During the hot summer months, eating raw feels so right that it is almost effortless. When the temperature drops and the days become shorter and darker, it can be a struggle to work up enthusiasm for raw foods. It is important, though, to eat a variety of raw produce in winter to keep the immune system healthy. Here are some tips to help you continue on the raw path when the weather gets cold.
Eat something raw with your cooked meals. This is an easy way to include more raw foods in your daily diet. Slice a banana or an apple into your morning porridge. Put some lettuce, sprouts and tomato on your lunch sandwich and enjoy with a salad. Make a batch of marinated greens, mixed marinated vegetables, or a raw soup to have with supper. Instead of preparing a cooked sauce for your pasta, try a raw marinara or tapenade sauce instead.
Choose raw fruits and vegetables in season. Cold-weather produce such as root vegetables, cabbage, chard, and kale have hearty flavours that are very satisfying in the winter. Grapefruit, blood oranges, tangerines and clementines, apples, and bananas are winter staples.
Use warming spices to create heat. Warm yourself up from the inside by adding some spice to your raw creations. Ginger is well-known as a winter warmer. Chili powder, curry blends, cumin, and pepper are also obvious choices. Cinnamon, cardamom and cloves are more subtle, but they work as well, and give your dishes a festive note.
Go for the greens. Many people find it difficult to eat greens in the winter because they tend to associate raw greens with salad. The key to tasty winter salads is to bulk them up. Use two or three greens for the base and add grated or sliced root vegetables, grated cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower florettes, slices of apples or pears, chunks of avocado, a sprinkle of nuts or pomegranate seeds, or a handful of fresh sprouts. A plain green salad makes a good base for some cooked dishes. Greens are an ideal wrapper for sandwiches and burgers, and they can also be blended into soups, dips, and green smoothies.
Choose raw snacks and desserts. Instead of eating greasy potato chips or those huge calorie-laden cookies from the fancy coffee shop, why not make your own healthy treats? Fruit and nut squares, raw cookies, fudge balls, trail mixes, etc., are a snap to prepare. If you have a dehydrator, you can make crunchy crackers and corn chips to accompany your favourite raw dip.
Warm up your raw foods. That's right, raw doesn't have to mean cold! Raw soups and entrees can be gently warmed on the stove top or in the oven. Be careful not to let them get too hot. They should be just warm to the touch.
Eat entirely raw prior to holiday dinners or parties. The easiest way to do this is to simply eat fruit all day. Before leaving for the party, drink a big glass of water and eat a salad. This way you can still enjoy your favourite holiday goodies, but you will be less likely to overeat.
Get busy in the kitchen with do-it-yourself raw projects. Try your hand at making Rejuvelac or water kefir. Whip up a batch of homemade sauerkraut, cultured seed cheeze or raw pickles. Grow your own sprouts and wheat grass.
Stay motivated. Check some raw books out of the library and try some new recipes. YouTube has many great raw videos featuring Karen Knowler, Ani Phyo, Jennifer Cornbleet, and Kevin and Annemarie Gianni. You could also join an online forum for support, inspiration, and some new raw friends.