This week, I am starting to think about our own new Spring Menu! I always find that after our spring detox, we have reset our habits and taste buds enough to jump into our new seasonal menu.
Later this week I will be launching my online 7 Day Detox Program – Stay Tuned!
So, what is seasonal eating?
First of all, seasonal eating is not a new fad diet. People have eaten this way for thousands of years. Before the dawn of refrigeration and mass transit of foods across the world, people ate what they grew and raised locally. This is a way of considering how you eat that directly reflects what is able to grow right outside your door (whether you grow it, or a local farmer does!). Blessings from nature are yours to experience as it provides the most vital and tastiest of foods. Remember the best nutrition comes from staying close to the Garden of Life. Seasonal eating essentially includes little or no already prepared or pre-packaged foods. It is all about eating Real-Whole-Food, which has numerous health advantages including therapeutic qualities for a variety of food-generated health issues, such as digestive problems.
Hubby and I have been seasonal eating at some level for most of our lives. With our agricultural backgrounds (me growing up on a farm in southern Ontario and Hubby lived on a sheep & horse farm) we have participated in our four seasons and gained awareness to them.
Each new season brings a new set of foods available but also puts new demands on our bodies. Here in Northern Ontario, we live in a place that has four extremely different seasons with extreme weather condition! We can stretch from nearly -40C in the winter to +40C in the summer! This climate affects our lifestyle in many ways including physical activities, hours of sunlight, social events and the food we eat. You may be reading this from a place where you don’t get such extreme weather, but I’m sure you still have a life cycle of foods in your area, so discover what it is for you and your family! Let’s take a look at a few thoughts for each of our 4 Seasons.
"Blessings from nature are yours to
experience as it provides the
most vital and
tastiest of foods"
How to Guide to Seasonal Eating
SPRING – We begin the transition into spring with a Clean-Eating Detox or Juice Fast (or both!). This helps cleanse our bodies from the cold winter and refreshes our energy. Our spring menu focuses on fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs that support energy and detoxifying. We eat more of a vegetarian diet in this season with a balance of warm and cold foods (cooked & raw veg). We also incorporate sprouts and lots of nutrient dense living foods into our diet. In the garden, you’ll notice that the dark leafy greens (spinach, lettuce etc.) are some of the first things ready to eat.
SUMMER – By the time the hot days of summer arrive, you could label us as raw vegans! We are eating primarily fresh produce from our own garden and travelling to the local farmers market. Fresh fruit and veggies are nutrient dense but also high in water content. Our bodies require greater amounts of water during the hot days of summer, so we need to get water from every source that we can! Hot weather also slows our digestion, so high animal protein and fat meals are more difficult to digest. We also often mono-meal during this season as well - Yes, you will find me eat an entire meal of fresh strawberries at least once!
AUTUMN – Similarly to the transition into Spring, we begin Autumn with a Clean-Eating Detox or Juice Fast. When I plan our Fall menu, I always notice how the colours change too! Foods ready in the garden include the roots vegetables, which are orange(carrots), red(beets) & yellow(parsnips). Warming colours and warming foods prepare us for the transition into the cold weather to come. These foods will sustain us into winter and contain highly amounts of carbohydrates. I also find it interesting that the cabbages are ready, and that our kale(member of cabbage family) is the last green leafy veg to stand tall against the frost. Wonderful soups and stews are ideal for this season. We continue to enjoy primarily plant-focussed meals, but there is a greater presence of fish, poultry and meat during this season.
WINTER – The first thing we do in the winter is consume warmed or cooked foods. We still enjoy a fresh salad, but not as often. I find myself craving warm foods on cold winter days and we need it! Our bodies are using extra energy to stay warm and protect our internal organs from the cold (kidneys especially don’t like being cold). So don’t be surprised if you gain a few extra pounds during this time of year. You can certainly continue to be vegetarian or vegan, but I find it interesting that the best sources of Vitamin D are found from animals. Plants do not have cholesterol, the initial building block for Vit D3, instead they produce D2 but it doesn’t not appear to have all the same functions as Vit D3. Supplementation is often needed as this is our lowest time of year for sunlight hours. So we eat our fish, eggs, butter and meat mostly in the winter.
I hope this inspires you to consider a seasonal change in your eating plan this coming seasons!
If you are looking for any more information regarding this topic or how nutrition can impact your life, contact me today!
Jennifer Levitan, C.H.N.C. is a Northern Ontario based Holistic Nutritional Consultant specializing in a simplified approach to healthy eating. With a focus on delicious, whole, local and sustainable foods, Jennifer empowers her clients to make practical nutrition choices for optimal health and a life of JoyFull Eating!
Jennifer Levitan, ARCT, ORMT, C.H.N.C. is a Northern Ontario based Holistic Nutritional Consultant specializing in a simplified approach to healthy eating. With a focus on delicious, whole, local and sustainable foods, Jennifer empowers her clients to make practical nutrition choices for optimal health. Jennifer earned a diploma in Natural Nutrition from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in 2018 and is currently working towards her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Science.