Seasonal eating: decoded
Did you know that tomatoes and berries don't usually grow in the winter? That butternut squash doesn't grow in the summer? And that depending on where you live, healthy pasture-raised chickens may only be available fresh 2-3 months out of the year?
This all may sound shocking to you. It was to me when I first started upgrading my health and lifestyle. I mean, if you're able to buy tomatoes year-round, they probably considered "in season," right?
Nope. Sadly, our food industry has grown in such a way to prioritize profit over the natural order of life. It's the most unnatural process, and has totally interrupted our connection to the land, our food sources, and optimal levels of health. (If you want to know more about this whole food industry nonsense, do yourself a favor and stream Food Inc. on Netflix.)
It turns out, foods are seasonal. That's right, and so are WE! As the earth rotates around the sun, climates get warmer and cooler, days get longer and shorter, and with that, everything from our bodies, to trees, to the tiny insects in between experiences changes as well.
I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. Think about your skin -- how it feels more oily during the summer, and dry as heck during the winter. Or how you have more energy during the warmer months to jump out of bed, yet in the dead of winter, all you want to do is hibernate. And haven't you ever experienced the pure BLISS of a ripe summer peach? There's just nothing like it.
Seasonal eating is one of the magic keys to feeling your absolute best. When we eat with the seasons, we don't just take advantage of all the delicious produce available -- oh no, there are so many more benefits. From an economical and political standpoint, we're supporting local farms, and who doesn't want to support local mom-and-pop businesses? Rather than buying vegetables that were grown in Central America and flew thousands of miles to be on your grocery store display because it was too cold to grow in the US, we can support American farms and reduce our carbon footprint.
From the health perspective, our bodies don't have to work as hard to digest our foods. When we digest more efficiently, our bodies can get back to all the other jobs it needs to do -- like fight off germs, keep you awake at work, and balance your mood during even the most stressful week. That's nice, right?
From an energetic place, eating seasonally goes so much deeper than that. This way of living helps us live WITH the cycles of the earth, the natural order of life, the ebb and flow, ying and yang, expansion and contraction of the world we live in. We become more connected to nature, the people around us, and we feel more ALIVE.
Now, I'm not saying to eat everything from within a 3 mile radius. I love my avocados, and those don't grow in Richmond! Rather the more seasonally and locally we eat, the more in tune we are with the world. And it's way easier to eat seasonally than you think! In case you need a place to begin, here are 3 simple tips to eat with the seasons:
#1 - ASK THY FARMER.
Get your butt to the farmers market and ask what's good that week. The surest way to know what's in season is to ask! Farmers and grocers are proud of their jobs, and want to share not only what's good, but also how to prepare it. This is especially crucial since crops change year to year depending on weather (thanks to global warming). There may have been a rain that washed out all the salads, or warmer weather that brought in early berries. They'll tell you what's delish, and you bet those foods are going to be the best tasting by far.
#2 - GET ACQUAINTED WITH YOUR HOOD.
While I'd love to share a list of what's good this month, I may be living in a totally different place than you! Having moved to Richmond, VA, a few short months ago from NYC, I was totally shocked to see Peaches at the grocery store in March. In NYC they wouldn't come around until May or June! My first thought was: "NO WAY, this is a hoax! But when they felt and smelled ripe, I quickly remembered that I live further south now, and different foods will be available at different times. Now I get to learn what's seasonal in Virginia, and I'm super psyched about it!
#3 - PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BODY.
Our bodies are in a constant state of digestion -- from food, information, conversations, and experiences. And it's quite often that we're in transition, as well -- whether that's a new job, new home, new relationship, or most often moving into a new season. Every time we digest, or transition, or move through something, our bodies are physically changing. The surest way to eat seasonally is to listen to our bodies' cues as to what we need. Most often than not, they're intuitively guiding us to eat with the cycles of the earth!
These tips are just the beginning. I am SO incredibly passionate about seasonal eats, I even taught a whole class about it with my fellow healthy-living crusader, acupuncturist and holistic nutritionist Kelly Sherman of Wax and Wane Wellness. We took over our local health food store and shared the ins and outs of eating with the seasons, from both the practical and eastern medicine standpoints. The conversation was rich and juicy to say the least.
Bummed you missed it? You can join our next workshop on Wednesday, June 21st, the first in our Seasonal Attunement Workshop Series. Snag your ticket HERE before they sell out -- and they totes will, their first workshop sold out in 3 hours! (For all those who don't live in Richmond, don't you fret, more seasonal tips to come throughout the summer. I got you, boo!)
Now I want to hear from YOU. What are your favorite foods to eat in the summer season? Share below so you can give us some ideas for next week's batch cooking sesh!