Surviving Raw in Winter by Lia Sokhi
I often get asked, “How on earth I stay raw in winter with all that cold food?”
The answer is… I don't eat cold food! I am definitely a sun worshiper, I really do not like being cold, the thought alone of drinking cucumber juice or a cold salad in winter gives me chills. It’s actually not good for our bodies to eat cooling foods during the winter. Also eating seasonally is better for our bodies, physically and energetically. It’s natural to want more warm foods, root vegetables, fermented foods and winter greens, rather than more spring foods and tropical fruits. Lots of people in winter especially, after the Christmas holiday indulgences, go straight on a juice cleanse or major salad spree, but then fail because it’s hard to sustain. Eating a very healthy, clean diet in winter is possible, whilst ensuring you feel warm, satisfied, full and comforted at the same time. Let me explain how.
To start, if you want to eat more raw food, then gently warm it up. Food is still classified as ‘raw’ when it is heated up to a 42 degrees. Anything above 42 degrees is classed as cooked food, that’s about the temperature of a nice, hot bath. Anything heated above 42 degrees, starts to lose its nutrients. Raw dishes to enjoy warm are soups, curries, spaghetti Bolognese and even apple crumble! Just make a simple, raw version and warm up on a hob, I normally put the heat on, then turn it off quite quickly so you know the food won’t get any hotter. The best way to check if it’s still raw is to stir it with your hands. If it’s too hot for your hands, then it’s too hot for the food! Salad leaves wilt if you warm them, therefore it is better to warm the harder vegetables and nuts/seeds/avocados etc. and then add to the leaves. Then you will have a lovely, warm satisfying salad. Another tip is make smoothies with hot water and you can also add to juices. I also take out the vegetables from the fridge that I want to eat that day, so they can warm up to room temperature.
If you are eating more cooked food, then add lots of lightly steamed vegetables. Swap the carbs for a healthier version, so wholemeal or gluten free pasta, brown/wild rice or quinoa. Soups and stews, when cooked, retain more nutrients because the vitamins and minerals stay in the water.
Spice it up! There are many spices that have a warming effect on the body. They are used a lot in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. Spices such as ginger, cinnamon, chili and other curry spices taste great and leave you feeling cozy, comforted and glowing. If you really feel the cold, and then avoid having cooling foods such as cucumber and coconut water in the cooler months, this will really help, I normally can't eat or drink these as soon as it gets cold. I also never drink cold or even struggle to drink room temperature water. Hot water in a glass is warming and comforting. I also drink lots of warm herbal teas and fresh lemon and ginger tea is a real favorite. This keeps your hydration up and keeps you warm throughout the day.
Another tip is to have regular hot baths and if possible a sauna, I feel warm for days after a sauna! And even if you don’t feel like it, simple exercise will get your blood pumping and raise your metabolism. Doing squats and star jumps fully clothed, will get you lovely and warm very quickly!
When choosing healthier alternatives look at swapping the ‘normal’ foods that are most detrimental, which are dairy, sugar, wheat, meat and processed sweeteners and fats. Start with choosing organic and more natural versions and you will notice a big difference in how you feel. You will feel lighter, have more energy, fewer aches and pains, have better sleep and generally feel warmer! There are lots of yummy vegan, raw and gluten/sugar/guilt free treats like chocolates, cakes and cheesecake on offer so you don’t have to feel deprived, it’s always important to enjoy your food. I hope you feel inspired to be able to enjoy both good health, as well as warm and comforting food during the winter months.
Here are some great warm raw recipes for warming your tummy!
Apples, peeled and cut into rough pieces about 1 per person
1 tsp Cinnamon
½ Cup of raisins or figs (you can also soak some raisins in water and sprinkle on top)
Hot water (Add about 1/2 cup of hot water per apple, and then more if it is too thick)
Blend the ingredients with a little hot water, add ¼ cup of water to start then extra if it’s too thick, this will make a scummy stewed apple like dessert.
Warm Carrot & Orange Soup
2 Medium Carrots (cut in to small pieces)
1 large Orange or 2 small
1 inch cube of fresh ginger
Tsp ½ ground turmeric
½Tsp Ground Cumin
½ cup of Cashews or ½ Avocado (this makes it creamy)
1/4 litre Hot Water
Blend the orange in the hot water then add the carrots . Then add the other ingredients blend until the mixture thickens into a thick soup. Add more water if it is too thick. Serve immediately, or store until required, then gently warm when needed. This Serves 1 large or 2 medium portions.
Raw Cacao Powder Min of ½ tsp per cup, or more if you want, it is very bitter. (can use purple corn flour if you don’t want the stimulating effect)
Coconut Nectar or date syrup, or another natural sweetener (to taste)
Milk (cashew, Almond, Brazil, Hemp) 1 Cup per person
Gently warm the milk (or use hot water to make the milk) and add the cacao powder (or purple corn) and the amount of coconut palm sugar you want, to mix well use a whisk, keep checking its not too hot using your finger then serve. You can add over spices such as cinnamon
½ cup Chia Seeds
1 cup of Hemp Milk or other dairy free milk
1 tsp Coconut Nectar or another natural sweetener (if you want it sweet)
pinch Vanilla Powder
pinch Ground Cinnamon
If you use milled chia seeds (which is nicer) first warm the milk then whisk in the sweetener and chia seeds and you have instant porridge, leave for about 5 minutes before you eat for the seeds to soak in the water. If you are using whole chis seeds, add half hot water and half milk (or warm all the milk) and mix with the sweetener and flavour/spice, then on a slow setting, slowly add the chia seeds. When they are all in turn up the blender until it thickens, then serve and you have a lovely warm porridge. (To make instant milk: Blend in hot water the hemp seeds, vanilla, cinnamon and coconut sugar, this is the hemp milk, taste and add more if needed)
Cashews or other nuts (not peanuts) (soaked in water over night)
Herb sea salt
Cayenne Pepper (this can be very hot so its optional and add a tiny amount)
Drain the soaked cashews, add the herb salt, and spices, mix well then spread out on a try and dry them out in a dehydrator or oven on a very low heat, for about 2 hours, you and give them a shake half way through. The dryer they are the longer they will last.
Recipes by Lia Sokhi
Stay Healthy and Energised, whilst feeling Warm, Full, Satisfied and Comforted!
During the cold winter months, most of us feel like hibernating, snuggling up in the warm and eating lots of hot stodgy, comfort food.
So what do you do if you feel like this and you also want to live a healthy lifestyle?
Most warm, winter food on offer is full of refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed fats?