Whether the weather be hot, or whether the weather be cold… if you’re new to eating raw foods chances are that you may occasionally miss warmed or hot foods, especially in the early days, and it may well be regardless of the temperature outside. Eating hot food is after all something most of us have done the majority of our life and have come to seem very “normal” and almost a pre-requisite to eating a “proper meal”. Funny when you think about it isn’t it?
Heating food also represents emotional warmth – think “bowl of hot soup”, or a “thick warming stew” and it’s not hard to see why we view hot food as a source of love and comfort.
There are a couple of ways you can warm your foods gently so that you don’t have to cook or boil them (and lose the nutritional value) but of course if you’re finding it really difficult to go without hot food then you should go more gently on yourself and not force yourself to eat salad huddled by the fire as I did once upon a time! By all means listen to your body and eat some hot food as and when you feel you need it.
Remember, this is a whole person approach and it is emphatically not about suffering or denial! This is about working with your body and giving it the space and time it needs to adjust according to its own wisdom. Over time as your body gets used to a new way of eating you will find that your desire for hot foods will become less and less until you reach the point where cooked and hot food tastes really quite strange and almost repulsive. (This process took about 3–4 British winters for me, so we’re not talking overnight.)
Ways to Warm
1) The first way to warm your food is to heat it gently in a dehydrator before serving. This can take an hour or two to have any real effect, but can be enough to make all the difference. This method is better suited to heavier foods, such as pizzas, lasagnes, burgers etc.
2) The second method is good for liquids in particular, especially soups. Simply boil some water, allow it to cool a little, then pour it into a large bowl and sit the bowl of your raw soup or other food/liquid inside the larger water-filled bowl, making sure that the water doesn’t come up too high at the sides, or spill into your food!
Both these methods can warm your food up in literal ways, but there are also ways of creating recipes that have a warming effect on your body, as taught in Chinese medicine.
In Chinese medicine it is taught that foods have different energies, ranging from cold to neutral to hot. Raw fruits and vegetables are said to possess cool energy. It is said that their over-consumption can result in symptoms such as chilliness, mucous, fatigue and depletion, love of heat, abdominal pain, poor appetite, and bloating after meals. Cold water and other chilled foods also contribute to this energy (not surprisingly!).
In terms of grading foods from most cool to most warm, the food chain looks like this:
Fruit > Vegetables > Roots, Tubers & Grains > Seeds > Nuts > Dairy, Seafood, Meat
So, if you thought raw food equals cold food, then think again!
By consciously choosing the more warming foods and ingredients in meals or recipes (see the list below) you can generate more of that warming energy that fruits will not give you. Or you could make warm teas using the more warming herbs and spices. Herbal teas are a lovely way to transition away from hot foods in a slow but sure way – you still get some heat in your hands and your body but in small amounts and not through food; I found this approach worked very well for me.
The final advice for keeping warm is to ensure that you are eating adequate fat and protein, as these are important sources of heat and energy. So this means more vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouted foods and grains, which shouldn’t be so hard to do when you’re eating a well-balanced raw food diet anyway.
THE FOODS THAT ARE SAID TO HAVE A WARMING ENERGY ARE:
- Sunflower seeds
- Fresh Ginger
- Black pepper
- Red pepper
- Mustard greens
- Pine nuts
Black and white pepper, ginger, garlic, cayenne, walnuts, green onions, and chili peppers are particularly warm and stimulating.
© 2011 Karen Knowler WOULD YOU LIKE TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR ON YOUR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Karen Knowler, The Raw Food Coach publishes "Successfully Raw" - a free weekly eZine for raw food lovers everywhere. If you're ready to look good, feel great and create a raw life you love get your FREE tips, tools and recipes now at www.TheRawFoodCoach.com.