Letter From the Publisher July 2021
With peak hours of sunshine, balmy tropical weather and awe-inspiring nature views, who doesn’t love summer on the Florida coast, am I right? The beaches are speckled with colorful umbrellas. The farmer’s markets are bursting with seasonal produce. The backyard grills are out of hibernation. And the season of outdoor living is upon us.
To celebrate the arrival of summer’s fresh and vibrant bounty, our theme for this month’s issue of Natural Awakenings is all about food—eating for wellness, eating for satisfaction, eating for community and eating for the planet. Nutrition does not require deprivation, and healthy plant-based meals can immensely pleasurable. So join us this summer as we explore the benefits and possibilities of wholesome, seasonal, nourishing food.
Our feature article this month delves into “Food as Medicine.” Are you aware that unhealthy, nutrient-poor diets cause around 45 percent of deaths in the United States from heart disease, stroke and diabetes? However, research shows that making the transition to a mostly plant-based diet can protect against these health concerns. The medical profession has come to understand the healing power of nutrition, and more consumers are learning to fill their plates with a rainbow of vegetables, fruits and other foods to nurture healthy gut microbes. This relationship to food as medicine can enhance your well-being from the inside out.
In this issue, we also want to shine a light on the importance of making food choices to benefit the environment and the animals we share this planet with, as we’ll discuss in our “Ethical Eating” article. Peter Singer, a professor of bioethics at Princeton University and author of the book Animal Liberation, points out how the mass production of factory farms leads to inhumane animal treatment, toxic environmental pollution, and unhealthy foods with hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals. However, as plant-based vegan foods become more accessible and less expensive, making ethical food choices is much easier than it used to be.
The month of July is ultimate cookout season, so we’re elevating this classic tradition with an eco-friendly twist in our “Green Grilling” article. When you’re in the mood for sizzling barbecue, choose local grass-fed beef over the mass-produced variety, or ditch the animal proteins altogether for an entirely plant-based meal. In addition, rather than releasing chemical emissions from charcoal and lighter fluid, look for alternatives such as bamboo or coconut shell charcoal. You’ll even find some healthy and creative grill recipes in this article to impress friends and family members with at your next outdoor barbeque.
Despite the abundance of seasonal fruits and vegetables that summertime yields, we cannot overlook that healthy food is scarce in many communities across the United States. In fact, as this month’s “Green Living” article reveals, economic disparities and limited access to local growers and purveyors cause millions of Americans to be malnourished. To combat this issue, however, urban gardens are on the rise. These creative solutions help to meet the nutritional needs of communities all over this nation. Some produce can be grown just about anywhere, from a high-rise balcony to an abandoned warehouse, and many neighborhoods have also started community gardens for local farmers and other residents to share with each other.
As you can see, we are excited for all the colors, vibrance and wellness that summer has in store, and we hope that you discover all kinds of seasonal inspiration within this issue. As always, please send comments, questions or feedback to [email protected], and in the meantime, soak in this glorious time of year on our beautiful Suncoast!