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Eating in restaurants

Working in the world of nutrition, the concept of a restaurant fascinates me. Where people choose to go and what they choose to eat, the social aspect, a new experience or a necessity on the go. It may surprise you how restaurants are said to have begun. For most of human history, the average person ate to satisfy hunger and eating for pleasure was unknown except to kings, queens and tyrants, among whom obesity occurred because only they could afford cooks and inventories of food.

The average person’s meal was simple and was determined more by availability than choice. Travellers staying overnight at an inn could obtain drink, but food was only what the innkeeper was having for supper-if there was some to spare. There was no such thing as a restaurant (as we know it) until 1765 in Paris, when Monsieur A.Boulanger opened a business that was not an inn but specialised in prepared food. I am hesitant to say anything is the first however either way he clearly had a very strong influence. Thinking to trade on the idea of food as restorative for health (like chicken soup for a cold), the sign above the door said “Restaurants”, French for “restoratives”. Politics, however, made his experiment short lived and it ended up closing down.

In 1782, the first truly luxury restaurant was opened in Paris, but the idea of restaurants did not really catch on until 1789. Monsieur Boulanger was among them, and his restaurant become the first to offer a menu with a choice of dishes. By 1804, Paris had more than 500 restaurants and the concept swept the world.

Many of us enjoy eating in restaurants. UK households in 2022 spent on average £4,296 a year on food for the home and £1,628 on takeaways, restaurants, cafés, snacks, etc. That is a large proportion of food expenditure on external sources and most likely a significant proportion of the diet.

I find it quite disappointing that so many restaurants available to us today do not pride themselves on high quality and nourishing food for many reasons which I’m not going to go into. I’m sure you are already aware! The initial intention of Boulanger’s restaurant- supplying nourishment to the population has lost it’s influence in so much of what we see around us.

Here in Mallorca and in the UK -menus are starting to change, healthier options are becoming more popular and restaurants are placing more emphasis on the quality of their ingredients. The more we can support this the better.

Eating out is an important part of many people’s lifestyle and it is often thought that if you start Nutritional Therapy, then you won’t be able to enjoy this luxury. This is far from true and there are many ways in which therapy can help address some of the challenges you may face when eating out. You don’t need to order the salad off each menu or skip the dessert. When you work with me I help you find solutions that will in the grand scheme of things support your health whilst allowing you to enjoy dining out.

I am a registered Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist and specialist in Clinical Paediatric Nutrition. If you are interested in starting Nutritional Therapy for yourself, your family or your child then please contact me for more information/FREE discovery call or you can check out my services on my website.

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