Food Diet: Los Angeles vs the Midwest

The other day at dinner, my beautiful husband looked up at me with those big huge brown eyes and said ” Babe, you are the only person I know who takes healthy food to such a high new level.” As I passed him the steamed kale, I looked at him and said “oh, that’s not true.” Because in my mind, it really wasn’t true.

“What about your sister?” I said. My farmer-sister-in-law takes healthy food to a whole new level. She’s not only all about organic (as we all are these days), but she practically makes everything from scratch. I’m talking about everything. She has her own little garden and a chicken coop (fresh chicken and eggs). When she needs meat; she hunts or fishes for it. She even makes her own facial and body products! She’s very careful what she puts in and on her body. When we last saw her in the Midwest this past winter, she  made the hamburger buns and mayo from scratch! Who does that? And she’s a wealth of information when it comes to nutritional facts. She even knows how things are grown in what type of soil and all that craziness. The best part is that she loves it all! She once  sent me a three page spreadsheet of the nutritional value of butter! B-U-T-T-E-R.

So, after taking  a bite of his red quinoa salad, and gulping it down with his cold almond milk, “No, babe, I can’t quite put my finger on it, but this isn’t how I eat back home in the Midwest.” Hmmmm… I thought, well let me try to put my finger on it. Why does my husband think I’m the health nut? Then I thought, it has to be Los Angeles. It has too!  Los Angeles is the home of Hollywood– The home of vanity. (Stars who are forty something look amazing in their bathing suit and photos are published everywhere!) For me, I started learning about nutrition back in my mid-twenties, not out of enjoyment, but out of necessity  My metabolism was not keeping up with my age and I had to keep up with my fellow Los Angelinas. I started counting calories. And as I did my extensive research I learned food was important in keeping the body and mind healthy. Fast forward, now into my marriage, I bring all this craziness to the table. There are lots of foods out there that are healthy– but not so much healthy for us.(And by “us”, I mean Tom and myself). I rarely use any dairy products, hydrogenated oils, butter, flour, and sugar in my cooking, and I keep items like gluten, refined or even sea salt, soy, night-shade vegetables and corn to a minimum.  If a recipe calls for butter, I substitute with olive oil, and if it requires sugar, I usually use carrots.  I never sacrifice flavor… I am a mad woman when it comes down to spices!! But my homemade baked cookies are pretty gross.

As I helped myself to a second serving of garlic spinach, I said, “You know what Tom… I bet it’s a Los Angeles thing.”   The stores here make it so easy. You can live gluten-free, dairy- free, sugar-free (even artificial sugar-free). We’ve got isles and labels, and nobody even bats an eye when you list out all the specifications of what you don’t want in your food. They’ve seen it, they’ve heard it, and they know!! Now when my father-in-law came to visit and needed LARD for a recipe, we had to go to several stores before we could find that specialty item here in Los Angeles!! Meanwhile, in the Midwest, Amy says she uses a little bit of lard (it’s good for the brain) in her cooking everyday. Hmmmm… lard good for the brain?? I don’t know. All I know is that Tom’s sister is an encyclopedia of everything food related. Me; I’m just a nut trying to use foods as my medicine in keeping my skin young, my body firm, and my inside healthy. (And keeping my handsome husband handsome) And I dislike every bit of the process because I’m not a fan of KALE.

Amy Aki Tom

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