How To Stay Warm & Raw This Winter


A wicked winter storm is blanketing the country in rain, ice and snow as it makes its way eastward. We're expected to see gale-force winds here today. Batten down the hatches!

It's no wonder I've been barraged with emails this week from folks asking, Hey, how do you eat raw food and stay warm in the winter?

I think there's a real misconception that raw food means cold food. Granted, my food doesn't arrive steaming hot at the table. But, even when it used to, I always had to wait for it to cool down a bit, lest I get a nasty tongue burn. Generally, I heat my food between 105-115 degrees to retain its life-giving nutritional value. It doesn't scald my mouth and it's a very pleasant warm temperature at which to serve food.

Perhaps the best way to address the issue of staying warm while eating raw is to dust off an article I wrote last year.

— Originally published 22 November 2008 —

Yes, he's back. I was kinda hoping Jack Frost would just forget about us this year, but lo, I awoke to a winter wonderland yesterday – a good six inches covering the ground and another five since then. With the change in seasons and plummeting temperatures, you wouldn't believe the number of people that have asked, "Won't you be cold eating raw food in the winter?" Funny thing, I never once had anyone ask in years past, "Aren't you hot eating cooked food in the summer?"

I have to admit though, back in September, even I started to question How am I going to do this in the winter? When the seasons turn, there's nothing I love more than a bowl of homemade soup to warm my innards. The good news: raw soup does not have to mean cold soup.

Make friends with a double boiler. It's great for warming foods slowly. You'll want to stir often and not let the soup boil – if you can stick your finger in without getting scalded, you're good to go. Don't have a double boiler? Pour your soup into a glass mason jar with a lid and submerge the jar in a bath of hot water to warm it up. I also like to pre-warm my soup bowl.

Another way to stoke your inner fire is to spice up your food with warming herbs like garlic, ginger, anise, cayenne, curry, cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, and peppercorns. "That'll get your blood moving!" as my Dad used to say. 

Actually, the reason why many people cannot tolerate cold temperatures is due to poor capillary circulation and weakened adrenals. More good news: the longer you maintain a diet of raw living foods, your circulation improves naturally and your adrenals strengthen, so you should be able to tolerate the cold better than ever before.

In a recent newsletter, raw food chef and author Cherie Soria of the Living Light Culinary Arts Institute included some additional tips for eating raw in colder climates:
  • For breakfast or an afternoon snack, have raw almond butter with apples or bananas. If you're brave, sprinkle a generous dose of cayenne on top for an extra kick.
  • Use hot water instead of cold water in your smoothies and blended soups.
  • Wash your refrigerated produce in warm water or put it in a warm water bath for a few minutes before using it.
  • Pour nearly boiling water over your refrigerated broccoli or cauliflower and let it rest for a few minutes to warm it up before using it in salads, pates, or other dishes that will be consumed immediately.
  • Make a warm soup of finely julienned vegetables and hot water. Add mushroom powder, tamari, and grated fresh ginger to boost the flavor.
  • Drink a cup of warm ginger tea sweetened with a little agave syrup or stevia before bedtime. It will help you warm those cold sheets.
If you're like me and love a good soup on a winter's day, here's two seasonal delights that will have you singing, Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!


Curried Coconut Soup

meat and water from one young coconut
3 C carrots, grated
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp curry powder
1 tsp grated ginger root
cayenne to taste

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree. Garnish with fresh cilantro.



Creamy Tomato Soup

4 tomatoes, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 avocado
1/2 onion, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp agave
salt and minced hot peppers to taste


Combine ingredients in a blender and pulse until the desired consistency is reached – creamy or slightly chunky, as you prefer.

What's your favorite winter weather food?



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