Dining Out and Healthy Eating + Kale & Quinoa Salad with Vegan Green Goddess Dressing

Hello everyone! I hope you all are having a happy and healthy week.

First off, I wanted to let everyone know that I will now be a contributing nutrition and wellness writer for Bustle! I'm very excited to have a venue to write and research about all things healthy! You can read my articles here.

Something I have been thinking a lot about lately is how to manage eating out at restaurants. I find it important to balance my passion for clean eating with my desire to try many different types of food, as I am still a foodie at heart and get great enjoyment out of trying different things. I have always believed in balance, in both the mind and body, and in what you are actually consuming. If something sounds delicious to me, I'm not going to deprive myself and let myself suffer. But where do you draw the line?

I'm sure many people who strive to eat as cleanly and healthfully as possible run into this issue when eating out with friends. I have NEVER been one to deny myself something delicious just because it is bad for you, but this should only be happening on occasion. I don't want to let my healthy habits fall by the wayside because I am constantly out with friends indulging in rich foods. The problem with this though, is that being a healthy eater often comes with the stigma of being a picky eater.

What do you do if your friends all want to eat somewhere, but you have dietary restrictions? It's pretty common to hear people mocking vegans or people who are gluten free, even though there is validity in them choosing not to eat those foods. I definitely don't want to be difficult when I'm out with people, but I also have been realizing I shouldn't forego my personal health just to appease people.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't a case of me not wanting to eat a piece of cake because I'm worried about my weight (not that anyone should be judged for that either). The problem is the negative stigma attached to wanting to eat cleanly consistently. I live a pretty on-the-go lifestyle, and it would be unrealistic for me to dictate every place we went to eat. I have just been thinking about the judgment that comes along with trying to put the best foods into your body, and that you shouldn't have to feel shamed for trying to eat purely. Most importantly, I feel that all of these issues would be solved if we had a greater number of healthy and clean food options that could appeal to a majority of people. But until then...

Kale & Quinoa Salad with Vegan Green Goddess Dressing and Avocado


1/3 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups kale, chopped finely
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup cooked lentils
1/2 avocado

For Dressing:

1/4 raw soaked cashews
Juice of 1 small lemon
5 basil leaves
2 small cloves of garlic
2 stalks of green onion
3 tablespoons olive oil

1. Cook quinoa and lentils according to package instructions. Chop kale and tomatoes.
2. Massage kale gently with olive oil.
3. Blend dressing ingredients until smooth.
4. Toss all ingredients together with dressing, and top with sliced avocado.