EAT LOCALLY - better for you - better for the environment;
When people think about eating locally, often times it is with reference to being a patron of their local takeaway fast food outlet, or their local restaurant/cafe, but what it is really all about is the distance our food travels from crop to plate.
In present times, it is so 'convenient' to be able to put together a tropical fruit salad in the middle of winter, a root vegetable stew mid summer (if you are so inclined), but often this is at the expense of both our physical health and that of our environment.
I too have been, and often times still am, guilty of steering away from what is here and now in the throws of a desire for a juicy mango in winter!
When it comes to the health benefits of eating locally AND in season, the foods that reach our plates in the shortest time from being in the veggie garden or crop field, will, without doubt, be far superior in terms of nutrient content, than that which is loaded up, packed and packaged from a country where it then takes on the journey of thousands of kilometers, sprayed and often 'denatured' in order to keep it 'fresh', then unloaded, unpacked, packed up again, send on its way to our major supermarkets, priced and arranged very neatly and colorfully in order to appeal to the general public, who then take it home, perhaps leave it in their fridge for another few days, and finally prepare, cook (and more often than not, for too long), is then consumed. How much real nutrition is actually consumed and more importantly absorbed by us in this process? At a guess, I would say not very much.
Not only are we not getting the fresh and vital vitamins and minerals from this necessary part of our daily consumption, but we are in most cases getting more damage than we bargained for, in terms of chemical sprays and pesticides used to 'preserve' the items on their journey from door to door.
I am personally in favor of eating organically whenever possible to avoid the intake of chemicals, as they have been known to cause disruption in hormones and can exacerbate sensitivity to many foods. Eating organically, if you don't have your own veggie patch or farm can be an expensive practice, so what I would recommend is the following;
1. Choose organic & locally grown produce whenever possible, organic when budget allows, though choose quality over quantity.
2. When not buying organic, choose locally grown produce and always 'ask' where the produce came from, what was the growing practice and whether it was sprayed or grown in organic soil. When the produce has been chemically sprayed/pesticides used, before using the produce, soak veggies/fruit in sink with white vinegar, water and a tsp of baking soda. This will remove a lot of the residue, then rinse before cooking/eating.
3. Stop and think, next time you are in the supermarket/grocery store, or market, how long has the process door to door taken? was there a trip across the Tasman involved? even further? Then, make the choice according to how you would like to see the environment and local sources prosper.
When choosing to eat in season, we are not only supporting local produce providers, we are also doing what nature intended. Our bodies need different things at different times of the year. This is a natural cycle and the less we go against this cyclical nature, the healthier and more in tune we become with how our bodies work and how incredibly intelligent they are, if only we were to listen.
There is a reason we need heavier foods in the winter, why we crave chilled beverages and fruits in the summer, why it feels so comforting to sip a hot drink by the fireplace in the winter. This is answering the call of nature and will continue to be so for as long as we live.
Take time to listen to what your body needs, and by listening and respecting this, it will reward you with energy, balance, vitality and an optimum weight for you as an individual.
I am a Holistic Health Coach, working with Individuals, couples, groups and families, to help them take small and gradual steps to create life long health and vitality for them and for generations that follow.