All the leaves are brown
Ahhh, yes. It’s that time of the year again, when the leaves start turning a beautiful brown, orange and yellow in the northern hemisphere. There is no denying fall is coming.
As someone who grew up in the tropics, I can’t say I am a big fan of the cold winters. However, I do enjoy the fall and spring seasons. With the changing seasons, come the changing foods. The crisp and leafy veggies and fruits of summer are replaced with the sturdy grains and pumpkins of autumn. Meals become heartier as the weather becomes colder.
As I child, I never noticed the varying fruits and vegetables across the year (except for my beloved avocado) because I lived in the tropics. Once I moved to the northeast, I started looking forward to my pumpkin spice almond milk latte in the fall, and fresh, juicy peaches of the summer.
We do live in a time when you can pretty much get any fruit or vegetable year round regardless of where you live. So what is the big deal about eating with the seasons? Should we only eat what is readily available to us locally year round? Well, for the most part, I say yes.
Why you should buy locally
First, if you buy locally you get fresher produce and you support you local economy, both big pluses in my book. Flavor will be optimal, because it will be picked when it is ready for the local market. You don’t have to worry about harvesting before time because it doesn’t have to travel very far.
If you buy locally you can also get to know your farm/farmer and see what their practices are like. You can ensure that you are buying organic or close to organic even if they don’t have the official USDA organic label. This in turn, will help save money because getting that official USDA organic label is expensive.
Finally, it is how we were meant to eat. We need the heartier fall foods to get our bodies ready for the cold and the light and crisp veggies to help cool us in the summer weather. Watermelon is an ideal summer food as it keep us hydrated in the hot summer months, for example.
Loving the microbiome
You may have noticed that everyone is talking about the gut microbiome lately. The bacteria that live in our intestines is vital to our well being.
From Alzheimer’s to cancer, it seems that these little bugs have a big impact on our health. In an effort to improve our health, people are trying to optimize their microbiome: from probiotics to prebiotics supplements, yogurt to kombucha, getting those good bacteria in there is all the rage.
A study from Stanford University (click here to see source), shows that seasonal eating is important for microbiome too! Researchers studied a tribe in Tanzania who have a local diet that varies as they go from their wet to dry seasons. They observed that they had more species of gut bacteria than us Westerners, that these bacteria changed with the seasons and that their microbiome was superior at breaking down their fiber rich diet. Another interesting fact is that they don’t have colon cancer, colitis, or Crohn’s disease in their tribe!
I hope I have convinced you about the benefits of seasonal eating! Not only is it good for you and your health, it is good for our planet! So go ahead, head out to your local farmers market, chat it up and find your fave farmer and give them some love. Your gut will thank you. Saturday is the day for my local farmers market. In the meantime, I will settle down with my pumpkin spice latte. What is your favorite seasonal food?
As most of you are aware, my beautiful island of Puerto Rico was decimated by the path of Hurricane Maria on 9/20/2017. The infrastructure and people are hurting and will be hurting for many months to come. If you are interested in helping, please consider making a donation here.