The summer season is fully upon us. With that comes warmer weather, longer days and the activities we all know and love—i.e. barbecues, swimming, camping, etc.
But summer is also a great time to reset and reclaim your health! If you’re looking to do just that but don’t know where to start, here are some ways you can take advantage of the summer season and set yourself up for success all year long.
Part 4: Eat Seasonally and Locally
When looking for ways to optimize health, most immediately turn to food. While the desire to eat better is positive—especially in a culture dominated by processed and packaged food-like substances—with it has come a dizzying world of complicated and confusing diets and a great deal of debate about which diet is the “best.”
The truth is, nutrition should be simple and guided by the environment in which you live—i.e. seasonal eating.
Take a moment and let your mind envision human life 5,000 years ago, a time long before large-scale agriculture, long-distance transportation or industrial sized warehouses filled with food called grocery markets. Instead, nature was your supermarket. Rather than walking the aisles you would hunt and gather, collecting only what was available in your local environment. There was no option to consume fruit from around the world, vegetables in the winter or processed food any time, any day. You had one option—follow nature’s rules.
The convenience of unlimited, centralized access to food is often called “the progress of civilization.” But, as counterintuitive as it may sound, our bodies weren’t designed to operate within this model. Here is where seasonal eating enters the picture.
Your body is constantly looking to your environment to determine biological function. If the information from your environment aligns with the information stored in what you eat, you have a perfect match and your colony of 1 trillion cells can function optimally. When environmental information doesn’t match the information stored in what you eat, a chaotic cellular message proliferates—this alters cellular signaling, decreases mitochondrial energy production, turns off cellular repair programs and ultimately leads to oxidative stress (a.k.a. inflammation).
There is no better time for seasonal food than the summer! Farmer’s markets are in full swing and easily accessible making it possible to source a great deal of what you eat fully seasonal and local. If you’re looking for ways to find food in your community, check out online directories or ask around—there is sure to be something close by! Of course, start small—make just a single meal or simply go explore a local farm to gather more information. Over time, work towards increasing the amount of seasonal and local food you incorporate each week!
The summer season is one of opportunity—the opportunity to grow, work towards better habits, strengthen your relationship with nature and reconnect with family and friends. Not to mention, the most purposeful practices you can work towards integrating this summer are 1.) generally free and 2.) enjoyable—i.e. trips to the beach, time spent in the sun, local food, etc. This year, reclaim your health and set yourself up for long-term wellness by taking advantage of all the summer has to offer!