It's only natural that at this time of year what you put in your shopping basket is going to be very different to what you put in it during the summer. But what exactly IS good to buy and eat during the colder months when you want to eat raw but the fruit in the shops has never been less ripe and the salads somehow just seem too watery and unsubstantial? And how on earth do you avoid the classic raw foodie error of relying daily on the good ol' dried fruit and nuts combo which only ends up knocking you off balance, fills you up on too-sugary- too-fatty snack foods and never truly satisfies you?
For those of you now wondering what to put in your kitchen store cupboard and refrigerator now that the cold dark nights are well and truly here, this is for you.
You could be forgiven for thinking that step one might have been "buy your produce" and then gone on to detail what produce is best to buy at this time of year. Well, we will be getting to that, but experience tells me to start with the actual recipes that you want to be making, especially if you are new to this. Yes, there are definitely going to be some raw food groups that you are going to be leaning on more heavily than others, but there's no point in buying in lots of winter-friendly food and then wondering what on earth to do with it! So step 1 is indeed "Choose Your Recipes" and so I recommend that you pull out your raw recipe books, my Raw Food Made Simple Recipes if you own it, and also make full use of the internet and past eZines to find some great winter recipes that really appeal to you and that you feel 100% confident that you will want and be able to make. Your task here is to choose 10 really good "I want to make this" raw recipes that you can photocopy, put in a binder and keep in your kitchen both for the purpose of making the recipes and also for the purpose of compiling your shopping list. Naturally I want you to make sure that you choose recipes that you feel will be perfect for the time of year and climate, so yes, this likely means that you'll be eating heavier, probably more nut, seed and grain-based recipes, but so be it, this is all part of the diversity that can be experienced when you choose to eat more live natural foods.
Step 2: Create Your Shopping List
So what comes next is not a surprise! The second step is to go through those recipes you've selected and compile your shopping list from them so that you have everything you need. Very likely many if not most of the ingredients will be "dry" goods, that is things in packets, jars or shells, and of course there will also be the need to intentionally include a very generous amount of green leafy vegetables, if you've not already done so, together with a very healthy dose of other fresh stuff such as the classic tomatoes, bell peppers, avocadoes and other fresh raw favourites. When you're done, I'd like you to run your list through a quick check to make sure you have enough diversity in there (read: nutrition) - do this by checking out my list of raw food groups at therawfoodcoach.com.
Step 3: Warm Up Your Kitchen!
Whether you're eating all raw or more raw this winter, there's a good chance that you'll also need to tweak or revamp your kitchen to accommodate your changes. Mostly it will simply be a case of deciding which equipment you're going to be using more often and perhaps swapping some locations for practical reasons and ease of use, but if you're still new to raw foods and are going for it, then this might be the time to have your spring clean a bit early! Your criteria is simply to ask yourself "What 5 changes can I make to my kitchen this weekend that would really make my winter in the raw easier, tastier and more enjoyable?" and then do what's required. An example? Well, I tend to make a lot of smoothies in the summer but in winter tend to want vegetable juices a lot more, so I'll be swapping my Vita-Mix and Champion around, so that my juicer is nearer my sink as I'll be using it more often. I'm also much more drawn to sprouting in the winter so I'll be setting up a more active and easily accessible sprouting area within my kitchen so that I have some on the go all the time. Whatever 5 changes you commit to making, also bear in mind that any changes made are best done against a nice clean backdrop, so if there's any binning or donating to be done, now's the time to do it!
Step 4: Go Shopping
So, you now have your list and your kitchen is all geared up for the new foods and meals that it'll be seeing soon, now it's time to buy the stuff! Yes, I want you to buy what you set out to buy, but I also want you to keep your eyes and senses open to any other new foods that are on sale that you might never have seen or tried before. Now might be the time to try persimmons for the first time (also known as Sharon Fruit), or to have your first raw experiment with cranberries. Just be open to adding one or two surprise ingredients, just to see.
Step 5: Get To It!
Once back home with all your goodies it's time to stash everything away safely ready for using. This is the time to see if there's any way you could better use your space now that you have everything you need and can physically see the volume of it. For instance, do the cupboards need rearranging so that all the food is in one place or near corresponding equipment? Would your dried goods, now that there are more of them, be better located in your carousel (if you have one), rather than your pots and pans?
When you're done, it's time to choose your first recipe! Yes, you're actually going to make this happen! So, what's first up on this week's menu? You know you have to take action now!
© 2012 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.