We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are. —-Adelle Davis
One of the most important aspects that often gets overlooked when choosing to eat organic food is not just eating what grows locally, but choosing to eat what’s in season. As you begin to pay attention to what grows at certain times of the year, you may notice that the earth provides fruits and veggies that support your needs for the season. Seasonal menus can vary based on where you live, but here are some overriding principles you can follow to ensure optimal nourishment in every season:
- In spring, focus on tender, leafy vegetables that represent the fresh new growth of this season. The greening that occurs in springtime should be represented by greens on your plate, including Swiss chard, spinach, Romaine lettuce, fresh parsley, and basil.
- In summer, stick with light, cooling foods in the tradition of traditional Chinese medicine. These foods include fruits like strawberries, apple, pear, and plum; vegetables like summer squash, broccoli, cauliflower, and corn; and spices and seasonings like peppermint and cilantro.
- In fall, turn toward the more warming, autumn harvest foods, including carrot, sweet potato, onions, and garlic. Also emphasize the more warming spices and seasonings including ginger, peppercorns, and mustard seeds.
- In winter, turn even more exclusively toward warming foods. Remember the principle that foods taking longer to grow are generally more warming than foods that grow quickly. All of the animal foods fall into the warming category including fish, chicken, beef, lamb, and venison. So do most of the root vegetables, including carrot, potato, onions and garlic. Eggs also fit in here, as do corn and nuts.
There’s another great tool available that offers a year-round reminder of what to eat now. For more information, check out the Local Foods Wheel.
In all seasons, be creative! Let the natural backdrop of spring, summer, fall and winter be your guide.