Here are some guidelines to follow in order to achieve optimal nutrition in every season:
• Green leafy vegetables such as Swiss chard, spinach, romaine and parsley are typical in early spring. Asparagus is also in season. These leafy greens help to flush the body (especially the liver) of the winter “sludge” that has accumulated. Greens also help to alkalize the body. A diet high in alkaline foods helps a body to avoid cancer, autoimmune disease and osteoporosis, to name a few.
• Light, cooling foods benefit the body during the hot summer months. Raw fruits and vegetables provide the body with living enzymes, oxygen, potent vitamins and fiber. Cucumbers, tomato, berries, cherries, summer squash, basil, mint and so many more are in abundance and should be taken full advantage of. These highly nutritious, low-calorie foods will heal and cool the body.
• Autumn brings a bountiful harvest of heavier warming foods. Carrots, apples, sweet potatoes, onions, cabbage and winter squash are soothing to the soul when there is a chill in the air. Peppercorn, ginger and mustard seed are warming spices that the body appreciates this time of the year.
• The body tends to crave warm foods in the winter months. Foods that take longer to grow are generally more warming foods. All of the animal foods (poultry, beef, lamb and fish) fall into this category, as do root vegetables. Nuts are warming, as well.
My personal preference would be to eat bountifully through the holidays and sleep it off till spring. Bears have the life!
To find out what’s harvested seasonally in your area, go to www.localharvest.org. This will also lead you to growers in your area that adhere to strict guidelines when growing your food.
Whatever you do, don’t fall into the rut of the same foods year round. Reap the nutritional benefits by enjoying a variety of locally grown foods in the nutritional. Be creative, try new things.
Catherine Stack is a doctor of naturopathy and a certified nurse midwife. Her practice is located at Journey II Health in Niagara Falls. Contact her at 298-8603, or at her website at www.journeyiihealth.com.