Eat In Season: The Benefits of Eating Spring Produce
One of the key components of following a true Paleo diet regime is to eat foods that are readily available to you in your immediate surroundings. After all, it’s not as though our ancestors were sitting behind their laptops wearing amber-lensed glasses, selecting the type of fish they’d like to have caught for them thousands of miles away and then shipped on dry ice in time to pair with some wild truffles sourced from equally far away.
Bad joke perhaps, but you see where I’m going with this. We’ve made it far too easy to procure foods that may indeed be very healthy to eat, but begin to lose their appeal when we factor in the huge carbon footprint associated with them. In particular, there’s simply no reason to wander into Whole Foods in December and purchase a pint of blueberries from Chilé when we’re spoiled with a bountiful assortment of produce here in Southern California.
In addition to making the most sense for the planet and keeping consistent with what a Paleo diet is really all about, eating in season makes sense for our own health and enjoyment of food itself. One fruit that makes the perfect example is an ordinary tomato.
In season from June to November in L.A., they’re not too tricky to grow in your own backyard or terrace. There’s nothing like a homegrown, rich, ripe, juicy tomato. Packed full of lycopene and antioxidants, and shown in studies to help lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides1, a garden-fresh tomato can be sheer heaven. Yet the number of people who have never experienced this incredible flavor because they’ve only had a chance to try the exact opposite – tomatoes that were picked far too early, flown in from around the world, and stored in temperatures so cold they turned mealy – is astronomical.
Focusing on what’s in season in your neck of the woods is simply the best way to go on all fronts.
One way to figure out which foods are available in your area is to become a frequent customer at your local farmers’ markets. Make it a point to get to know the vendors, find your favorites, and ask them questions. You’ll expand your culinary library, open up a whole new world of health benefits, and please your palate all at the same time. Some of my favorite spring foods in L.A. include artichokes, asparagus, avocado, broccoli, cauliflower, Swiss chard, and Meyer lemons.
Another handy resource is the Russ Parson’s Seasonal Produce Guide2, which helps you do your homework online prior to planning your meals for the week, based on what’s available right in your own backyard!