For thousands of years, humans traditionally ate locally grown seasonal foods. Unfortunately, modern technology has changed that traditional way of eating and today, every type of food is available at any time of the year regardless of the season or environment in which it is grown. This may sound like an amazing leap for mankind, but actually, it’s not.
Eating everything from everywhere not only destroys our environment by burning large amounts of fossil fuel to ship foods to and from faraway places, it also weakens the digestive system, contributes to yeast overgrowth, weakened immunity, and poor calcium absorption. Egads!
Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches us that salads, vegetables, and fruits are naturally cooling to the body. During the hot summer months, this cooling effect can be quite beneficial for most folks; but during the cooler fall and icy winter season, this creates a damp condition, contributing to gas, bloating, cold hands and feet, and can eventually leads to more serious ailments like impaired immunity, blood stagnation and cancer.
Eating locally grown, seasonal food aligns our internal environment (the body and it’s organ systems) with the external environment (the world around us) creating a system that is physically stronger and prepared for the elements. For example, on a steamy hot summer day, crisp salad greens, juicy watery fruits, and freshly caught fish, plus other cooling foods that are abundantly available at that time of year would be the ideal.
On the other hand, if I look outside my window and there is a thick blanket of icy snow covering the ground, and people are trudging through the streets bundled up in snorkel jackets, innate wisdom tells us that cooling summer foods would probably not be a smart idea. More appropriate food for a cold snowy day might be a hearty stew made with bone stock, grass-fed meat, beans, and root vegetables.
Another thing to consider is that our pineal gland is responsible for taking information from the outside world and relaying it to the inside of the body. That means our physical body is connected to our external environment, and we may not even understand how deeply.
The pineal gland is responsible for our sexual development, metabolism, circadian rhythms within the body, and our waking and sleeping patterns.
During the fall and winter season the pineal gland communicates to the endocrine system to slow down and store fat. In case you’ve wondered why the body naturally puts on weight during the winter months therein lies your answer.
Your perfectly designed body is brilliant and self-protective – it stores fat to help you thrive during the cold winter season.
During the spring and summer months your pineal gland communicates to your body that it’s time to wake up, get moving, and increases our energy. Just in case you’ve ever wondered why you suddenly feel a little spring in your step as the days grow longer heading into spring and summer.
When we eat food that does not grow in the season or climate we live in, it sends mixed messages to the body and we become “imbalanced.” That can set us up for a host of illnesses.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance, for the health of the body, mind and spirit, to eat what grows in our immediate environment and climate. This, I believe, is one of the foremost things that can help us begin feeling more balanced, healthy and connected.
Not only that, eating locally grown seasonal foods tastes better! Foods that are picked at the peak of ripeness are the most flavorful. Foods that are picked unripe and shipped from faraway places can NOT compare in flavor.
Eat what nature provides for you in each season, and in the climate where you live, and it’ll enhance your health with every bite!
To find out what’s growing in your area visit a local farmer’s market, or join a CSA (community supported agriculture). This way you’ll always know what’s in season.
Andrea Beaman is an internationally renowned Holistic Health Coach, Natural Foods Chef, Speaker and Herbalist. Named one of the top 100 Most Influential Health and Fitness Experts, she is also a recipient of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Award for Excellence in Health-Supportive Education and a Health Leadership award from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Since 1999, Andrea has been teaching people how to harness the body’s own preventative and healing powers using food, herbal remedies and alternative medicine.