Challenge Day 4: Try a New Food or Recipe
You are just cruising through this challenge! SO proud of you for sticking to it. Let’s dive in!
Variety is the Spice of Life
Despite the array of food options we have available, most of us get comfortable with a select few foods and stick to a small, repetitive cycle of them – and subsequently end up getting a very small pool of nutrients.
“Of the 4,000 or so edible plant species that have fed human societies at one time or another in the past, only 150 are widely cultivated today and just three of them provide 60 percent of the world’s food.”
-Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions
Digesting nutrients requires specific enzymes. Constantly digesting the same foods calls on those same enzymes over and over again, and can exhaust them. Using the same foods repetitively can also cause food addictions, food allergies, and upset the delicate internal balance of our bodies.
I was with a friend this weekend who told me that as a kid, his diet consisted of hot dogs, pizza and ice cream. While I’m sure that was a slight exaggeration, kids can be extremely picky, and end up eating from a very small food group – one that doesn’t include the best nutrients a growing, active person needs to be healthy.
And what about some diets that are based on a very specific adherence to a few foods? Or diets that eliminate more foods than they allow? Extreme eating styles in all cases that lack the spectrum of nutrients necessary for optimal health do us more harm than good.
The Benefits of Seasonal Eating
While it can be practical, efficient and economical to choose a core group of foods and base our eating patterns around them, Nature herself changes what’s available each season.
If you pay attention to the best deals throughout the year in the produce section, you already know that seasonal eating is more economical than anything else. Last month a tiny package of fresh basil was almost $4. Today, I scored a package three times the size – of organic basil – for half the price.
Plus, fresh, locally harvested foods have their full flavor profile intact. Foods that get shipped to us are often chilled to keep them fresh, and that cooling causes some loss of flavor. Early harvesting of fruits and vegetables for long-term shipping also causes them to be picked before their nutrient profile fully develops. So we miss out on flavor and nutrients eating foods that have been grown in hot houses or shipped from other countries.
Fall is one of my favorite times of the year because some of my favorite foods that start with the letter “P” start showing up. Pumpkin, pomegranate and pears – they never taste better than during the fourth quarter.
I bet if you think about it, you have some favorites that you can’t get year round and really miss when they’re not available.
Below is a seasonal eating guide from WHFoods:
- In Spring, focus on tender, leafy vegetables that represent the fresh new growth of this season. The greening that occurs in springtime should be represented by greens on your plate, including Swiss chard, spinach, Romaine lettuce, fresh parsley, and basil.
- In Summer, stick with light, cooling foods in the tradition of traditional Chinese medicine. These foods include fruits like strawberries, apple, pear, and plum; vegetables like summer squash, broccoli, cauliflower, and corn; and spices and seasonings like peppermint and cilantro.
- In Fall, turn toward the more warming, autumn harvest foods, including carrot, sweet potato, onions, and garlic. Also emphasize the more warming spices and seasonings including ginger, peppercorns, and mustard seeds.
- In Winter, turn even more exclusively toward warming foods. Remember the principle that foods taking longer to grow are generally more warming than foods that grow quickly. All of the animal foods fall into the warming category including fish, chicken, beef, lamb, and venison. So do most of the root vegetables, including carrot, potato, onions and garlic. Eggs also fit in here, as do corn and nuts.
Today’s Challenge: Try a new Food or Recipe
So how exactly do you do today’s challenge? Simple.
Just visit your local grocery store and look for something in the produce section you’ve never tried before, or even just something you haven’t added into the mix in a while. This doesn’t have to be today – I know it might be better to do this on the day you’re actually planning to GO to the store – just don’t forget!
And it could be as simple as a spice or an herb, or a vegetable that you’ve never noticed. I just want you to take the opportunity to really look around at your store. See what they have to offer and what looks like it’s in season.
You can be super simple with this challenge, and just taste the new food, or you can take a more adventurous route and look for a recipe that incorporates it.
Since you’re probably equipped with your mobile device wherever you go like me, take 2 minutes and do a quick google search to see what health benefits you can find out about that food.
I’d love to hear what you tried – please feel free to leave a comment below and let me know, I’m always interested in learning about new food.
If you’re not going to the store today but are going out to eat, try ordering something you haven’t tried before. Ask where the restaurant gets their food from. They’ll be happy to tell you about their local growers if they buy locally, and which dishes feature their items.
I challenge you to try seeking out a new food on a monthly basis.
This past month, I started experimenting with curries, something I had never thought I would like. It has opened up a whole new world of cooking for me – not to mention many nutrients I wasn’t getting access to before as I’m branching out and extending my vegetable repetoire.
Looking forward to hearing from you, Rockstar! Keep up the great work – just one more day!
Today’s Workout Challenger: posterior chain
- Single Leg glute bridge raises (elevated for advanced) (0:30)
- Triceps dips (0:30)
- Dead Lifts (0:30)
- Superwoman lifts with trap activator (0:30)
- Jump Rope (air jump rope) (0:30)
We’ll be doing these workouts and going over the nutrition challenge in the daily LIVE VIDEOS – so be sure to use the link in your email to get everything out of this challenge! Can’t wait to see you there!