Living Seasonally

I tend to lean toward the idea of seasonal eating. Not only is more economical to eat the foods that are available in abundance at the moment, but I keep hearing more and more to support the idea that we are designed to live life cyclically.

Our bodies naturally want to detox at the change of season, especially the beginning of spring (when detoxing greens start to grow) and the end of fall (often the last of easily available fresh vegetables before settling in for the winter.

Some say that our bodies naturally want to sleep longer in the winter (longer nights, less light) and be awake longer in the summer.

A friend was even telling me yesterday that our vitamin D levels are meant to cycle through the year, peaking in the summer as we store up enough sunshine vitamin to keep us going through the darker days of winter, and diminishing over the course of the winter as we use up those extra stores.

This winter I have used this idea as a guideline in my produce purchases. I have purchased very little lettuce, and at least half of our vegetables have been root vegetables, squash and just generally those which would easily store over a good portion of the winter even before refrigeration and chest freezers (which oddly enough, includes tomatoes). We have still eaten salads on occasion when eating with friends and family, and in one spurt after Christmas when greens sounded good to both of us, but they’ve been a very minimal part of our diet.

It makes sense to me that lighter foods and more fresh vegetables are meant for a time of energy and light in the summer and denser, possibly richer, foods are meant for curling up and keeping warm (and maybe catching up on that sleep we didn’t get in the longer days of summer).

But this always leads me to questions of seasonal living that go beyond our diets. If the dense and carb rich foods of winter are meant for energy to keep warm and thrive through the rigors of winter, what does central heat do to this equation?

Having had surgery twice this January I very much appreciate the fact that I was able to relax in a warm room and let my body focus on recovery and healing without having to also expend a lot of energy on staying warm, and modern technology is clearly a blessing in situations of recovery and healing.

I wonder, though, how to balance an appreciation for the comforts of life that allow us to expend energy on striving for goals beyond just survival with the idea that our bodies were meant to cycle through the seasons rather than being completely insulated from the changes in weather and earth.

So far I just try to reach for a sweater and a pair of socks before I reach for the thermostat on a chilly day, but if I’m still cold, I go ahead and bump up the thermostat without regrets.


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