How to Stay Warm on the Raw Food Diet
Even here in Northern California are we starting to feel the chill of fall and no longer do I crave watermelon juice, but rather am seeking warming food to offer nourishment and comfort during cooler weather. This leads me to one of the most frequently asked questions about the raw food diet: How do you stay warm?
First off I’d like to say that you don’t necessarily need to use food to stay warm; that’s what sweaters and blankets are for:) But, there are a few things you can do to winterize your raw food diet.
The vegetables that are in season in the fall and winter are usually the ones that take the longest to grow and are also the most warming. Some examples: most root vegetables (parsnips, turnips, carrots), sweet potatoes, winter squash, onion, garlic, and most nuts.
Most people don’t realize that they can eat squash, parsnips, turnips, and sweet potatoes raw. The trick is to process them in the food processor with the S-blade to achieve a rice like consistency or to process them longer for a smooth consistency. For example: parsnips or carrots make a nice rice substitute and sweet potato and pumpkin can be food processed to make a raw holiday pie. Another way to use these winter vegetables is to blend them in the blender to make a soup such as a creamy butternut squash soup using a nut milk as the base. If you have a Vitamix you can blend your soup long enough to warm it up and that helps too.
In both Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine there are spices that are considered warming. Some of them are: cinnamon, cayenne, curry, cloves, ginger, tumeric, cardamon, nutmeg, mustard, and black pepper. Both cinnamon and cardamom taste great in a fruit smoothie and a good curry powder tastes great in a blended soup.
Warm Things Up
If you would like to warm things up, but not damage enzymes you can gently warm raw soups, and nut milks on your stove. The moment it feels warm to the touch, it is ready to eat. Another trick is to make a warm miso soup out of dehydrated vegetables. Chop and dehydrate all your vegetable scraps in the dehydrator, like tomatoes, bell pepper, kale, green onion . . . and then rehydrate them with some warm or hot water and a spoonful of miso (I prefer chickpea miso) and you have an instant soup.
Most (not all) raw foodists I know drink tea. I love herbal tea and believe that it’s beneficial. Many herbs are nutritious and have healing properties. Some of the herbal teas that I use on a regular basis are Licorice, Pao de Arco, Nettle, Horsetail, Red Clover, Lemon Verbana, Chamomile, Mullein, Elderberry, Schizandra, Herbal Chai, and Ginger to name a few. My favorite tea to warm up with I got from Café Gratitude They call it “I Am Cozy” and it has fresh lemon & ginger juice, honey, and cayenne in hot water. I make it at home with a few slices of ginger, a slice of lemon, a pinch of cayenne, a spoonful of honey, and a few drops stevia liquid. This tea warms me up like no other! Also, you can also make a Chai style tea and then add some nut milk to make a Chai Latte, just make sure your tea has cooled down a bit or the nut milk will curdle.
Like tea this is not a raw option, but I believe that it’s a healthy option. If you have compromised digestion a good vegetable broth is a great way to get minerals easily into your system. Drinking the mineral broth warms and nourishes your whole being. To make a good mineral broth you need a variety of vegetables, herbs, and seaweed. Here are some of the ingredients that I like to use to make veggie broth:
Kale and Kale stems
Chard and Chard stems
Celery with leaves
Basically I just look in my refrigerator for all the vegetables that need to be used. I usually have a lot of stems left over from making green smoothies. Rough chop the vegetables and put them in a large pot of water. Add a few sprigs of herbs, a few bay leaves, and at least 3-5 good sized pieces of seaweed. Kombu and Wakame work best, but any seaweed will do. Let the pot come to a boil and then simmer on low for at least 3 hours. You can then strain the broth and add a sprinkle of salt if desired. For a really clear broth you can use a cotton sprout bag to strain it. Sip the hot broth like tea or use it as a base to make cooked soups and grain dishes. You can discard the broth veggies, eat them, or blend them up in a blender (minus the bay leaves) and use it for another soup recipe.
For more information about making vegetable broth go here:
Stay Healthy with Magic Mineral Broth
Juice with Caution
I love my vegetable juices but in the fall and winter I only do a green juice (celery, cucumber, greens, apple, lemon or lime) if I know I’m going to jump into a hot shower right away because of its cooling properties. In the winter I add carrot and ginger to my vegetable juices and I’m fine as long as I’m in a warm building. Word to the wise: Don’t drink a green juice and then walk outside into the cold, trust me, you’ll be freezing.
I hope these few tips have helped you stay warm on the raw food diet.