Eating Seasonally: Winter Foods

Submitted by Miss Danielle on Tue, 01/06/2009 - 7:46am.

I've always heard about eating seasonally, but I never thought much about it. Lately, I've been reading more and more on the subject. For now, let's talk about the basics.

Winter time is upon us. It's a season where we tend to hibernate (and eat!) a bit more; for comfort, for warmth, and for energy. Winter foods tend to be heartier, and we replace salads and lighter fare with soups, stews and roasted veggies.

With the odd exception, when you eat seasonally, you are also (hopefully) eating locally. The fewer miles a vegetable has to travel, the fresher it will be. Fresh veggies have more nutrients (and generally, better flavour). Non-organic foods that need to travel great distances are also more likely to be treated with higher levels of chemicals so that they will survive the trip to your shopping bag.

Vitamins and nutrients are even more important in the winter - not just for physical health, but for mental well being as well. When you don't have enough vitamins (especially from the vitamin B family), you are more prone to depression and lethargy.

By eating locally, you are also supporting the local farmers and economy - a very big issue for everyone right now.

So what's in season? Let me start with local foods grown in Ontario (where I am). I encourage you to search online to see what is being grown in your area, as there may be a few additions not listed here (such as citrus fruits).

  • Apples
  • Beets
  • Cabbages
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce (greenhouse)
  • Mushrooms (not great if you're following a strict diet to fight candidiasis)
  • Onions
  • Parsnips
  • Potatoes (a naughty nightshade for some)
  • Rhubarb
  • Sprouts
  • Squash

In the winter, many people (like myself) tend to turn into carbohydrate addicts. While eating whole grains like brown rice (which, by the way, contains tryptophan that could boost your serotonin, possibly leading to a happier outlook - not to mention it's rumoured to help people with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia) is good for you, eating ONLY grains is hard on the body.

All across the board, diet gurus agree balancing starches and meats with with fresh vegetables and fruits will help balance your system - in Traditional Chinese Medicine/Macrobiotics, it's said to balance the yin and yang; Raw Foodists (and other groups) say alkalizing vegetables and fruits help balance your body's pH.

My point is that no matter what food camp you belong to, no one will argue the importance of eating fresh, seasonal vegetables.


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