A ton a year is equivalent to a return flight from London to Boston !
Powering hothouses and flying fresh fruit and veg around the world uses a lot of energy. Bear in mind how things are imported , foods like berries, asparagus, and salads that have a short shelf life have to be flown in, giving them a far higher carbon footprint than things like bananas, kiwis and sweet potatoes that are shipped.
Eating a more diverse range of seasonal fruit and vegetables improves your gut health, which has all sorts of benefits including; improved skin, sleep, digestion and mood. Not to mention the enjoyment factor of helping the planet in the process.
The longer fruit is left on the plant, the more nutrients it is able to soak up. Goods shipped from the other side of the world are often picked days or even weeks before they are ripe, resulting in them being less nutritionally mature. Fruit and veg can also lose vitamins and minerals in storage, so by eating fresh, seasonal produce that’s been picked at the peak of its ripeness is the healthiest choice.
Making Healthier Choices
Supermarkets are profit driven. The way they operate is by ordering large quantities, pile the stock in their warehouses and sell it cheaply. The main problem with such a system is that products with very long expiration dates actually contain a high amount of additives and preservatives.
As the name suggests, preservatives are used to lengthen the shelf life of food items and also maintain the flavor of food for a long time. Artificial or chemical preservatives that are used to delay the contamination of food are the ones which lead to health problems. These preservatives are artificially produced and are synthetic in nature. They are often labelled as additives on food.
Using considerable amounts of preservatives over the years can have a negative impact on our health. One of the most harmful effects of preservatives in food items is their ability to transform into carcinogen agents. Some of the food items consist of nitrosamine, a preservative which has nitrites and nitrates which mix with gastric acids and form cancer-causing agents as well as heart disease and breathing problems.
Fresh produce is not only packed with more flavor than supermarket food but is also free from harmful additives and preservatives. The fresher the food, the tastier it is. This largely depends on storage time. Food that is stored for long periods loses sugar and starch, and that greatly affects flavor. Taste and texture also depend on where fruit and vegetables are grown and where animals are farmed and live. Greenhouses produce less flavour in some fruit and vegetables than those which are grown on good farmland. Profit-driven fruit and vegetable growers deliberately modify their produce to make it look more appealing, knowing that supermarket shoppers do not taste before they buy.
Livestock that is solely raised outdoors in good conditions produces tastier meat than animals forced to live in barns. The former eat natural, nutritious food. On the contrary, animals forced to live in barns feed on inorganic grains enhanced with growth hormones. Animals which are free to roam about produce more tender and flavorsome meat. This concept applies also to wild fish, in the sense that wild fish has more flavor than farmed fish. This is largely due to diet, fresher water, and seasonality.
It is not just about the flavor. Eating food that is in season has huge health advantages. Choosing ingredients that are naturally in season ensures that one gets fresher, sweeter and perfectly ripe produce that tastes better. This enriches the meals that you prepare and ensures that you do not end up with spoilt, impaired produce that has been kept refrigerated for months while being transported from one country to another.
Besides, seasonal food supports what your body needs. For example, summer foods, such as stone fruits, help protect against sun damage since they are packed with carotenoids.
I believe that looking after our health through food can have a huge positive impact on the environment. Imagine if we all choose seasonal and short self- life products, the impact on the CO2 footprint would be huge.
We could lower cholesterol or high blood pressure or diabetes by doing something more significant for the environment.
Imagine if our daily lunch and that of our kids was made with the intention to save the planet. What a positive example for our children.
Find out how to create seasonal meals with my new recipe book!
More than 50 lunchbox recipes for the whole family made with seasonal produce. The book also contains food fun facts and curiosities to Inspire fun and bonding in the kitchen. All the Recipes are made by qualified nutritionist and mother Audrey Schaerrer.
This is the first publication in a series of four, each characterized by a particular season. The present publication is inspired by autumn. Winter, spring, and summer will be following. Some recipes in this book include Japanese-style autumn noodles, mushroom pie, as well as chickpea and sweet potato patties.
All the recipes make a complete balanced and nutritious meal to enjoy at dinner time or packed for lunch in a portable box.