Winter in the Raw

veggie-box-in-snowThere is no sugar coating it: winter is not my favorite time of year. Apart from the occasional awe elicited when my high desert view arbitrarily masquerades as a winter wonderland – usually for all of two hours – I am definitely with the bears on this one and would gladly hibernate if it were at all possible.

That not being in the cards, this year I decided to take up skiing again after a twenty year absence from the sport. People told me I was nuts. But ‘nuts’ never trumps determination. I just wanted to make the winter go by faster and maybe actually have some fun in the bargain. Breaking my bones? Trying not to think about that. Mind over matter. I will not even entertain the notion of getting hurt.

So I’m out there. In the cold. Slipping off the chair lift. Falling on my butt. And wait… actually skiing down the mountain like the ‘Little Engine That Could’. Having fun. Albeit COLD fun.

Eating raw in the wintertime is one of the biggest challenges for a lot of people. Because, frankly, it’s just so damn COLD! This is one of the times when it feels the least natural simply because, when we come in from the frigid outdoors feeling like the world is our Arctic, the last thing most of us are thinking about is putting more cold stuff into ourselves. We are looking for comfort and warmth. Baggy pajamas, fuzzy socks and a bowl of soup. Salad and smoothies? You’ve got to be kidding.

There is this complete misconception about the raw diet: that everything you get to eat is cold. This is not so. In any case, there are a myriad of ways that you can keep yourself toasty without sacrificing your raw fortitude.

Warm It Up

Winter represents glory days for the dehydrator. This is a great time to play with recipes that need the extra touch of this grownup version of the ‘Easy Bake Oven’. Pop a soup in there for an hour before mealtime and you’ll fool yourself into thinking you actually cooked something! Next resort: your stovetop – at low heat and carefully monitored – can warm things up just enough to satisfy warm food cravings but not enough to destroy all those beneficial enzymes! Just use your finger as a monitor and remove just as it gets steamy.

Spice it Up

Warming spices such as ginger, cinnamon, cayenne, curry, chile and turmeric can do wonders in giving heat to an otherwise tepid meal, not to mention the additional health benefits that come along with them. More than just warming you up, spices can help guard against all those colds and flus that are knocking everyone else on their asses at this time of year.

Bulk It Up

There is something about eating a heavier meal that makes you feel warmer. Nuts, seeds and mushrooms make a meal more dense. Olives, coconut meat, avocados and oils give your meals extra heft.

Last but not least, don’t force yourself into a corner by expecting total resolution to eating nothing but raw. Especially in the wintertime the preparation of a warm vegan meal will do nothing to deter your efforts towards healthy eating and living and it may help you to live up to your goals without making you feel like you’re being punished. This isn’t an exercise in self-flagellation.

You can make yourself a lovely cup of herbal tea anytime the mood strikes you. It’s not verboten.

If you can go through the majority of the day eating raw foods, you can pat yourself on the back, call yourself 80 percent raw and treat yourself to something cooked at night.

Find a way to get yourself through the winter. It doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, the worst part for me is that I actually start craving all those wonderful fruits like peaches, plums and nectarines that you just can’t find in February and looking for anything available that represents substitution. At some point I actually start craving more Raw no matter how cold it is outside.

So I ski. Badly but bravely. And I dream. Well.

Spring – and nectarines – are, after all, just around the corner.



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