Eat with the Seasons

Archive Post – Posted on March 1, 2015

Winter can be a complete drag sometimes. Especially in Ireland where it’s not just cold but can rain for weeks on end. And the cold wet days are far worse than just the cold. I know lots of people who moved here from other countries and they find our winters really hard going. Many come from countries where they have a long cold winter too but they don’t have the damp, wet days we have. It’s a more tolerable cold they say.

I’m inclined to agree. On a day like today (where it’s around 3 degrees C, 90% humidity and raining mostly) I find I would much prefer a cold but dry day…

So how can enjoy these days more? One thing to try is actually getting out into it!

The temptation is to sit the cold wet days out in the house. While it is one solution it’s not always the best. Once we get out with the right clothes we often find it’s not as bad as we thought and moving the body naturally raises our temperature. We also get the benefit of fresh air and some much need light (yes the light on a dark overcast day is still good for us and we do benefit from it).

The Role of Diet: Another thing we often overlook is what we are eating. When you go to your local supermarket you can get Kiwis from New Zealand, Mangos from Africa and Pineapples from Hawaii all year round! This certainly has broadened our palates and its wonderful to have access to such a variety of exotic fruits and vegetables.

One of the drawbacks of this development is that we have lost the knowledge of how to eat with the seasons. The Ancient Chinese and Indians (and most other ancient cultures) understood the energetic quality of foods. They knew that hard winter vegetables like kale, cabbage, and root vegetables conferred their qualities to the eater. For example – carrots use their sugars as antifreeze to protect their roots.

When we eat the foods that most easily grow in our location we are adapting our bodies to the conditions we are living it. Most winter Veg tends to have a warming effect on the body, while summer fruits and vegetables are more expansive, having a cooling quality on our bodies. We also find that our immune systems respond better when out diets are adjusted to the seasons.

Eating seasonally does not have to be a big deal. Start to take a note of where your food comes from (is it from the UK, Morocco, China?) and what climate it was grown in. Gradually you will see a pattern and get to see what kinds of foods are grown where. Then you can try out recipes that are predominantly made up of foods that grow locally. Start making winter salads and roast root Veg during the winter, and adjust your meals when the seasons change to reflect the changes in foods available. See what difference this has on how you feel.

Another positive effect this type of eating has is on your wallet! Eating local, seasonal foods costs a lot less than buying more expensive imported foods.

Check out John Doullairds book “The 3 Season Diet” for more info on eating seasonally

Check out my recipe for Cabbage Bok Choi stir fry in the recipe section…

Here are some more recipes to inspire you…

Roasted Root Vegetables Recipe

Winter Salad Recipe

Written by

Certified, Fully Insured Nutritional Therapist & Health Coach.