Mind/Body Nutrition Coaching by Aline Vann

Seasonal Eating

 

Recently, I’ve woken up to the fact that I have been eating like it’s fall or winter instead of what it really is…the middle of summer.

 

I’ve also noticed it having an impact on how I am feeling. I realized I’d never left “winter mode” when it came to my nutrition, in spite of the fact that we are well into the month of July.

 

So just as some people prefer warm weather, and some prefer cold weather, or some people would take snow skiing over water skiing any day of the week, I’ve recently experienced the revelation, that I prefer to eat like it’s fall/winter all year round.

 

At first I didn’t even realize I was doing this. But have you ever noticed how a particular subject just keeps coming up, enough so that you finally accept that there must be a reason for it?  This is what happened to me recently.  The fact that I was eating like it was a cold weather month was brought up by a fellow health coach. Then yesterday, the message showed up again, right into my inbox, by yes, another health coach. I realized it was time to do some self reflection regarding my eating habits, and how my habits were impacting my mood and health.

 

In the fall and winter, we naturally crave heavier foods like hearty vegetables, grains, fats and proteins, because the body is taking measures to prepare for the cooler, and eventually colder months ahead. Just as animals get ready for winter, we humans also instinctively store more fat in the winter months. Therefore, our bodies crave these heavier foods as the cooler season of fall arrives. (In spite of the fact that in our modern society, we usually have a heated building to retreat to!)

 

Still, we want to feel warm when it’s cold outside. We like hot, comfort foods. When it comes to veggies, we tend to eat more cooked vegetables in fall and winter, whether they be in the form of a hearty stew or roasted to caramelized perfection. You’d be hard pressed to find a menu full of raw veggies dishes during the winter months. We even crave grains more in the winter. There’s nothing that warms us up in the morning like a nice hot bowl of oatmeal with berries, nuts, and a sprinkle of cinnamon, right?

 

Here’s the thing. Cooking foods actually releases natural sugars, and changes the way our body reacts to the food. Think about the difference in taste between a salad filled with raw vegetables, which may even be a little bitter or sour, compared to a bowl of roasted vegetables, which are naturally much sweeter.  Eating too many of these cooked, starchy vegetables, can cause us to hold onto excess weight, or can just leave us feeling “heavy” after eating them.

 

So what should we be eating in July? We should be eating more raw, cool fruits and vegetables. In fact, nature’s made it easy for us. These foods are present in abundance at the local farmers’ market, and even outside in our own gardens. Raw foods are cooling and cleansing. It’s why you can eat a wonderful summer salad, and still leave the table feeling light and cool, in spite of feeling an absence of hunger.

 

We are actually very wise about what our bodies need during different times of the year.  Eating seasonally allows us to capitalize on the body’s innate ability for cleaning and healing. Unfortunately, we’ve lost that connection to our body’s nutritional wisdom when it comes to seasonal eating. In the world we live in today, we often pay little attention to the seasons when it comes to choosing our foods. We buy strawberries in December or winter squash in June. We eat the same foods all year long.  

 

It’s not what nature intended. Our bodies are meant to eat foods cyclically. I remember my kids’ allergist telling me that he believes that eating the same foods all year long is one of the many reasons that he sees so many more patients today suffering from food intolerances.  Our bodies are bombarded with the same foods over and over again. We have stopped eating foods according to the season.

 

So, I am reminded that by paying more attention to the natural harvesting schedule of where we live, our bodies can benefit in several ways. Besides, not only are strawberries in December WAY more expensive, they don’t taste nearly as good as they do in April!

 

Are you eating like it’s July, or you trapped in another season?

 

Live Well, Be Well,

 

Aline

 



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