7 San Diego Fresh Food Changes

 

I’ve been in San Diego for several weeks now and my diet has drastically changed. About two weeks after I had been here, I noticed my jeans were fitting loosely. When I weighed myself I had lost about 5lbs. I knew I was running more, but I was also eating out for almost every meal, so I was surprised to see the drop. Now I eat at home more often and I’ve recently started keeping a food journal because I’m fascinated at how drastic my diet changes have been. I feel great.

Here are seven things that have changed:

1. MORE WEIRD FRUIT

I always liked fruit, but sometimes I feel like San Diego is the freaking Garden of Eden. Most of the fruit here I’ve never seen or heard of. Last week I saw a fruit that I recognized from El Salvador and hadn’t spotted since I went there over 10 years ago.

Even regular fruit is different. For example, in Toronto we have peaches. But here there are more than varieties, and I had never seen white peaches in my life.

The sizes of the actual fruit are 2-3 times bigger. And every week I taste two or three things that I never knew existed. There’s fruit everywhere. Once on a trail run we stopped to pick some cactus fruit and sucked on it for a bit. Then picked the thorns out of our fingers.

On a drive up north, I was amazed to pass a pomegranate tree. I had never seen one and pomegranates are one of my favorite fruits. Sadly, they weren’t ripe yet. But the grapefruit and pear trees nearby were ready, so we pulled off to the side of the road and picked enough fruit to last us for weeks.

Yesterday I watched Shacky eat kiwi until his lips bled. And today for lunch I have some jackfruit, which is by far the sweetest fruit I have ever tasted. It’s sickeningly sweet. Like when you eat cheesecake too fast and all of a sudden you feel like you might gag. It’s just so rich and heavy, it’s almost sickening. I’m having a blast with the fruit options here.

Jackfruit

2. FREQUENT FARMER’S MARKETS

A couple of times in Toronto I walked into a farmer’s market and couldn’t find more than one small table of fruits and vegetables. The rest were sauces and pastries. And I’ve never seen a crowd at my local Toronto Farmer’s Market. Here, I have to fight my way through the mobs to find my veggies. They have fruit, vegetables, seafood, and fresh eggs. I’ve had uni (sea urchin) and balut (fertilized duck embryo) at a farmer’s market, whereas in the past I’ve struggled to just find a decent tomato.

Every Tuesday there’s a market just a few blocks from the house. Then on Thursday we have a CSA pickup at another market. The frequency and availability means we can buy and eat fresh food throughout the week instead of doing a monthly grocery store trip, which is what I’ve been used to until now. Everything we eat is fresh and there’s more flavor in the produce.

Fresh uni

3. GRASS-FED MEATS EXCLUSIVELY

We now buy our meat directly from a very pleasant local farmer whose animals are grass-fed and halal. He’s very clean and very generous. He also gives us the entire animal so we get to experiment with the offal (internal organs, tongues, heads) and get creative in the kitchen trying to use everything. I feel good about this meat. I know where it comes from and I get to pet a cow every time I visit.

4. FRESH DAIRY ONLY

I had raw milk for the first time in my life here (it’s illegal in Canada), and stopped drinking anything homogenized. I was eating Kefir in Toronto, but we only have one brand and the serving is very small and expensive. The bottles here are much larger and there’s variety to choose from. We buy our eggs fresh and we actually know what the chickens were fed.

5. MEXICAN FOOD AWESOMENESS

I can’t write about San Diego without calling out the Mexican food. In Toronto we had one decent Mexican restaurant and it was pretty pricey. The portions and variety were nothing near what I’ve seen here. The first time I got a burrito, it was like three meals for me. I’m used to tiny burritos. But my favorite by far is the soups, which I can’t even buy in Toronto. Menudo = Amazingness. And fountain drink horchata? I hope whoever invented that won an award.

Menudo

6. EATING CONSTANTLY  

I basically eat all day long now. At work, I bring in huge bags of veggies and fruit with some nuts and usually a bit of meat and tea. I have sunflower butter and honey and by the time I’m ready to go home, my food is all gone. That’s why I was partly surprised to see that I had lost weight. But although I’m eating more in volume I’ve never eaten this much high quality, fresh whole foods.

7. A PALEO CHALLENGE

I’m currently trying a 30-day Paleo Challenge. I don’t eat grains or dairy (except for raw milk in homemade shakes, and kefir for breakfast), but the most significant cut for me has been breads, which could explain some weight loss.

I’ll be blogging more about my Paleo results. At the end of the challenge, I will be racing another 50k so I’m looking forward to seeing how my nutrition might affect that.

So far I feel amazing. I’m excited by food and thrilled to try new (and even gross) things. Today I’m visiting the Taste of Downtown with some Noble Canyon friends. This is an event that lets you try food from over 50 restaurants in the city all in one evening. I’ll be there in my loose jeans.

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8 responses

  1. Just one more reason why hubby and I should move to San Diego (and, BACK there, for hubby, since he grew up there). Thank you for sharing!

  2. I’ll be looking forward to your blogging about paleo — I’m intrigued by it, but not sold enough to try it out. I’ve been convinced enough about some of what I’ve read about wheat and grains to try to cut them down considerably, but toast and sandwiches are just so convenient its hard to convince myself to do without entirely. I’m interested as to your results . . .

    Really wished I’d had a chance to meet you guys this weekend. I’m just assuming that, at some point, our paths will cross in real life

  3. I moved to California from Alaska about a year ago, and food is my favorite part about living here. It is so much fresher, more local, and there are more options. Most importantly, the bananas aren’t dark green when I take them home and the peaches are juicy rather than mealy. I haven’t gone exotic with my fruit choices yet (and we’re in far Northern CA so it’s not like they grow nearby), but the local dairy products and produce are AWESOME!! :)

  4. Cool to see how you do with the Paleo diet. My wife and I have been doing it for a couple months now and it’s been great. I think it’s easier if you (or someone you’re living with and who follows the same rules) likes to cook, as there’s not as many quick and easy options. Either way though, I’ve felt great throughout training for my first marathon and eating Paleo!

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