Eating with the seasons. If we can get any kind of food all year round, why would you want to eat with the seasons. It turns out that seasonal eating has some real benefits. Listen in to learn more.
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Are you familiar with the concept of eating with the seasons? It’s not new at all. In fact, for thousands of years, it’s how humans ate. It’s only been in recent human history, perhaps since the beginning of the Industrial Age, that we began eating foods that were not in season locally.
I’m talking about that time when the only foods available were those grown in your region. The time when the only way food traveled was with a horse and buggy, which meant it didn’t travel much more than 150 miles or a day’s ride. In those days, no one talked about sustainability, or seasonal eating, or organic farming. They all existed, but they were the default. That’s all there was.
My grandmother was born in 1892, and live her entire life in the small town of Gibson, Tennessee. She had a small farm and ate seasonal for most of her life, if not all of it. Except for what she canned, she canned some of the best green beans I’ve ever tasted. I personally had never given seasonal eating much thought had never even heard of it until about nine years ago. That’s when we discovered the local farmers markets in our area. And that was also about the time that I started studying to become a health coach.
So began our journey of eating healthier. And local. And seasonal. It wasn’t something we’d planned really. Over time our shopping habits changed. And we bought more and more of our groceries from the farmers market. We discovered that the vegetables we bought there were far fresher than anything you can buy at the grocery store. Most of the time, they were harvested just a day or two before we bought them. And most of the farmers use organic growing practices, whether they’re certified organic or not.
So that’s how we started to eat seasonally, or mostly so. I’m not a big stickler on it, especially when it gets too late summer like it is now here in the dry weather means there just aren’t that many vegetables at the market.
But the more I’ve read, the more I’ve come to understand that eating with the seasons is how we were meant to eat. On a certain level, it makes a lot of sense. When it’s snowing and zero degrees outside, you’re not likely to be eating watermelon or ice cream. Likewise, if it’s 100 degrees and sunny, you’re probably going to stay away from the hot soup.
You know, Mother Nature’s incredibly clever, our ecosystem is highly interconnected and integrated. Our bodies react to everything in our environment. So changes to that environment impact us in ways we never thought of. In fact, you can really confuse your body and its system. The more that plants are exposed to the sun, the more potassium and sugar that they produce. And so when they’re consumed, they indicate to you kidneys, that you’re in the hot sun, and therefore your skin is making vitamin D.
But if you’re eating those foods in the dead of winter, your kidneys won’t activate the release of stored vitamin D, because they’re thinking that you’re out there making it with the sun. And in turn that will inhibit calcium absorption, which could lead to bone loss. Some other examples those tropical fruits that are you eat in the winter, the coconut, pineapple, bananas and avocados they just send mixed messages to your body, making it think it’s in a tropical climate.
Benefits of Seasonal Eating
What are some of the benefits of eating seasonal? Your pineal gland regulate your circadian rhythm. It’s based on the amount of sunlight, the temperature and the environment which includes the food to eat. Eating out of season or eating from multiple seasons at the same time totally confused your pineal gland. It’s all about keeping your body aligned the internal environment with your external environment you’re living in. When you do that, the results are you have a physical body that is grounded and feels more balanced. When your body is balanced with its environment, it enables your body to heal on a deeper level.
You’ll also be buying local food so your food will be fresher and tastier. Your food won’t have to travel as far so the energy used for transport will be considerably less. You’ll get to know your local farmers and know which ones use organic practices. And furthermore, you’ll be supporting your small local farms.
You know, as I’m preparing this episode, I’m sitting in my air conditioned house because this part of the country would be uninhabitable without that air conditioning. And I’m actually a tiny bit chilly at the moment. I’m thinking that this is one layer of disconnection we have from our local environment. It’s making me think that part of the reason for higher levels of disease in our world is that we are disconnected from our environment. That’s a lot to take in though.
What’s in Season Where You Live?
How can you know what is in season where you live? I often see these names on Facebook and I know that the people that do this Meanwhile, when they post it, okay, it’s fall. Now, here are the vegetables that are in season. But that’s a generalization and it may not be true where you live. For example, my calendar says that yesterday, September 23, was the first day of fall. I’m in South Texas and our highs are still in the low to mid 90s. It is full on summer to this day.
So the best way to discover what’s in season locally is to go visit your local farm farmers market or to join a CSA, Community Supported Agriculture, in your area. And if you don’t know how to find one, you could visit localHarvest.org to find markets near you.
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