With warmer weather finally upon us, it is natural to think about changing our diet to be in harmony with the new season. This is a natural change that both our mind and body desires. Do you ever wonder why you crave salads all summer long and warm comfort food in the winter?
Our bodies are influenced by the different climates and for optimal health we should live in congruency with those changing seasons.
Seasonal eating means eating foods that are available and locally grown.
Some benefits to seasonal eating are:
- It keeps us attune to the earth and the cycles of nature
- It is more economical
- Cleaner foods because less preservatives are required when foods are not stored
- More nutritionally dense
- More variety in your diet (offering more support for good gut health)
- Less impact on the environment (shipping, preservation)
- Supports local farmers
- Opportunity to grow your own food
- Education for children with a vegetable garden
- Provides the right type of fuel to protect and support us for that specific season
Spring: Purification, rejuvenation
Cleansing or fasting can be done in this season. Just like cleaning and purging those closets, your body is ready for purging. Chlorophyll rich green foods are great cleansers. Consume an abundance of leafy greens including beet tops, swiss chard, kale and collards. Add herbs such as parsley, dill and cilantro to meals. Increase your consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, sprouted seeds and beans.
Summer: Growth, activity
A lighter fresh diet, high in water foods, is required in hotter weather. Continue with the local fruits and vegetables, including the abundance of local berries available. Include juicy fruits such as melons and citrus with high water content in your diet (may not all be local but find the ones that have travelled the shortest distance). Decrease cooked foods and increase raw salads. Decrease heavy proteins and fats and incorporate more fish and lighter oils. Iced herbal teas infused with berries, citrus or cucumbers will help you consume more water.
Autumn: Harvest, nourishing
As weather cools our bodies require more cooked foods and slightly heavier proteins and fats. Harder fruits such as apples and pears should be consumed along with root vegetables. Other harvest foods would include whole grains, raw seeds and nuts.
Winter: Warming, rebuilding
In the colder temperatures we often need more fuel to generate more energy. This comes in the form of richer, denser foods. A little weight gain may even be normal during these months. Our bodies require complex carbohydrate from whole grains, squashes, potatoes, sweet potatoes and root vegetables. Meat and poultry are usually consumed more as crock pots, stews and soups are made.
Seasonal eating not only fuels your body but nourishes your mind, energy and spirit. It provides the right type of fuel as our cyclical rhythm and needs change.
Embrace the new season with a trip to a local Farmers Market or start planting your own garden for an abundance of fresh, local vegetables throughout the spring, summer and fall!
Find a Farmers Market near you!