Get Real

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." -Virginia Woolf

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." -Virginia Woolf

Its 4:45 a.m., I’m in a shabby chic coffee shop called "The Better Buzz" (pictured above) in Point Loma, CA on the water. I spotted it on the drive in to the hotel the night prior. There’s a perfectly good Starbucks across the street but I like to root for the underdog, and this place is actually pretty neat.

I usually take my coffee black when not at home. Hard to find a place that carries MCT oil. Something on the menu caught my eye though, “The best drink ever”. Strong words. Sounds pretty boss. I asked the barista what it was and she explained, “We melt our vanilla into the coffee”. I’m intrigued, and order it. Her fingers begin bouncing on the iPad register and I ask her “is it good?” Seemed like a dumb question based on the drinks name. She said she’d never had it because she can’t have dairy. Confused, and thinking that the only ingredients are coffee and vanilla, I ask her “Where’s the dairy at?” She says “in the vanilla powder”…Fail…

Like the small brunette barista, I too am lactose intolerant. However, I handle raw dairy just fine. Knowing there’s no way the powdered dairy in the vanilla is raw I opt out of The Best Drink Ever and go with a medium roast, black. Was I bummed out? Eh…glad I didn’t consume mystery dairy dust before a workout? Stoked. Would have been a countdown to disaster pants.  

This quick exchange illustrated an idea that’s been bouncing around in my brain for a few days and I’d like to take a few minutes to purge my thoughts on my hotel notepad in hopes to shed some light on our ambiguous menu as Americans nowadays. I recently recommended a client consider organic produce. His response, “oh I don’t have the money for that fancy stuff”. It has become clear that we have lost touch of what real food really is. This idea was again highlighted a day later when another client asked what type of almond milk to mix into his green smoothie. I envisioned the poor guy staring into the cold locker at the grocery store. A wall of a dozen cleverly designed “Best Drink Ever” looking cartons.

My point is that we have become so far detached from real food that we now have a fancy name for it…Organic. Sounds special, right!? Wrong, it’s just normal. We shouldn’t have to mark and certify foods that are sold in their original, untampered with state. We have it backwards. Rather, we should be informing consumers of any unnatural changes made to what they are about to put into their face.

Logic states we are made aware of something that is unusual. An “Uneven surface” sign near a construction zone on the road, A “high bacteria” surf advisory before we get in the water. Unfortunately where I live real food has become the minority in a sea of powdered dairy vanilla…whatever that is.

What I’m trying to drive home here is that organic is not, as my client puts it, “fancy stuff”. It’s just food, real food. Further, it’s not expensive it’s just that commercialized “food like” products are so cheap. I’d like to see labels that read “non-organic”, “chemically treated” or “may activate love handles”.  

In closing, I challenge you…Yes you, to experiment with this idea this week. Purchase two of the same types of produce, one organic and the other commercial. Examine them objectively. Look at the size and shape, taste and smell. Maybe ask your family to try and see which they prefer. Also, if your food comes in a package, turn it over and read what’s inside. What are you about to put inside yourself. What exactly is in the ingredient list? Is there anything you don’t recognize? Are there any funny, long or hard to pronounce words? I dare you to start Googling some of the unknown ingredients. Ever try raw milk? Let’s start being more aware of what we’re feeding ourselves and our families. I’m not here to tell you what to eat, I don’t have an agenda against Monsanto, and I’m not pushing the paleo diet or any specific trend for that matter. I’m just team people. I care about us. Our health, longevity and quality of life. I’m interested in what we as humans are taking into these beautiful bodies of ours. The only bodies we have.  

For now I bid you farewell valued reader and friend. The sun is coming up, this medium roast is kicking in and my cross trainers are all laced up! gtg

Gabe Rivera.