We may not be in full swing of winter yet, but I am definitely feeling a big difference in falling temperatures. As I am desperately trying to hang on to my t-shirts and flip-flops, there was no denying that winter is just around the corner. I’m already struggling with increased cravings for more refined carbohydrates and warm, comforting foods – so I decided it was time to put my own advice into practise regarding tips on how to stay raw during the winter months.
There could be a few reasons why certain people find it more difficult than others to go completely raw. This is not a RAWligion! If you are struggling, especially in the beginning, remember to be gentle with yourself and acknowledge that there may be other factors involved as to why you are finding it more difficult. Some of these include:-
- Low digestive fire (poor digestion)
- Cold and/or Damp constitution (Traditional Chinese Medicine)
- Physiological factors such as iron deficiency or Hypothyroidism
- Poor Circulation
- Genetic factors
The energetics of eating raw is and of itself very cooling, cleansing and healing on the human body, and many people can attest, that while eating raw in summer is effortless, as the days become shorter, darker and colder, it can be a struggle to maintain eating high ratios of raw foods. My experiences lead me to believe that you need to follow your intuition and allow yourself to follow what your body needs. I ignored the messages of my body a couple of years ago and ended up falling off the wagon big time! Now during winter I eat raw 70% – 80% of the time and this works really well for me.
Having said all that, Gabriel Cousins who is the founder and director of The Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Arizona and featured in the documentary “Simply Raw – Reversing Diabetes in 30 days”, carried out a research study in Alaska and found that 95% of the raw foodists there were successful in staying raw throughout the year. There is hope for all of us yet!
Here are some tips that I find help me stay raw throughout the winter time……
- Add a little cooked food to a meal – This can be comforting and warming and can be just enough to keep you satisfied. This could be a little cooked brown rice or steamed veggies to your already raw meal.
- Choose seasonal fruits & vegetables – Winter produce such as squashes, cabbage, broccoli and kale have more hearty flavours and apples, oranges and bananas are satisfying and resonate with what your body needs during winter.
- Spice up the heat – Warming spices like ginger, cayenne, cumin and curry will definitely help and cinnamon, cloves and allspice are more subtle, but are great festive warming spices to add to raw food recipes. I also add some warming herbs such as ginger, to my juices and smoothies.
- Greens, Greens, Greens – Whereas fruits can be exceptionally cooling and cleansing, leafy greens are a little more grounding and satisfying – increase the amount of leafy grren vegetables in the winter.
- Rich smoothie and raw snacks – If those food cravings are a challenge, rather than totally give in and go for something you are going to regret later, chose from a rich banana, nut butter smoothie, or make your own raw snacks to have on hand – I always ensure that I have a stash of ‘raw goodies’ in my freezer or pantry for when those times strike! This doesn’t mean that you can gorge yourself on these foods, but they are great to have on hand when all you can think about is the sweet stuff!
- Heat with the Dehydrator – Winter is when my Excalibur dehydrator comes into its own. I make yummy raw crackers and flat breads and the best feature of all is that I place my raw meals in it to warm. Keeping raw foods at under 105 degrees F ensures that the enzymes are still fully in tact and raw, but makes all the difference to the temperature of the food. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can warm up your food in the oven or stove, but remember that 105 degrees F is barely warm to the touch, so don’t over heat the food if you want the enzymes to stay alive.
- Warm up your plate – Prior to serving your meal, place your plate in the oven to keep nice and warm.
- Eat entirely raw prior to the holidays – If you suspect it’s going to be difficult at the dinner table on Christmas day with plates of piping hot squashes and mashed potatoes, then my advice is “Enjoy” – its Christmas after all! However, I usually ensure that just before I enjoy the holiday meals with my family, I go 100% for a few days prior. There is no reason why you can’t include a raw salad prior to your Christmas banquet.
- Focus on new fun projects – I find this takes my mind off cravings. Get busy in the kitchen experimenting with new raw recipes such as ferments like Rejuvelac, Kombucha, Sauerkraut, raw pickles or vegan cheezes.
- Avoid alcohol – Although it seems as if alcohol has the effect of warming you up, it actually dilates the blood vessels, allowing the heat to leave your body and makes you colder.
- Exercise – This is a great way to increase your metabolism and get your circulation working.
- Keep in mind the benefits – When you are feeling especially weak for the naughty stuff, bear in mind why you are doing this. Remember the benefits of raw food, especially in winter to strengthen the immune system, increased energy and wellbeing, mental clarity, and great looking skin to name a few. I find I don’t suffer so much with Seasonal Affective Disorder since I’ve been raw.
- Herbal Teas – If it’s a particularly cold, wintery day, it’s great to warm up by the fire with a comforting cup of your favourite herbal tea.
- Raw Soups – Winter seasonal soups are great heated in my dehydrator.
- Host a support group – This is a great idea for like-minded people who are having difficulties can rely on each other for ideas and help.
I hope some of these ideas will help you through the winter…..There is no reason why this can’t be one of your best winter’s yet!
Please feel free to share any comments that help you to eat raw through the winter on a Raw Vegan Power diet…….Be healthy, be well, be happy