I'll tell you something that doesn't make a lot of rational sense, Loyal Reader. Since my return to California, I've been eating a lot more vegetables, fruits and nuts than I did in Tennessee. And I've been really liking it. Tennessee had a meat-and-potatoes kind of diet; I can recall days when I ate nothing but breakfast cereal, bread, and animal products like meat and cheese.
The reason it doesn't make a lot of sense is that fruits, vegetables, and nuts were available in Tennessee, and the cost was not all that much different than what it is here. There is better selection and better quality available here in California, and much of this plant food is grown locally. But that's not to say Tennessee was devoid of vegetable options. The stores in Tennessee, even the green-grocer type places, did tend to stock only the staples in terms of vegetables -- maybe three kinds of apples, standard peaches, bosc and red pears, broccoli, carrots, potatoes, spinach, iceberg and leaf lettuce. When other stuff was in season, they carried it. So fruit and vegetables were certainly available back in the Volunteer State.
But here, the variety is astonishing. Six kinds of apples, standard. Four kinds of pears, including the mild Asian globes. Eight kinds of salad mixes standard in the grocery stoes, with lots of loose weeds around in the produce aisle. Tangerine juice. So far I've not found my favorite salad base, arugala, but that's just a matter of time. It's not just at Trader Joe's, either; regular grocery stores here all have good fruits and veggies, too. For Loyal Readers in Knoxville -- it's like every store is Fresh Market with Food City prices (at least for produce).
I think my altered diet has less to do with market conditions, though, and more to do with psychology. California is the Salad Bar To The World and it seems a shame to not take advantage of the cornucopia that I am once again living in. Californians care about body image more, and are more health-conscious. That's not to say every Californian is thin and healthy, we like our In-N-Out and Fatburger very much. But Southerners indulge in fatty, greasy foods more often than do others; doctors call the land of Dixie the "stroke belt" for a reason.
Eating healthier food, more salads and fruits and things like that, just feels natural here. I might not lose weight -- there's a lot of calories in a breakfast of a banana, crumpets with strawberry pulp, tangerine juice, and lemon-zest yogurt, almost all derived from fruit sugars -- but there are other benefits to a diet rich in fruits and vegetables aside from weight control. Hopefully this trend can continue and even if I don't lose a lot of weight, my innards will thank me anyway.