eating seasonally

4 Jun

This past March and April, I experienced the strangest (to me anyway) spring of my life.

I grew up in Louisiana, where “spring” means heat and muggy air, just a warm-up for a months-too-long summer.

Then I went to Minnesota for college, where “spring” rightfully warranted a sense of joy in the air; the snow finally melted and everyone was just happy to be outside and to see things that were green.

The school year after I finished college, I lived in the north of France, where “spring” consisted of a gradual warming of the general temperature and where the sun came out a bit more. The weather wasn’t very dramatic or extreme there.

But Colorado. Colorado weather is just something else. I’m not really sure what “spring” means here, because after a rather mild winter, I was sure come April that everything would be lovely and warm and green. Actually, that’s what much of our winter was like.

Instead, we had a mild snowstorm on April 9. It was a Tuesday, and schools were closed. I actually remember thinking and saying, “Well, I guess that was our last snow of the year.” It turned out that it was only the last snow of that week, because we got a lot of snow exactly a week later. And exactly a week after that. And a week after that. Almost always on a Tuesday.

Finally, we had our actual last snow during the first week of May. I was not impressed. Maybe “spring” in Colorado is synonymous with “tease,” because that’s what it felt like. It would always warm up to the sixties or so in between snows.

Now it’s early June, and we have finally had several weeks of warm, springlike weather. And I have finally started craving springlike and summery foods.

I love food and as a general rule, I tend to want to eat most foods all the time, regardless of the weather. But I’m also aware that I’ll tend to lean toward certain foods during certain times of the year. Most of us do it. Pumpkin in the fall. Warm, comforting soups and stews in the winter. Giant, filling salads and sometimes smoothies in the spring and summer.

I’m sure our appetites change in part because of what foods we’ve been conditioned to eat during certain times of year, and in part because of the temperature, but I think our bodies also just know on some level what it needs during a particular season. Sometime in late May, I made some slow cooker chili that I’ve made before. It’s always delicious, but this time, I found myself struggling a little to finish each bowl. It wasn’t any less good than before. My taste buds still relished it, but I think a part of me knew that it wasn’t quite the right time for it.

So the following week, I did something I’ve been meaning to do for months: I made my own salad dressing. I used this recipe. It was amazing and delicious, especially since suddenly, I knew that I just needed a salad. Not a hastily prepared, I’ll-just-eat-this-on-the-side-of-my-hot-food-because-it’s-green salad, but a real one with protein and lots of vegetables and good, pure dressing.

Image

It totally hit the spot and satisfied me, even after a good workout. Maybe a big salad as a meal won’t be my favorite thing come November, but for these next couple of months, I see it being a regular occurence. It’s that time.

Do you find that your body craves things based on the season?

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