The LA Diet: Food As Religion

In Southern California, food is religion. Fad dieting and yoga account for most spiritually North of I-10. Here is a brief rundown of the major sects of the SoCal diet and what these food fads say about their followers.

The Meals On Wheels Diet:

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No it’s not just for your Church group’s community service program. In Los Angeles, there are many who will only eat at restaurants that drive.

Of late, the food truck crowd has gained a reputation for being edgy and hip but the bread and butter of this “movement” is that grubby taco bus you pass everyday at Olympic and Western. The menu sells itself: $1.25 for any animal that can walk, swim, or fly, roasted between corn tortillas. It’s the most calories a dollar can by.

The Meals on Wheels Diet also has a proud social history. Diversity is a big deal in LA and this diet is unquestionably the city’s most socially stratified craze. Call it the Evangelical Church because this is Californian’s Big Tent. Your average taco truck is a favorite of stoners, surfers, Hispanic day laborers, broke Hollywood assistants, and hipsters who seek irony in their menu options (Cabeza? Lingua?). Basically, Meals on Wheels eaters are the middle fifty percent of LA that’s too poor, too lazy, or too stressed to make any choices about their diet other than corn or flour tortillas.

The Sushi-Only Diet:

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The Sushi-Only diet is a favorite of Los Angelinos who live in West Hollywood, Manhattan Beach, and Brentwood. It’s key demographic are females age 17-30 who are living off of their parents’ credit card while chasing their Hollywood/fashion/social media coordinator dreams.

Sushi-Only eaters are not as easily pigeonholed as their name suggests. Despite their blanket financial illiteracy, these dieters have a curious preference for gut-rot booze. They are prone to making mass purchases of Trader Joe’s “Two-Buck Chuck” and enjoy flavored vodka mixed with diet sodas. Food groups that are not commonly found in the Whole Foods sushi section are generally supplemented by (1) fair trade coffee (non-dairy creamer only); and (2) cocaine.

The What-The-Fuck-Was-That-Shit-I-Read-on-Huffpo Diet (The WTF DIET):

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The WTF diet is a status symbol, usually flaunted in lieu of the fancy BMW or Mercedes that it’s adherents have foregone in place of a Prius. The WTF Diet is composed of only what is “in”: kale, gluten-free products, and a seasonal liquefied root vegetable. This is a highly adaptive diet that changes on an annual basis based on new “science” that usually tracks with Fashion Week in Paris, though newly initiated cult members live by the maxim “if it can’t be liquefied, it shouldn’t be eaten.”

WTF Dieters can be found all over Los Angeles but are most densely clustered around Venice and Santa Monica, where participants can eat buckets of kale and collectively complain about the state’s unwillingness to tax them at the level they feel they deserve. These beach-dwelling peoples do not surf but belong to a Yoga Studio within a carbon-neutral commuting distance.

The Avocado Diet:

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The Avocado Diet is the California dining sect most recognizable to Americans living east of the San Gabriel Mountains. In the rest of the nation, their dining selections would be normal if not for the curious green garnish that rears its head exactly where it shouldn’t. That is to say that the Avocado Diet pivots on deploying its namesake in the most unlikely places.

Unlike the other local fad diets, the Avocado Diet is not arrived at by deliberate action. Whereas WTF, Sushi-Only, and Meals-on-Wheels Dieters make specific nutritional choices based on rigid theology, Avocado Dieters are victims of a regional groupthink that begins at that one barbecue where the host ran out of ketchup before guacamole. That is to say, like an invasive species, avocado products began to cross-pollinate with one helpless hamburger and soon run amuck through whole kitchen pantries. Within a year, unsuspecting dieters will begin topping staple Midwestern foods with avocados. No sandwich, salad, or omelets will be free, no matter how illogical this green fruit’s application appears to the outside eye.

The I Hate LA Diet:

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At the heart of the I Hate LA Diet is… a deep-seeded hatred of Los Angeles. Adherents to this nutritional regimen believe in punishing their digestive tracks with whatever food they believe their fellow Californians will find most appalling. They generally enjoy nachos, steaks, fried chicken and whatever the regional specialty of their hometown is.

I Hate LA Dieters are fond of stuffing their faces with BBQ ribs that just aren’t as good as home, complaining about cheesesteaks that have superfluous peppers and mushrooms, and getting fat just to prove a point. They generally hail from cities in the South or Northeast and feel as if they were hustled by their boss when he convinced them that moving to LA for a few years was a good career move.

I Hate LA Dieters can be found: complaining about the city’s lack of public transportation, avoiding the beach on weekends, and only socializing with the three other fat guys who go to the Boston/Philadelphia/New York/Atlanta bar every Sunday to watch the game. Though I Hate LA Dieters spit some tough rhetoric, they are prone to hitting on Sushi-Only chicks and secretly would love to do it in that one girl’s Prius.

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