Our body is incredibly intuitive and eating seasonally helps maintain our inner balance. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Yin foods are very cooling and grow in the summer, while Yang foods are warming and grow in the winter. The Earth magically produces foods that perfectly complement the Yin- or Yang-ness of its environment–yet many Americans are living with incredible imbalance. This is because modern industrial agriculture and transportation makes out-of-season produce available all year round. To bring ourselves back into harmony with ourselves and with nature, we just need to start using what’s already in front of us! When the seasons change, our eating habits should change too by eating winter foods in the winter and summer foods in the summer. Because of my new awareness of the seasons, I have traded my very Yin summer cucumber-celery-orange juice for a more seasonally balanced blend of beets, cabbage, and apples. And I already feel so much better.
I also threw in a nub of ginger because ginger is very Yang and the perfect addition to a winter juice.
The reason why eating seasonally just… feels good: In the summer, eating more Yin foods cools us down from the Yang summer heat, and similarly, eating Yang foods in the winter harmonizes our bodies with the cold Yin temperatures outside. Our bodies intuitively adjust to the Earth’s seasons, and when we eat seasonally, we feel great! But when we eat out of harmony with the seasons, it upsets our body’s balance and can result in sickness.
How to stay balanced: To keep it simple, most raw fruits and vegetables are Yin, and most grains and meats are Yang. Eating too much of one leads to imbalance of the other, so becoming mindful about our food choices will help establish bodily balance and spiritual well-being. (Yes, that’s me trying to incorporate the body, mind, and spirit in a clever way…not sure if it’s working.)
How agriculture has upset our balance: Here’s how the problem of unbalance became… well, a problem. Here in the industrial agriculture age, we have every type of produce available to us year-round; and unless we put deliberate intention on choosing seasonal foods, we end up eating completely out of sync with the Earth’s seasons. We’re eating tropical mangos in December and we’re eating potatoes in the summer. Of course, unless we are aware of the Yin-Yang philosophy, we completely overlook the fact that it’s slightly unnatural to eat these foods. Even if they’re 100% organic, they’re not optimizing your health if they’re not seasonal.
How this affected me and how I learned from this: I used to LOVE my cucumber-celery-orange juice! In fact, I loved it so much that I made it every morning without fail… Overlooking the fact that I was doing this in the summer. Then, when winter came around, juicing just didn’t feel good anymore. At first, I thought that my body was signaling to me that it was done detoxing and I didn’t need to juice anymore (this is based on a theory that I will cover later). But what really happened was that my body did not like the extreme amount of Yin foods that I was consuming in the thick of winter. And once I realized this, I just HAD to test it out! So I went out and bought some winter produce in the form of beets, apples, and cabbage. Once I got home, I threw it all into the juicer, crossed my fingers and took a sip… and it was amazing! How can cabbage and beets taste amazing?!? When it’s appropriate for your body! Your body sends signals of joy when you’re consuming the foods that it wants–the foods that help keep you balanced and healthy–because your body is incredibly intelligent and intuitive.
And now the final, concluding, tying-all-the-ends-together-like-a-Christmas-present-oh-hey-Merry-Christmas-BTW, closing, finishing statement: Eat with the seasons to maintain your body’s Yin/Yang balance and maintain optimal health! Oh, and to promote local, seasonal foods!