Eating in Accordance with the Seasons

September 30, 2011

You have heard me discuss the idea of “eating in accordance with the seasons” in previous blog entries. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), in order to maintain a physiological balance of yin and yang, it is necessary to consider the foods we eat as they relate to the season we are in.  For example, during the cold winter months it is wise to eat more warming foods and spices like cinnamon and ginger, and in the hot months of summer we should eat more cooling foods like melons and mint.

Mother nature further guides us by providing different foods each season.  When we preserve a healthy yin/yang balance, we are promoting healthy sleep, appetite, emotional balance, immune function, and energy.

Grocery shopping in modern America is confusing for seasonal eating.  We can seemingly buy all foods all year round.  But have you tasted a strawberry recently? They are less sweet, less juicy red, and less satisfying than those we could buy a few months ago, in the heart of the summer months.  Blueberries are tart, tangy, and bitter.  That’s because they are being shipped from far away places where berries are able to grow.  When a particular food is in season it doesn’t travel as far to get to your supermarket shelf.  Foods that are grown closer to home have a longer time to ripen and develop, and a shorter transit time in which to deplete in nutrients and flavors.

How do you know what foods are in season?  One simple way is to observe.  What will you see a lot of when you first enter a grocery store right now?  Pumpkins, winter squashes, apples, and other autumn delights.  You will see many colors and varieties, local farming options, and these items are often on sale.  Eating out-of-season is in fact more expensive than eating in-season foods.

Do you get overwhelmed with how to cook foods that you’ve never worked with before?  Instead of following a complicated recipe, try doing something really basic.  Some of my most favorite foods are quite simplistic in their preparation.

Have you ever had a delicata squash?  You can cut it up into strips (leave the skin on, scoop the seeds out), lightly brush or mist with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast for 30-45 minutes at 375 until tender (or longer if you want more crispy).  Make a big batch, and add some of the squash to your meals throughout the week.   Similar almost to french fries, but certainly more satiating and with nutritional benefits.

You can also cube a pumpkin (remove seeds and skin, using a vegetable peeler for the latter), mist or lightly brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and cinnamon, and roast at 375 for 45-60 minutes.  Pumpkin is relatively sweet for a vegetable, but actually helps to regulate blood sugars and enhance insulin function, attributes supported by both western medical studies and TCM philosophy.

If you are looking for a recipe for pumpkin or winter squash, you must try this easy crockpot recipe for pumpkin, chickpea, and lentil stew – it really is a winner and a favorite meal of mine.

Do you have a favorite fall food or recipe?  Please share your experiences!

Remember, you are what you eat.

In good health,



2 Responses to “Eating in Accordance with the Seasons”

  1. Bonnie Says:

    Mmmm, yum. Great ideas to use with my family’s Norman’s Farm Market vegetables this week! Especially since I’m feeling lazy 🙂

  2. […] have written about the importance of eating in accordance with the seasons as well as the importance of eating cooked vegetables and the effects of eating too many uncooked, […]

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