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Seasonal Eating

April 16, 2008

Seasonal eating is an important aspect to maintaining health and wellness. This practice, rooted deep in our ancestry, balances the body by reducing illness and increasing energy and well-being.

When people are in tune with their bodies, they notice they crave foods in season. For example, in spring, people crave detoxifying foods like leafy greens. In the heat of summer, cravings consist of cooling foods like fruit. The fall enhances grounding food cravings, like squash and nuts to prepare for the winter season.

Our ancestors ate seasonally because they had no choice. Fresh greens grew in spring, fruit ripened in the summer, root vegetables kept them going in the fall, and people relied on animal food to get them through the winter.

When highways were invented, Americans could eat more or less anything they wanted, anytime they wanted. But there are costs to this convenience. Eating out of sync with the usual rhythms of nature makes you more susceptible to colds, flu and other illness.

Staying in tune with your body and eating appropriate seasonal foods will provide more energy and strengthen immune systems, ultimately achieving inner and outer happiness, beauty and balance.

Try these simple tips for seasonal eating:

  • Adjust your cooking methods for the time of year. During the colder months, put more heat into your food and cook it longer. Try roasting,baking and making stews to keep warm.
  • When springtime comes, allow your food preparation to become a little simpler. You can start to incorporate more raw foods, quick high-temperature sautes and steamed dishes.
  • Because produce is available year round, choosing what's in season can be confusing. Generally, look for ripe, fresh produce in abundance and check with your local farmers to get location-specific assistance for each season.

About the author

Joshua Rosenthal is the Founder and Director of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. He has worked in the nutrition field for more than 25 years, teaching at the school alongside health leaders including Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra and Barry Sears. At Integrative Nutrition students are trained as Health Coaches, receiving the holistic nutrition education necessary for them go out into the world and help others improve their health and happiness.