The Season’s BountyPosted: Jul 03 in Healthy Eating Menu by
Why eating local, in-season produce is better for you and the world around you.
Throughout our history, humans have been at the whim of the seasons. Though modern times have made their effects less severe, the seasons have always dictated many aspects of our lives, like the clothes we wear, the way we decorate our homes and the activities we take part in.
But one formerly huge impact of the seasons has been reduced to near imperceptibility: the foods we eat. Our ancestors, who were forced to find food close to home, could only eat fruits and vegetables that were in-season and grown locally (i.e. in their own backyards), but visit any supermarket once in July and again in December and it’s unlikely that you’ll notice much difference beyond changing holiday decorations. These days, we have access to just about any food we want at just about any time of year.
However, as you lose weight in Fayetteville or Syracuse this summer, you should be focused on all the little ways you can make your diet and lifestyle healthier, and eating seasonally is one of them. Just because we can find blueberries in January doesn’t mean they’re as good for us as they would be in August, and it certainly doesn’t mean they’ll taste as good.
If you’ve ever eaten a tomato plucked fresh from the vine in late summer, then you can attest to this. When our foods have to travel the miles, days and weeks it takes for them to reach our stores, they become significantly less delicious and nutritious, making local, in-season eating much better for your taste buds and your health.
Here are some of the reasons to make seasonal produce part of your medical weight loss diet.
Better for you.
When fruits and veggies are grown out of season, they need to be manipulated to help them survive conditions they were not meant to live in. This means pumping them full of pesticides, preservatives, waxes and other chemicals that make them look fresher than they really are, compromising the food’s nutritional value.
Unfortunately, a lot of fruits have a diminished nutritional value to begin with. Often, out of season produce needs to be shipped long distances to make it to the shelves of your grocery store, but fruits and veggies slowly lose nutritional value as they lose freshness. Many of the vitamins and nutrients in produce are unstable and will become depleted in just a few days, meaning that those ten days your fruits and veggies spend on a truck could potentially deplete their nutritional value.
Eating foods as they are freshly harvested will help you rotate the foods you eat, allowing you to develop a naturally diverse diet. Seasonal foods may also contain a higher antioxidant content than non-seasonal foods, making them more beneficial to your body’s natural defenses.
Better for the environment.
Do you know how many miles your food has traveled before reaching your plate? Shipping produce long distances requires a lot of fuel, making our out-of-season shipping practices detrimental to the environment. Buying locally-grown, in-season produce will also support the farmers in your community who follow sustainable growing practices that minimize their environmental impact.
Better for the bank account.
Transporting food long distances takes a lot of fuel, but it also takes a lot of money. When fruits and veggies are locally grown in season, they’re up to 66 percent less expensive than when purchased out of season. When foods are cheaper for farmers to produce and ship, they’ll ultimately be cheaper for you to buy.
Though our forefathers may have eaten seasonally because they had to, they may have been onto something. You may be able to find just about anything you want in the grocery store, but choosing to eat seasonal, local produce for your medical weight loss diet will help you save cash, protect the environment and experience greater flavors and nutritional value with every bite.