Sure sure, you’ve probably heard that you should eat seasonably. It seems like there’s always a new trend with food – eat five colors a day, eat Dr. So-and-so’s diet, only ever eat grapefruits, etc… Some of these trends just happen to be good advice that gets popular because it’s actually good advice (some are just, well, trends). When you see the grapefruit swap out for cabbage or soup but everything else about the fad diet is the same you can bet it was probably a fad without a whole lot of anything to back it up. But what about eating seasonably?
Eat Seasonably (The Basics):
This isn’t anything fancy – it’s literally just eating the foods that are in season in your area when they’re at their peak. This means you’re eating a whole lot more Spring foods in Spring, like asparagus and early greens. More Summer foods in Summer like peaches and melons and you guessed it, more Fall foods in the Fall. Bring on the pumpkins! This makes sense in a lot of ways:
- You Get the Best Flavor Eating Seasonably. Eating the foods that are in season right now means that everything you eat is at it’s peak freshness and maximal nutrient value. You are getting the best of everything as it’s ripening and NOT getting the limp produce that’s been shipped across the globe unripe and hung out in airplanes and trucks for days before getting to you.
- You Help The Earth. Eating the foods that are in season in your area right now, means you’re more likely to be eating local produce that doesn’t have to be shipped and that’s grown by local farmers in your own community. Not only are you contributing to your local economy, but you’re also reducing the pounds and pounds of produce that are shipped all over the globe every day.
- You Get the Best Nutrition. Produce that ripens fully before it’s picked has had the best opportunity to absorb as many nutrients as it can from the earth. It’s developed it’s antioxidants more fully and so is nutritionally a richer, more complete source of the things you need.
- You Participate in the Great Mystery. Here’s the thing – there is a design in this universe that is so much bigger than we are. Some people say it’s coincidence, but I say it’s too good to be coincidence. The foods that are ripening in the summer when it’s hottest also happen to be the foods that have the most cooling effects on your body (think watermelon and cucumber). The root veggies that mature in the fall help your body to nourish itself deeply in preparation for the cold to come in Winter. The garlic, onions, horseradish and spicy foods of Northern climates help to thicken your blood to prepare for cold winters while the Jalapenos and peppers of the Southern climates thin your blood to help you weather the overly-hot summers. Coincidence? I think not. When you eat seasonably you allow this great mystery into your life.
Your environment is meant to nourish and sustain you and help you exist in that little piece of the world. So sure, you could buy more frozen peas or frozen corn or grapes shipped from Chile (nothing against you folks in Chile), but what are you missing here at home? Is it possible that your next Texas summer might be easier because you’re eating your local Texas produce as it ripens through the year? And think about the animals “ripening” as well. There’s a reason that we eat turkey at Thanksgiving and it isn’t just tradition – this is the season where turkeys are in their prime and we can derive the most benefit from their addition to our table. Eat seasonably this year and see what changes for you.
This past year I’ve been experimenting with my body to truly follow my instincts for foods that are ripe right now. I can tell you there was a good three weeks where all I really wanted was watermelon and water with cucumber slices in it and I let myself follow that urge. It’s possible that it’s coincidence, or that this summer wasn’t a horrible one, but I genuinely feel like I was able to enjoy the summer more and get out an do more because my body was able to withstand the heat with more grace. I wasn’t quite so close to my pass-out point all the time.
Now that we’re coming into fall I’m craving roasted root veggies and pumpkin smoothies and all the wonderful things that it doesn’t make sense to eat in the summer. I’m craving FALL FOOD. There are so many ways to know what’s in season in your area, but by far the simplest and most pleasurable is to just visit the farmer’s market. Your local farmer’s market will have fresh produce from farmers who probably picked or harvested it within the last 24 hours. No sitting around in trucks or spoiling in the supermarket – this is fresh and seasonal and I think will help your body to live in the world a little bit more easily.
Seasonal Food in Texas Month-by-Month:
Here’s a great list from the National Resource Defense Council of Texas seasonal foods month by month which also has a farmer’s market finder.
Happy Eating Everyone!