As you’ve probably gathered from many of my articles, I like to explore how to add more joy and happiness to your life. And whilst there’s no magic solution and you can’t snap your fingers and all of a sudden be happy, sometimes the little things can lift our spirits. A kind comment from a stranger, going on a beautiful walk to clear your mind, or treating yourself to a cheeky massage.
One of my favourite things in life is food. I get so much pleasure from eating and nourishing my body. It’s definitely a source of happiness for me and many others. Writer Claire Coggan sent this article over about how eating foods in season can bring happiness. She shares her thoughts below.
We often hear that eating seasonally is good for the planet – it cuts down on air miles and supports local farmers. Yet is it possible that eating foods in season could also bring us happiness at the same time?
Lip-smackingly tasty food:
Photo by Johanna Dahlberg on Unsplash
Most of us can agree that for ultimate food happiness, it’s taste that tops the list. Here in the UK, we’re lucky to have such a massive choice of food, from across the world, all year round.
But having a huge choice doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re choosing and eating the foods that taste the best…
We’ve all bought strawberries in the middle of winter, only to be disappointed by how hard and tasteless they are. Dammit. Yet a strawberry in summer, when Wimbledon is on the TV, (and you have a glass of Pimms in your hand), is a very beautiful thing…
Ooo yeah, only a few weeks to go.
The same goes for lots of other fruits and veggies too.
You may have spotted asparagus all over restaurant menus right now. That’s because it’s making its annual and oh-so-brief appearance (it’s here for only two months). The difference between the fresh, chunky UK-grown spears and the weedy stuff that’s usually flown to us is immense and is totally worth getting your hands on whilst you can.
And did you know that milk has higher levels of beta carotene and iodine in the summer? As well as tasting darn delicious, eating seasonal foods can provide health benefits.
Ditching boring mealtimes:
Photo by Katie Smith on Unsplash
If you’re getting a bit fed up with the same old weekday meal repertoire (please, not stir-fry again!), then choosing foods in season may just be the answer you’re looking for.
If you start choosing seasonal foods on your weekly shop, it might just take you off autopilot whilst also encouraging you to sample some foods you may never have considered buying before. Radishes anyone? (Hint: Roast them in the oven for 15 minutes and they taste A-mazing).
And, to point out the obvious, you get bonus healthy eating points by going for a wider range of fruits and veggies. Boom. Variety is, after all, the spice of life.
Eating what you want:
Believe it or not, Mother Nature has our backs and actually wants us to enjoy our food.
When it’s freezing cold in winter I love to eat soups, stews and roast dinners that will warm me up. And guess what? Winter veggies fit perfectly with this. It is the time for potatoes, leeks, winter squash, parsnips, cauliflower and purple sprouting broccoli. Lots of ‘winter-foods’ also have a high vitamin C content to keep away the bugs (kale, I’m looking at you).
In summer, however, we all go nuts for BBQ’s and big, vibrant salads. As if by some miracle, this is exactly what’s in season at this time: courgettes, mange tout, tomatoes of all shapes and sizes, beans, cucumber and salad leaves (to name a few). Many summer fruits and veggies also have a high water content – perfect for hydrating us on a scorching hot day.
Surely there’s a downside?
Yes, of course there is! Life isn’t perfect after all, let’s be honest (in fact, you can read more about why we need the lows as well as the highs, right here.
With eating foods in season, the low is called the hungry gap. This is the bleak time of year (March, April and the beginning of May, usually) when it’s too cold for food to have really started growing, so there is a whole lot less variety around.
But fear not, there is a way around this. We just have to think broader and eat foods from a bit further afield too – winter citrus from Europe for example.
You can find out exactly what’s top of the crops (*sorry*) and when, in this handy table on the BBC Good Food website – a great place to start exploring.
So yes, we all know that, of course, there is waay more to happiness in life than just food. But getting in-tune with nature’s rhythms and eating delicious dinners, (that help our planet at the same time) may not be a bad place to start.