Raw Food Diet in Winter

December 27th, 2008 by Tonya Zavasta

Apples on the snowMaybe you’re lucky—you live in Florida or sunny California. But for the rest of us, it happens sooner or later…the abundant fresh raw foods you’ve been enjoying all summer and fall gives way to anemic, limp, out-of-season “losers” in your produce department.

If You’re Having Trouble Staying Warm…

Cool or downright cold temperatures drive your appetite up, as does lack of sunlight. Meanwhile, your produce options—especially if you shop organic—dwindle to perhaps a choice between oranges or squash.

Commonly, people on the raw food diet tend to have some trouble staying warm, especially during the early months of a first-time transition. When you find yourself hungry and chilled in mid-winter, eating cold lettuce salads—anything cold, for that matter—can seem unappealing. Mom’s old chicken soup recipe starts feeling like a good idea…

Before you run out to your local health food store to stock up on rice and beans, consider some options that might help take the chill off. It could mean the difference between staying comfortably on a raw foods diet right through winter and reaping the health benefits, or giving in to old habits and undesirable foods you’ll regret later on. Here are a few suggestions…

Warm-Up Your Raw Food

Consume plenty of raw soups and warm them gently in your Vita-Mix or dehydrator. You can easily warm soups in the Vita-Mix if you run it a few minutes longer than usual, using the heat caused by the Vita-Mix’s friction.

Just make sure you don’t run it too long and cook it! Or set your bowl of soup in a dehydrator for about a half hour to warm it gently without compromising nutrients. Test to make sure it’s comfortably warm to your finger—not hot. This will warm your tummy, served with some of your homemade raw breads or crackers from the dehydrator.

Try Some Spice!

Add some spice to your life! Ginger is the spice of choice. It is used as a flavoring, but it’s also great for soothing stomachs and inducing sweating. Sprinkle some ginger in your hot nightly bath, along with some Epsom salts and you’ll experience wonderful warming effects. Pour warm water over an inch of fresh ginger root and sweeten with raw honey for a delightful warming drink. The number one way to consume ginger—add plenty to your morning juice!

Cayenne pepper, in small amounts, may be added to foods or drinks to stimulate circulation. Start with only about 1/4 tsp. at first.

Keep Moving

Exercise regularly to keep the circulation and lymph moving. Nothing beats exercise, indoors or out, for warming and invigorating. This might be a good time to try a hot yoga class.

Don’t compensate for your lack of fresh produce by overindulging in nuts and dried fruits.

Stick conscientiously to your tried and true favorites, because during the winter you’ll likely experience more nostalgia and crave ‘comfort’ foods. Having your very favorite food and recipes on hand makes it all the more easier to stick to your goals.

Finally, just face it: You’re bound to feel a bit chilled no matter what you eat or drink for a few months. After all, folks, it is winter! Dress in layers. Be patient. You can stay raw during the winter with a little perseverance and planning…..no sweat!

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