Birds chirp. Pollinators buzz by. Buds form on branch and leaves poke up through the soil. Leaves obscure the heavens. Sunshine beckons us off the couch. And the chilly injection of the past half-year dissipates into joyous warmth. Spring has arrived!
Spring is the perfect season to reclaim wellness and enhance our health. Always begin with nourishment, by committing to ingest properly raised, high quality, whole foods. A healthy gut predicts a healthy mind and body. So, let’s practice kindness toward our digestive systems while celebrating the emergence of nature’s growing seasons.
Here are three ways to ensure the best food possible enters your body this season:
1. Plant fruits, vegetables, and herbs: If you own some land, dig up a patch and lay in towering tomato plants and creeping cucumbers. Let your yard work for you by landscaping with berry bushes, fruit trees, and medicinal plants in addition to your ornamentals. If you live in a small apartment as I do, a window box or some pots could do the trick. This year, a friend offered to put a bed in her backyard for us to use! When you grow, soak in the earth’s energy by going barefoot in the dirt. Truly connect with this planet that sustains us, enjoy oneness with nature, for the plants will tell you what works best for them to thrive. Soon after, you will be consuming the actual fruits of your labor.
2. Attend your farmer's market: Great news! Last year, more than 7,000 farmer's markets popped up around the country, an uptick of 17% from the year before. If this is a trend, we can expect more fresh, local produce coming to our neighborhoods in the next few months. Usually the farms that attend these markets utilize earth honoring growing procedures rather than harsh chemicals for their plants or hormones for their animals. At each booth, you can talk to the farmers to learn about how they grow their food, giving you informed consent rather than the blind trust we have to place in the supermarket. A rainbow of color is about to burst forth at your local farmers market, all of it waiting for you to take in the delicious combined energy of soil, sun, and water to rejuvenate your whole being.
3. Join a CSA: Are you a gambler? Do you like placing all your ducats on black or red? If so, then community supported agriculture (CSA) is for you! When you join a CSA, you buy into the weekly harvest of your local farm. One week you might get sweet potatoes and carrots. Another might yield broccoli and asparagus. Sometimes you might never have heard of what is in your box. No matter what, you are in for delicious and nutritious delights all summer long. Some farms deliver, while others pick convenient drop off locations and times to make the exchange as easy as possible for you.
When visiting the market, there are three keys to keep in mind:
Farmers are eager to serve you: The family farm needs money to survive, so farmers want to provide the best product to customers. Ask about their growing procedures, but don’t get locked up in the language of the day. For the small farm, becoming certified as organic takes a ton of paperwork and has onerous costs. They might grow to organic standards or better, but are unable or unwilling to participate in the certifying game. The answers they give will be all you need to know.
You are what they eat: Remember that cows and ruminant animals eat grasses. Pigs and chickens are omnivorous. Are these animals granted access to pasture or forest? Is the cow finished on grasses rather than grains? These are important questions, because those of us who eat animal foods will either ingest a nutrient profile that helps us live a dynamic life or slowly kills us by activating diet-related disease processes.
Pay now or pay later: Yes, buying directly from farmers can be more expensive, though it isn’t always. I’d rather buy quality food now than be attached to prescription pharmaceuticals later on in life. How food is grown dictates how nourished your body will be, how well it will be able to fight off infection or disease, and how vibrant you will be today and twenty years from now.
So, get outside, dig in the dirt, and get to know the professional providers around you. To locate farms, markets, and CSAs, visit Local Harvest.
Spring is here and you deserve wellness!