Do you find yourself eating more fresh fruit and crisp veggies in the summertime? More soup and meat in the winter? I know that my body craves juicy, water-rich foods in the warmer months and heat-producing foods like meat, oil and nuts in the winter.
I’m not alone in this theory as most people go with their natural instincts and choose their foods based on the season. Many people do not eat fruit in the winter because the weather is colder and fruit is a cooling food, which will lower your body temperature during a cold time of the year and may challenge your immune system, leading to sickness.
During the winter months our bodies need shelter and warming foods. Many of us are under enormous amounts of stress during this time of the year due to the holiday season, where we are running from party to party, shopping and eating and drinking too much. During this time we should be living in harmony with our bodies and our surroundings to bring in the New Year in good health. We can do this by eating with the harvest and consuming local produce. Now, this does not mean going to the food store and stocking up on what’s in stock because in the present day our supermarkets are stocked with produce that has been imported all over the world, so it’s quite hard to know what IS actually in season. You can buy bananas and mangoes year-round. When we eat something out of season it has to travel quite a distance and stay fresh using refrigeration. By choosing locally grown foods, we not only consume fresher produce, but we are also more informed about where it comes from and how it was cultivated.
Eating locally creates a sense of community; I usually talk to the farmers at the NYC Farmer’s Market in Union Square about what they grow throughout the seasons. If you think aboutit, people have been eating locally produced veggies and fruits for thousands of years. Our ancestors did not have refrigeration, therfore they HAD TO eat from the land. They ate fresh greens in the spring, fruit in the summer, root veggies in the fall and more fats and animal foods in the winter. We can strengthen our connection to our surroundings and our bodies by eating according to the hearvest.
Now, you may be thinking…’it’s complicated to cater my diet to the seasons’…but, it’s acutally quite simple. Your body knows exactly what it wants and needs. In the spring, many people crave leafy greens and citrus foods. I enjoy making spinach salads with citrus vinagarettes and freshly chopped herbs and fruit. In the summer, people crave cooling foods such as veggies and fresh fruits. I know many people enjoy corn on the cob and mixed fruit salads during the heat-scorthing days. On the other hand, in the fall we crave grounding foods like onions, nuts and squash. In the winter many people crave warm, heat-producing foods such as oil, soups, whole grains, meat and fats to feel more solid and insulated from the cold. The wintertime is when we may want to adjust our cooking methods by putting more heat into our food and cooking it for longer. Roasting and baking vegetables or using a Crockpot to make stews is a great way to warm up in the wintertime. Adding more oils, proteins and nuts to your meals will ensure that extra satisfaction. Thicker soups such as pea, potato or pumpkin are other great ways to warm up during the cool season.
How about you? Do you tend to ‘eat by the season’?