‘Tis the Season to Prepare for Change…

Question: 

Is there any truth to eating with the seasons or seasonal changes affecting our bodies, and can that affect our energy or thought processes?

A couple of answers:

Our bodies change tempo with the seasons, intuitively.   There’s a kind of energy lull around late summer, that’s your body signalling  it’s time to begin to schedule your inner body, mind and spirit for renewal.

With the coming of cooler weather it’s time to consider eating more rich warming foods and spices, hotter foods and core warming foods, like soups and stews,  squashes, carrots, potatoes, parsnips, other root veggies. 

You may want to start changing to more earthy veggies – things that grow closer to and in the ground with deeper richer colors, like yellows, oranges reds and browns – basically the colors of the foods should be in sync with the colors of fall.                                            (check the recipe below)

On the other side of the calendar, in the early Spring, start eating greens and other spring shoots getting ready for the Spring/summer seasons. 

Food preparation varies according to taste and seasons –  it may be hot or cold, raw or cooked, and adapted to the seasonal foods available, our feelings, the environment, friends, time frame and other considerations. 

Cooking styles change from lighter foods and shorter cooking in the summer months,  to longer deeper preparation like soups and stews in anticipation of cooler weather.

Besides the seasons, travel on airplanes, especially for business and quick changes of environment make a difference.  How the body handles these changes is affected by your state of health; mental, emotional and physical as well as the barometer. 

A healthy body weathers the changes much easier than one with physical ailments.

 In today’s super markets, we can buy almost any vegetable year round, but have you noticed the difference in taste and freshness in some of these?  There’s an incredible sweet freshness to corn around July or August compared with December’s leftover crop. 

Even the imported ones, from countries whose climates differ from ours are not the same as fresh and in-season in this climate.  Part of the difference is nutrient content:   When a veggie or fruit is allowed to grow to maturity and get the full compliment of nutrients from the soil – your body and brain literally get more and better nourishment.

Getting the full nutritionally packed benefits from fresh seasonal produce gives your brain and body more and better energy.  Not to mention the taste…ever taste an apple that’s been stored for months vs one that’s just been picked.  Whoo hoo, gimme the fresh picked one any day.

Even the psychological impact of eating fresh from the farm fruits and veggies can make a difference in how you feel and perform.  It’s an exhilarating taste treat – physically, mentally and emotionally to chomp on fresh green beans or tomatoes from your own garden  or the local Farmers Market from June to September. 

Local seasonal produce has more flavor and better texture since it does not travel for thousands of miles before hitting the produce bin in our markets or the farmers’ markets. 

Canning and storing them for winter eating is good, and coming from your own garden makes them far superior to anything you buy at the store. However, they don’t pack quite the  same nutritional wallop as when they are fresh in-season.  They do taste great though! 

So the short answer is a definite YES, eating with the seasons, adapting to the changes in climate, temperature, pressure can make a difference in how your system responds to the overall changes.  

Now that Autumn is upon us, consider your body and brain and begin to make the shift toward the wonderful fall produce that’s in the stores; apples, pears, yams, parsnips, carrots, all those root veggies, squashes and other end of the summer vegetables and fruits and plan your meals accordingly!  Include at least one fresh vegetable in your daily diet and enjoy the best tastes of the Autumn Season.   Check the recipe below for some great tasting soup.  

MCHEALTHY’S  SQUASH APPLE SOUP      Makes about 3 qts  

3 Cups Butternut Squash (or other winter squash) scrub skin and chop (remove only about half of the peel).

1- 1/2 Cups Fuji or other Crisp Apples scrubbed, cored and chopped with skins

1 Cup Sliced or chopped leek (white and green parts)

3/4 Cups Onion peeled and chopped coarsely

4 Cups Chicken Stock

3-4  Cups Filtered Water

1 TBSP unsalted butter

1TBSP virgin Olive Oil

1 TBSP Minced garlic

1/2 TBSP Each:  Coriander, Cumin, Cardamom, Ginger      (or use your favorite pumpkin pie spices)

3/4  TBSP Cinnamon,

1/8 -1/4  Tsp Nutmeg  (to taste – it can be very strong)

Zest of 1 Organic Lemon

3/4 TBSP  Sea salt or Gray salt

½ Tsp Pepper

1 TBSP Honey

(Optional Chili Powder )    Plain Yogurt for Garnish.

 Melt butter and olive oil in large 8 Quart pot over moderate heat until nut brown.  Add leeks and onion and sauté lightly until softened – about 8 minutes.  Stir in garlic and sauté until fragrant.  Add squash and apples and Stir thoroughly.  Raise heat to medium high and continue stirring until vegetables begin to caramelize, (begin to stick to the pot) about 15 minutes.  Stir in spices and cook briefly to blend the with vegetables.   Add chicken stock and water bring to simmer.  Add lemon zest, partially cover and cook until squash and apples are tender, about 45 minutes.  Turn off heat and let cool partially.   Blend with hand blender or in regular blender until smooth.  Adjust seasoning if needed.

 Serve with dollop of plain yogurt and fresh mint leaves.  Bon Appetite!