Eating to Live on the Outside: California Pizza Kitchen

This week’s edition of Eating to Live on the Outside heads for the left coast. I’m off to get myself a big ole slice of California Pizza Kitchen. I know what you’re thinking, PIZZA! What about all the cheese? Don’t you know Dr. Fuhrman considers cheese a coagulated nightmare?

He does? Just kidding. To be honest, having never heard of the California Pizza Kitchen (or CPK as all the cool kids call it) I was skeptical about its offerings too. I mean a pizza joint doesn’t exactly scream healthy dining. But I was pleasantly surprised by its bounty of health-conscious grub. Granted they’re not perfect, but on face value alone they easily trounce Friendly’s, Sizzler, and IHOP. Let’s take a look…

The first few dishes to grab my attention are salads: The Grilled Vegetable Salad, Field Greens, and a Tricolore Salad Pizza. One thing that I like about CPK is the generous inclusion of avocado in their dishes. The mighty avocado: Eat to Live soul food. Now, the Grilled Vegetable Salad is jam-packed with veggies: Grilled asparagus, Japanese eggplant, zucchini, scallions, roasted corn, Romaine lettuce, fresh avocado, and sun-dried tomatoes. Go easy on the dressing and you’ve got a fine meal. The Field Greens looks good too, but less vegetables, and the candied walnuts and pears might scare some people away. The Tricolore Salad Pizza holds its own on the veggie-front too: chilled arugula, baby red leaf lettuce, radicchio, and diced tomatoes. Although I’d ditch the Parmesan cheese and, once again, I’d probably only use a teeny tiny bit of dressing.

Since this is a pizza place, you might be tempted to actually order pizza (I know I would), so here are the pies that caught my eyes. Thai Chicken and the Vegetarian with Japanese Eggplant. The Thai Chicken sports some pretty cool plant matter combinations: green onions, bean sprouts, julienne carrots, cilantro, and roasted peanuts. It also comes topped with Mozzarella cheese and a spicy peanut-ginger and sesame sauce; I’d probably skip the cheese. The Vegetarian with Japanese Eggplant is intriguing too. It’s prepared with Mozzarella or Goat cheese, baby broccoli, grilled Japanese eggplant, roasted corn, sliced red onions, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and tomato sauce, on honeywheat dough. Since I really like the types of veggies on this pizza I might be willing to put up with some cheese (which is risky for me), I’d probably tell the waiter to make it with half the amount of cheese they normally do; of course skipping it altogether is probably the best idea.

Generally I’m not much of a soup guy, but the Dakota Smashed Pea and Barley Soup could change my mind. It’s pretty basic and cheese-less, so I don’t think you’d be making a huge concession by ordering it. Besides, it’s made with some really savory ingredients: split peas, barley, carrots, onions, herbs, and chopped scallions. I think it could be a nice alternative for someone with dairy sensitivity; myself included.

I think the California Pizza Kitchen is a step in the right direction. A lot of the foods are made with fresh ingredients and seem to be more vegetable-based than animal product-based. Maybe these are early signs of a new trend in American dining. And remember we want your feedback! Tell us what you might have done differently or what you agree with. Check out California Pizza Kitchen menu and let us know how you Eat to Live on the Outside? Leave a comment or email us at
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Comments (2) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Gia - July 30, 2006 9:38 AM

Hey Doc...I'm loving Eat to Live...however what is your advice on the massive amounts of gas one gets when eating a whole head of leafy greens and broccoli every day? I mean we're dealing with some pretty room-clearing stuff. There's gas-x and other remedies but they are not naturally derived, so I'd like to know what you suggest. I really think this needs to be addressed somewhere on your site - the lifestyle change is wonderful but we need to leave our houses.


Milton Keynes - July 13, 2010 9:33 AM

I think it's a combination of the veg, and what you eat it with, how much you chew etc... the more you chew, and balance out the veg with some fibre, the less of a problem it'll be.

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