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Omaha Eats: Salt 88 + How My Diet is Changing… Again

in Other, Restaurant Reviews

Happy Sunday, all!  I hope your first weekend in May is treating you well.  Mine has been great so far.  My mom is in town visiting, and we have been enjoying filling our days with a little relaxing, plenty of shopping, and some delicious eats.

Last night we dined at a new-to-me restaurant here in Omaha: Salt 88.  After my friend Molly told me that they have a large designated gluten-free menu, it instantly shot up to the top of my “must eat at” list.  My mom and I were definitely not disappointed.

Omaha Eats: Salt 88

Salt 88 PatioI shared this photo on Instagram last night.  What a gorgeous patio, right?  While the inside of the restaurant is beautiful, we could not turn down the opportunity to sit outside next to the golf course.  The weather was slightly breezy but it was the perfect Saturday night filled with delicious drinks and eats.

Our visit did get off to a bit of a rocky start.  There seemed to be some miscommunication between the waitstaff, as our waiter did not arrive to our table until at least ten minutes into the visit.  Being very thirsty and hungry, we were not overly thrilled about this, but we were at least happy to have a gorgeous view to look at.  Luckily, things only got better once the waiter arrived.

I requested the gluten-free menu and was pleased to see that there was an entire front and back full of options.  After a couple of minutes spent pondering the choices, I knew exactly what my body was craving!

Salt 88 New GristI started by ordering a new-to-me beer, New Grist, after hearing good things about it.  It was by no means a tasty IPA or sour, but it did the trick after not having had a single beer in over a month.  And to think I never used to like beer!

Salt 88 SaladA side salad accompanied both of our entrees.  We chose the Spring Salad with the Carrot Ginger Dressing.  I loved that the salads were a whole lot more than the stereotypical side salad tends to be at restaurants.  We are talking fresh romaine and lettuces, cucumbers, and tomatoes.  And that dressing?  It was crazy good!  Now I just need to figure out how to recreate it myself at home.

Salt 88 RavioliShortly after our delicious salads were cleared away, our entrees arrived.  My mom selected the Ravioli Artesa, which consisted of buffalo mozzarella ravioli, roma tomatoes, and a sauvignon blanc cream sauce.  The two of us used to be cheese ravioli connoisseurs together back in the day before I adopted a plant-based diet for a while and then became gluten-free.  I have to admit that I was a bit jealous of her dish.  How could I not be?  It looked amazing!  My mom was kind enough to let me know that it was, in fact, delicious.

Salt 88 Chicken TerraI was not too terribly sad about not being able to try my mom’s ravioli because I had a delicious dish all to myself.  I selected the Chicken Terra, a plate of grilled chicken, wasabi gouda mash, and quick-seared spinach.  I was not the biggest fan of the spinach because I wished it was fully cooked, but the rest of the meal more than made up for it.  I compiled a little bit of each of the three parts onto my fork so that I was able to get a taste of everything with each bite.  The grilled chicken was perfectly seasoned and grilled and the portion was quite large.  My absolute favorite part of the dish was the wasabi gouda mash.  You guys, those taters were unreal!  They were just slightly spicy, perfectly creamy, and crazy delicious.  If I could have eaten a whole plate of those, I probably would have.  I guess they are yet another thing that I need to add to my “must recreate at home” list!

Neither my mom or I are cotton candy people, but if you are then Salt 88 is the place for you.  It is their tradition to end every dining guest’s meal with cotton candy.  Trust me, I more than wished I liked cotton candy when they brought it to our table.  Cotton candy or not, my mom and I had a great experience.  I will definitely be dragging some of my friends and Jeremy back there sometime soon.  We need to get more use out of that gorgeous patio, right?

How My Diet is Changing… Again

So, um… about that elephant in the room.

Yes.  Your eyes are not fooling you.  That was chicken on my plate.  That chicken is the perfect representation of “How My Diet is Changing.”

If you have been following my health issues for the past 6 months as I started eating fish again and stopped eating gluten, my decision to add some meat back into my diet may not really come as a huge surprise.  I have had this possibility on the brain for half a year now and finally decided to take the plunge.  Unfortunately, I have not noticed any significant improvements in my health by adding seafood back in and cutting out gluten.  For me personally, the next logical step is to add some meat back in.  I do not foresee huge health improvements solely on eating meat, but I have made the choice to eat it in order to set myself up for some additional diet experimentation.  Since grains and legumes have been shown to be inflammatory for some people, they’ve ‘gotta go.  At least for a little while.

Here is my tentative plan as of right now:

1. Add meat back in
2. Try a grain-free diet (either in May or June) …if no improvement, then:
3. Try a grain-free/legume-free diet (likely very focused on paleo/Whole 30) …if no improvement, then:
4. Try the AIP diet <– this is highly restrictive, so it is essentially a “last straw” kind of thing

As you can probably guess, both grain-free/legume-free and the AIP diet can be somewhat restrictive.  Both would also pull out a large portion of the foods that I currently rely on for protein and variety in my diet (corn, quinoa, rice, beans, lentils, etc.).  In an effort to try to maintain my sanity, I have made the tough choice of adding something back in to take the place of foods that I will soon be going without.

Is eating meat easy for me?  No.  It took me awhile to fully come to terms with the fact that eating meat again was going to be my reality and that it was something that I needed to try.  I’ve been at it for a couple of weeks now, and the entire experience is still completely odd to me.  It is weird to purchase meat at the grocery store.  It is weird to cook meat (a new challenge for me in the kitchen).  It is definitely strange to order meat at a restaurant.  And actually eating meat is the strangest part of it all.  The first thing I ate was ground beef since it was the only thing that sounded good to me, and the whole time all I could think about was how I wished it was tempeh.  Spoken by a true former vegetarian, right?  So while my taste buds may not fully be on board with the meat-eating concept just yet, I am pushing through.

What does all of this mean for Clean Eating Veggie Girl?  Well… it looks like I am going to be switching things up a bit yet again.  You saw me start eating and creating recipes with fish.  You saw my recipes switch to being all gluten-free.  Now you are obviously going to be seeing meat here on the blog.  If I am cooking and eating meat, it is inevitable that it will make an appearance.  But don’t worry!  I hope to keep sharing vegan and vegetarian options whenever possible.  I also plan to continue to chronicle my experiences with my diet changes and experimentation.  I’m ready to nip these pains in the bud.

Finally, to address a question that many of you may have: no, I will not be changing my blog name.  The way I look at it, I still eat incredibly “clean” (and likely will be eating even more clean), I still eat a ton of veggies (and my veggie consumption will probably increase even more), and (most importantly) I am still a girl 😉

CEVG is here to stay.  Woot woot!

Thoughts?  Questions?  I’d love to hear them!

Share Good Eats
{ 45 comments… add one }
  • Erin @ Her Heartland Soul May 2, 2015, 11:29 pm
    Nothing but love and support for you! <3 And I love that dish you got from Salt 88! Anytime you want to go just let me know! :D Erin @ Her Heartland Soul recently posted...Friday FiveMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 3, 2015, 2:28 pm
      Yay for both! It will definitely be a go-to for me as far as restaurants go :)
  • Courtney May 3, 2015, 4:10 am
    I went from vegan to eating seafood to eating meat! You really have to listen to your body! I for one cannot eat dairy, gluten, grains and skinned fruits as well as flaxseeds and certain herbs which took me many tests to figure all out but once you figure it out you will be happy with the results! Our bodies know what they need to run so you just have to keep trying! Lots of love on your journey xo C Courtney recently posted...How to Avoid a Junky WeekendMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 3, 2015, 2:31 pm
      Thanks so much for your thoughts, Courtney. I am happy to hear that others can relate and that it IS possible figure out what my body wants... even if it takes awhile :(
  • Sam @ Grapefruit & Granola May 3, 2015, 6:27 am
    Good luck with your diet changes! I'm sure that's got to be frustrating... i hope something brings you the changes that you're hoping for! Sam @ Grapefruit & Granola recently posted...Things Loved in AprilMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 3, 2015, 2:33 pm
      Thank you Sam! It is definitely super frustrating, but I am hoping that all of the changes and experimentation I try will work!
  • Alli O May 3, 2015, 7:22 am
    These diet changes sound all too familiar. I was diagnosed with UC 2 years ago and have been changing my diet relentlessly for the past year to no avail. I started the same way (well I was never fully vegetarian but I didn't eat meat often). Cut out all processed foods, started AIP, tried SCD, continued without grains/legumes up until now (about 8 months without a grain!) and now I'm working on adding everything back into my diet. I never felt better without these foods in my diet so there doesn't seem to be a reason to keep them out. Hopefully someone will figure me out soon! Best of luck to you, I know how hard this can be, especially when food is s big part of your life. Please feel free to reach out with any questions or frustrations, it's always easier when someone has been through the same things! Good luck and I hope the diet changes help!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 3, 2015, 7:10 pm
      Thanks so much, Alli! I really appreciate it. I am so sorry to hear that you did not find any relief with your diet changes. The realist in me is trying not to get my hopes up, but I sure hope something helps me! Good luck to you as well as you continue to try to tackle your pain and find relief.
  • Molly May 3, 2015, 7:38 am
    I'm glad you liked Salt! That is the same dish I got the last time I was there and my thoughts were exactly the same as your's. The spinach was weird - warm, but not actually cooked. I was not a fan, but loved everything else, particularly the potatoes! Also, kudos to you for making the hard decisions about what is right for you and your body. I hope you finally see some results.
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 3, 2015, 7:11 pm
      Thank you for recommending Salt! It was so good! But yet.. I still can't quite figure out where they were going with the spinach. Thank goodness the potatoes more than made up for them. We'll have to have a girls night there sometime soon!
  • Jordan S May 3, 2015, 9:42 am
    That salad dressing at Salt 88 is my absolute favorite!! I crave it all the time so if you figure out how to make it you must share! It is spicy which is totally unexpected but totally perfect on the cool greens. I am so proud of you for listening to your body and what it is telling you! And that chicken looks absolutely delicious!!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 3, 2015, 7:12 pm
      I am not the greatest at recreating salad dressings (or making any delicious ones at home), but I just might have to try! And if I do, I will definitely share the recipe ;)
  • Joanna @Makingmine May 3, 2015, 10:07 am
    You're an inspiration Hannah! I bet every doctor wishes they had patients that took such focused control of their health and well-being! I really hope you find the right combination that gets you pain relief (soon!). I know you're well on your way! Joanna @Makingmine recently posted...mother’s day gift guideMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 3, 2015, 7:14 pm
      Thanks, Joanna! I so appreciate the support from my best girl friends :). It doesn't always make eating out (or even cooking together) easy sometimes, but I'm glad y'all are always accommodating when you can be :)
    • Graham Ansell June 18, 2015, 5:20 pm
      Doctor's wouldn't wish for patience to take control of their own health, otherwise themselves and the NHS would be out of business ;)
      • ClnEatingVegGrl June 18, 2015, 8:09 pm
        Haha, that is very true in some cases ;)
  • Kelly @ hidden fruits and veggies May 3, 2015, 11:57 am
    Well, glad to see your blog name change wont change to Carnivorous-Eating Man ;) I really hope these changes help you! I can't imagine having to resort to the AIP diet -- all of the banned foods are basically my favorites, right down to my favorite spices (nutmeg and cumin!) -- so hopefully you find relief before you get to that point. And feel free to send any cotton candy desserts my way, loooove cotton candy. Kelly @ hidden fruits and veggies recently posted...Cinnamon Latte with Almond Coconut MilkMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 3, 2015, 7:15 pm
      Baha!! Thank you for the laugh. I needed it ;) I definitely don't plan to turn into a man anytime soon, haha!
  • Alex May 3, 2015, 3:35 pm
    There are certain things I simply cannot eat due to allergies or other problems. For example, after my pregnancy my stomach started to refuse Bananas & Calamari. I get really bad cramps when I eat either of that. Eliminates a great deal of "X free" baking recipes that use bananas as substitutes. Point being, we are all different and not every diet works for everyone in the same way. Hope you are able to find one that makes you feel like you hit home in regards to your health. Have a nice week :) Alex recently posted...Mother's Day - What to get your MotherMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 3, 2015, 7:19 pm
      That is a great way of putting it, Alex! You are right. Our bodies are all different and require/like different things. I hope I figure out what mine likes soon!
  • John Horvatinovich May 4, 2015, 12:48 am
    Hannah, Thank you for much for dining at Salt and all the great information in your post and blog. Just a quick response to you and your readers about the spinach. We menu our spinach as quick-seared. Most restaurants over cook spinach and doing so removes valuable nutrients as well as creating a soft algae texture. Just like other delicate greens, sometimes raw is the best way to enjoy them. On your next visit, we would be happy to replace the spinach with a different side item, so you can still enjoy the delicious wasabi and Gouda mashed potatoes. Cheers, John Horvatinovich - Owner & Chef
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 4, 2015, 10:21 am
      Thanks so much John for offering a different option and for your great customer service. I appreciate that! I will definitely be back and will certainly be ordering it again. Those mashed potatoes are killer!
  • Jaime May 4, 2015, 4:39 am
    Good luck! I can't imagine how hard it is to keep trying elimination diets, but here's hoping you can figure out something soon! Jaime recently posted...Weekly Shopping and Menu 5/3My Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 4, 2015, 10:22 am
      Thanks so much, Jaime! I appreciate all of the support that I have received from everyone :)
  • Alexis @ Hummusapien May 4, 2015, 10:22 am
    I am so excited to follow you through this journey. We're in it together girlfriend! I'm meeting with a rheumatologist in a couple weeks to talk about my stiff fingers...hopefully I get some answers. The thought of not eating grains and legumes makes me want to die!! SAVE THE CHICKPEAS!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 4, 2015, 11:44 am
      Isn't it crazy how many young people are having so many issues with inflammation/pain? Sometimes I feel like I am in a 70 year old's body :( I hope you find some answers/help with the rheumatologist! Being in pain is zero fun. And yes... the thought of giving up grains and legumes makes my soul cry, but if it could make a difference then I would wholeheartedly be ALL for it!
  • GiselleR @ Diary of an ExSloth May 4, 2015, 11:47 am
    One of my friends did the AIP diet this year and she found she was sensitive to gluten, dairy, soy, tomatoes, peppers and other night shades and a host of othe things. It was definitely restrictive but she feels much better now that she's figured out what the problems were. GiselleR @ Diary of an ExSloth recently posted...Mexican Spiced Roasted Black BeansMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 4, 2015, 2:25 pm
      That is really encouraging to hear, Giselle. AIP is definitely crazy restrictive, but if it could ultimately make a difference in me feeling better, I am all for it!
  • Erin Human May 4, 2015, 1:36 pm
    You've got to do what's good for you and your health. My husband and I have been sliding between vegetarian and pescatarian for about 9 years now - but we have no health issues complicating the matter. I hope you find what's best for you! Erin Human recently posted...DIY Sandbox for People Who Hate DIYMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 4, 2015, 2:26 pm
      Thanks so much for the support, Erin! I truly appreciate it :)
  • Rachel G May 14, 2015, 8:47 pm
    I hope you are able to find a diet that works for you and your body! It can be so frustrating to find out what exactly you should and shouldn't be eating because everyone bodies are so different! Rachel G recently posted...Americans Abroad Eating at McDonald'sMy Profile
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 14, 2015, 8:53 pm
      Thanks so much, Rachel! It is certainly trying, but I am hoping that all of my experimentation will give me some answers!
  • Terri May 2, 2016, 7:26 pm
    I just found your website and really like it I'm going the opposite way of you. I'm a vegetarian/pescatarian but I want to ease into a total plant based diet. Just about 6 years ago i cut out meat. Some bodies require meat and yours may be that. I hope it gets easier. You may not want to hear this part: you may want to get checked for rheumatoid arthritis. My friend's son got it in his 20's. I'm just wondering since so many of your joints are starting to bother you. You may want to try that if meat or different meal plans don't work. There is also an elimination diet that is for 3 weeks and you may want to try it. That is in case adding meat doesn't work. Sorry this is so long. Good luck I'll be following your blog ?.
    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 3, 2016, 8:24 am
      Thanks so much for commenting! Since I wrote that post, I have been to a rheumatologist and they don't see anything that they are concerned about at this time. I've also switched to a Paleo diet and have tried AIP with no success. It looks like I'll have to keep working through trial and error! Good luck with your diet transition :)
  • Keeley January 7, 2017, 1:01 pm
    Hiya, I was wondering if you had come across fibromyalgia? Not sure if this is a possibility just throwing it out there. I'm having mystery health woes too after being veggie/vegan for 2-3 years I am wondering weather to eat fish once or twice a week I just don't know I am full of guilt!
    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 16, 2017, 9:51 am
      My advice is to ignore others that may pass negative thoughts onto you and to do what is best for YOUR body. This is sometimes easier said than done, but it's what you need to do to get yourself to a healthy place. What works for one person doesn't necessarily work for the next.

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