Staying warm on a raw food diet can be particularly challenging at this time of year in Scotland. The temperature has plummeted, snow is on the ground, the wind is howling outside the frosty window, you can hardly move your icy fingers to type on the computer… you get the point, it’s COLD.
Many raw foodists notice that when they first start to eat raw, their body temperature seems to drop a little. Now, this isn’t always a bad thing. I was living in Oman in my early raw days and I found it a blessing to feel naturally cool – I lapped up the sunshine and didn’t feel the need for any air-conditioning.
However, Scottish winters are a little different to Middle Eastern summers, and you may not be feeling quite so comfortable. So here are some tips to help you get through these chilly days without freezing solid, with a glass of green juice stuck to your lips.
How to stay warm on a raw food diet
Don’t chill out
Make sure that everything you eat or drink is at room temperature – or even better, at body temperature. Remember you can still warm your foods to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s 40 degrees Celsius) and they’ll still be classed as raw, even by the toughest of Raw Police.
There are many ways you can gently warm your foods. I have a double boiler which comes in really handy for warming soups or even melting coconut butter to make fudge. If you’re worried that the temperature might be getting too high, just stick your finger in – if your finger doesn’t get cooked, chances are your food won’t either 😉
If you’re going to make a juice or smoothie, remember to take your vegetables out of the fridge a good few hours before to bring them up to room temperature, and wash them in hot water rather than cold. Don’t keep your refrigerator at a super-high setting, there’s no need, especially if you’re only keeping veg in there.
Another trick I have is to warm up my drinks by pouring them into a jar or flask, then placing them into a jug of hot water for a few minutes. That really helps to take the chill off. I rarely drink anything ‘cold’ these days, especially in winter.
Wrap it up
I know I’m stating the obvious, but sometimes it’s worth mentioning. Keep your body temperature comfortable by staying nice and warm. Thermals, hats, hot water bottles, any furry pets that happen to be hanging around, just wrap yourself up in them and keep cosy.
Choose your foods wisely. Winter is definitely not the time to be eating frozen watermelon and blending ice into your smoothies.
Go for denser foods such as dehydrated flax and onion breads, and soups with creamy avocado, and serve on warmed plates or bowls.
Try adding ginger and fennel into your veggie juice, or cinnamon into your smoothies.
Now is a good time to get into indoor sprouting and micro-greens. Alfalfa, snow peas, wheatgrass etc will all thrive at this time of year, and they will give you a nice supply of fresh food during a season where a lot of produce might have been shipped for many miles before it got to you.
Keep on moving
Stay active throughout the day. Try to take regular breaks during which you can jump up and down, have a little dance, go for a run around the block, etc – just get moving and keep that internal fire stoked.
Work up a sweat
Take a leaf out of the Scandinavians’ books and use saunas and hot tubs to counteract the chill and keep your body temperature up. Hot Yoga (yoga practiced in a very hot and humid room) is even better as you get some great exercise too. Tonya Zavasta swears by this, and she’s certainly doing – and looking – very well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeBpn-Dl3zU
So get yourself hot and sweaty, in whatever way possible! 😉
Although I love my raw foods, I do make some exceptions, especially during the winter. I love to make herbal teas and vegetable broths, and of course these aren’t raw, although I do keep the heat on low and try not to completely boil the water.
In my broths I use local seasonal veggies such as leeks, onion, garlic, and turnips, and I add in lots of hot spices like ginger, turmeric, and black pepper. I also include seaweed for additional flavour. I strain the broth and drink the mineral-rich liquid; it feels very warming and balancing at this time of year.
So I guess you could say I’m a raw foodist, but not a raw drinkist 😀
Of course, this might not be for you if you wish to remain strictly raw, and that is fine, I’m just sharing what works for me. I’m sure if I lived in a lovely hot country I wouldn’t feel the need for these kind of compromises, but sometimes you need to make adaptations depending on your circumstance.
Well, I hope you found these tips useful. If you have any of your own you’d like to share, please comment below 🙂