Eating Seasonally – Our ancestors ate seasonally because they had no choice. Fresh greens grew in spring, fruit ripened in summer, root vegetables kept them going in the fall, and people relied on animal food to get them through the winter.
Eating locally grown food in accordance with the seasons will help you live in harmony with yourself, your body, and the earth.
These days, however, it is extremely easy for us to forget about the seasons when we eat. Thanks to modern food processing techniques and the worldwide distribution of resources, most foods remain available year-round. Grocery store shelves look exactly the same in December as they do in mid-July, and we are able to buy any food we want, irrespective of its seasonal availability.
Just because technology makes it possible for us to have oranges in winter, however, doesn’t mean we should eat all foods whenever we please.
The disadvantages of living in a technologically advanced period with modern-day food practices have revealed themselves in the form of an increasing number of food intolerances and allergies, higher levels of obesity, modern chronic diseases like type-2 diabetes, and can make you more susceptible to colds, flu, and other illness.
According to many scientists, researchers, and natural health experts, eating the right kinds of foods during the right times of the year and avoiding them otherwise is crucial to a healthy lifestyle. By following the natural harvest of fruits and vegetables, we can strengthen our connection to our surroundings. Seasonal foods are a way of reconnecting with the organic cycle that nature intended for us.
In the colder winter months, the human body needs to feel more solid and insulated from the cold; we need more fat in the winter. Allow yourself to eat heavier meals at this time, and be sure to have plenty of oils, protein, and nuts. If you want to remain vegetarian through these cold months, you may want to grill your vegetables, giving them more heat and density, and avoid raw vegetables and salads. Thick soups – such as pumpkin, pea, or potato – will help to keep your body feeling sturdy.
From Eating Seasonally – One of Your Best Health Allies by Christina Luisa
What are the benefits of eating seasonally?
Better nutritional content and overall health.
Most grocery stores and food chains jazz up their fruits and vegetables to keep them looking attractive and inviting when they’re out of season. This naturally compromises the nutrition level of the food. Non-seasonal foods require the bending of nature’s rules in order for them to survive the improper season in which they are brought into the world. Therefore, these foods are often full of pesticides, waxes, preservatives, and other chemicals that are used to make them look fresher than they are.
By eating freshly harvested produce, you will be rotating your foods, thereby keeping your body from developing intolerance to certain foods and reaping the health benefits of a diet that is diverse and naturally detoxifying. Seasonal foods also have a much higher antioxidant content than non-seasonal foods.
For example, in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), spring is associated with the liver – one of the body’s primary detoxification organs. Synergistically, spring is also the time when dandelion and other bitter greens are fresh and available; these bitter greens support the liver and its function of cleansing the blood.
Sustainable and environmental benefits.
By eating seasonally, you will also be supporting the local farmers and local markets, which, in turn, works well for the sustainability of the entire economy. Seasonal eating helps the environment by reducing the number of food miles your food has to make before it reaches your table. The more local you eat, the fewer chances exist that you are consuming food that has been flown in from halfway across the world, in effect consuming that much more fuel.
It doesn’t cost the earth to produce seasonal foods at a time when they are naturally and readily available. Seasonal foods are cheaper to produce and hence, cheaper to buy as well.
From Eating Seasonally – One of Your Best Health Allies by Christina Luisa | Learn more here.
When you think about healthy eating, salads and green vegetables usually come to mind. But how about adding a little more variety to your food plan?
Root vegetables, like carrots, sweet potatoes, and turnips, are a rich source of nutritious complex carbohydrates. Instead of upsetting blood sugar levels like refined sweet foods, they help regulate them.
Why Eat Root Veggies?
Long roots like carrots, parsnips, burdock, and daikon radishes are excellent blood purifiers and can help improve circulation in the body. Round roots like turnips, radishes, beets, and rutabagas nourish the stomach, spleen, pancreas, and reproductive organs.
Which root vegetable do you eat most?
If you’re like most of the world, it’s carrots and potatoes. Here are a few others to explore:
- Beets contain an abundance of antioxidants and are highly detoxifying.
- Burdock is considered a powerful blood purifier. This long, thin veggie is a staple in Asian and health food stores.
- Celeriac, also known as celery root, is rich in fiber and has a respectable amount of antioxidants.
- Jicama is crunchy and refreshing and contains a generous amount of vitamin C. It’s a favorite in its native Mexico and South America.
- Onions are rich in antioxidants and other phytonutrients, making them prized for their ability to strengthen the immune system.
- Parsnips, which look like giant white carrots, boast a sweet earthy taste. They also have plenty of fiber, vitamin C, folic acid, niacin, thiamine, magnesium, and potassium.
- Radishes are an excellent source of vitamin C. They are also rich in calcium, molybdenum, and folic acid.
- Sweet potatoes contain unsurpassed levels of beta-carotene and are also rich in vitamin C, phytonutrients, and fiber.
Excited to add more roots to your diet? Here’s a fun, easy recipe:
Roasted Root Vegetables
Cooking Time: 25-35 minutes | Serves 4 to 6
1 Sweet Potato
2 Turnips or 1 large rutabaga
1 Daikon radish (or substitute/add in other favorites, like squash)
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Herbs: rosemary, thyme, or sage (fresh if possible)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and dice all vegetables into bite-sized cubes. Drizzle with olive oil; mix well to coat each vegetable lightly with oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbs. Bake uncovered for 25-35 minutes until vegetables are tender and golden brown, checking every 10 minutes to stir and ensure veggies are not sticking.
Tip: Any combo of vegetables will work. Roasting only one kind of vegetable also makes a nice side dish.
Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup
Cooking time: 45 minutes | Serves: 6
5 cups vegetable broth
2 cups cubed peeled sweet potatoes (about one medium sweet potato)
2 Small onions, finely chopped
2/3 cup red lentil, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of white pepper
In a large soup pot, steam-fry the onions over medium heat until soft, adding water by the teaspoon to prevent sticking. Add broth, potatoes, lentils, cumin, salt, and pepper, and stir well. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, for about 45 minutes or until lentils are tender. serve hot.
Nutritional note: Lentils are an excellent source of protein and fiber. 2-4 servings per week can cut breast cancer risk by 25%.
This recipe is from the handy little book of gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, kosher, and delicious recipes, Hungrier for Health, by Susan Silberstein, Ph.D.
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