Eating Seasonally for Weight Loss | Linda Wagner

Local Graffiti Eggplant, Green Heirloom Tomato & Herbed Goat Cheese Stackers

Taking advantage of the amazing local produce that is available can not only help your wallet, but it can help your waistline as well! Here are some great tips from Jeb Tilly at gaiam.com where this article originally appeared.

"Eat local. Eat what's in season. Eat organic. Confused by multiple messages about what to eat and where to buy it? We have looked at eating seasonal food and have it all figured out. Here's why you should (really) do it.

Easy on the Wallet

Let's begin with cost. When it produces is in season locally, the relative abundance of the crop usually makes it less expensive. Think of the packaged herbs you see in a grocery store during the winter - a few (usually limp) sprigs of basil, all too often with black speckles and moldy leaves, cost about $ 3 per half ounce. In contrast, the gorgeous, bright green, crisp basil you see in both grocery stores and farmers' markets in the summer when basil is in season often sells for as little as $ 1-2 for an enormous bunch. It's the basic law of supply and demand, and when crops are in season you'll be rewarded financially by purchasing what's growing now.

It's the Taste That Counts

For most of us , the taste of the food we buy is every bit as important as the cost, if not more so. When food is not in season locally, it is either grown in a hothouse or shipped from other parts of the world, and both affect the taste. Compare to dark red, vine-ripened tomato still warm from the summer sun with a winter hothouse tomato that's barely red, somewhat mealy, and lacking in flavor. When transporting crops, they should be harvested early and refrigerated so they do not rot during transportation. They may not ripen effectively as they would in their natural environment and as a result they do not develop their full flavor.

Many people are surprised to find that a wide variety of crops are harvested in the fall (squash, apples, endive, garlic, grapes, figs, mushrooms) and winter (citrus, kale, radishes, turnips, leeks) in addition to products that we readily associate with the summer like sweet peas, corn, peaches, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, and green beans. To find out what's seasonally harvested, go to www.localharvest.org to find farmers' markets near you and produce seasonal guides.

Save Nutrients, Save Flavor, and Save Gas Too!

According to Brian Halweil, author of "Eat Here: Homegrown Pleasures in a Global Supermarket," "If you harvest something early so that it hardens to long distance shipping experience, it's not going to have the full complement of nutrients it might have had. "In addition, transporting sometimes produces irradiation (zapping produces with a burst of radiation to kill germs) and preservatives (such as wax) to protect the produce which is subsequently refrigerated during the trip. While there is no definitive study quantifies the impact of these treatments, Halweil says there is good reason to believe that local eating is really the safer option. Loomis shares his concern and adds, "We have become terribly cavalier about quality, flavor and texture." She prefers to buy her produce locally, and preferably from farmer she knows.

IMBY (In My Backyard) , or Not Too Far

So determine what's in the right season now and dig in. You will be rewarded with high quality produce, packed with nutrition, at a lower cost. And your taste buds will definitely thank you for it! " (source)

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Here's a recipe that uses 100% local, organic produce. It's delicious, nutritious, and will help you stay on track to lose those pesky pounds!

2 local eggplant 2 heirloom tomatoes local chevre style goat cheese butter

Slice the eggplant and heirloom tomatoes into disks and sprinkle lightly with salt. You can either grill the eggplant slices or sautee them in a skillet over medium heat.

Cook the eggplant on both sides until soft, this should only take about 5-10 mins depending on the size of the eggplant. Smear one layer with goat cheese (I used a really local chevre variety with garlic and herbs) on the cooked eggplant then top with a slice of raw tomato. Top the tomato with another slice of cooked eggplant, then goat cheese, then one last slice of eggplant.

That's it! So easy !! I decided to keep the tomato raw because it was 105 degrees everyday here in Austin so there's no need to cook more than needed !! If you would like to cook the tomato slices, feel free, but the dish was quite nice with the fresh tangy-ness of the raw tomato.

  • Adam Floyd