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How to Eat with the Seasons

What does it mean to eat seasonally? Eating seasonally is when you allow your local agriculture to guide what you eat. It is referred to as “eating seasonally” because you eat what is readily available and grown near you. This changes from season to season. It incorporates eating a variety of fruits and vegetables that are in season and have been harvested shortly before your consumption.



TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • What is eating seasonally?

  • Why eating seasonally is important?

  • How does it impact my individual health?

  • How can I find out about nutrient deficiencies today?



What is eating seasonally?

“Seasonal eating” is a term tossed around frequently: restaurants use it, chefs use it, farmers use it, dietitians use it — it’s a catch-all phrase referring to the practice of eating food when it’s at the peak of freshness. Eating seasonally is a food choice that a many consumers have the privilege of making. The decision to eat seasonally is influenced by SES, geographic location, access to transportation, and housing status. Each food has a growing cycle. Once a plant reaches maturity, it’s harvested. Plants that are harvested for food are typically at their best at this time, offering maximum flavor and nutrition. Several studies have shown that fruits and vegetables contain more nutrients when allowed to ripen naturally on their parent plant. Seasonal eating encourages you to focus on in-season fruits and vegetables. This lifestyle can include eating certain fish or meat during specific parts of the year, but the focus of the diet is on fruits and vegetables because their growth depends on season-specific weather.


Why does eating seasonally help me, my community, and the Earth? How eating seasonally helps the individual:

  • Fruits and veggies are being consumed at their peak ripeness.

  • Fruits and veggies are at their peak nutritional value.

  • Guaranteed fresh product.

  • Encourages a varied diet, encompassing several vitamins and minerals.

  • Less modified product, eating something grown in its’ natural timeframe. This means nutrients are not compromised for bulk quantity.

How eating seasonally helps the local community:

  • Putting money back into local economy.

  • Creates more jobs for local people.

  • Preservation of local heritage and tradition.

  • More cost effective for shoppers- it costs farmers less to supply and distribute to local suppliers.

How does eating seasonally helps the Earth?

  • Produce does not have to travel thousands of miles by plane, train, truck, etc. reducing carbon emissions.

  • Reduction of water use to artificially create seasonal weather conditions

  • .Overall, less use of energy and resources.

  • Relying on natural resources reduces waste.

  • Reduces use of pesticides and other chemicals

  • Protects soil from erosion.


How can I learn about what is in season?

  • Research what fruits and vegetable are in season for your area. Use a Seasonal Food Guide to help.

  • Visit your local Farmer's Markets.

  • Get involved with a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program.

  • Many CSA programs and the Portland Farmer’s market accept EBT. The Farmer’s market matches each $20 dollars you spend, so you get double the money to spend there.

  • Check signs in produce section of grocery store. The displays that change frequently, are typically seasonal. Many signs will indicate the location of where the food was grown.

  • Try new things, talk to your produce clerk, local farmer, or a nutritionist today!

What happens if my diet lacks a variety of fruits and vegetables? A diet that lacks nutrient dense foods can be problematic. Fresh produces contain fiber. When we eat a low fiber diet, we put ourselves as risk for cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, constipation, hemorrhoids, inflammation, obesity, diabetes, cavities, and much more. Fresh fruits and vegetables are also rich in vitamins and minerals. The more colorful your diet, the more vitamins you're eating! Without fruits and vegetables in your diet, you are putting yourself at risk for numerous noncommunicable diseases. Symptoms vary for each vitamin deficiency, i.e., folate deficient may cause fatigue and mouth sores, while a B vitamin deficiency can cause brittle hair and nails. The best way to ensure you are consuming necessary vitamins and minerals is by eating a variety of colorful, nutrient dense produce.

Getting a Comprehensive Evaluation of Nutritional Deficiencies

Are you concerned you might have a nutritional deficiency? There are ways you can learn more about your nutritional status. You can get a CBC (blood) test that analyzes your vitamin profile. This test assesses the vitamins and minerals present in your blood. With this information you can adjust your diet to achieve optimal functioning. You can meet with our nutritionist here at PCNM, and she can guide you on what foods to add to your diet that make sense for your individual needs.



Dietary Recommendations

  • Eat variety, more colors = more nutrients.

  • Each color has its own properties, i.e. orange and yellow foods have Vitamin A and Vitamin C, red foods have lycopene and quercetin, green foods have iron, folate, and calcium.

  • Cut out the processed and refined foods.

  • Try new vegetables. Keep seeing something you’ve never cooked before? Try it out. Learn about it.

  • Eat healthy fats with your veggies. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble. They are absorbed WITH fats in the diet. Pairing healthy fats with your veggies ensures absorption of these necessary vitamins.

  • Probiotic bacteria help support the growth of good gut bacteria that aid in absorption. These are found in fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, curtido, pickles, miso, kefir, and kombucha.


Lifestyle Recommendations

  • Reducing and/or finding healthy ways to cope with stress.

  • Eat meals and snacks in a seated position. Intentional mealtime, chewing thoroughly and slowly. Eating “on the go” can impact absorption of nutrients.

  • Taking digestive enzymes.



Herbal Remedies Many herbs contain large amounts absorbed minerals such as calcium, iron, silica, and magnesium. These minerals are essential for many different body functions and can impart many benefits such as increased energy, better mood, clearer skin, stronger bones, and healthier immune response.

  • Stinging nettles

  • Raspberry leaves

  • Oat straw

  • Dandelion green






Hydrotherapy

Constitutional hydrotherapy treatments can be a great addition to your treatment plan in supporting normal digestive function, reducing stress and general healing. Your provider can let you know if this treatment is appropriate for your condition, and you can read more about it here. Individualized care which considers your unique metabolic and dietary needs is essential for effective and efficient improvement of the microbiome. At PCNM you’ll be working with a team looking to solve the problem, and not just manage it with a prescription. Schedule a complimentary consultation to see how we can help!

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Digestion




Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of physicians at Pacific Clinic of Natural Medicine, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of our physicians and their community. PCNM encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using products based on this content.


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