Love a good burger? Burgers are associated with summer BBQs, eating out with friends, and are a tasty, quick meal both at home and when out.
Do you miss being able to eat a burger on your Paleo, gut-healthy diet? The good news is that you don't need to miss them.
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY ABOUT BURGERS
A home-cooked burger made from pasture-raised meat is a great nutrient-dense food to consume. That's the good part. The bun isn't going to support your journey to better health. That's the bad part. Burgers prepared in restaurants often contain a variety of fillers that can compromise your health efforts and often make you feel worse. That's the ugly part.
But this doesn't mean you can't find and enjoy a good burger.
CALGARY'S BEST PALEO BURGERS
Here are 4 great burgers that I've found in Calgary.
1. Silver Sage in the Calgary Farmers' Market.
Silver Sage offers a variety of toppings that conform to a Paleo, gut-healthy diet. I like to get tomato and avocado, and there are some lactose free cheeses if you tolerate dairy. They couldn't confirm that the bacon they used was gluten-free, and they do grill their buns on the same grill, so if you have a severe gluten sensitivity then be cautious. Request a lettuce wrap instead of a bun, and you will be served your burger wrapped up in a checkered paper wrap for easy eating - just fold the wrap down as you go.
2. Flippin' Burgers
Located in Kensington, this small location only does burgers and fries. The burgers are flame grilled. There are some great add-on ingredients that are Paleo and gut-healthy. I haven't asked about their bacon, so if you are there ask, and let me know. I request a lettuce wrap, and the burger gets served on a lettuce leaf and accompanied by a large cutting knife, so you can eat it with cutlery. Depending on my mood I'll either use fork and knife, or wrap it up in the lettuce and eat it with my hands. Buns are grilled on the same grill, so again be cautious if you have a severe gluten sensitivity.
3. Burger 320
Burger 320 has a Bridgeland location and a Kensington location. They use only flank in their burgers. No lettuce here, but they have a side of arugula, so I ask for my burger to be served on a bed of it. Definitely need a fork and knife. I like to get brie on my burger here, so if you tolerate dairy it's a nice non-traditional topping. They also have a garlic aioli, which I suspect isn't totally Paleo, but I cheat a little bit here. Again, buns get grilled on the same surface as burgers.
4. Dairy Lane Cafe
Located on 19th Street in Hillhurst, this is a great place to eat to support local farmers. Dairy Lane sources ingredients locally. This is probably my favourite place, because I can also get a salad with my burger. The salad is where I cheat a little bit. I have no idea what the dressing is made of. Sometimes they also have a lamb burger on the menu, so if you like lamb, keep your eyes open for it. I just ask for the burger to be served on lettuce instead of the bun.
All of these locations have the traditional toppings like ketchup, mustard, and pickles. I typically avoid these due to the sugar content and other ingredients that can compromise my efforts towards better health. Regardless of where you eat, make sure to let the staff know you don't want a bun. One time I stated I only wanted the patty, and the burger arrived with the bun and none of the sides. Communicating what you want needs to be done clearly.
If you are avoiding gluten you will always need to take extra precautions and communicate with staff.
Do you have a favourite burger place? Talk to the staff about what's in the burger. Basically you just want meat and some simple seasonings.
Do you have a great gut-healthy burger place to love that I've missed? Let me know what it is.
Happy, Healthy Eating!