couldn’t eat it without rice or naan (I chose naan), which really spiked my blood sugar.
NJ: Oh, no!! Sorry to hear. Yes, when they say medium I would avoid that and go with only mild. Hope your tummy feels better soon!
Me. Oh, I’m fine today! It was just yesterday, during the time of the memorial service. I see that my problem is that I just didn’t know what to ask for and how to ask for it. I found this article (below) after the fact. The “raita has cucumbers and tomatoes” you mentioned sounds like a wonderful option! https://www.atkins.com/…/articles/dining-out-indian-style
AR: I knew yogurt was offered but didn’t know the official name.
Me: I need to put this information in my phone so I’ll have it with me should I ever go to an Indian restaurant again!
Me: Just saw this from someone in one of the diabetes support groups I’m in: “I just went to a veg south Indian buffet and there was not one low carb item: idli, dosa, rice, lentils, papadum, mattar pander, bhajia…I ate nothing! I am not surprised at the high rate of carb intolerance in India.” That’s discouraging!
NJ: Yah, none of those items are diabetic friendly. (This was back to my comment that I would recommend ordering off a menu versus going to a buffet at an Indian restaurant.)
Me.: Next time I’ll know what to ask for, thanks to your helpful suggestions! 🙂