When it comes to food, Los Angeles has it all. Of course, it’s not hard to find greasy takeaways, with gargantuan servings of genetically modified, preservative-laden, antibiotic-ridden ‘junk’ food. But it’s also easy to find super-healthy, organic, nutrient-rich food too; you just need to know where to look.
The first thing I discovered when moving to LA was to only buy organic, grass-fed meat from the supermarket. It’s most common for meat here to come from grain-fed cows, but I looked into it and you can miss out on a lot of nutrients if you’re not eating ‘pasture-raised’ meat varieties.
I think it’s worth going organic, whatever your diet. In the US, it’s legal for companies to put higher amounts of antibiotics and preservatives into their food than what’s allowed in New Zealand. Many ingredients that are banned in New Zealand are still used here, so if you don’t want to break out in a strange rash (like a number of my Kiwi friends have in LA), stick to the good organic stuff, I reckon.
Even though you have to wade through some less desirable food choices, LA is definitely the place to be to keep up with the latest superfood and health crazes. I just moved into an apartment above a superfood grocery store, so in the six months I’ve been here I’ve learned a few things about how to be healthier!
Erewhon (the grocery store) is an absolute treasure trove, with a huge range of different foods. My latest discovery is ‘Bulletproof coffee’ , made using butter and ghee. It’s rich and filling and a bit like drinking a cup of fat, but it somehow feels healthy (and it’s a lot more delicious than that sounds!).
‘Bulletproof’ was founded by David Asprey, a Californian who is either on to something amazing or is just a phenomenally good entrepreneur. The Bulletproof company produces ghee, oils, supplements and protein bars that, according to Ray, the store manager, sell like hotcakes.
One of their newest inventions is another product I’m obsessed with called ‘fat water’. It contains a small amount of ‘Brain Octane oil’ which is their fancy name for distilled coconut oil. It’s very good though and it comes in a raft of different flavours with zero sugar added.
It might seem unlikely that in an image-conscious place like LA, people would be wanting to eat more fat, but the idea is catching on.
I first heard of adding good fats to my diet when I started seeing a personal trainer in Auckland in the months leading up to my wedding last year. This trainer completely changed my view on eating, and I learned that if I up the good fats in my diet (which include butter, ghee and coconut oil), I don’t crave sugar.
I even eat peanut butter by the spoon occasionally to get more fat in if I feel haven’t had enough. Quite a few nutritionists now seem to be agreeing that a bit of fat isn’t so bad. Essentially, it’s like going back to eating how your granny did, so I even make good old bone broth these days.
It’s all about raw
Other big ‘superfood’ sellers in LA include any and all macrobiotic and raw food products. Erewhon’s aisles are packed with bars and treats made with coconut, nuts and ingredients like chia seeds and goji berries. I made it my mission to try them all, but after the first 10 or so products they all tasted pretty much the same to me so I gave up!
Now if someone says “Have you tried the new raw food macarons?” I just say “Yes, yes I have”, as no doubt they taste like coconut and agave syrup... and I’ve tried those.
Although there are lots of new foods to try, one of my favourite discoveries was hearing that ‘organic’ butter is now (apparently) on the good fat list. Woop! I put butter in everything now so I hope they don’t suddenly decide ‘oh hang on, no, it’s still unhealthy’. Thank god we know for sure that dark chocolate and red wine are filled with antioxidants, so they shouldn’t leave the ‘healthy’ category any time soon!
Words: Siobhan Marshall