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Eating Raw in the Cold

Not all of us are lucky enough to live in a sunny, tropical paradise.  For those of us who live somewhere that gets cold in the winter, hot foods and drinks may be part of the daily routine.  If so, you may be wondering how you can replace your usual coffees and soups with raw alternatives.

I'm going to answer this question a little differently than you might expect.  In fact, I'll flip it on it's head.

Generating heat internally

Finding raw replacements for hot cooked foods might seem important at first, but with a little reflection we can see it’s actually backwards reasoning.  We’re proposing a bandage solution for the problem  rather than preventing it in the first place.  Humans are warm-blooded animals, which means we generate our own heat internally.  Unlike cold-blooded animals, we don’t rely on the incoming warmth from our environment such as sunning ourselves on rocks (or eating hot, cooked food).  All we need to do is provide our body with the right conditions to allow it to do its job and produce sufficient body heat.  Eating a raw-vegan diet is one great way to do this because it frees up a lot of extra energy which can be used to keep us warm. 

Rebuild your vitality

That’s really a very important key.  If your body is sick and fatigued from eating an unhealthy cooked diet it won’t be able to resist the cold.  Downing hot, cooked food doesn’t fix this.  What you really need instead is to change your lifestyle and rebuild your vitality from within. 

Avoid cold food and drinks

Another way to help your body keep warm is to avoid eating cold foods.  This seems obvious, of course, but if you think about it, how many times each day do you find yourself grabbing something straight out of the fridge and eating it?  Likely more often than you realize, and each time you do that you’re sending an ice pack directly to the core of your body.  This is hardly the best way to keep the cold out.  Instead, remember to plan ahead by keeping a day’s worth of fruit sitting on your countertop.  I make a habit of setting fruit out every night so it’s ready for the next day.  This way I’m not eating chilled apples, oranges, and grapes right out of the fridge.

Yes, of course you can still have warm stuff

If you’re keeping these tips in mind and still find that you need something on occasion to warm you up, there’s nothing stopping you from warming up your foods and drinks.  That doesn’t mean you have to cook them of course, but simply warm them up a bit.  Make yourself a raw soup and use really warm water in it.  You may want to do the same thing with your smoothies.   And for those really cold days, there’s absolutely no reason to feel guilty about drinking a piping hot cup of tea, or hot chocolate.  Remember, this isn't an inquisition.  You only need to be as "perfect" with your raw diet as you want to.  If a hot drink makes you happy, go for it.  It's not something I do very often, but I certainly wouldn't hesitate to recommend a hot drink to someone who needs it.  What it really comes down to is doing what makes you feel your best.  If a hot drink is part of that, just remember to limit how much dairy and caffeine you're getting.      


Mike Dillman has lived a raw-vegan diet since 2004. Because he's experienced the learning curve firsthand, he wants to save you from making the same mistakes yourself. You can visit Mike's blog at Real-World-Raw.com to learn how easy it can be to make a raw-vegan diet fit your busy lifestyle. You can also download his free eBook, "The 7 Biggest Raw Mistakes", where Mike lays out the major missteps beginning raw foodists make that undermine their success and tells you how you can avoid them. To get your free eBook click here.

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