The cold weather is now upon us and this time I think it is here to stay. For people who follow a raw food diet this can be the most challenging part of the year. The question is how to stay warm? A fresh salad may not have the same appeal after a day of skiing as it does after a day at the beach. Also important is how food nourishes not just the body but the soul. The days are shorter and the darkness adds an introspective quality to our activities which may have us seeking more comfort (or a trip down south!).
The first thing to remember is why you want to eat raw food in the winter. Are you hard core and do you have the need to do this 100%, or will adding a baked sweet potato or a bowl of quinoa to your otherwise raw meal be enough warmth and comfort to make it enjoyable instead of a challenge? Or maybe you want the challenge, and you can use this introspective time to just sit with your discomfort to let it lead to greater understanding. If you are new to raw food and therefore physiologically conditioned to desire heavier, richer meals, then will adding extra nuts and sweetness to your diet help? The goals and desires of each person differ so you really do need to try different things to see what works for you. There is no such thing as failure in this adventure, only opportunities for increased knowledge and self-awareness.
I have discovered that sipping herbal or spice tea throughout the day is my favorite way to stay warm during chilly weather. Having your hands wrapped around a warm mug is soothing (and keeps your fingers warm!), and there are many spices you can add to your tea (and your food) that have a heating effect. Some of them have the added benefit of helping to keep colds, coughs and congestion at bay. Some of my favorite spices for tea are: cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg, cayenne, black pepper, and cardamom (cardamom is not a heating spice but it is my absolute favorite and has an inherent sweetness that mixes well with the other spices). Just put a pinch of each chosen spice in a mug and add hot water.
Heat is also produced by your metabolism, your internal fire, so activity is extra important. It may not be the raw food that has you feeling more chilly but rather a reduction in exercise. It helps to move more frequently, in spurts. Doing a few sun-salutations, going for a brisk walk, or getting up from your desk to dance for a few minutes (my personal favorite) can be enough to warm you up again. If that doesn’t work, there’s always shinny!