Eating Seasonally: The 101

It’s funny how things tend to come full circle. Would you believe me if I told you that most of our eating practices aren’t as innovative as we’d like to think?

In recent years, health fundi’s and eco-friendly consumers have been raving about diets that consist of farm-to-table eating, buying locally, and even going meat- and dairy-free. The latest trend in sustainable living is seasonal eating.

WHERE DOES THIS COME FROM?

African history suggests that many cultures and tribes on the continent consumed a great deal of fruits and vegetables. It was, and still is, believed that livestock was both the sign and source of wealth. Families needed their cows to prepare the land for farming crops, the same cow would also be used for its milk, then eventually given by a groom’s family to the bride’s camp in the form of lobola (dowry). A goat or sheep was only ever slaughtered during a cultural celebration or death. Though a few of the Bantu people have since adopted a meaty diet, countries like Ethiopia still maintain their favoured lifestyle.

And because Africans tended to be nomadic, they would eat the produce naturally found in the area they were living in at the time.

They were eating seasonally.

Fast forward a few hundred years, and we are returning to that lifestyle because we can appreciate that summer, autumn, winter and spring present a natural schedule for our bodies. We are also realising that industrial farming does irrevocable harm to our bodies and the planet.

BENEFITS OF EATING WHAT IS IN SEASON:

  1. If you want a well-rounded diet, opt for locally-sourced and seasonally-grown food. Fruit tends to be more hydrating during the hotter months – when your body sweats more and therefore needs it – and heartier vegetables, that keep you fuller for longer, are aplenty during the chilly months when soups and stews are in order.
  2. Fruits and vegetables that grow according to their respective seasons have proven to be tastier and more nutritious because they have been harvested and had a chance to ripened at the right time. The use of artificial greenhouses can manipulate the genetic properties of the crops, which might compromise the quality of the produce.
  3. Eating seasonally will cut the demand for out-of-season produce significantly. Farmers will stop leaning on irrigation systems and climate modifiers to grow produce, thus decreasing their carbon emissions and water use.
  4. When farmers encourage the growth of seasonal growth on their farm, their abundant harvest will flood the market and the cost-to-customer will decrease significantly. Bye-bye R15/avocados!

Now, this begs the question, what fruits and vegetables should I be buying when?

SUMMER

During the months of December, January and February, you can enjoy your favourite stone fruits. Nectarines, peaches, plums, litchis, cherries, apricots and mangoes are at their sweetest and juiciest during these months. Kiwi, pineapple, pomegranate and most berries grow during the warmer months too.

I can’t get enough watermelon over the summer holiday because it’s delicious, and it’s high water content (92%) only means good things for my skin and digestive system.

Vegetables that grow during summer include sweet corn, aubergine, pumpkin, cabbage, asparagus, celery, radishes, spinach and sweet potato.

AUTUMN

From March to April, those ridiculously expensive avocados we insist on buying are in season. Figs, granadillas, papaya, apples and grapes also grow during autumn. Because the weather is starting to cool, citrus fruits that load us with Vitamin C during the sniffle season begin to grow as well. Look forward to grapefruit, oranges and naartjies.

Swap out salad dinners for stews with mushrooms, potatoes, courgettes (zucchini), cauliflower, turnips, baby marrow, onions and brussels sprouts. Most beans grow during autumn.

WINTER

June, July and August call for comfort food and hibernation. The cold climate isn’t very accommodating for fruits that grow on trees as they tend to get frost damage at night. Limes, lemons and tomatoes are among the few fruits that can survive the chilly months.

Beans are still sprouting during winter. Turnips continue to grow from autumn too. Other roots that manage to avoid the harsher weather conditions include both sweet and regular potatoes, parsnips, radishes, and celeriac.

SPRING

Completing Mother Nature’s cycle are the months of September, October and November. Some of our favourite summer fruits are beginning to grow again. Watermelon, nectarines, apricots, coconuts, bananas and dates are naturally available during spring. Lemon and limes are still growing from winter too.

You can also look forward to the return of beetroot, carrots, celery and cucumber. Kale, spinach, lettuce and watercress make the most of the rainy weather.

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Long Term Weight Loss Strategies

Are you always on that quest to shed a few kilos and finding it more like a being on a see saw? What is the lowdown on losing weight successfully over the long term? There are a few common traits that studies have found help those who lose weight manage not yoyo back and forth. Keeping your body in shape means a long term commitment to making changes in your lifestyle that are lasting. Here are some pointers as to what has been found to help shed weight and keep it off too.

Monitor yourself – weighing yourself daily and keeping a food diary was found to contribute to more successful weight loss as it helps you keep track of yourself

Eat mindfully – chew properly and savour your food, that way you are less likely to overeat as you will know when you are full. Don’t eat until you are stuffed, follow the nine tenth rule and stop before you are full. Sit down and have a meal at the table instead of eating in front of the telly where you can be distracted and overeat or not bother to chew properly (this was also found to be a factor in some studies)

High Protein Breakfast – eating a breakfast high in protein regularly has been significantly linked long term weight loss, as protein is digested more slowly and slows the production of ghrelin, a hormone that tells our brain that we are hungry.


 

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Breakfast sorted
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Shift your focus – choose healthier foods; snack on nuts and wholefoods rather than refined carb sweets, that way you needn’t feel deprived. Keep healthy snacks handy

Smaller portions – it may sound strange, but try using a smaller size plate – it was found that it made people reduce their portions sizes!

Catch Yourself – if you slip up, don’t get caught in a downward spiral of despair, pick yourself up and keep going, the quicker you rectify a slip up the better


 

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Symbio-D 30 Probiotic Capsules and 30 Omega Vegagels, R159

Modern research shows obesity as a multi-system inflammation disorder. Fat cells release many hormones that regulate energy levels, boost metabolism and fat burning. By making your fat cells healthy again, you could increase fat loss and boost your metabolism in the process. Symbio-D delivers a targeted treatment to the multiple components of Metabolic Syndrome.

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Reduce Hidden Sugar – many foods have hidden sugar in them, check your lables for foods that have sugar in the first 5 ingredients and be aware of other names for sugar such as things that end in –ose (dextrose, maltose, lactose) and syrups such as corn syrup, malt syrup and cane juice

Be consistent – eating regular meals is important as a structured eating plan helps you focus on the right foods and avoid pitfalls and cravings.


 

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A Vogel Helix Slim – Slimming Drops 50ml, R137

Great Buy
07 Aug, 2015, By Astrid I bought this to help specifically with irregular blood sugar levels and it has. But it has also helped with hunger cravings and I have lost a bit of abdominal weight too. I feel a lot more stable during the day and am suffering much less from sugar highs and lows that cause me to eat badly when they happen.

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Exercise – regular physical activity is something we all know burns those kilos, even if you just go for a brisk 15 minute walk every day

Healthy Fats – avoid trans and saturated fats in processed foods but good fats can be your ally. Helping to lower cholesterol, protect from heart disease and prevent depression. They also help you absorb your food’s nutrition better as some vitamins are fat soluble. Drizzle olive oil on your salads and throw some walnuts into your oats or cereal and include avo in your diet.


 

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Lifematrix MCT Oil 500ml, R150

Lifematrix MCT Oil helps to improve energy levels and helps your body to burn fat, making it a great performance-booster and a healthy weight management supplement. More MCTs in your diet means more calories burned, which means less fat, more muscle and all-round better performance and health.

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Think holistically – think about which foods are unprocessed and brimming with healthy, natural nutrition that will leave you satiated instead of purely analyzing calories

Don’t tempt yourself – if you are avoiding certain foods, don’t have them in your house. Rather find healthy, tasty replacements


 

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Slenderise Tea 20 sachets, R65

All natural botanicals are combined in this Slenderise Tea for their benefits that aid in your weight loss journey by decreasing appetite, improving metabolism and detoxing your body.

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Weight doesn’t always equal fat – weight distribution is important – fat around your waist isn’t a good sign, but if you are training, your muscles may take on more mass and become heavier too.


 

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Skinny Coffee 14 sachets, R210

Skinny Green Coffee is made from raw unroasted coffee beans which have compounds that help boost the metabolism and inhibit fat absorption. The Skinny formulation includes Evodiamine that speeds up your metabolism and results in more calories being burned, as well as Yerba Mate that is rich in anti-oxidants and gives you an energy boost.

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(Sources: huffingtonpost, health.usnews, ajcn)