No matter the season or time of year, eating right and staying healthy can be a challenge. With today’s busy and hectic lifestyle, one of the biggest obstacles facing many families is to know when fresh seasonal food is available. In this post, I would like to share with you the benefits of eating seasonally and not just regionally.
If you eat seasonally, you are on the lookout for fresh seasonally available food, while eating regionally you are looking for foods that are simply within your region. Eating seasonally is more important than eating regionally because you eat food when it is at the height of freshness. So let’s take a closer look at how to get the most out of seasonal eating.
Know the Harvest Cycle of Your Food
The first step is to seek out foods that are grown locally and are in season. Did you know that nutrient content of food may change from season to season? For example, according to a 1997 study conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food in London, England reported there are significant differences in nutrient levels between summer and winter pasteurized milk. The researchers reported the difference in nutrients was primary due to the diet of the cows.
Think you’re drinking fresh and natural OJ? Think again……
When shopping for fresh orange juice, I have found the phrase “squeezed from fresh oranges”, is not the whole truth! The leading orange juice companies such as Tropicana (PepsiCo)(1), Minute Maid (Coca-Cola), and Florida’s Natural (Citrus World Inc.)(2), tell us several stories: it’s natural, it’s pure and simple, it’s squeezed from fresh oranges. But they leave out the details about what they think fresh squeezed really is. The unfortunate reality is that it’s anything but fresh!
In the 1980’s Tropicana coined the phrase “not from concentrate” to distinguish pasteurized orange juice from the “reconstituted concentrate brand”. The idea was to convince us that pasteurized is a fresher, overall better product and so it cost more.(3) Put enough advertising behind a product campaign and you can convince the masses to believe a new version of almost anything.
Watching your diet? Millions of us are. With so many conflicting diets and recommendations, many of us go diet hopping, and still don’t get the results we strive for. While we’re trying to figure out what’s best – Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten free, high protein, low carb – we may all be looking in the wrong direction.
While I’m not a great fan of tampering with genes, there are some valuable things to learn from studying them. “Food As Medicine,” an article by Kendall K. Morgan, in Genome, presents another viable approach to diets – genetics.
Genetic research shows evidence that people are so singularly made that they are genetically predisposed to respond uniquely to different foods. And this could explain why some diets work for one person, but not another. Researchers suspect that not everyone responds positively to the same nutrients.
In many countries babies are screened for phenylketonuria (PKU) at birth. People with PKU lack an enzyme that breaks down the amino acid phenylalanine. The absence of this enzyme has genetic origins, and can lead to poor physical development or mental retardation. Limiting phenylalanine from their diets can protect these babies. Phenylalanine is found in foods high in protein, such as milk, dairy products, meat, fish, chicken, eggs, beans, and nuts. Click here for a chart to see how maintaining a low phenylalanine diet would mean eating almost all the foods prohibited by most trendy diets, and avoiding the ones recommended by those diets.