“When the seasons shift, even the subtle beginning, the scent of a promised change, I feel something stir inside me. Hopefulness? Gratitude? Openness? Whatever it is, it’s welcome.”
~ Kristin Armstrong
5 Benefits of Eating Seasonally
- Nutrition: When you’re on a restricted diet like the paleo autoimmune protocol, it’s important to look at the allowed foods list and eat as wide a variety as possible. Every food has a unique nutrient profile. The more diverse our diet, the deeper our nutrition, and the more we are feeding our bodies for health. Eating seasonally is a great way to break out of food ruts and try something new! Whether you shop at your local farmer’s market or a big-box grocery store, in addition to year-round staples, always look for unique seasonal varieties.
- Freshness: Speaking of nutrition, the sooner a food is eaten after harvesting, the deeper its nutrition as well. Nutrients start to degrade over time, so while a long shelf life is convenient, it comes at a cost.
- Flavor: The flavor is better as well! If you’ve ever had the opportunity to eat a fresh, ripe fruit or vegetable right off the vine, and compare it to that same food shipped around the world and eaten out-of-season in the winter, there’s simply no comparison.
- Budget: Shipping food around the world is also expensive, which is why eating food in-season is great for the budget. If you notice a food’s price seems to be skyrocketing, this is often the reason.
- Sustainability: Lastly, eating seasonally is better for the environment as well. Here’s a shocking statistic from the book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver: “Each food item in a typical U.S. meal has traveled an average of 1,500 miles…. If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce we would reduce our country’s oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week.”
- But it’s not about perfectionism: Eating seasonally is a worthwhile goal for us all, but don’t feel guilty if you can’t do it 100%. Another side effect of a restricted diet is that we are all likely to eat some foods out-of-season, because so many foods are off the table altogether. That’s OK! For example, butternut squash is a staple for me in the summer as well as the winter. But we can all expand our focus to prioritize seasonal foods in our diet as well. The more we do that, the more we reap the benefits above.
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