Every Monday I head to the nearby, one-day-a-week, farmers market and buy beautiful produce. The vegetables and fruit I buy inspire me to prepare nutritious and delicious meals.
Today I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the produce I bought, so I arranged them on my table to take a picture for sharing. You can see how inviting the colors and shapes are (although some people might feel overwhelmed by the thought of cooking all that food!).
Before I put the produce away, I’ve separated out the orange-colored veggies to make Orange soup. The soup contains pumpkin, sweet potatoes and carrots, which provide the beautiful orange color. I’ll put this delicious and not-too-difficult recipe on my Yumtritious Eating website soon. We’ll make a spaghetti sauce full of onions, garlic, eggplant, and cauliflower (didn’t buy zucchini today). For dessert–fresh strawberries and pineapple! Yummy!!
I’ve written about the value of farmers markets in the past. See the post “Farmers’ market balance“. Buying fruit and vegetables when they are out in all their glory is so much more inspiring than buying them packaged in plastic and styrofoam. Whenever you can, head to your nearest farmers market and bask in the magic of the wonderful gifts from nature!
This post is not about the vitamins and minerals in unprocessed foods. It is about the health benefits that occur when the food is prepared. We’ll use the snapping of green beans as our example.
Green beans can be purchased in cans and in bags, ready for cooking, or even already cooked. They do provide nutritional value, but the benefits of preparing them from scratch are lost.
Here’s what happens when a person sorts and snaps fresh green beans:
- The muscles in the hands and arms are exercised.
- The muscles of the hands and eyes are coordinated (as in an exercise for fine motor skills).
- The muscles in the neck are lengthened.
- The muscles in the abdomen are tightened, especially if the work is performed while standing.
- The muscles supporting the spine are exercised.
- The muscles in the shoulder blade area and chest are coordinated.
- The muscles that are used during breathing are relaxed because the action of snapping beans (if the person is not rushed) causes a slowing of the breathing.
- The muscles of the oblique groups of abdominal muscles and the re-absorption of water in the kidneys synchronize to optimize urine production.
- Muscles of the upper and lower torso move syncopatedly, which strengthens and stretches them.
- Muscles in the face rejuvenate when movements are focused on the work. (Talking on a phone while preparing the food cancels this benefit. Singing while preparing the food does not cancel this benefit.).
- Many other muscles and body parts are strengthened and stretched as well.
The list above presents physical benefits from sorting and snapping fresh green beans. Here are benefits to the other components of health:
- Emotional balancing occurs when the work is done with a generous intention.
- Spiritual balancing occurs through connection with whole foods.
- If the work is done with another family member, opportunities can arise for heartfelt conversations.
- The food that will be eaten is personalized; in other words, its role as nutrition provider is elevated.
- The color, texture, and shapes of the green beans at the various stages of preparation affect the senses in favorable ways.
The more a person is involved in creating the meal he or she eats, the more uplifting and balancing the experience of eating.
(This post is dedicated to my friends and family who hadn’t realized the benefits that come from taking the time to prepare meals from scratch. ♥)