One of the many reasons people argue against a heavily plant based lifestyle is because of the price of fruit and vegetables in supermarkets compared to fast food favourites such as burgers. But have you ever considered changing your shopping methods to shop for what is in season on local farms instead, for example fruits and vegetables such as kale and parsnips for those of us based in the UK this season.
Studies show how shopping on the national level reduces the global warming impact (GWP) through the reduction of transport by air and water. This method of shopping could also reduce the amount of energy used to grow crops in greenhouses and months of storage. Storage and lighting is one of the biggest uses of energy on farms. For example apples are harvested between the months of September and November then stored for around 10 months to provide an all year supply of apples.
Crops, which do not go through the storage process, are better at retaining essential compounds, such as vitamin C, that begin to decrease from the moment of harvest. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant, which helps to scavenge free radicals. Free radicals arise from cell metabolism or external sources such as cigarettes and pollution. They cause a process called oxidative stress, which leads to many chronic illnesses such as cancers and autoimmune diseases. Antioxidants that can be found in the body and externally from diet and supplement can stabilise the highly reactive free radicals, preventing them from damaging other cells.
As well as vitamins and minerals, in season harvests tend to be cheaper and easily obtained at farmers markets than out of season fruits and vegetables.
The drawback of this method of shopping is the limitation of choice, for example pineapples and sweet corn would be off the menu for a short while in the UK. However this method does encourage us to discover new varieties of fruits and vegetables, for example do you know what to do with swede or bok choy? Vegetables, which are in-season within the UK this winter. Eat Seasonably is a useful in season blog for more ideas.
For many where the season of winter brings on cold climates, roasted vegetables (honey glazed of course!) and heart-warming soups are often in the menu. Below I have provided one of my favourite soup recipes. Let me know what you think.
ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP
• 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed into 3/4′ inch pieces (approx. 4 cups)
• 3 garlic cloves, peeled
• 2 small shallots or 1/2 sweet onion, peeled and halved
• 1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
• 2 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Prepare vegetables, toss with olive oil right on the roasting pan. Roast for 40 minutes, stirring once or twice, cooking until squash is fork tender. Remove any onion or garlic that seem to be over roasting and set aside. Once done, remove and let cool for 10 to 15 min.
Place roasted vegetables, liquids and salt in large pot, use submersion blender to blend until smooth. Depending on how much squash you actually used, add more liquid as needed for desired consistency. Cook on medium low until heated through. Taste for seasoning.
Serve as you like topped with seeds, herbs and spices or leave it simple as is. I like mine with nut shavings such as almond flakes or meal, a few rosemary leaves and a dash of cayenne pepper for some heat. Fresh chopped sage or thyme, even a sprinkle of caraway seeds would be great too if you have it on hand.
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Author: Elizabeth Uwiduhaye
Elizabeth is a self-proclaimed nutrition fanatic who went on to study it at the University of Reading. She shared her childhood in both Rwanda and England, setting the basis to her globalised view of diets and lifestyles. Elizabeth’s love of food was developed through working in various different restaurants and her mother’s home cooked African meals. She hopes to combine her passion for cooking and knowledge of science in each recipe that is posted..
“Having had troubles with my weight, I feel compelled to help others through effective weight management with a healthy diet. I believe a heavily plant based diet is best, there is no doubt that fruits and vegetables carry significant life improving factors when combined with lean meats, fish and whole grains. The topic of nutrition is always changing and this is what I love most about it, we all eat but what we eat is different so why should we follow the same advice?
My goal is to inspire people to try new ways of discovering food through different lifestyles which encourage variety and enjoyment of food.”
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