Health and wellness is a journey and only you can decide what path you will take and what influences your personal choices. A common factor in embracing a lifestyle that promotes a positive wellbeing is the practice of eating a diet based on wholefoods and plants. Nature has an instinctive way of providing us with food that nurtures and fuels our body during the different seasons. Learning to eat seasonally enables you to benefit from the bountiful produce the earth provides.
Understanding The Basics Of Eating Seasonally
Firstly, it sounds simple but know your seasons and embrace them. Without seasons life would be stagnant and unchanging and the beauty around us would become taken for granted. Whether it is summer, autumn, winter or spring, farmers can be found planting and harvesting, working alongside the earth’s natural rhythms. Those that work with nature understand the importance of seasons and we can take our cues from them, basing our diet around plant foods, filling our plates with living foods that the earth produces and using them as the heroes of our meals. Eating this way means there will be no, or little room on our plates for any processed foods!
Let Eating Seasonally Fuel Your Body With What It Needs
Secondly, eating meals that are based on seasonal plants enables our bodies to be nourished and provided with the nutrients they need in different times of the year. The body is beautiful and complex and when given the support it needs functions exactly as it was intended. With many of our diets lacking in nutrients it seems our bodies have becomes confused and as a result we have lost the art of listening to it when it speaks. Eating seasonally encourages us to regain this lost art by fueling our body with the nutrients it needs during the different times of the year. As we practice this and become more mindful of the food we are consuming we will begin again to realign our bodies and learn again to trust the promptings it gives us.
With each season come plant foods perfect for giving nutrients most needed during that time. In the cooler months the earth provides a range of root vegetables, which when turned into comforting soups, casseroles and other warming dishes provide not only the comfort we desire but healing properties our bodies often need during the cooler months through the vitamins and minerals they contain. The warmer months bring an increase in the amount of fresh leafy greens and other vegetables and fruits best eaten raw, easy to use to make a vibrant and tasty salad that our body often craves on a hot day.
Embrace The Balance Of Eating Seasonally
Thirdly, the benefits of eating a diet based on the plants provided by each season enables balance to occur. Instead of always eating the same fruits and vegetables, variety is added to the mix and you don’t find yourself stuck in a rut of consuming the same fruits and vegetables all year round. It also provides a variety of vitamins and minerals for the body, helping it function at its best by ensuring the certain nutrients it needs more of in each season are there to draw from.
Balance doesn’t end there but can also be seen woven through the way we prepare and consume the seasonal plants. Where the earth provides plants that tend to require cooking during the cooler months, it then increases the amount of plants it produces in the warmer months that are best eaten raw. By preparing food based on seasonal produce you will naturally find your meals throughout the year are a balance of cooked and raw foods.
Eating Seasonally Made Easy
Lastly, the easiest way to eat seasonally is to shop at your local farmers market or organic store. Instead of learning by heart the different fruits and vegetables produced in different times of the year, these outlets have done all the hard work for you. Farmers markets only have stallholders who are locally producing food and most of them are organic so you can be sure the food is in season and can have conversations about their farming methods if you want more information. If you start to go regularly you will start to see a pattern in the stallholders attending as well, for example the berry farms are only there during the summer when they are in season; this definitely gives something to look forward to!
Organic stores are generally like the farmers market but open every day, which means they are more accessible. Again, speak with those working there to find out where they are getting their fruit and vegetables from, most of it should be local or at least national, again meaning this will be seasonal produce. If you live in a big country it is worth talking about the travel time and methods on transporting the fruit and vegetables.
If you don’t have access to a farmers market or organic store you can still shop seasonally, it just isn’t as easy. Supermarket prices can generally give an indication on whether produce is seasonal by its pricing, however this is not a guarantee. More and more supermarkets and grocers are beginning to label the fruit and vegetables with a label that also says the country of origin. Buying only those from the country you are in will benefit you and support your community.
Jenny Barrow is based in the beautiful Mount Maunganui, New Zealand. Through her own health journey, Jenny developed a passion for food and nutrition and loves sharing this with others. She is passionate about eating plant-based, seasonally and sustainably as a way of not only nourishing the body but also supporting local farmers and producers. After working in a variety of fields and then completing more study Jenny is now settled in what she describes as her dream job, working in the Wellness Industry with Janesce Skincare and Bestow Beauty. Blessed with a job that brings her joy, Jenny also fills her soul with family, friends, nature and travelling. She is working towards living a ‘slow and simple’ life.