Indiana & Yoga Magazine Summer 2016 Issue 1 | Page 11

Henderson also noted that the soil is unique to a particular area . I experienced this many years ago when I lived abroad in both England and Poland . When I tried making dishes from home , even if I had the exact ingredients , they didn ’ t taste the same because the soil and climate were different , affecting the flavor of the fruits and vegetables . In Poland , there were daily farmers markets , which I visited frequently . I was amazed at how different plums and apples tasted in Poland versus the United States or even England . They were much more fragrant with strong flavors to match , and they were grown without synthetic chemicals . If I could have bottled those smells and worn them as a perfume , I would have .
Committing to changing your diet to reflect the season and your region doesn ’ t mean you have to cook everything at home , though . Many restaurants in the city support offer farm-to-table fare , allowing yet another outlet for locavores . Walk into Ezra ’ s Enlightened Café in Broad Ripple , for example , and you will see pots of herbs that line the window sill , providing both decoration and ingredients for the variety of dishes served .
Audrey Barron , the restaurant ’ s owner , uses as many local foods as possible in her restaurant for a couple of reasons , such as the importance of supporting the local farms : “ Where we spend our dollars is how we ’ re voting on what we want our future to look like ,” she said . Additionally , eating seasonally and locally allows us to have access to more nutrient-rich foods as the deeper colors and flavors of foods grown in season are indicators of higher nutrient value . Since the restaurant serves mostly local , in-season food , creativity is a must because they are never sure what they are going to get from the farms . But Audrey and her staff are comfortable allowing nature to dictate what to create . “ We let food inspire us ,” said Barron , and insisted that it ’ s not difficult to cook this way once you learn how . Ezra ’ s also recently purchased a farm on which they will now grow much of the food for the café , including vegetables , such as kale , lettuce , tomatoes , zucchini and cabbage , and 40 different herbs .
While it may be more convenient , and sometimes initially cheaper , to eat outof-season foods from the larger farms , you end up paying more in the end . For example , foods grown with harmful chemicals that are picked before they are even ripe and shipped from far away not only have less nutritional value , but can also be damaging to the body . Foods eaten fresh and in-season that were grown without harmful chemicals are more nutrient-dense . Because the body is getting what it needs instead of just empty calories , we feel more satisfied , our cravings are reduced , and we may even eat less as a result . Deciding to commit to eating a higher percentage of local foods that are in-season requires a shift in mindset , but one that locavores feel is worth making .
I would argue that the growing popularity of farmers markets and homesteading are our soul ’ s cry to re-connect to nature . Living in harmony with the seasons draws upon the ancient memories held in our DNA , reminding us that we are part of nature and that our ancestors lived according to its cycles . Through this recognition and by taking active steps to re-connect to nature on a deeper level , we are able to tap into a vital source of healing and nourishment . Take time this season heal your mind , body and soul by fostering a deeper connection with nature and all its gifts that lay just outside your door .
Food Meditation Try this : Like a wine connoisseur studies a glass of wine before even taking a sip , try doing the same thing with a vegetable or piece of fruit . Pick an item from your garden or from one of the local markets and study it while sitting on the ground . Notice the color , feel the texture in your hands , inhale the scent . Do you see the dirt still clinging to the skin ? Can you smell the dirt as well as the produce beneath it ? Can you imagine all of the processes that had to come together to make this miracle , including minerals in the soil , rain falling from the sky , the warm light of the sun ? Next , slowly wash it with pure water while continuing to focus on the produce in your hands . How does the color change as the earth is gently washed away ? Finally , take a bite and chew it slowly and for as long as possible . What flavors do you notice initially ? How about a minute later ? Does the taste and smell change ? Try doing this exercise at least once a week . ■
Photography : Courtesy of Ezra ’ s Enlightened Café