Unless you are lucky to live in warm climates, cold and damp winter may be a challenge if you are new to the raw food diet. As we get cold on the outside, we tend to seek the warmth from within, usually through food.
Staying 100% during cold winter is definitely a challenge and I usually don’t recommend it to raw food beginners, unless you have a really strong will power. My rule of thumb would be eating 85% raw and get the rest through warm vegetable soups and whole grains and beans. But with time, the longer are you raw and the cleaner your body becomes, the easier it would be to get through cold months. The raw food diet is a long-term commitment so take one step at a time and don’t rush yourself.
However, if you are up for a challenge and want to stay 100% raw no matter what, here are some suggestions to help you deal with cold weather:
- Use warming spices, such as ginger and cayenne, in small quantities to your food – they are warming and can help you get that warm feeling on the inside.
- Avoid eating produce right out of the fridge – put it out a few hours before preparing so you eat your food at room temperature. You can also warm up raw soups in Vitamix – you can run your raw soup in the Vitamix to warm it up for a couple of minutes, but don’t run it too long so it gets cooked. Warm herbal teas work great too.
- Prepare your favorite comfort foods in the raw – winter is a good time to go back to dehydrated foods, simply because they are heavier and can give you a sense of comfort (hence the title “comfort foods”). Pizzas, crackers, chips are great, but in moderation.
- According to Chinese medicine, salty and bitter foods are appropriate for winter because they bring body heat deeper and lower in the body as well as cool the exterior of the body so a person notices the cold less.
Bitter foods include watercress, endive, turnip, celery, asparagus, alfalfa, quinoa, and oats.
Salty foods include miso, seaweeds, sea salt, barley, and millet. However, use salt with care so you don’t weaken your kidneys and bladder.
- Increase your consumption of greens and sprouts in order to compensate for decrease of available fruits and veggies in stores as well as their lowered nutritional value. Sprouts are so rich in minerals and vitamins that they can really make a difference in how your feel and how your energy level is during winter months.
- Take additional supplements of Vitamin D and Magnesium to support your body during winter, when we get less sun exposure, which in turn can affect our health negatively.
- But food is not the only way to deal with cold. Get your body moving - exercise that heat the body and stimulate circulation and yoga that keeps the muscles loose are great for maintaining balance during winter.
- Get plenty of sleep. Lack of sleep adds to stress, which in turn can cause us to overeat or reach out for foods that are not in agreement with our diet.
- According to Chinese medicine, it is time to rest, to meditate deeply, refine the spiritual essence, and store physical energy. We are not as physically active and don’t spend as much time outside in cold weather, so it’s great time to read, learn something new, grow personally and spiritually. And the more time you spend on yourself, the less time you have to think about food.
- And last but not least, stay warm. After all, it’s winter so keep your body warm externally by dressing in layers and wearing warm clothes.
As my yoga teacher says, “Don’t do more than you are ready to, but do more than you thought you were capable of”. Although he applies it to a yoga practice, it’s a great rule to apply to anything we do.
© 2009 Radiant on Raw
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