{Recipe Inside!} The Benefits of Eating Seasonally

 photo credit:  Jenna Radomksi

photo credit: Jenna Radomksi

As summer comes to an end and the season begins to shift once again, we are reminded of the only constant in life: change. The leaves begin to turn shades of yellow and orange, the air becomes cool and crisp, and pumpkin flavored everything pops on store shelves and into coffee shops.

Something that is often lost in our modern world is living by the seasons. With access to produce from all over the world, it is not necessary to eat what is local and seasonally available.

This certainly has its perks – I love being able to grab a banana or an avocado whenever I please. But as I learn more about the benefits of eating seasonally, I can’t help but feel drawn to it. What are those benefits, you ask? Let’s dive in.

Better for health

With industrial agriculture and technology, it’s common practice for produce to be harvested well before their flavor or nutritional peak. This allows the goods to be stored and shipped without spoilage – I’ve read that the average grocery store apple is picked one year before it is actually sold!

The concern here is that once produce is harvested, it immediately begins to lose nutritional value and flavor. A freshly picked peach in late summer is going to be much juicier, tastier, and richer in vitamins and minerals than one purchased months after the season has ended.

Eating seasonally also ensures a more diverse diet, which is essential for optimum health. Picture this: grilled asparagus and rhubarb jam in spring; juicy berries and heirloom tomatoes in summer; pumpkin stew and hearty salads in fall; and roasted Brussels sprouts and sautéed cabbage in winter. The diversity in foods throughout the year provides a variety of nutrients plus textures and flavors to keep meals exciting.
 

Better for our budgets

Have you ever gone to buy fresh blueberries in the middle of winter and felt shocked by the insanely high price? Those same blueberries will be much cheaper in late summer as that is when they are abundantly growing! This is a simple example of supply and demand – when the supply is high, the price drops.

Plus, eating seasonal foods grown in your geographic area are less expensive because they do not have to be shipped from far distances. The further away your food comes from, more time, labor, and resources are required to get it to your plate.
 

Better for the planet

Sourcing local, seasonal goods drastically cuts down on travel distance to get an apple from point A to point B, which means less fuel and pollutants and ultimately a smaller carbon footprint.

It’s also less common to see excess packaging when buying from farmer’s markets or local shops, which is hopeful as plastic waste is a huge environmental concern. Many smaller food suppliers opt for reusable or compostable packaging instead of disposable plastic. Choosing loose, seasonal vegetables, fruits, and greens when possible makes a positive impact on our planet.


 photo credit:  Jenna Radomksi

photo credit: Jenna Radomksi

To celebrate the arrival of fall and to encourage seasonal eating, we created this warming, delicious gluten-free + dairy-free pumpkin cinnamon swirl bread to share with you.
 

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Author: Jenna B. Radomski
Makes 1 loaf
Prep time: 20 minutes |     Cook time: 60 minutes
 

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups all-purpose GF baking flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
¾ cup brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
½ cup plain coconut yogurt, unsweetened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 

For cinnamon swirl mixture:

1/4 cup coconut sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
 

Directions:

1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a bread loaf pan. Set aside.

2.     Use a fine mesh strainer or sifter to sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and salt together into a large mixing bowl. Mix well.

3.     In a smaller bowl, whisk together egg, coconut oil, brown sugar, pumpkin, yogurt, and vanilla extract until well combined.

4.     Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix with a spatula until combined.

5.     In another small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon for the swirl mixture.

6.     Pour half of the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth with a spatula. Evenly sprinkle the cinnamon swirl mix on top, reserving about 2 tablespoons. Pour the remaining batter on top and use a knife to swirl the batter around to distribute the cinnamon sugar mixture. Smooth the top once more.

7.     Sprinkle remaining cinnamon swirl mixture on top and bake for 60-65 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

8.     Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve immediately or store in airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days.