I know we are supposed to "eat the rainbow" when it comes to fruits and vegetables, but if you look at what's available in spring, the color is predominantly green. Right now in my garden, my options are arugula, spinach, green onions and radishes. Other seasonal foods would be rhubarb, asparagus, kale and chard. Wild dandelion greens can be had a plenty and we just finished morel season. If we had livestock, I could add fresh eggs to the list. If I were truly eating seasonally, I could make some lovely scrambled eggs with greens or maybe a quiche and I would munch on rhubarb for desert. So, just how important is it to be eating a balanced diet every meal, every day?
As I ask this question of myself, I recall a book I read a long, long time ago on animal nutrition called, "Give Your Dog A Bone," by Dr Ian Billinghurst. What he wrote stuck with me:
"When a wild dog or modern dog fed in a primitive way, receives it's nutrition, each meal is likely to be different in size, timing, and content. It will certainly not be complete or balanced. One meal may be totally vegetarian, e.g. the guts of some herbivore. That meal will have very little protein and no minerals whatsoever. Another meal may be all protein, e.g. some muscle meat. Another meal may be mostly liver and kidneys and other internal organs. Another meal may be mostly fat. Another meal may be mostly minerals as that dog chomps on and consumes some bones that have been stripped of meat.
"Over a period of weeks to possibly months, that dog's diet is balanced. This approach to eating is in stark contrast to the way modern dogs are fed using the so called "complete and balanced diets" produced by dog companies. The need for each meal to be complete and balanced is the notion we get from a quarter century of feeding dogs artificially on prepared dog foods." (106)
Surely, this idea doesn't apply to humans - or does it? All other species (save livestock and pets) consume seasonally in this manner, so why don't we? I won't deny that while having watermelon or bananas all year round is convenient, it isn't sustainable. If you follow what Jeff Rubin has to say in his book, "Why Your World Is About To Get A Whole Lot Smaller," we really should be preparing for a world of peak oil and that means, eating locally and seasonally and quite possibly more of the same things at every meal.
This might strike you as undesirable, but I beg to differ. Not only is meal planning the bane of my existence, but I feel we have lost the appreciation and anticipation of seasonal food, of gorging ourselves on watermelon because we won't see it again until next August. As Camille writes in her mother's book, Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, the "two things that are impossible to get tired of are asparagus and morels because neither one stays around long enough." So, perhaps I will lighten up on the daily meal planning and start planning around what's available seasonally instead, confident in knowing that this is the way nature intends us to eat and that a balanced diet will be accomplished over time.
Linked to Fight Back Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, Monday Mania, Barn Hop, Mangia Mondays, Weekend Gourmet Carnival, Traditional Tuesdays, Hearth & Soul, Real Food Wednesday, Foodie Wednesday, Pennywise Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday.