Although many would believe that eating raw foods in the winter is a hard choice to make, I like to prove otherwise. Actually, my full commitment to raw and living foods kicked off in the middle of last year’s cold blustery winter. The reasons many ‘go raw’ didn’t apply to me at this time: the need to lose weight, regain health, increase energy, eliminate sickness .. the list goes on. For me, it was a deep emotional pull that blew me away; however, my body literally wouldn’t allow anything else to enter it (doesn’t it always know best?) during this time of deep emotional and life transition. I remember thinking what odd timing it was for my body to drag me into this (it was very much an unconscious decision). And so the journey began.
I really prefer not to focus on the percentage of food I, or anyone else, is eating raw, because from what I’ve observed (and mutually shared in conversation with many other women), is that this can create a sense of not doing enough, among feelings of guilt, frustration, and failure. Percentages, numbers, and counting anything in regard to food can also possibly lead to disordered eating, especially with women. You need to read labels for one reason only: know and understand the source of your food (what is in it?). The more you focus on a number, the more you become disconnected with your body (because it then becomes about something else), and it’s innate wisdom of guiding you to the best choice. I’ve wondered how one arrives at a percentage anyway? For me, I just know that I eat mostly raw and living organic food, with some exceptions (so is that 95% .. 99%?!). It seems absurd to claim a percentage and feel obligation to stick to it. Rules need to go out the window; we need to be flexible and do what FEELS best – doesn’t that make sense? I suppose it’s easier to know your percentage of raw the closer you are to 100%, but that number scares a lot of non-raw foodists away, and I believe this may be a reason they don’t embark on the raw roller coaster ride in the first place (this was one factor back in the old days that made me hesitant – it was a perception that if I didn’t do 100% all the time, I wouldn’t receive the powerful transformation). Now that I know otherwise, I like to share my opinion.
I’ve always been one of those people that feels cold, especially on my hands and feet. I could be on a warm sunny beach, the wind could blow, and I’ll feel cold – that’s just how it’s always been. I’ve read this has to do with circulation and/or the thyroid, but I disregarded this because my weight is ideal and there’s no reason to believe my circulation is suffering. If you are an expert reading this and are thinking, ‘I know what that’s all about!’ – please get in touch. I’ve heard a few raw food teachers and well-known advocates talk about how after a few years on raw they were able to get through a cold winter very well adapted to the extremes, but I never heard an actual explanation as to why. It’s simple really: the cleaner you are internally, the better your circulation, and the less you need heavy food to insulate you – thus allowing a raw food diet to be an easy lifestyle in all seasons. It seems that time is what’s needed to walk around comfortably barefoot. I am still cold this winter though (it’s in the upper 20s with recent snow storms) and I look forward to having such stellar circulation next winter that this temperature doesn’t faze me.
So, how do I survive eating a raw food diet in a winter wonderland? The attempt to keep my diet the same has been mostly successful, with the most noticeable shift in breakfast, from fruit smoothies to superfood fresh green vegetable juices (Rainbow Magic). Here’s how I’ve wrapped up 2008:
❅ Primarily raw and living foods, with a shift toward more more avocados, root vegetables, nuts, seeds, heavier sauces and hummus
❅ Organic and wildcrafted superfoods – can’t survive any season without them
❅ Fresh green vegetable juices – seriously the best way to start the day (the rest of your food choices throughout the day will be more in alignment with your raw approach)
❅ Naval oranges! My cravings have often been for citrus .. bringing me an abundance of vitamin C (from real food – never ascorbic acid!); pieces of fruit as a snack replacing the morning fruit smoothie; Truly Vitamin C powder from HealthForce
❅ Chocolate (green) superfood blendies – ridiculously nutritious and filling
❅ Green additions to most concoctions (juices, blendies, hummus, salad dressings, cacao desserts) – again, bumping up the greens and lessening the fruit
❅ Warm Earth soup (I’ll post in more detail very soon) / miso soup with dulse and nutritional yeast
❅ Baked yams or squash – bite here, bite there (with cinnamon, agave, nutr yeast, or naked)
❅ Bikram hot yoga – there is nothing like heating your body at the core for 1.5 hours, especially during the chilly season
❅ Hiking (outdoors, yes in the snowy cold weather) – you really do warm up after just 15 minutes in the elements, and you get to feel so connected to the season vs. staying inside; go experience the cycles of nature!