Updated: Sep 4
Seasonal eating may sound like a fad or trendy lifestyle concept, but it's something that many of us already do...at least when fall rolls around and we're all running to the Starbucks for our pumpkin spice lattes and filling our grocery carts with everything pumpkin flavored. But seasonal eating is not just a cute thing we do in the fall, it's a year round approach to eating that has some pretty amazing benefits that improve your life.
I've been seasonal eating for over five years now and I don't think I'll ever go back to regular eating. And for those still wondering, no, seasonal eating is not a diet. Seasonal eating is pretty simple actually. It's eating fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods that are harvested during that certain time of the year. Otherwise, eating foods that are in season. Hence why so many of us already do this in fall with pumpkins, butternut squash, and apples.
If you're looking to bring more holistic living into your life, then look no further than your dinner plate. Read on to find out all the benefits and reasons to start seasonal eating.
Better for the Planet
Seasonal eating is eco eating. Often times, the fruits and veggies that are in season are local to your area. This means that this produce travels less miles, uses less fuel, and pollutes less CO2 into our atmosphere. That's HUGE, considering that seasonal and local eating can reduce your food carbon footprint by 10%. Plus, you're eating more vegetables as well, which is better for the planet as well, as the animal agriculture accounts for 87% of total greenhouse gas emissions.
Better Connection to the Earth
Who knew food could be spiritual? I mean, yes, eating some food is a spiritual experience in of itself, and we all know of soul food, but what is spiritual food? Seasonal eating is this conscious and energetic level of awareness with food that deepens your connection and relationship to the land. You not only start to eat food that is more local and grown in your area, but you also begin to attune to the energies of the shifting seasons by knowing the cycles of the year. Food becomes more than food. It becomes a tool to tap in and connect to Mother Nature and the energies of the earth. It's this awareness of knowing where your food comes from and how the earth provides for us during each cycle of the year. So yea, kind of spiritual.
Often times when you eat seasonal, you're saving money on your overall food costs. Ever wonder why mangos are so expensive in America? That's because they don't grow here (unless you're in parts of California or Florida). Most mangos are shipped from Mexico or Central/South America, and that shipping cost comes with a price. When you are buying produce that is not in season (or in your area), you'll see those costs reflected in your grocery bill. Buying strawberries during the winter will cost more than in June, when they are in peak season. If you're looking to save a little extra cash, shop in season!
Support your Community
One of the best ways to know what produce is in season (vs what isn't) is to shop at your farmer's market. Many towns and even cities have farmer's markets where you can shop the seasonal selections of local farms. There are many benefits to shopping at farmer's markets, one of these being that you're supporting your community. If you're not growing your own garden, farmer's markets are the closest you can get to conscious eating. You're supporting local small businesses in your area and have a better idea where your food comes from. Plus, you can strike up conversations with the vendors, ask questions, and get to know the people who are selling you your food (as well as the food you're eating) a lot more.
Piggybacking off of the previous benefit, if you are getting your seasonal produce at a farmer's market, you're probably getting a healthier fruit or veggie. That's for a couple reasons. One, it's local. This means that farmers aren't picking their produce weeks (or months) in advance so they can survive the transportation to a grocery store. Since farmer's markets are weekly, the produce that is being picked is only a few days old. This means it has more nutrients, since it has had longer to grow, making it a better and healthier choice for you. Also, seasonal produce tends to not use as many harmful chemicals. That's because when produce is grown out of season, farmers need to grow more. This typically means relying on chemical fertilizers to yield those higher crops. Eating in season means you're getting healthier and better produce for you.
Now this benefit isn't proven, but just comes from my own personal experience in seasonal eating and gardening. As someone who likes variety and trying new things, when it comes to season eating, variety is limited, so you have to get creative in 36 ways to eat a butternut squash. Finding new ways to eat the same food is exciting, fun, and offers an opportunity for culinary creativity. Instead of roasted butternut squash every night, you can make soup, salads, dips, curries, heck even plant-based burgers. Who knows, maybe your butternut squash mac and cheese will be a food blog hit.
With all these benefits, there's no reason not to try seasonal eating, well...this season! Curious to know what foods are in season (and more importantly, what recipes to make)? Check out my ecospiritual ebooks to find how to live with each season and work with the food and energies during that time of the year. Tis the season for seasonal eating!
Your Holistic Home Helper,