By Victor S. Sierpina, MD
There is something refreshing about being out in nature. Cities with lots of parks, bike paths, and easily walkable areas invite their citizens to not only experience the outdoors but also to exercise more regularly. Having just come back from a trip to Los Angeles, I was again stunned by the plethora of concrete parking lots they call freeways and the amount of time folks spend in their vehicles just getting from here to there.
Yet in a recent survey, Californians exceeded the national average of minutes per week of exercise, perhaps because of intentions that link outdoor resources, beaches, parks, forests, and the like to community values. In my mind, it is hard to offset that freeway culture, but somehow they manage. Our bodies and minds are intrinsically attuned to the rhythms of nature and getting out of our air-conditioned, artificially lighted spaces to experience the wind, the sun, the moon, the changes in temperature, the light/dark cycle all help us reconnect with our basic and healthy biorhythms for activity, eating, and sleeping.
And like being out in nature, this may be the month to reconnect with natural foods, those that are close to the source, unprocessed, and containing their essential nutritive elements. My garden is just coming in with fresh tomatoes, string beans, radishes, Swiss chard, and kitchen herbs all calling me to get my hands dirty and enjoy the bounty of nature.
Farmer’s markets are a great place to find the freshest, most healthful foods. I just shopped at one in Riverside, California where the enormity of selections was gratifying. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, honey, all pesticide and herbicide free were a joy to the eye as well as to the palate. Frozen chicken, fish, and beef were available which had been raised without antibiotics, hormones, and other unnatural substances that enter our bodies, alter our hormonal milieu, and strain our detoxification systems. I also found some superb cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil in a variety of colors, flavors, and aromas.
Plan this month to visit one of the many local Farmer’s Markets—whether you go to the Dallas Farmer’s Market downtown, or one of the many markets in surrounding towns. For a list of Farmer’s Markets in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, click here.
So take nature in from the outside and from the outside in. Breathe in the fresh air, drink the purest water, and eat the safest, most nutritious, and whenever possible organic foods to optimize your health in body, mind, and spirit.