How to use food and the seasons to create balance and harmony in your body.
Have you ever noticed how you crave and enjoy certain types of food depending on what season it is? For example, you may have been enjoying salads, fruit, grilled chicken and fish quite a bit recently as the weather is warm and we’re drawn to the sun outdoors. But in a few short weeks pumpkin mania will take over, the temperature outdoors will cool and you’ll be searching for a warm apple crisp and soup. If I tried to serve you hot beef stew on a 90 degree day in July, you not only wouldn’t want it but would be left feeling sweaty, heavy and slow (gross!). These tendencies are more than seasonal fun - they’re also the work of your body telling you what it needs to stay balanced - a concept called food energetics.
Food energetics is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) nutritional science, which uses food as medicine. The concept is that all food has its own energy and properties it provides us. Whole, high-quality and nutritious food can balance and benefit us naturally depending on, say, individual health needs and location. Conversely, there are foods that can throw our balance off and harm our health, such as processed foods, sugar, trans-fats, and on an individual level, eating foods you may be intolerant to.
Other elements of food energetics include cooking and eating mindfully to help connect to and fully appreciate what you’re nourishing your body with, as well as moving our bodies and breathing to facilitate the digestion and toxin elimination processes.
We are all natural beings and benefit from staying in tune with nature around us. Noticing how our activity levels and cravings naturally change from season to season and eating local, seasonal produce is an extremely effective and enjoyable way to help keep your body in balance and in sync with the environment around you.
When your body is in harmony with your environment and balanced instead of overworked, on the defense, and out of sync, it can perform optimally, improve your mood and strengthen your immune system. → This is a critical part of self-care if you are recovering from a pregnancy loss or are trying to prepare your body for a pregnancy.
Specific foods can also be used to address specific issues or ailments, which is a much deeper level of TCM and food energetics. For example, my Feel Good Smoothie is designed with mood improvement and specific nutrients in mind. https://www.feelfireflow.com/blog/2017/8/8/feel-good-smoothie-recipe
Don’t forget about temperature. When it is hot outside, balance your body with cooling foods such as lighter fruits and leafy green salads. In the wintertime, take advantage of more hearty, warming foods such carrots and organic grass-fed and finished meats. Don’t force down a light leafy salad at lunch on a cold and rainy day when you could have soup or a brown rice bowl. Get in tune with your body and learn to understand what it is asking for so you can provide it with what it needs to serve you best.
The good news is eating locally and seasonally is getting easier with the growing access to farmer’s markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs)*, health food stores and of course, if you’re inspired to, home gardening.
If those aren’t reasons enough, in season produce:
- Tastes better
- Is cheaper
- Packs more nutrients (the shorter the amount of time between when the produce is harvested and you eat it, the more nutrients you are getting)
So feel good about stocking up on those 2 for $7 giant cartons of organic berries and freeze them!
Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing with you foods that are in season locally and some recipes through which you can enjoy them!
This week I’m highlighting green beans and peaches!
Why we love them: They’re packed with antioxidants, are low on the glycemic index and also contain significant levels of folate and iron (critical to a healthy pregnancy). They freeze easily, are one of the easier legumes to digest and are paleo friendly.
Enjoy them in this easy sheet pan meal http://lexiscleankitchen.com/2016/08/10/sheet-pan-salmon-blistered-tomatoes-green-beans/
Or this quick 3 step green bean side recipe https://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/garlicky-green-beans-pine-nuts
Why we love them: They are also packed with antioxidants, helping the detoxification process and ridding our body of nasty free radicals. They reduce fertility sabotaging inflammation in our bodies as well as fight and eliminate candida fungus (which is more common in women than we think!). Thanks to their alkaline content and fiber, peaches also help with digestion.
For something different, grill them, like in this recipe from Rodale’s Organic Life: (https://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/food/30-crazy-good-peach-recipes)
Grilled Peaches, Serves: 4
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 peaches, halved
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch ground black pepper
1. Whisk together oil and lemon juice and brush over peaches. Season with cinnamon and pepper. Grill for 3 minutes, turn, then grill 3 minutes more.
2. Remove from heat and let cool. Slice thinly.
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Get your hands on these popular and local items that are in season through September and make the most of them. Enjoy!
- Community Supported Agriculture: Learn more about CSA’s and find your own local one here: https://www.localharvest.org/csa/