4

votes

Does anyone only eat seasonal fruits/vegetables?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created February 02, 2011 at 12:26 AM

I heard something on a Robb Wolf podcast (I think) or maybe I read it in Lights Out, but it got me thinking. There are always a lot of questions about fruit/vegetable consumption. What kinds to eat, how much to eat, etc.

Our ancestral diet would have allowed us to only eat fruits/vegetables that were available where we lived and we could only get them in the season that they grew naturally. It seems to me that if we would adopt this way of eating fruits/vegetables, it would basically eliminate the should I or shouldn't I questions.

For example, apples only grow naturally in a specific time of the year so our ancestors would have probably come across them, chowed down while they could and when they were gone for the season they wouldn't eat them anymore. Unless you live in the tropics it would automatically eliminate the sugary fruits like bananas.

I'm wondering if anyone only eats fruits/veggies that grow locally (at least the same climate zone) and only when they are in season? Thoughts?

D8f58eba263277ec6119293137b85b02

(1071)

on January 25, 2012
at 03:22 AM

Happy Now, my disgust with lettuce and obsession with kale lately makes so much sense now. I was wondering what was going on with me, so thanks for pointing that out.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on January 25, 2012
at 03:02 AM

I didn't set out to consciously eat seasonally, but my tastes seem to be drifting that way. This is the first year I could barely stomach the idea of salad or a lot of fruit when it started to get cold out, I just wanted oven roasted root veggies, squash, collards, kale, and parsley (all of which happen to grow well in my yard). I'm considering suspending my CSA (more of a CSA broker I guess) until spring. They work hard to keep us in fruit and salad greens during the winter by importing organic fruit and veggies from CA and Mexico, but that just doesn't seem to be my cup of tea right now.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on January 24, 2012
at 11:05 PM

@Karen- Where are you in NoVa? The farm we go to has collards still growing, and if you're in Loudoun the Leesburg winter market my have some. Also--Try one of the international groceries (e.g. Global Food in Chantilly or Ashburn). Collards are wicked cheap there and look gorgeous.

273729a18d2f18903815d2644a4d64de

(1683)

on January 24, 2012
at 10:50 PM

and @Karen Im from NoVa and I moved to Auburn for school...never had a collard green until I came here and I LOVE them! I cant find them fresh (strangely) and would have no idea how to prepare them.

273729a18d2f18903815d2644a4d64de

(1683)

on January 24, 2012
at 10:49 PM

ahhh the collard green <3

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on January 24, 2012
at 09:07 PM

I can't imagine how complicated it would be to figure out my 4 prong ancestral genetic produce seasonal availability and somehow tie in my current habitat. Ugh. Math from hell.

Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

(5198)

on January 24, 2012
at 08:49 PM

I think you overestimate the preservation abilities of our ancestors.

737471a5bc1c8b81d968c3f3fcd13b71

(389)

on January 15, 2012
at 06:43 PM

Those are supposed to be bullet points... oh well.

737471a5bc1c8b81d968c3f3fcd13b71

(389)

on January 15, 2012
at 06:42 PM

Though I admit that I haven't researched this, it seems to make sense that local, in season vegetables or fruits would be higher in nutrients than others. ~Distantly grown food would have to be harvested earlier to survive transportation while still arriving fresh to a supermarket. ~Just like how we eat for our genes, wouldn't plants' genes thrive in a naturally optimal environment, instead of a greenhouse where the only growing factors controlled are those factors that growers are aware of?

1471beca8e3adff4ae2f89d10e5f7acb

(6550)

on February 02, 2011
at 04:40 PM

Have you tried going to the farmer's market, Karen? Because they're one of the hardiest winter vegetables, collards can often be found at local markets even outside of their traditional homeland.

209d2fc1f43df88348031c7c38077172

(693)

on February 02, 2011
at 03:43 PM

I'm in Charlotte so I can get some good greens most of the time. Just recently found a collard recipe that I really like. Kale is my favorite.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on February 02, 2011
at 02:46 PM

I'm going through collards withdrawal. Moving from SC to Northern VA has revealed a truly hideous lack of proper greens in this area. They come in bags pre-chopped, but of course full of stems and tired looking! I'm desperate for some nice fresh bundles of entire collard plants ready for cooking.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on February 02, 2011
at 02:39 PM

On the other hand, I truly love the availability of citrus and frozen berries in winter. And while there are several inches of snow lying on top of the wild greens outside, I'm not handing over the spinach, pea pods and arugula!

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on February 02, 2011
at 02:34 PM

Dale, I think that is addressed some in "Lights Out". Humans would gorge on fruit and carbs etc during summer to build up fat stores for winter, while during winter they would naturally lean down while living primarily off of animal fat and protein. The excess carbs in summer weren't so much of a problem since they were strictly seasonal. With modern living, increased winter "daylight" time and availability of carbs year round, we don't lose the weight in winter.

209d2fc1f43df88348031c7c38077172

(693)

on February 02, 2011
at 01:43 PM

I've been thinking about this. If we are eating less fruits/vegetables in winter and replacing it with more meat (because of availability), could there be some evolutionary reason for this? Something cyclical about a "down" time with lower carbs that would potentially be beneficial for our systems?

209d2fc1f43df88348031c7c38077172

(693)

on February 02, 2011
at 01:08 AM

I see your point...

Medium avatar

(39821)

on February 02, 2011
at 01:02 AM

If one food is more nutritious but "shouldn't" be available and you choose the less nutritious one because it is in season, you are making a decision to be less healthy but more historically accurate. I see no reason to ever do this.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on February 02, 2011
at 01:01 AM

If one food is more nutritious but "shouldn't" be available and you choose the less nutritious because it is in season, you are making a decision to be less healthy more historically accurate. I see no reason to ever do this.

209d2fc1f43df88348031c7c38077172

(693)

on February 02, 2011
at 12:54 AM

Hmmm...I wasn't even thinking historical reenactment. Why not good for health? I was thinking it might be better.

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11 Answers

5
2507b557331c8a674bc81197531e609a

(4994)

on February 02, 2011
at 01:47 PM

It's good to eat vegetables seaonally because they vegetables generally contain something within them that could cause problems over a long time, ie members if the spinach family are high in oxalates and too much built up over time may cause problems, eat seaonally and you irradicate that problem as not so much of a build up can happen. Plus if you home grow you have to eat seaonally but you also know EXACTLY what went into growing those veggies :D

3
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on February 02, 2011
at 04:51 AM

THis never made much sense to me. Few of us currently live near where our genetics developed. So what good would it do me to eat what is in season here if it is not what is in season where I came from? And some places don't have the same seasons as others. SOme places have fruit all year and some have no fruit it all. Plus the fruit grown today is different from what was available in the past. And what difference does it make if I eat apples in season and then when the season runs out, I switch to persimmons? How is that diff from eating apples for the whole stretch if, metabolically, the sugar and fructose levels are similar?

Perhaps the original goal with that rule of eating 'in season' was to try to limit intake to some degree and give the body a break from sugar in the winter. But if those are the true goals, then I say state that directly. Anyway, I see no evidence anywhere of any special benefit to this plan. Our ancestors that gathered fruit probably soon learned to dry and store it. Successful paleo ancestors may often have been eating sweat dried fruit all through winter for all we know. I do not believe for a second that our ancestors were too stupid to learn to store and preserve foods in accordance with resources at hand.

So I say if the goal is to moderate fruit intake then just moderate it. DOn't confuse the issue with some confusing statement about seasons.

737471a5bc1c8b81d968c3f3fcd13b71

(389)

on January 15, 2012
at 06:43 PM

Those are supposed to be bullet points... oh well.

737471a5bc1c8b81d968c3f3fcd13b71

(389)

on January 15, 2012
at 06:42 PM

Though I admit that I haven't researched this, it seems to make sense that local, in season vegetables or fruits would be higher in nutrients than others. ~Distantly grown food would have to be harvested earlier to survive transportation while still arriving fresh to a supermarket. ~Just like how we eat for our genes, wouldn't plants' genes thrive in a naturally optimal environment, instead of a greenhouse where the only growing factors controlled are those factors that growers are aware of?

Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

(5198)

on January 24, 2012
at 08:49 PM

I think you overestimate the preservation abilities of our ancestors.

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on January 24, 2012
at 09:07 PM

I can't imagine how complicated it would be to figure out my 4 prong ancestral genetic produce seasonal availability and somehow tie in my current habitat. Ugh. Math from hell.

2
1471beca8e3adff4ae2f89d10e5f7acb

on February 02, 2011
at 02:18 PM

I used to eat 100% local, seasonal produce...now I'm down to about 75%. It's sociopolitical, but remember that the fresher the item, the less the nutrient degradation (and definitely the tastier).

Of course, it's easier being in the South, where even in the winter we have the glorious lifesaving, confounding and delicious vegetable that is the collard green.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on February 02, 2011
at 02:46 PM

I'm going through collards withdrawal. Moving from SC to Northern VA has revealed a truly hideous lack of proper greens in this area. They come in bags pre-chopped, but of course full of stems and tired looking! I'm desperate for some nice fresh bundles of entire collard plants ready for cooking.

209d2fc1f43df88348031c7c38077172

(693)

on February 02, 2011
at 03:43 PM

I'm in Charlotte so I can get some good greens most of the time. Just recently found a collard recipe that I really like. Kale is my favorite.

1471beca8e3adff4ae2f89d10e5f7acb

(6550)

on February 02, 2011
at 04:40 PM

Have you tried going to the farmer's market, Karen? Because they're one of the hardiest winter vegetables, collards can often be found at local markets even outside of their traditional homeland.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on January 24, 2012
at 11:05 PM

@Karen- Where are you in NoVa? The farm we go to has collards still growing, and if you're in Loudoun the Leesburg winter market my have some. Also--Try one of the international groceries (e.g. Global Food in Chantilly or Ashburn). Collards are wicked cheap there and look gorgeous.

273729a18d2f18903815d2644a4d64de

(1683)

on January 24, 2012
at 10:50 PM

and @Karen Im from NoVa and I moved to Auburn for school...never had a collard green until I came here and I LOVE them! I cant find them fresh (strangely) and would have no idea how to prepare them.

273729a18d2f18903815d2644a4d64de

(1683)

on January 24, 2012
at 10:49 PM

ahhh the collard green <3

2
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on February 02, 2011
at 12:46 AM

Sorry, can't help you there. I eat whatever's out there that strikes my fancy. I've never really paid attention to the seasonality but it's pretty much self adjusting. Simply because out of season items are usually shipped long distances and taste like crap...

1
Ccacf7567273244733bc991af4ac42ed

on January 24, 2012
at 09:01 PM

There are compromises as with everything else but I would count this as an aspiration. The trouble is, as soon as you leave the 'ideal' scenario (and living in the 21st century pretty much guarantees that) you have to start trying to find your own solutions for your particular situation. I'm convinced that variation is good for me and my body, and the most natural variation there is is the seasons. If I can sleep more and eat less in winter as a rule, and save the fruits and fresh veg for specific occasions when I'm deliberately breaking the pattern with the rest of my lifestyle, then I think that's worth doing. And it makes spring and summer a lot mroe interesting.

I think there's a great deal of over-confidence on many issues, and this is one of them. It's no different from conventional wisdom but the reality is we cannot be sure what effect the modern world has on our health. As with the basic dietary advice, you can find supposed arguments and evidence to support whatever position you believe in. Maybe it does come down more to mental or spiritual health and people here are comfortable that they have nailed down their physical health and are perfectly happy with everything in their lives. I think this is something that should be discussed more though.

1
101b3a5c96d313d22262f65bdff20acf

(539)

on February 02, 2011
at 05:05 AM

I do this, though it's not easy this time of year, for many reasons I won't go into on this site as not all of my reasons have to do with hard nutritional science. I refer to sites such as http://www.eattheseasons.com for guidance.

1
5edbf85deaf83e13b176df023abb154d

on February 02, 2011
at 12:47 AM

I don't eat only seasonal veggies, but tend to come pretty close. I belong to a co-op and get loads of seasonal veggies nearly year-round, so that's mostly what I eat.

I can't say how it has affected me, but I've been at this for a couple of years now. If nothing else, I feel really good supporting a local farmer.

0
1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on February 02, 2011
at 01:15 PM

I try to eat seasonally just to make it cheaper to hit up the farmer's market. Winter has been pretty lame though because pretty much nothing is in season in the northeast.

0
90fc4f1e94bab32e4fbab7468e3cecb5

on February 02, 2011
at 07:55 AM

I don't eat fruits yet (still trying to lose weight) and keep my carb content down. I only eat veggies and it's cheaper for me to buy them frozen in bulk (I've read a bunch of articles on how this is healthy and perhaps even better than eating the "fresh" kind that sits in your fridge for too long -- whether this is true or not, I have no idea). And no, I don't eat vegetables just when they're in season. I'm a cauliflower "rice" nut so without cauliflower always stocked in the fridge, I'd be miserable!

0
Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on February 02, 2011
at 12:57 AM

i dont do this, but belonging to a CSA is helpful in eating as in-season as one can. im in northern new england with a 6 month growing season, so its not practical. i do have a root cellar, but dont eat a lot of the starchy things that are down there, and i do enjoy preserving and canning things that i buy in bulk when they are in season, but that is just a hobby. most things dont end up being very "paleo" after processing (like after i add 6 cups of sugar to make 3 pints of jalapeno jelly!) where i am, its just really not at all sustainable- nor would i want to.

0
Medium avatar

on February 02, 2011
at 12:48 AM

Doing so is great for historical reenactment but not necessarily good at all for health.

209d2fc1f43df88348031c7c38077172

(693)

on February 02, 2011
at 12:54 AM

Hmmm...I wasn't even thinking historical reenactment. Why not good for health? I was thinking it might be better.

209d2fc1f43df88348031c7c38077172

(693)

on February 02, 2011
at 01:08 AM

I see your point...

Medium avatar

(39821)

on February 02, 2011
at 01:01 AM

If one food is more nutritious but "shouldn't" be available and you choose the less nutritious because it is in season, you are making a decision to be less healthy more historically accurate. I see no reason to ever do this.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on February 02, 2011
at 02:34 PM

Dale, I think that is addressed some in "Lights Out". Humans would gorge on fruit and carbs etc during summer to build up fat stores for winter, while during winter they would naturally lean down while living primarily off of animal fat and protein. The excess carbs in summer weren't so much of a problem since they were strictly seasonal. With modern living, increased winter "daylight" time and availability of carbs year round, we don't lose the weight in winter.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on February 02, 2011
at 02:39 PM

On the other hand, I truly love the availability of citrus and frozen berries in winter. And while there are several inches of snow lying on top of the wild greens outside, I'm not handing over the spinach, pea pods and arugula!

Medium avatar

(39821)

on February 02, 2011
at 01:02 AM

If one food is more nutritious but "shouldn't" be available and you choose the less nutritious one because it is in season, you are making a decision to be less healthy but more historically accurate. I see no reason to ever do this.

209d2fc1f43df88348031c7c38077172

(693)

on February 02, 2011
at 01:43 PM

I've been thinking about this. If we are eating less fruits/vegetables in winter and replacing it with more meat (because of availability), could there be some evolutionary reason for this? Something cyclical about a "down" time with lower carbs that would potentially be beneficial for our systems?

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