This is fantastic. I just got back from a world tour studying yoga and I heard this so often from my teachers. We were in Kerala, India, FAMOUS for their mangos. Our teacher said when they were in season he would eat them by the buckets, but when we were there they couldn't be found at all! He said we could find them but they would be no good and that our bodies don't need them when they are out of season. It was becoming fall and they are in season in the summer. Mangos are refreshing and cooling when temperatures get so hugh. Perhaps why they are so prevalent in the tropics and NOT in the mountains of Colorado. This is the reasoning according to my teacher. He says, nature knows what we need and when. So eat whats available from your own locality... A bit beyond the normal dietary recommendations. Im going to share what you wrote in my own yoga blog... Probably in a couple of days! Thank you so much! I'll be back!
I don’t know about you, but I get excited every time the seasons change. But while the changes of season are easy to see and feel—the crisp fall, the snowy winter, the fresh spring—they’re often difficult to taste, thanks to near-unlimited access to every type of food, all year round. When you walk into your local supermarket, you’ll find summer’s strawberries and blueberries perched next to fall’s apples and squash—any day of the year.
It’s hard to argue with such convenience, and having so many choices is something generations past could only dream about. But the result is that we’re losing sight of what we’re really supposed to be eating, and when. Here are a few reasons why sticking to what’s in season is such a good thing:
Fact: In-season fruits and vegetables that have had a chance to fully ripen before they’re picked have the most nutrients. And these nutrients often correspond to our body’s seasonal needs. For example, oranges, which are at peak season right now—from December to March—have high levels of vitamin C, which plays an essential role in the immune system. (Just one orange supplies around 116% of the suggested daily value of vitamin C!) What better way to ward off common winter colds then eating delicious, fresh oranges?
Seasonal and local foods have to travel much shorter distances than non-local fruits and vegetables, which can have to go well over 1,000 miles to get to our local supermarkets. Plus, seasonal foods typically have fewer chemicals. Foods that have been picked too early and travel long distances won’t look as pretty as the seasonal ones that grew to their peak—so, to make them look more appealing, they’re often given chemical ripening agents, wax coatings, and other preservatives.
Seasonal foods are often cheaper than out-of-season produce because they don’t require anywhere near as much effort to produce. If it’s the right time of year, food can be pretty much left to grow on its own—which is far less labor intensive and time-consuming than procuring food out of season. Almost anything that’s in season will be plentiful—and therefore cheaper.
Foods that have had the chance to fully, naturally ripen before they’ve been picked will taste how they’re supposed to. And if you’ve ever compared the sweetness of a tomato in February to one in August—you know what allowing food to fully ripen means to your taste buds. Plus, eating in season brings delicious memories of special days, holidays, and seasons in our lives—there’s nothing like pumpkin pies and butternut squash soup to remind you of autumn or roasting chestnuts to bring memories of the winter holidays.
How to Do It
With limitless options at the store, and everything always available, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut of eating the same foods repeatedly. But, there are a number of resources out there to help you eat a more seasonal diet:
- Check out this food chart to see what’s in season and when, and choose those foods when you’re shopping.
- Hit up your local farmer’s markets, which typically sell produce that’s not only in-season, but also organic.
- Join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group in your area. It’s a great way to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer, and make sure you’re getting the freshest stuff out there.
- Check out in-season recipes from sites like Cook Local, Harvest Eating, and Routes to Wellness.
If you get accustomed to eating what’s in season and grown locally, you can reap countless benefits—for your health, the environment, your wallet, and, of course, your taste buds.