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Yup, You Know You're A Southern Californian When....(I am)

I have been fighting, and not sure why, the idea that I have become a true Californian, and more importantly, a Southern Californian. I guess stereotypes exist for a reason, and that doesn't mean that I, or anyone, walks around saying "dude" or "like" all day long-that said, many do, and sometimes I do say like, but I rarely say dude.

It means that I have lived here so long that things that seem normal to me in everyday life, really aren't in the rest of the country.

I do belong to two gyms, yes TWO, most of my friends belong to at least one, and then go to a specialized yoga, zumba, piloxing, cardio barre or something. I belong to two that covers all that. OMG I am such a stereotype!

Recently I was at a week long writing workshop in the middle of the country, and not in the middle of America, in the middle of the rural countryside of PA. It was awesome, but Oh. My. God, It was so quiet, that it freaked me out.

Growing up in New England for the most part, even though I like to call myself a New Yorker, most of my childhood was spent in Southern Vermont. It wasn't that quiet because we were in a town, even in snow you could walk to a store, or something and there were street lights. The countryside was close, but not where we were. In fact the street I grew up on there was much like every suburb here in Los Angeles, except with just a little more land between properties, but even that, it was really like the burbs here, just with a main street full of quaint shops etc.

So at this workshop-which was awesome-things that made me realize how much of a stereotype I have become started to become apparent.

The one thing that I don't yet have is that, I don't think it's cold at 70. Oh how I wish that I did because my life would be so much better. I still have all my back eastness there. 40-60 is awesome. 70-80 is hot, 80-90 is nasty, 90-100 is beyond nasty, and 100-120 is evil. I don't like to be hot. I also don't like to be in the sun, and I don't live at the beach. I guess that's two things, but honestly SoCal is divided into two groups, the ones who love the beach & surf, and those of us who still need mountains, hiking and being surrounding by trees, I am the second kind.
Runyon Canyon

The San Fernando Valley

And we walk everywhere. The myth that no one walks here is just that a myth. Everyone walks everywhere, if they can. Meaning not in certain areas with known gangs, etc.. but everywhere else, yes we walk.

FOOD!! Okay, years and years ago I went to visit my sister in New Orleans, pre Katrina, pre Andrew (or whatever that other big one was in 1998), and pre it becoming one of the trendy culinary cities that it is now. We went out to eat and the choices for salad were "houses" salad and "mixed" greens. Being from L.A. I ordered mixed greens. I was so excited! They brought me; iceberg lettuce, one tomato slice, on slice of cucumber and a carrot. I said, "Sorry I didn't order the house salad" only to be horrified that there a mixed greens salad was iceberg lettuce mixed with one tom, one cucumber and one carrot, and my sister saying, "sorry she's from California". SIGH. (It's much better now, and New Orleans has great local foods, that I basically filled up on when there-most of it blackened and most of it rice and beans).

So at this workshop, I was really in a state of shock at the food that they thought was healthy. Here's an example. Putting out romaine lettuce and oil & vinegar and calling it a healthy meal is strange to me. That was the salad-the only salad. I CRAVED veggies & beans. It was weird to me. They are awesome at this place and really try to make everyone happy. I realized quickly that it was where I live that was the problem. My issue, not there's. They were GREAT. I just want to make that clear. 

People were like, "what do you eat?", and I'd say, "I eat healthy" only to get perplexed expressions of complete and utter confusion back.

When I said that I ate a lot of rice and beans with veggies, people were really confused.

Here is what I eat normally: avocados, eggs (they did have eggs for breakfast and sometimes slices at lunch, so I ate a lot of eggs there), cucumbers, tomatoes, red-yellow-orange-green peppers, onions, (at least three or four different kinds) garlic, zucchini, squash, sweet potatoes, potatoes, (like three different kinds) black beans, rice, plantains, cashews, broccoli (which they did have once or twice), french green beans, chick peas (as hummus and plain), corn, kale, spinach, arugula, romaine, etc.. all the salad mixes, fresh herbs, sometimes pasta, rice-especially with beans. Salmon, and tuna sometimes. Fruit smoothies, tons of green juices. Meat usually twice a week-sorry vegans, my body needs it. And, this is just off the top of my head. I follow the Blue Zone diet-it's a healthy way to eat. I am not extreme in either direction.

Oh and like once every two weeks, salad pizza. Which is a pizza base, no sauce, some kind of cheese with fruit, and then a salad on top-I know this is super California, but it's awesome.

I don't eat, processed cereals, chips, cookies, etc.. that they had out. I found myself starving. Out of desperation, I grabbed a trail mix at Walmart, (cuz a few of us needed things and that was 8 miles away) and ate Kashi cereal in the morning, with whole milk that I had to ask for. I guess back east people still think that low-fat milk is healthy, it's not, it's heavily processed.

Everyone else loved the food-well there were a few of us who by Thursday talked in our own little group about how starving we were, but since everyone else was happy with it, that was as far as it went.

The things they had that I did eat, and do eat in real life, just not every day, was cheese, and tuna. They made a great tuna salad with white beans one day at lunch that was amazing, it didn't have mayo or anything and I loved it, but it was only once.

I lost 8 lbs, and was sick every night on a non planned fast/cleanse, and was craving real food. I lost eight pounds in a week.

About midweek, I realized. HOLY SHIT I'M A CALIFORNIAN! I guess I thought that everyone eats this way. They don't. I honestly believe that here there are staple foods; red-yellow-green peppers, onions, black beans, red beans, rice, corn, cilantro, tomatoes, etc..and then all the greens, we eat a lot of greens here, and AVOCADOS! Yes I eat them every day, I do. Someone actually said, "you eat those every day??" Like I was from Mars. Yup, I do. I missed them.

It's okay, I'm embracing my new realization, and I will be more mentally prepared next time I leave my little world here. Unless I go to a city, I will plan to eat differently.

I am happy that I lost 8 lbs, it's nice to come home to my clothes being a little looser. :)


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