Greetings All! This week on Walking around Sfumato, I'll be writing about my approach to eating. I'm not into diets and I would never say I'm on a diet. For me, eating is part of my lifestyle. I never tell people what they should eat because everyone's body is different and always changing. As your cells move around and develop or die everyday, your chemical makeup is different from day to day. While your body is slowly changing over the course of days/month/years, you will then react differently to the foods you eat, sleep you need, and activity you require. I've preferred different ways of eating at different times of my life.
One thing that has been a constant "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." That is classic Michael Pollan quote, who has written a bunch of health/nutrition books in the 21st century. After I read "In Defense of Food," I started to see Patti the Nutritionist. And watched bunch of documentaries like, Super Size Me, King Corn, Food Inc. Those were the turning points for me. I stopped eating the standard American diet. I started shopping the perimeter of the supermarket. That ensures you are buying real food and nothing made in a factory. I also shop at a farmers market whenever I can. The produce is local and hasn't traveled far, making it fresher and more nutrient dense. I buy most of our meat from a farm in Reading, PA, Goose Lane Egg Farm. They have chickens right there and work with another local farm for grass fed beef and pork. Animals that are free range and eat a proper diet for their species have different qualities than commercially farmed animals. They smell differently when being cooked. The texture is different, how much grease they omit is different. Yes, I pay more money for my food. But the way I look at it, you are going to have to pay at some point, ether now or after you get sick from eating lesser quality products.
I eat with the seasons wherever I am. I'm a firm believer that the Earth supplies the nutrients you need in every season wherever you are with the fruits and vegetables it produces. Some foods and spices have warming qualities while others have cooling qualities. There is an ancient Indian system of medicine called Ayurveda that follows this and other rules depending on your body type. Everyone is different, so what works for me, won't necessarily work for you. If your'e interested in exploring this, I highly recommend looking it up. These practices I read about from Deepak Chopra's book, Perfect Health and John Douillard's The Three Season Diet.
As Summer comes to a close in NJ and Fall starts, different produce is starting to be available. Our bodies do not need the cooling properties of cucumbers and watermelon as the temperature starts to drop. We need warmer quality produce to help us feel warmer. That's why we start to have apples, pumpkins, squashes, etc. Right now in Hawaii we are still in a form of Summer even though it is Fall. Because it is within the Tropics of the Earth, there is always an abundance of "tropical fruits" that have a higher carbohydrate and sugar content. Your body needs these nutrients because you expel more energy and sweat a lot more in the tropics. Pictured above, I ate mango, dragonfruit and lilikoi as part of my breakfast the other morning. I also had guava and bananas this morning. It wouldn't make a lot of sense for me to eat these tropical fruits when it is 65 degrees and leaves are falling in the northeast. Just like when I'm in Honolulu, the thought of having pumpkin spice anything in October when it is 82 degrees turns my stomach. It's not needed. During a colder winter, there is more of an abundance of root vegetables like all potatoes, beets, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower. Think about foods from the summer that may have been pickled for use for when there is less produce. Or jams since there are less fruit options. In the northeast we are the lucky recipients of the abundance of fresh citrus available from Florida. These fruits are wet and provide moisture to our dry skin and Vitamin C to fortify us for cold and flu season. The first vegetables to come up in the spring are peas, dandelions, rabe from the last spring's plantings of kale, broccoli, etc. and spring onion. Bitter greens and salads are great to help get the sluggishness of winter out of us. This is a rough sketch about seasonal eating. I could go on but this post would be crazy long.
Thanks for reading Eat Like a Champ. The bottom line is whatever you believe about what you are consuming is right. If you think your food is great for you, then it is. If you think you are eating garbage, you probably are. And as my aunt used to say, if you ate too much today, eat less tomorrow!