By Tammy Stokes
Living in a fast paced modern society disorientates us from the magical cycles of nature disturbing its influences from the use of artificial light, temperature controlled environments and jet travel through time zones. The changing of the seasons provides a unique opportunity to realign us. This may be one of the most important reasons to explore eating in harmony with nature. We are inextricably connected and seasonal foods meet our bodies needs naturally providing the most nutrient rich produce varieties that serve us at the highest level. When you eat foods in season, you are harmonizing with the harvest. These beautiful gifts from nature provide some of the greatest rewards. Here are four great reasons to eat with the seasons.
1. Enjoy Peak Flavors
Simply stated, in-season produce is more flavorful. Most everyone has experience taking a bite out of a mushy apple. That’s because when food is being transported for long distance distribution, it must be picked before its fully ready to avoid spoilage. Its flavors never peak. Many of the factors involved in transporting foods effect taste, texture, nutrient content and freshness. Eating in season gives you access to the best tasting crops of the year.
2. Naturally Support Your Body’s Needs
Citrus is a good example of nature’s gifts in sync with the body’s needs. Citrus peaks in winter months. These fruits are rich in vitamin C. During cold and flu season, our body needs extra vitamin C for preventing infections. In fall and winter, when the sun sets earlier and temperatures cool off, our bodies naturally crave warm, cooked foods like soups, stews and broths. These foods provide the extra warmth and comfort we desire.
3. Avoid Contaminates & Heavy Pesticides
Fruits and vegetables that come from overseas contain an array of chemicals, fungicides and pesticides to preserve them for the trip. Some areas of the world have high levels of heavy metals and toxic contaminants in their soil from industrial run off. Eating seasonally usually means eating locally and that means a lot less energy goes into preserving the food. More effort is spent on distributing the food quickly. This trend is known as the farm-to-table movement.
4. Save Money
When crops are abundant, the cost goes down. When money doesn’t have to be spent on transporting and storing it reduces the cost of production and those savings get passed onto the consumer. Eating seasonally, allows you to buy produce that is readily available and must be distributed quickly.
There are many benefits to eating with the season. It seems that harmonizing yourself with nature is not only better for your body, but it’s good for your soul too. The thought of living in sync with the harvest gives us greater connection to the “oneness” of the world and appreciation of eating what is presently growing. Perhaps this is another nudge from mother nature for us to live the same way.
It’s a beautiful fall harvest - some of my faves of the year. Excellent for an incredibly healthy and delicious vegetable soup. Here is a list of "in season" for Fall.