Here in Northern California the concept that healthy food is local, organic and seasonal food is well known. It is both a relatively new and a very old idea. Of course, before air travel most people ate what they grew or what was readily available in their environment. For instance, if you lived in New Hampshire, you were unlikely to be eating bananas. Now people learn that bananas have lots of potassium and they eat them all the time, I mean 3 or more bananas a week, year round. So, what’s wrong with that?
First of all, it’s good to know that lots of foods contain potassium so you don’t have to eat bananas. As a matter of fact of the top 10 foods containing potassium, bananas are #10. Here are those potassium containing foods, in order:
- White beans (other beans too)
- Dark leafy greens
- Baked potatoes with skin
- Dried apricots
- Acorn squash
- Plain yogurt
- Fish (especially salmon)
Back in the 80’s when I was in acupuncture school, our professor, J R Worsley, said that you should primarily eat the foods that live and grow where you live and to eat them in the season in which they grow.
I got lots of surprised and incredulous looks from my patients when I gave them this advice. But as Worsley pointed out, imagine someone living in Hawaii trying to stay healthy eating whale blubber and seal meat and an Alaskan Eskimo trying to live on mangoes and pineapple. They would both be ill and likely not survive if they continued.
But it is not only local food but also seasonal food that you should eat. Sonoma County is wine county and I live right at the conjunction of three famous wine producing valleys, Dry Creek, Alexander, and Russian River. There are vineyards everywhere you look. Yet people will go to the grocery story in March and buy grapes. There aren’t any grapes on the vines in March. There aren’t even any leaves.
These grocery store grapes must be from the Southern Hemisphere and they were probably picked before they were ripe, possibly grown in countries where pesticide regulation is poor and shipped long distances, using fossil fuels. They are typically more expensive, less nutritious and less tasty than the same fruit grown locally and harvested in season.
Plus from an energetic standpoint, grapes herald the autumn and mark the declining of the sun in the sky and prepare us for winter. Eating them in March is completely out of harmony with the blossoming, increasing and expanding energy of spring.
As in all things, I’m not a purest. I think it’s fine to have a banana or a mango, on occasion, even if you don’t live in the tropics. But these should be treats, not dietary staples. To be balanced internally, you must also be balanced with your surroundings.
What’s wrong with eating bananas? Nothing if you live where they grow. So wherever you live, eat locally and seasonally. Here’s a handy little tool for knowing what local foods are in season at least on the West Coast and parts of the Midwest.
Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to be a substitute for personal, professional, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.