When it’s cold outside…
Despite the fact that (not to make you jealous) it’s still sunny and warm during the days here, I am bundling up at night and wearing slippers in the house. Still, I have it on good authority that you’ve probably got it much worse and may even be freezing your tush off at this very moment. So here goes – the answer to that universal raw foodie question.
“I love eating raw and do quite well in the summer months, but come winter here in Wisconsin, it is really tough. I just want some hot foods like baked sweet potatoes or hot soups. This in an area I really struggle with. Help!” – Paula
At the bottom of the article, I’ll recap the three major points I talked about in the video.
Looking for pointers on how to keep eating raw in the frigid Northern winter?
You may be forcing it. I encourage you to think of why you are trying to get your “desire” back and whether it is a logical healthy desire. If it is, that’s fine and you can apply the tips I talked about in the video, including drinking hot tonics and warming your raw food. If not, consider this.
Listen to your body
When the temps begin to dip and fruit selection is limited, it’s time to listen to your body’s signals. If you want to eat raw in the winter but really struggle, consider giving in and increasing the cooked food in your diet. (Just to clarify, when I say cooked, I mean whole plant foods. ;))
One of the most important parts of being high raw is listening to your body’s signals rather than following rules blindly. Eating high raw rather than striving for an unattainable 100% raw ideal allows you adjust your diet according to the situation but also according to the weather and season.
Raw food feels natural in hot summers. Two reasons – it cools down the body and there is an abundance of fresh produce. If you live in a tropical climate, your body might crave raw year round. But if you live in a temperate climate like most of the western world, as the autumn leaves fall and the temperatures drop, your body will naturally be less interested in raw food.
Consider seasonal eating
I say go with it. My own diet is influenced by macrobiotics. Macrobiotics is based around the principles of yin (cooling) and yang (warming) foods and seasonal eating is an important component. If you live in a climate with real seasons, these concepts are very relevant to you.
While raw food is based on living in a tropical climate, macrobiotics has it’s roots in Japan, a more temperate climate with seasons. Winter eating focuses on root vegetables and grounding, warming food. Sweat potatoes, winter squash, beets, rutabaga – in addition to steamed veggies and greens, these foods play an important role in grounding you. It’s not a coincidence that they also happen to be in season.
In fact, according to macrobiotics, too much raw or yin food in the winter can make you sick. Whether or not that’s true, eating more grounding foods in cold weather is good balanced advice you and I can follow. In the summer I’m about 80% raw, but in the winter I might drop as low as 50%.
I’m working right now on a high raw recipe book which will include both grounding cooked meals and energizing raw ones. Keep your ears open or subscribe to my weekly newsletter to stay posted. For a warming meal (and sneak peak) to get you started, try my pumpkin amaranth porridge.
Drink hot tonics to warm up
Don’t want to give up your raw? Try adding warming teas and broths throughout your day to warm up your body from the inside out.
Focus on teas with high antioxidant content which are naturally caffeine-free like rooibus. Drink between meals so you don’t dilute your digestive juices and impede digestion.
For broths, it can be as simple as cooking a low sodium vegetable bullion cube in hot water on the stove. Or you could make your own veggie stock.
To make your own stock, simply save and freeze the cast-off parts from veggies throughout the week in a freezer-safe container. The discarded tops of celery, zucchini, tomatoes, and carrots make a great place to start. Once you get about a quart worth, simmer the veggies in water on the stove for around half an hour. Strain out the veggies and store the remaining broth in the fridge.
If you won’t be drinking all the broth within a week, freeze some of it as individual portions. Try this: freeze large veggie broth “cubes” in a muffin tin. Once each has frozen solid let thaw a few minutes then pop out and store cubes in a sealed container in the freezer. Then you can heat up broth cubes as needed for a little grounding.
To bring it all home…
3 ways to eat high raw in the winter
- Stay high raw, but…
- Add warming tonics throughout day
- Teas (rooibus, caffeine free no stimulants)
- Veggie broth
- Eat “medium” raw
- Raw veggies with each cooked meal
- Grated carrots and diced celery topping when serving soup
- Salad with cooked beans or grains
- Warm raw foods
- Breakfast smoothie room temp
- Soak zucchini for pasta or salad veggies in warm water to take off chill
- Use warming spices like cinnamon