Remember when just-picked corn-on-the-cob and juicy, sweet peaches the size of soft balls were a distinctive summer treat? Fresh-pressed apple cider and the selection of the family pumpkin were sure signs of the fall harvest, while ‘chestnuts roasting’ marked the kickoff of the winter season, and citrus deliveries from warmer regions arrived in time to fend off the cold season.
Fresh fruits and vegetables harvested seasonally used to take center stage. These days most varieties of produce are made available year round, through natural and organic grocers either in the produce aisle or in the flash frozen food section. The concept of eating for the seasons, a practice which is part of our ancestry has become a lost art. This fall season, wherever your travels take you – overseas, out-of-state, across town or down the street, rediscover how eating local, seasonal fruits and vegetables can better adapt you to your surroundings and the community in which you find yourself.
As the temperature begins to drop in certain climates and it starts to get darker earlier in the day, we may feel fatigued and low in mood. The immune system gets tested in the transition and our resistance is lowered. This makes us more vulnerable to illness and stress. By eating foods nature is now providing in abundance, you will get grounded and more focused after a hike, a drive or a flight.
Root vegetables are nutritional powerhouses this time of year. Harvested from deep in the ground and providing a hearty, sustainable energy, root vegetables will keep your body warmer, (especially your hands and feet!) They will serve to ‘root’ you and make you feel more centered and relaxed.
Seasonal favorites include sweet potatoes, yams, carrots (which are available all year but most flavorful in the summer and fall months), parsnips, daikon radish, beets, turnip, burdock, gingerroot and rutabagas.
And as it gets cooler in certain climates members of the squash family including varieties like acorn, butternut and pumpkin will warm and balance the body from the inside out.
Another way to support the body is to adjust cooking methods for this time of year. Consider the preparation of foods you are eating or ordering away from home. Roasted and baked foods are healing to the body by adding warmth to it which is in stark contrast to the quick grilling and raw foods of the summer season which are more cooling. Hearty, slow cooking soups will nourish you while pushing blood out towards the outer surface of the body to chase the cold away.
To maintain optimal wellness, make a conscious decision to experiment with and to eat seasonally harvested foods and you will stay ‘rooted’ on the road. Vacations may take you to exciting locales filled with delicious possibilities. Check local farmer’s markets, organic grocers and restaurants with chefs that feature the best that nature has to offer. Discover what’s fresh and abundant this season, the foods naturally designed to allow us to live in harmony with our bodies, even if we’re not sleeping in our own beds!