Sunday, December 13, 2009

Food for Thought: Eating right for your health and for the Environment

On a dreary day like today (whether you are in La or Brooklyn as I am), I know that all I want to do is sit in a cozy chair, curled up with a blanket, a piping hot cup of apple cider in hand, and read a book, watch a movie, or listen to a great new album.

The age old tradition of drinking hot apple cider and eating apple pie during the holidays and early winter has more to it than simple cheer. Apple season is in the autumn! If you've never had the chance to go to an apple orchard and pick your own bags of apples...I highly recommend this experience for next October.

But on a deeper level, looking beyond tradition and holiday cheer, we're really building recipes from apples during this season because that is when they are fresh and ready to eat!

This all begs the question...why don't we do this more often? What if we really were to make an effort to eat foods mostly when they are ripe and fresh and ready to be picked, rather than year round?

I suppose it's about a little bit of sacrifice yes? But when it comes down to it, what if, by eating a food only when it is readily available and not having to be stored or glasshouse (greenhouse) grown, it were to become more special, just like apples in the late autumn and early winter?

I am starting to try to eat more like this myself. Mind you, I have always only eaten blueberries in the summertime when they are far cheaper, and I will buy them in excess and freeze them in order to have them in winter. Certain foods and their prices simply lend to this.

The other day, I was in Trader Joes in Union Square, where I saw strawberries for fairly cheap. I thought to myself, it's freezing here, so where are these from? Or maybe an even better question would be, when are these from?

Have you ever really thought about where the berries you are buying in the wintertime are from? Or the apples in the summertime? The list goes on...but they are probably from South America where the seasons are turned around and the travel is long, or they are not fresh, or are grown in unnatural circumstances, and I'm sure the price reflects this.

But if the majority of you get excited for butternut squash soup in the fall, apple pie and cider in the early winter, and peaches, strawberries, and blueberries in the summer, than why can't we live our entire eating lives like this?

Check out this article about some recent food findings in the UK.

Also, see for an interesting perspective on the meat and dairy industries (non-organic and grass-fed mind you) is a great resource to find sustainable, healthier food farms from where you may source your food.

Maybe this can jump start a new exploration into your eating habits, whether you are a full meat eater, flexatarian, vegetarian, vegan, or simply on the fence.

Just some food for thought.

Happy Holidays