If you’re reading this, you probably already know about the benefits of raw food. Feasting on fresh fruits and veggies, in their natural state, is the best way to cleanse the body and increase your energy. Raw foods have long been used to detoxify and regenerate the cells and tissues of the body, and amplify our spiritual vibration too. Some experts say that humans’ unnatural habit of cooking their food (unlike any other species on Earth!) has played a major role in the development of dis-ease, and the downfall of our health in general.
Whether you are brand new to the raw lifestyle, or you’ve been high raw for a while now, the colder months can be a real challenge. While it’s relatively easy to stay raw in the summertime, when the melons and berries are abundant, come winter it’s a whole other story. The onset of freezing temperatures makes it difficult to eat raw foods, as does the lack of variety in the grocery store produce section. However, there are many people that eat raw or high raw successfully all year round, even in cold climates. So, if you want to remain committed to your detoxification, it helps to have a plan of action.
Know that it’s perfectly normal to feel some resistance or face challenges around staying raw in the winter months. You’re certainly not alone! This is a time of year when our innate mechanisms are telling us to chow down, cuddle up, and hibernate, not to mention dealing the onslaught of processed, cooked foods during the holiday season. But again, there are plenty of people staying raw through the winter, so it is humanly possible. I’ve found that it’s critical to have some tips and tricks to lean back on, so I’d like to share these with you today. If you live in a colder climate like I do, but you still want to stay raw or mostly raw all year, here are my recommendations for success:
1. Connect with your “why”
This is key for any type of behavior change, so I’m putting this at the top of the list. It’s critical to connect with your own inner motivation- the deep reasons why you want to be raw in the first place. If you’re not seated in your own intrinsic motivation, it’s much easier to be swayed by what other people are doing. Take time to get clear on what benefits you receive by eating raw. Maybe write them down and put them on your fridge. Meditate and reflect on these reasons on a regular basis, to stay anchored in your truth.
2. Sip on hot teas
I am a big tea drinker, especially in the cold season. Herbal teas are a fantastic way to warm up the body while also gaining the benefits of the plant medicines themselves. One of my go-tos is Heal All Tea, a blend of healing, cleansing, and regenerating herbs that I can sip on all day long. I love to simmer a large batch on the stove top with a stick of cinnamon, and enjoy several cups throughout the cold days. This is a key foundational tea for anyone looking to heal and detoxify their body! Some other teas I love include ginger, nettle leaf, red clover, lemon balm, and red raspberry leaf.
3. Eat room temperature foods
When many people think of “raw” they automatically think of foods cold and crisp out of the fridge, but that doesn’t need to be the case. To lessen the shock of cold foods on the body, try increasing your intake of room temperature foods. For me that means stocking up on fruits that can be left out on the countertop, like bananas, papayas, mangoes, pineapples, some melons, and maybe apples and citrus fruits. Or, alternately, you can bring your foods out of the fridge earlier and let them warm up to room temp before eating.
4. Warm foods a little bit
For those sticking to a technically raw diet, foods cannot be heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit (or close to), but don’t be afraid to warm up your foods a little. You can savor delicious, satisfying foods that aren’t freezing cold, and still maintain a healing diet. If you have a dehydrator, consider splurging on some raw crackers or wraps, or use it to gently warm up solid foods. If you have a high-speed blender, you can run the blender on high to warm up soups and dips, without ever reaching the temperature limit.
5. Emphasize immune support
In cold months, cold and flu bugs tend to make the rounds, and even those who eat healthy raw diets can still be susceptible. This is why I always lean on high-quality supplements, to keep my immune system strong. One supplement I like is the Mushroom Immunity blend- a pure blend of some of my favorite medicinal mushrooms, in easy-to-swallow capsules. There is a tremendous amount of research on the health and immune benefits of mushrooms, and these are some of my best allies in the winter months. Other things I use to keep my immunity strong include fresh elderberry syrup, lemon/ginger juice shots, and raw garlic in my dressings and dips.
6. Increase grounding foods
We all crave heavier foods in wintertime, and sometimes it’s best to listen to that inner voice. You can stay satisfied with more “meaty” textures by using more nuts, mushrooms, and sun dried tomatoes, and by increasing your fats a bit as well. Consider mixing things up and bringing in more spices as well, as you create these heavier, more satiating dishes. I personally love a good raw “taco meat” in romaine lettuce shells, or a warm nut-based curry dip for my veggies. Think of wintertime as a time to break from the deeper cleansing, and do a bit of building and stabilizing- easily done even while raw!
7. Keep your body warm
Don’t fall into the trap of keeping your house at a cooler temperature, trying to save a few bucks on your heating bill, only to be uncomfortable all the time and end up reaching for cooked food to warm up! If you’re really committed to the raw food lifestyle, do yourself a favor and keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Also try dressing in layers, and don’t be afraid of wearing hats and booties inside. When your body is warm enough, raw foods will sound so much more appealing. Hot showers and baths also work wonders.
Staying raw or high raw is absolutely doable, even in the coldest climates. It simply requires some preparation and modification! Consider these tips that I’ve shared with you today, and be open to getting creative in the winter months, so you can stay on track. Stay anchored in your personal motivation, and the rest will follow suit.