In-season fruits and vegetables approached with culinary creativity can bring remarkable opportunities for filling the void of a need to find food, nourishment, and market. It is possible that our creator designed seasons for us to have a balanced diet with proper nutrition.
When pear (avocado) is in season, let it be the feature of your meal. It will provide vitamin A. Also, the high-fibre, low-carb ratio is excellent in stabilizing blood sugar. Pear has good fat that helps to prevent diabetes complications, like stroke and heart attack and more effective use of insulin.
An emphasis on locally produced, backyard grown, and in-season products also help in building communities by encouraging families, vendors, and other “backyard garden enthusiasts” to appreciate and learn how to grow organic food and adopt healthier eating habits. Back yard or pot gardening is therapeutic. It highlights the value of self-sufficiency and organic produce which lower rates of heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
When we have excess ackee on the tree, we think of who to give. It is such an accomplishing feeling to harvest and eat your own produce.
Whole foods (foods unprocessed or processed as little as possible) such as canned sardine, roasted nuts, canned beans, frozen fruits, and vegetables etc., should be prioritized. They are usually higher in micronutrient value and less likely to have high levels of added sugars, saturated or trans fats, and sodium. Whole foods are generally slower in metabolizing, therefore preventing a sharp increase in blood sugar that over time can cause insulin resistance. Whole foods can be combined to make healthy, delicious, attractive meals. However, it is essential to note the nutrition facts and the ingredients list when using minimally processed packaged foods and focusing on your dietary boundaries.
When we think of “healthy food” we mostly believe the taste is compromised. However, that mindset can change when just as much love and attention goes into creating healthy dishes and menus to be just as delicious as any other food.
Our cultural diversity and the appreciation for preserving ancestral traditions and food cultures are as important as our health and agricultural sustainability. Being healthy will give room for the occasional indulgence. Be mindful, however, to limit portion size, balance ingredient proportions and indulge less often in less healthy foods. Whether you are indulging or not, try to have 50% of your meal being fruits and vegetables, as widely as colourful as possible.
Randie Anderson Executive Chef, CEC, CCA, WCEC, MSc Gastronomic Tourism.
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