Let's hear it for eating seasonally!
You have probably read your fair share of articles on seasonal eating and you might recognise the following key points:
Less human intervention as the fruit and veg are just doing their thing at the right time of year. Seasonal tends to mean local produce so less food miles – doing your bit for the environment. The nutrient content of fruit and veg are at their highest when harvested ripe - although research to support this is patchy, probably because there are so many factors to consider other than simply season. With a veg bag scheme you do have the added advantage that the produce doesn’t lose any nutrients sitting on a shelf, waiting to be taken home.
Today, I would like to focus on a lesser spoken about scenario in modern-living that seasonal eating can help us combat. The food rut. What is a food rut – I hear you cry? Well, for ease and sanity, most of us will have our go-to dishes. It makes sense, less time in the shops - you know exactly what you’re there for (although they do love to change a layout don’t they); you are cooking from muscle memory; generally less brain-power required all round. The result is that you end up eating the same foods over and over again. Be aware, even if your dishes look like something Gwyneth Paltrow made, you can still end up in a food rut.
When in a food rut, we limit the benefits that our food could be providing. The microbiome (read gut bacteria) is a hot topic in health and wellness at the moment and is linked to so much more than just your digestion. There is research coming out to show that a variety of plant foods in the diet is key to keeping your gut bugs happy. Different plant foods are full of incredibly beneficial chemicals known as phytonutrients and antioxidants. Essentially, we would like more of these please. Diversity in the diet promotes healthy diversity of the gut bacteria as the different plant foods each contain their own phytonutrients. By eating seasonally we naturally increase the variety in our diet as the produce available changes. So do your bit for your gut bugs, get out of your food rut, and keep it seasonal.