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2016 update: Aha, you noticed?! Welcome. Yes, we wanted to bring the site back online again, mainly because it's so packed with articles and information. It will be a work in progress for some time, as we changed web platforms and all sorts of tech stuff. So, a lot of links are hard-coded to old Wordpress-style links... just awful. But, in time we'll get all of it back in shape. For now, enjoy clicking around and reading!

Hey everyone!? What a wonderful Thursday we have going here... After all, it's nearly 3:30 p.m. where I am, which means that the day is nearly over and it'll soon be Friday! Time sure does fly... Right now, it's still a beautiful fall here (in Pennsylvania, with the gorgeous leaves nearly at their changing peak) but, in seemingly no time, we'll be looking at winter in these parts.

When I announced Wendi's leave of absence a while back, I invited people to send in any questions that I might answer here on the blog. Fellow raw foodie Joanna Steven asked me on Facebook -- I'm at Facebook.com/Rawfood -- what our routine is for transitioning into winter. Well, I think she already did a fine job of covering that topic, here. But, I'll offer my own two cents here, as well, as I find it interesting.

To begin, I don't like to get hung up on percents here (in relation to that age-old raw foodie question: "What percentage of raw are you "). For me, I know that the answer is 100%. It simply has to be that way for my body, which is something that took me a while to understand. For you, maybe it's 50% or 95% or somewhere in between. But, for me, I do prefer staying 100% raw; I simply feel better that way, as I've explained before in depth.

When Winter rears its blustery fierceness, though, it can definitely be somewhat challenging to exist on a 100% raw food diet. It's almost counter-intuitive, in fact. When your body is so cold from exposure to freezing temperatures, it's simple human nature to desire foods that will warm you from the inside.? So, for many people who are not 100% raw, I think there are some reasonably healthy cooked choices available. Certainly some lightly steamed veggies or some healthy vegan soup or some quinoa is a better choice than, say, a large pepperoni pizza, right?

But, what if you DO want to stick it out at 100% raw

  • First, address the problem in non-dietary ways. In other words, wear warm clothes! For me, that means thick socks, layered clothing, and maybe a thick wool sweater. I also like to wear hats in the winter -- something that will keep my ears warm.

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  • Second, don't forget to add warming spices to your foods. This ancient ayurvedic principle is something we use year-round, actually, as raw foodies tend to have slightly lower body temperatures than cooked food eaters.(I often forget this culinary habit of mine...Months back when raw foods pioneer Rhio and her partner Leigh visited Pittsburgh, I nearly served Leigh some raw sweet potato chips coated with cayenne pepper -- which I learned would have been an awful mistake! )

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    Besides cayenne, you can experiment with things like ginger (whole or powdered), cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and various curry blends to help warm you up.? (Indian recipes are great ways to bring these warming spices to your palate, by the way. Perhaps we'll have to post a few of them at some point.) You'd be surprised what dishes taste good with those spices, too. Not only are they pretty much all tasty in regular salads, but you can slip some into smoothies as well. I often forget that!

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    Also, you might try researching the above-mentioned spices along with other foods that are reputedly good for circulation, as getting your blood moving will always warm you up! ... which leads me to:

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  • Exercise!? Ever go jogging in the snow ? It's miserable! ... but usually only for the first mile or so. Invariably, back when I was an avid runner even in the winter, I found that, after a mile or so, I kind of felt warm no matter how brutally cold it was outside. And then upon returning home, I'd happily be able to bop around in a t-shirt for quite some time during the cool-down. So, definitely take time to get in some exercise during the winter months. It doesn't have to be jogging in the snow, of course! It could be rebounding in your basement or living room, maybe a little yoga ...anything!? Just get moving!

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  • Tea. I remember when Wendi first went raw years ago, I asked, "Is tea raw "? Hmmm... that's apretty good question, isn't it ! After all, what you're doing with tea is taking a dried plant and boiling it. But, then again, you're not eating the plant; you're just drinking a resulting decoction that is, most of the time, virtually calorie-free. Actually, I personally view tea as more of a medicinal and/or kind of vibrational thing, both of which are apropos to the raw vegan lifestyle. So, I'm not sure I have a straight answer for you now. It's kind of a "well, yes and no" kind of thing, as in, "Yes it's technically cooked, but no it doesn't 'count against you' so to speak, as a raw foodie."

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  • Finally, think warm thoughts! I know that may sound rather non-scientific, but it's also true that Seasonal Affective Disorder (aka "SAD") is so widespread of a problem in cold climates that it's also known as "winter depression" or "winter blues" (according to that Wikipedia article link). The last thing you need on top of being physically cold is to become depressed. That would almost certainly be a recipe for disaster for a lot of people who wish to stay raw through a cold winter season!

The problem with winter is not simply that it's cold outside;? the problem is that we live in places where it's cold outside. Now, some of us have made that decision consciously -- for example, knowing full well that, by choosing to live in, say, Saskatoon, we're in for some long, cold winters. And, if that's your thing, then more power to you! Others of us live in cold-winter locales more or less by default (being "from" there, for example).

But, as a race (or, perhaps I should say "species"), it just makes sense to me that humans are actually suited to the tropics and, probably, also to milder climates such as those found around the Mediteranean. This is where we came from, after all. Had we truly evolved enough to exist in the arctic, wouldn't we look like polar bears

That's my opinion, of course. But, I do share it with a number of others more knowledgeable than myself. I think it was Doug Graham who said that we all still live in the tropics, really -- since we effectively create mini-tropical environments when we heat our homes in the winter.

One of my favorite articles on being raw through a winter season was written by U.K. raw foodie Debbie Took. Here's the article. In addition to the many explanations she gives for why raw foodies feel so cold, I wanted to note that another was shared with me by my friend Melissa (of FoodUnderFoot.com), whose brother (a doctor) opined that, since the raw food diet is anti-inflammatory, it means less inflamation. And, if a lot of people have inflammation, generally accompanied by a warming sensation (the word itself deriving from in-flame), then the lack of inflammation could logically lead you toward a cooler feeling.

So, who feels cool? Raw foodies ... we're so cool.

Original Comments

Below, we have included the original comments from this blog post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

On October 22, 2009, Joanna_Steven wrote:

That was so cool, thanks! It's true, clothes are so important. I wear layers, and then a synthetic robe that makes sparks fly whenever I kiss my cats of my husband. :D My dad always told me to wear socks, because if I didn't, I'd catch a cold. I can't imagine being without socks now (well, unless it's summer). And tea... Sometimes I just put my hands on a warm kettle to warm up a little. I can't imagine what the native Americans did in the Iowa-South Dakota regions!

On October 23, 2009, lonedoggy wrote:

Also a soup in a vitamix(from the friction) or an raw enchilada in the dehydrator, or a sweet date nut cake (by the friction) of the food processor can feel warm to our bodies at 98.6 even if they are just 105-110 degrees(not cooked). Use a candy thermometer to take the soups temperature if you are concerned, I made a great tomato soup for my raw food class that I teach, the students were surprised when it tasted warm.

Toni

On October 23, 2009, razorim wrote:

Sometimes I'll throw a cinnamon stick or two, some cloves, vanilla extract, and maybe some lemon halves into a pot of water and let that simmer on the stove for a couple of hours. Not only does it work as a humidifier, but it also is warming, it smells great and comforting, like autumn. It makes me want to sit on the couch and curl up with a book.

On October 23, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

Know what I love? Huge, thick socks. I'm in a better mood when I have nice sox. Weird, huh

I imagine the native americans must've burned a lot of fires in those tee-pees. There's nothing like the warmth and atmosphere of a nice fire on a cold day!

On October 23, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

Good additions to the list, Toni. Thanks! I'd forgotten about the warm recipes that can be made in the dehydrator. We do sometimes do that in the winter. We do that with our Chinese "veggie stir-dont-fry" dish a lot! I usually don't make many warm soups in the Vitamix, although we do make a lot of cool soups that way.

On October 23, 2009, Jim Dee wrote:

Oh, I agree... Cinnamon in particular is well documented in aromatherapy literature as being highly warming. I can almost just imagine the smell of what you described and feel more comfortable! Thanks, Dara!

On October 25, 2009, Joanna_Steven wrote:

You know what else I noticed? People get warm from the action of cooking, but when they eat the food, a lot of the time, it's already pretty lukewarm. I think I'll spend a lot of the winter months on my feet in the kitchen making all kinds of gourmet stuff!

On October 31, 2009, bitt wrote:

i love adding ginger to my juices. it warms me right up. tea is a nice option too. we get into fancy roibos teas that taste amazing.