May’s theme is all about being open. Flowers are opening up, on Mother’s Day we were reminded of how Mary’s openness to God let him change not only her world, but the entire world – forever! Participants of the 6-week Pray. Eat. Move. Transforming YOU! Program are in week 4 and it’s all about Eating Well. So I thought it would be a good time to share about how easy it is to be open to changing our food choices by eating seasonally.
Some of you may still be wondering why I don’t offer a ‘1.2.3. just eat this’ or ‘just follow my menu plan and voila’….type of program. Because those work for some people – but every body is different. What works for me, may not work for you. I will say, most nutrition authorities agree we all need to be eating more colorful, non-startchy vegetables.
Benefits to Eating Seasonally
I find this time of year is the easiest time to be open to change or really getting serious about eating well – because of all the fresh, seasonal options!
Our bodies like variety – and the variety of foods that are naturally available with the seasons. Not to say that eating a tomato right now isn’t bad. But how do tomatoes taste this time of year? Right? Not only does seasonal produce taste better, but buying in season is also much easier on our grocery bill. Think about the prices of tomatoes right now vs. late August?
There are many other benefits to eating seasonally, such as: supporting local economies as we support local producers at farmer’s markets, coops or grocery stores that carry local options and building relationships – connection to the people who produce the food. This, in turn, strengthens our connection to God.
There’s a variety of ways to build relationships with food producers. By going to the markets, purchasing CSA’s, following them on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest, you get to know the producer and they get to know you too. I remember when our family did the markets in the early 2000’s. There were several customers we held food back for to ensure it was there when they arrived at our table. As good business people, they want to serve their customers well and do treasure those relationships, too.
In the midst of this pandemic, some producers like my friends, Greg & Denise Hoffman of Hoffman Produce Farms in Waterloo started taking on-line orders and having pick-up days at their farm to serve their customers. They’ve made their on-line catalog easy for customers to order, and have a system in place to make pick-up easy and safe for them & their customers.
I’m not sure about other areas of the US, where some of my readers are, but yes, many Iowa markets are opening. Food producers are essential businesses – providing us healthy food options to boost our health and immunity. They’re putting in place several safe-guards to keep themselves and the public healthy such as: tables in front of their table so customers don’t touch produce, hand-washing & sanitizer stations, encouraging people to wear masks, and discouraging the ‘social’ aspect many people love about markets by not allowing craft vendors, music or public seating. But back to eating seasonally….
Easy Way to Get More Veggies!
Most of all-eating seasonally can help you increase your fresh vegetable consumption. By default, it crowds out the need for potatoes, bread, pasta and other refined carbs you may be trying to avoid.
The easiest way to do this is by roasting or stir-frying your veggies & protein options and dishing them up on a bed of loose leaf lettuce or other spring greens. Or using the big lettuce leaves as wraps.
I first shared this recipe in my May Newsletter. (P.S. If you’re not signed up for it, do so now to get 1st dibs on all the good stuff I have coming out!) It took all of 10 minutes to prep and while it roasted in the oven for 40 minutes, I was able to do a 25 minute qi gong routine and shower. We ate this with some shaved turkey and a dollop of non-dairy sour cream. 2 of these satisfied me for the rest of the evening.
Eating more greens, you’ll feel full, satisfied and it will help keep digestion moving well. If you have an issue with iceberg or the cheap, round headed lettuce, give leaf lettuce a try. Even a little iceberg lettuce will tear my stomach up but I can eat loose leaf or romaine all day long and feel better when I do.
What’s in Season?
Here’s a nifty website I found where you can chose your geographic location and time of year. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen collards this time of year in Iowa as it’s usually a fall crop, it may be available. And while we have plenty of lamb’s quarters on our acreage – I’ve never eaten it. But the sheep do love it… Who knows, maybe I’ll be open to trying it. If I do, I’ll let you know the results on my Facebook Page.
I do know asparagus is plentiful right now and will be for the next 3-4 weeks or so, as are green onions, radishes, lettuce, spinach, morel mushrooms (if you know what you’re looking for in the woods). You can roast or stir fry them, on a chilly day make soup, or eat most of them raw as a crunchy snack.
Rhubarb is also in season. It’s about the easiest thing to make, too. If you’re looking for some – go to the markets or ask around. Most people will say “help yourself!” to the patch in thier yard.
Just cut the leaves & the very bottoms off the stem. You could eat the stem raw, or cut it up into ½ – 1 inch chunks, and freeze it for later. I like to put the stem chunks in a pot on the stove on medium-low and let it cook until it’s a nice thick sauce. You don’t need to add water, just stir every few minutes and in 15 min or so you have a nice tart sauce. Pablo’s Mexican Grill in Cedar Falls even makes a seasonal salsa with it. Eat it plain, with strawberries (in season soon!), put a dollop of heavy cream or coconut cream on it & enjoy!
And just when you get tired of all this stuff – peas, green beans, zucchini, cucumbers, beets, turnips, kohlrabi & berries will all be ready, and then it’s tomatoes, cauliflower, peppers, onions, eggplant, melons, pears, peaches, followed by sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, parsnips, and some later greens like kale & collards and of course apples! YUM!
I like being open to change by eating seasonally. It gives my tummy something to look forward to, saves me money, and it strengthens my relationship with the food I eat and the people who produce it. Most of all, it brings me closer to our loving Creator who lives and moves in and all throughout all of these connections.