Local, Seasonal, Ancestral.
Walk into a modern supermarket and you very well may find different varieties of foods not just from all across the Country, but from around the World. Very recently in human history we have gained the ability to transport foods over great distances. You may be able to find pineapples and coconut oil in the MidWest! Pineapples and Coconuts can be very healthy foods. However, there are some problems. Most of our genetics are not primed to be doing this type of thing. We are used to growing up in relatively enclosed regions, and getting used to the local food that was available. A lot of people are now having problems because we have access to a much wider array of things to eat. People often get lost or confused from information in the media, scientific advice, or other sources about what to eat. Here are some quick tips that can help figure out whole-foods based eating plans that may feel right.
ANCESTRAL: This has to come first. Many of us are now in geographic regions that are much different than where our ancestors were. Do some research into the types of foods your ancestors ate or what they eat in certain countries you may descend from. While eating local and seasonal are great, you also have to take into account what your bodies evolution is used to and expecting you to be eating!
LOCAL: Again, until recently most all food was locally sourced. It is great that there is rising interest in this. Farmers markets are coming back. I recommend people try to eat most of their food from the general geographic region they are in. Food is healthiest when fresh and hasn’t been transported or subjected to chemicals to preserve it over long distances or time.
SEASONAL: An often overlooked area of eating. In the past few hundred years, we have developed refrigeration and freezing capabilities to help us preserve food. Some of this TRULY helps us. However, it also means we are able to eat food that may be completely out of season with what is growing in our area. Try to remember what types of plants are growing at the different times of year and focus on those. This usually means focusing on fresh produce when you can (spring, summer, fall), and then relying more on meats, grains, beans, and nuts in the colder months depending on your region.
By using these 3 categories, it becomes easier to decide what food to have around. Of course there are more detailed things we need to look at inside each category; but this can get you on the path to a generally healthy, whole-foods approach that respects your location, genetics, and seasonal needs! Also, don’t be surprised if it takes some time to transition into a healthier style of eating. Our bodies get used to things (even unhealthy things) and like respect when getting into healthier foods. So give yourself some time to adjust.