Food is one of the most significant aspects of any culture. It is the significant unifier that brings together communities and generations with feelings of warmth and belonging. The food we have grown up eating provides us with an identity, connection, and lifelong memories. There are influential culinary traditions in every culture.
Our food-related beliefs and practices also involve the surrounding environment and networks that deal with the production and distribution of food-related ingredients. These ingredients change according to the season, and so does the menu in our kitchens.
The closer we are to the origins of our food, the better it is for our mind, body, and soul. All-season/processed food that has reached you from a distant land, losing its nutrients on the way, can be a fancy ingredient in your meal, but will be devoid of authentic flavor and nutritional value.
OneFitPlus encourages its customers to consume regional, seasonal, and traditional food because of the innumerable benefits. Regionally grown food is fresh and loses fewer nutrients because it doesn't spend much time in transit from the farm to the plate. Shopping and eating regionally also makes you eat mindfully as you feel connected to your food, since you may have also grown up eating the same. Eating seasonally encourages you to try new food options and be more creative in the kitchen.
When we eat regional, we eat with the seasons, and the cycle of seasonal produce is perfectly designed to assist our holistic health. You also have a better chance to stick to a diet that includes regional food instead of non-native food. Regionally grown food is good for the environment and the regional economy as well. It's simple to understand why we should consume regional, seasonal, and traditional food. They are:
FRESH AND FULL OF FLAVOR
Regional food is grown and sold through neighborhood farms and markets, catering to the regional community's needs instead of a bigger consumer base. Since the produce is regional, it doesn't spend hours on the roads in trucks to reach the consumer. It is fresh when being brought.
Also, since the produce from nearby locations is freshly picked, it is ripe and delicious, with vitamins and minerals at their peak. In contrast to non-regional produce that is harvested even before it has ripened, regional fruits and vegetables stay on their stems until they are fully ripe, only after they are harvested. It brings out their best flavor and texture. So if you want the tastiest fruits and vegetables, head to your regional farmer's market.
CARRY MORE NUTRIENTS
We have to keep in mind that the longer vegetables and fruits spend in a storage house or a transport vehicle before reaching your kitchen, the bigger is the loss of essential nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. The enzymes present inside fresh produce start feeding on the vital nutrients from the time they are picked. By the time the product reaches the consumer, it has already lost precious nutrient value.
The closer you are to the source of your produce, the shorter time it takes to reach your table. And hence, the nutrient content remains more or less the same in regionally grown food. Besides, you get a chance to consume a wider variety of products when you purchase them closer home. All varieties of the same products do not get transported and are only available regionally. A diverse variety means you also benefit from a wide range of nutrients.
OneFitPlus diet coaches insist that we should consume seasonal fruits and vegetables, as they are high in phytonutrient content, in addition to carotenes, folate, and vitamin C, A and B.
THEY ARE SAFE
To increase the shelf life of the product, several growers and supermarket chains use preservatives and chemicals. The produce has been tampered with such artificial things to last several kilometers long before reaching the destination. This is not the case with regional produce, which is harvested only when fresh and ripe and is sold in small batches in regional communities. Hence, there is no need to preserve them.
By eating regional and seasonal stuff, we are saved from the damaging effects of chemicals and preservatives. Regional farmers tend to use natural pesticides to safeguard their crops and allow the product to grow faster, making the roots go deeper, gaining more nutrients from the soil.
SUPPORT THE REGIONAL ECONOMY
When you consume regionally grown and seasonal food, you support the regional economy, helping it thrive and prosper. Unlike big supermarket chains, Regional sellers have no middlemen, ensuring that there is no siphoning off the profit. When the regional farming businesses and food producers get continuous demand, they can ramp up profits and employ more people.
The money you spend on regional produce stays in the regional economy, creating new jobs and further boosting other businesses. Regional farms and farmer's markets also create opportunities for agro-tourism. The close local network brings the community together with empowered consumers and successful producers.
GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
With a much shorter supply chain system in the regional produce network, there is less scope for wastage of resources typically seen during storage, transportation, and distribution. Since there is also not much travel involved, there is hardly any fuel consumption and consequent emission of greenhouse gases.
When you buy from regional farms, you ensure that green, open spaces remain undamaged and un-encroached by urban marauders. There is no single-use plastic packaging involved, which considerably reduces the carbon footprint. Regional food consumption helps us promote sustainable agriculture and protect the environment.
KEEP YOU CLOSE TO YOUR ROOTS
By consuming Regionally grown food, we get to meet, communicate and better understand our regional farmers. Our children can visit the farms and physically observe how the crop is sown, raised, and harvested. Instead of hankering over expensive "exotic" produce shipped from distant places, we get to consume cheap, yet healthy and nutrient-dense regional produce. We have grown up eating traditional food that our bodies are most accustomed to.
Using those grains, fruits, and vegetables, we go back to our traditional recipes and get closer to our roots again. Traditional food gives us maximum comfort, safety, and security.
In the current times, the best idea of living would be to think globally, but act regionally. Having regional, seasonal and traditional food gives us the benefit of good health, along with a thriving regional community and a safe environment.
Every season comes with plenty of fresh produce that can be used to whip up exciting new recipes in the kitchen. It's time we encourage the farm-to-table trend by prioritizing regional food and clean eating, which will go a long way in keeping our health in top shape.