While I have always been a lover of good food, it wasn't until college that I really became aware of the many issues surrounding the food industry and tried to make positive changes in my own life. One of the first changes I decided to make was really making a conscious effort to eat with the seasons- which, doing my undergrad in South Florida, wasn't actually all that difficult. It wasn't until I moved back up north three years ago that I really learned just how important eating with the seasons can be!
The basic premise is this: rather than going to your supermarket and picking up whatever produce you desire on a certain day, you learn what is already growing in your region during that time of year and stick to those items instead- better yet, get them straight from the local farmer! Given that the produce is able to be grown locally, chances are that the food will have travelled less of a distance, be grown to better standards (hopefully all--naturalally), and the chances of corruption or unfair business practices are far less than buying out of season produce. Here's five reasons to put the extra effort into eating seasonally this year:
Because you are buying foods that are growing locally in your region, you save yourself the money it takes to get out-of-season produce to your grocery store. Ever notice how some items will be double the price they were just a few months before? By learning when foods are in season and sticking to those guidelines, you can avoid paying too much for something.
IT'S BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT.
You aren't contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of pollution associated with the long amounts of travel it takes to get an out-of-season item of produce to your grocery store. In addition, most mass-produced items that are shipped around the world for out-of-season purchasing are grown with conventional growing methods, such as pesticides and genetically-modified seeds.
IT ENCOURAGES FAIR BUSINESS PRACTICES.
Many times, produce that is grown outside of the United States is farmed en masse, with heavy reliance on workers that are underpaid and overworked. When you purchase local, in season produce, the chances of this type of corruption are far less than with special produce purchased out-of-season. Purchasing locally also helps to stimulate the economy and support small farming efforts!
IT MAKES BIOLOGICAL SENSE.
In the winter, our bodies are more prone to illness, leading many people to stock up on Vitamin C to boost their immune systems. It's no coincidence that foods like citrus, sweet potatoes, and carrots all come into season in the winter- high in vitamin C, beta carotene, and other vitamins, but able to keep for a long time as well! The same goes for things like melons- water-rich fruits that are in season in the summertime, when we need the extra hydration.
IT DIVERSIFIES (AND MAKES YOU APPRECIATE) YOUR MENU.
When you make a point to celebrate food that is in season in your region, you will discover all different kinds of produce that you may never have had before. Locally, we have a fruit- the paw paw- that is only in season for a few weeks in September. I wonder what your region has waiting for you to discover it? Similarly, you'll see just how special some items are that you may have taken for granter before- asparagus, for example, has a fleeting few weeks in season in early spring.
Do you have a great tip to share on eating seasonally? Have you seen a difference in your health since changing to a seasonal diet? Share with us in the comments!
Karli lives just outside of Baltimore, MD with her husband, their sweet dog, Sydney, and soon their first little girl- due January 2014! She is passionate about natural health, home remedies, and responsible consumerism- she believes that each action we take is one that builds the Lord's Kingdom! Karli is excited to become a mama and raise her daughter up in the way of the Lord. Be sure to connect with her at her blog, Feed Me Mama.