Since I am from Canada, a lot of people ask me how it’s possible to eat raw in the winter. I’m sitting here writing this article, while big fluffy snowflakes traverse the sky.
Most of the time, these questions come out of a desire to understand how it’s possible to eat foods that are cold, when you’re craving something warm and comforting in the winter.
I put together this short video explaining what I believe happens when we eat raw foods in the dead of winter, or in a cold climate.
Benefits Of Eating Raw Food In The Winter
- Although this isn’t scientific, it’s just my intuitive feelings about eating fruits in the winter, but here goes. Eating foods that were grown in the sunshine is like absorbing the energy of the sun, in my opinion.
- A single orange has probably seen more sun in its lifetime than we would during an entire winter.
- Eating raw foods keeps your immune system in top shape, so you can more easily ward off colds and other infections that make the rounds in the winter. This happens because you’re not overloading your digestive system with tons of complex foods, and most fruits contain tons of vitamins & minerals to keep your body immune.
- Raw foods can be warmed, without loosing their nutritious properties. For example, you can warm a raw soup on the stove or in your dehydrator, and if you keep it below 118F, you can enjoy warm and comforting raw foods.
The Environmental Effects
Photo by Julie Falk
One of the arguments that I hear the most when it comes to eating raw foods in the winter, is that you cannot eat locally.
Although a lot of people come to raw foods with the intention of reducing their ecological footprint, we need to be realistic when it comes to what we eat in the winter.
To be perfectly honest, if you live in a very cold climate, there will not be a lot of local foods available to you during the winter.
One alternative is to eat vegetables that were grown in a greenhouse. Of course, it takes energy to keep a greenhouse going, but you might reduce the amount of traveling that the produce requires to get to your door.
Whether you’re eating raw or not, you’re still going to be buying food items that are not local. For example, that pasta to you bought probably did not come from your neighborhood, or even your country.
Most of the foods we buy are packaged and shipped from faraway locations. You also have to take into account the amount of packaging that each of these processed foods require. Fruits and vegetables also use packaging, so it’s not really a convincing argument either way.
Still, you have fruits and vegetables that may be shipped from warmer locations. Although we all agree that it would be better to eat locally, we need to realize that living in the North means that we have a limited supply of food. We aren’t all hunters, and we can’t just migrate south, even though it would make our life easier.
The bread, rice, and pasta that you buy will likely have been shipped from far away. We’ve found ways to survive in cold places by importing the food we need to survive. Many animals do not survive the winter due to lack of food.
Some of the best things you can do to reduce your ecological footprint, is to grow your own garden in the summer. By growing your own produce, you are essentially offsetting some of the damage that you may have caused by buying overseas in the winter.
Another way to eat raw foods in the winter, is to pick a lot of local berries and fruits in the summer, and to freeze them for the winter. That way, you can still enjoy lots of smoothies made with local berries.
Photo by Julie Falk
Tips For Eating Raw In The Winter
- Take your food out of the refrigerator ahead of time, so it can warm to room temperature.
- Freeze fruits and vegetables in the summer for use during the winter. You can then put these in smoothies or to make raw ice creams. (If you like to eat ice cream in the cold months, that is!)
- Warm raw soups in your dehydrator or on your stove, as long as it’s below 118F it’s still considered raw!
- Make dehydrated treats that remind you of your favorite winter time snacks, they will be warm and gooey when they come out of the dehydrator.
- If you find yourself eating more in the winter, simply up your exercise. We all want to just curl up on the couch, but it can be revitalizing to move your body instead.
- If being all raw is too hard or expensive in the winter, revert to raw until dinner, while choosing healthy cooked alternatives for your last meal of the day.