Food has lost a great deal of its value in our society; genetically modified, pesticide laden, adulterated with preservatives, food coloring and artificial flavors, then packaged and shipped over hundreds of miles over several days…all the while losing much of its nutritional value and picking up harmful toxic chemicals in the process. There are however, at least two things we can do to limit our consumption of these foods – eating locally and eating seasonally.
Eating seasonally means eating the foods that grow in the present season. So eating seasonally also ideally means eating locally – eating foods grown as close to you as possible, whether grown in your own backyard, a local community plot, or bought at your local farmer’s market. There are many benefits to eating locally. Because local foods travel shorter distances, they are fresher and therefore contain more nutrients and are richer in flavour. And with shorter distances to travel and the conservation of green spaces for farm land, local food leaves less of a carbon footprint. Eating locally also supports local economy by supporting local farmers. Increased food safety is also another benefit. A shorter distance between your food's source and your plate, and knowing where your food comes from and who grows it, all decrease the chances of contamination.
Eating with the seasons means more variety in your diet, as well. Not only does a varied diet make for more interesting and creative meals, but it also increases the range of nutrients you receive from your diet. And finally, seasonal foods naturally cater to the needs of your body with the change of seasons, while promoting the function of different organs. For example, in the winter, many root and hardier vegetables that were harvested in the late fall must be cooked to be eaten, which is perfect for keeping you warm in the cold months. While in the spring, vegetables like dandelion greens are in season. These bitter greens stimulate the liver and kidneys, helping to promote detoxification – a process to be undertaken ideally in the gentle spring weather as the temperature begins to rise.
With so many benefits for you and your community, why not challenge yourself to eat seasonally and eat locally this year? To help you get started, here is a list of foods you’ll find in season this spring!
Sensational Spring Produce available in Southern Ontario:
Check out our next blog post for a spring-inspired recipie! Fresh Dandelion Greens with Roasted Squash and Toasted Hazelnuts
Article Written By Dr.Vanessa Youssef, ND Our new addition to Hillcrest Centre for Health - St Clair West!
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