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Rosemary Nardone, CHHP, RM

Certified Nutritional Health Counselor

The newest food trend “locavorism” advises us to eat what grows in our immediate environment.  This is not a new concept.  Humans have traditionally eaten locally grown, seasonal foods for centuries.  Unfortunately, modern technology has changed our traditional ways of eating and today every type of food is available at any time of the year regardless of the season or environment where it is grown.

The modern way of eating everything from everywhere not only destroys the environment by turning large amounts of fossil fuel to ship foods to faraway places, it weakens the digestive and immune system and the entire body as a whole. 

There are many reasons why poor health from consistently eating foods outside of our climate and season.  According to John Matsen, ND, “all plants contain potassium.  Generally, potassium and sugar levels alert your kidneys that you’re out in the hot sun (because these foods grow in sunny climates), and that your skin must be making a lot of Vitamin D.  Therefore your kidneys don’t activate Vitamin D, and you don’t absorb much calcium.  This results in low calcium levels, forcing the body to take calcium from other sources such as bones, teeth and membranes, thus weakening those structures.”  In other words, eat more fruits and salads in the warm sunny months like spring, summer and early fall. 

Another perspective from Traditional Chinese Medicine reveals that salads, vegetables and fruits are cooling to the body.  During hot summer months, this cooling effect can be beneficial for most people, but during the cold winter season, it can weaken the digestive system, contribute to candida/yeast overgrowth, damp/spleen condition, gas, bloating, cold hands and feet and other more serious ailments. 

For the body to function optimally, it needs to be aligned with the seasons and environment.  For added bonus, eating foods locally grown can also reduce and/or eliminate allergies entirely.  For example, eating honey from the bees that live in or near your area, homeopathically,  is akin to taking allergy shots.  Bees travel from various flowers to plants , to trees and back to hive carrying pollen on their fuzzy  little bodies.  Ingesting honey with trace amount of pollen builds your immune system internally naturally.  If you are sick and tired of spending the spring, summer and fall months sneezing your head off and scratching itchy eyes out, eat locally grown foods to help find relief. 

Late summer is the beginning of harvest time.  Fruits are falling ripe to the ground and vegetables grow big and plump on vines.  Apples, grapes, tomatoes, beans and zucchini are some of nature’s gifts.  Squashes and pumpkins are still in preparation and grain is close to harvest as well.  Weather permitting , we may still eat lightly as we did in summer, but as the cycle of darkness becomes dominant our balance shifts inward welcoming autumn. 

As the weather gets cooler, this time is for building the body to withstand winter.  Crisp autumn weather is a good time  to  change your diet and exercise program.  I also  recommend a fall cleanse to clear out toxins and set one’s body for the shift to heavier foods.  The best foods to start the season off optimally is to start with  soups, root vegetables, like carrot, onion, hubbard squash.  Green vegetables like celery, kale, watercress , spinach.  Whole grains are high in Vitamin B  and build our immune system.  Small quantities are important and grains need to be chewed well for proper digestion.  Animal proteins, lean, organic, or grass fed, nuts, seeds and oils are the lubricators.  We also crave more sweets, heavier cheeses and breads, but know that these cause congestion, colds and sinus problems that we are all susceptible to.  Moderation is the key.

 Enjoy this beautiful season with lots of fun activities, hay rides, football games, walks in the park and experiment with delicious recipes for heart warming, healthy  food.  

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