In the last 100 years, modern technology has created a seasonless supermarket.
Global transportation systems and long growing seasons in places
like California and Florida have created a situation where you can get pretty
much any kind of food you want at any time. But is this style of eating
By choosing to eat local and seasonal fruits and vegetables for most of your
needs instead of produce that was grown in another hemisphere and shipped
halfway around the world to your table, you accomplish several goals at once.
Not only are you supporting local economies and farmers, you’re actually getting
better nutrition. As soon as most fruits or vegetables are harvested, they
start losing nutrients. The fresher the better — and an apple grown in New
Zealand takes at least a few days to get to the United States!
Chapter 6: Transforming Food into Health-Supportive Meals 69
Eating seasonally also keeps your body in tune with the natural variations in
temperature that occur throughout the year. Eating raw fruits and vegetables
in the summer makes sense as it keeps your body cool and allows you to take
advantage of local produce. Choose heartier fall and winter produce during
the colder months. The foods growing near you in these darker days are recommended
in the Ayurvedic and Macrobiotic culinary and medical traditions
to keep your body healthy through the cold and flu seasons.
Eating some frozen blueberries or canned tomatoes in the winter won’t immediately
cause you to catch a cold. Still, focusing on local, seasonal produce
will fortify you with nutrients and energy needed at certain times of year. Let
the seasons help guide your choices:
✓ In spring, focus on leafy vegetables that really embody the new energy
of the season, including green chard, spinach, lettuces, and herbs like
basil and parsley.
✓ Summer is abundant with natural cooling foods from Ayurveda and
Traditional Chinese Medicine, such as berries, summer squash, zucchini,
watermelon, corn, pears, cilantro, and peppermint.
✓ The harvest of fall and winter vegetables, such as carrots, onions, sweet
potatoes, pumpkins, squashes, and warming spices (cayenne pepper,
cinnamon, nutmeg, and curry powder), brings more warming energy to
the human body.
When I think nutrient-dense food, I think sea vegetables. These gems of the
ocean are incredibly valuable for vegans and anyone who wants to be truly
healthy and vibrant. While the American palate may not be used to the taste
of sea vegetables, or seaweed, cultures like Japan, Iceland, Ireland, China,
and many others have been using native sea vegetables for centuries.
Sea vegetables provide the widest variety of minerals available of any food
group, including all the minerals that are found in human blood and, not coincidentally,
the ocean. A great source of iron, calcium, vitamin K, iodine, and
B vitamins, several sea veggies also are good sources of magnesium and
cancer-fighting lignans. Lignans are phytoestrogens that have antioxidant
activity and have been shown to protect the body from certain cancers,
osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease. Used for inflammatory conditions,
cancer treatment and prevention, and to boost the immune systems, sea vegetables
also are a source of plant protein