Human beings have traditionally have lived life by the cycles of day and night, by the moon, seasons, and life cycles of menstruation and motherhood.
Traditional patterns of eating followed the seasons and allowed for an abundance of flavour and nutrients that was created by nature to nourish the body with what it needs at the right time.
THE OUTER SEASONS
Our natural eating patterns change according to the seasons. The produce available to you changes in price, flavour and availability (Lutaladio et al., 2010). Spring butter is so yellow due to the fresh grass the cows are grazing on — full of carotenoids. In winter, cows are fed stored feed which makes butter lighter in colour.
In Summer, sunshine warms the body and brings increased temperatures and perspiration. We crave electrolyte-rich, hydrating foods such as cucumbers, fresh fruit, salad greens and fresh herbs, zucchini and squash, smoothies and lighter meals.
As Autumn comes, things slow down. Produce is great for pickling and preserving for the coming months, with more root vegetables like carrots and beetroot in season. Mushrooms are fuller with vitamin D to increase stores for shorter winter days and oyster season peaks at this time, with these zinc-rich morsels to fortify the immune system.
Throughout Winter and the colder months, more energy dense foods help to provide stores for the winter. We reach for slow cooked meats and root vegetable dishes or darker greens and cruciferous vegetables.
Then, as Spring bursts we are greeted with edible blossoms, bright greens, shoots and sprouts and rebirthing of the fruits and vegetables that are dormant over the winter, bringing life back after hibernation, full of flavour and fertility.
THE INNER SEASONS
For those who menstruate, the intelligence of the body is a wonder to behold and there are different needs for each season of this inner cycle.
Those chocolate cravings in the Luteal phase between ovulation and menstruation signal an increased need for magnesium and higher energy requirements (Gorczyca, 2016). Now is a great time to enjoy seeds, seafood including oysters, and dark chocolate.
Menstruation is a time for more iron-rich warming foods such as red meats slow cooked on the bone and dark greens to shed old cells and create new ones.
The follicular phase before ovulation is supported by good fats (Gorczyca, 2016) including nuts, hemp and chia seeds, avocados and oily fish and foods that support oestrogen metabolism like cruciferous vegetables and antioxidant rich berries.
Ovulation is time to load up on liver supporting foods like beetroot, leafy greens, cucumber, and fresh produce to support energy levels. Enjoy and support your increased activity with protein and plenty of water.
By observing and respecting the flow of the seasons both in the worlds around us and within us, we’re able to make the most of the nourishment and medicine we have been provided by nature. Increased awareness and responding accordingly allows us to access greater pleasure in living and thriving through our health and wellbeing.