How to Stay Raw in the Winter and Rich Frothy Hot Cacao Recipe


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Winter is on its way and I have been asked frequently for suggestions on how to stay raw in the winter. Eating raw food in the winter is definitely a little more challenging than in the summer and I feel like I have this one down. I have helped others and I myself have stayed 100% raw through many Canadian winters and so, I have some great tips and strategies to share.

First we’ll delve into..  (but don’t worry, I will keep it brief and the upside is going to outweight these!)

The Downside of Staying Raw in the Winter

Local produce is harder to get, and more often it is frozen, not fresh.

We need extra energy to keep our bodies active in the cold.

Our body temperature is slightly lower when eating raw foods than when we eat cooked, so we really need to find ways to warm up! Now, the good news..

The Upside of Eating Raw in the Winter:

Eating raw foods will keep your immune system thriving through the winter. This is especially noticable during cold and flu season when co-workers, friends and family are sniffling away.

Many people equate eating raw foods with eating cold foods, and this is not necessarily the case. You can heat your food, up to 115 degrees, which is very warm. Think of the heat of a jacuzzi. These are really quite hot, and if it’s not too hot to harm your body, generally it’s not too hot to harm the vital enzymes in your food.

When you eat raw, your arteries clear up and circulation improves. It is quite remarkable, and people who have been raw for longer periods (generally over a year) often do not feel the cold or heat as much as the average person as their body regulates itself more efficiently and naturally.

About Transitioning to Raw and Detoxing

This guide is more for the new raw foodist, or semi raw foodist. Feeling cold when eating raw is more of a transitional issue. When you start eating raw your body is generally detoxing a lot and when you are releasing toxins often you get an uncomfortable cold feeling. It is a part of the detoxing and healing process. This is temporary and you will feel warmer over time, by your second winter raw. However for your first winter eating raw, you are usually detoxing and so will be feeling the cold.

The best news is there are lots of strategies to help you feel warm and get through it. These tips are also great for people who eat partly raw, and they are great for everyone to help stay warm in the winter!


That’s me from last winter. We get a lot of snow! ..and how appropriate, as I am typing this, little white flakes are starting to fall outside.. maybe it’ll be our first snowfall!

Now, let’s go in, get warm and I’ll share some strategies to help you stay eating raw in the winter successfully! ..and let’s make some rich and frothy hot cacao too! (recipe below)


My Best Tips for Staying Raw in the Winter

#1 Tip – Heat your food

It’s a misconception that eating raw food means eating cold food! You can eat warm foods when eating raw. Most people eating cooked food actually cool down their food to about 110 degrees before they eat it. You can heat foods up to this point, which is a healthy temperature for eating them anyway. Get a system that works for you to heat your food without overheating it. Remember, if it’s not too hot for your body, it’s not too hot for your food.

How to tell if it’s hot?  Use a thermometer, or do the finger touch test. If it’s not too hot for your finger it is not too hot to destry the vital enzymes that are the magic of raw foods, and which keep it’s life force energy intact. You can actually heat foods up quite warm without destroying enzymes.

Ways to heat your food up

  1. My go-to strategy is to set my bowl over a pot of water. I have a bowl that just sits over the edge of a pot and works well. A double boiler is perhaps even better to use and I often use one if I am making food for more people. It’s a very easy system when you get used to it. Heating over hot water is a slower more thorough way of heating that trying to do it directly on a burner. If you try to heat in a pot on a burner it is more likely, unless you  are very careful and watch and stir constantly, that you will overheat some parts, like the bottom closer to the element. 
  2. If you are making a soup, sauce or beverage, add hot water to it to heat it  as you are making it.
  3. Place your food on a plate and set it into the dehydrator for 15 to 20 minutes before eating. This will heat up your meal without destroyng any beneficial enzymes. Tip: spread your food out on your plate and keep it at an even height so that it warms evenly.

Eat foods that naturally warm you up

Soups. You can heat many entrees and dishes, but get to know some great soup recipes!  Soups are really satiating and comforting. Here are a few favorites to try:
Creamy Tomato Thai Soup
Butternut Squash Soup
Creamy Miso Noodle Soup
Tomato Soup
Green Goddess Spinach Herb Soup

Spices. Eat spices and foods that are naturally warming, such as cayenne, paprika, cinnamon, star anise, ginger, garlic and black pepper. These spices warm you from within. Add some cinnamon and cayenne to a cup of hot cacao! The most comforting, warming winter drink ever!

Hot drinks. Drink tea and hot beverages like apple cider. Mmm!! Learn how to make Hot Cacao, an awesome winter beverage. See recipe below!

More Food Tips and Srategies

Avoid using ice cubes or frozen fruit in your green smoothies. If you must use frozen fruit, and many of us do, defrost it first. You can set frozen fruit in a bowl ,covered, on the counter the night before for your morning green smoothie. An alternative is to dehydrate or set the fruit in a warm oven for a bit first.

Eat carbs! Your body is calling for carbs during the winter. Your metabolism increases in the cold weather and it is easier to lose that extra layer of fat many of us, especially women, tend to have. Salads are less appealing in the winter because our body is crying out for calories and carbs. It is carbohydrates that really give you more energy.

80/20. This may not be an option for you, but many people add a little healthy cooked foods in during the winter and follow an 80/20 rule, that is 80 per cent raw foods and 20 per cent cooked. This is a general ratio/rule and sometimes adding a little cooked will help you stay on the raw path, and not jump ship, in the coldest part of winter. Although, this can be a slippery slope, so decide for yourself if this is a good option for you. I avoided this for my first several years, but many can do this and find it works for them. If you think this is for you, consider adding a couple healthy alternatives such as Manna bread, usually found in the freezer section of most health food stores, or an Essene sprouted bread. Manna Bread is claimed to be cooked at low temperatures, but I don’t think it could actually be considered raw. A slice with some almond butter in the morning is very filling and a healthy compromise. Steamed or cooked vegetables in a salad is also very comforting and still very healthy.

Eat lots of fruit that has been grown in the sunshine. This is one way of gettting the nutrients and light energy from the sun, by eating fruits that have it stored in them. They will make you feel energetic and more positive. Fruits also contain abundant nutrients that keep your immune system strong.

Eat root vegetables. Root vegetables, like carrots, sweet potatoes, squash and beets are high in carbs and they are also naturally grounding. In the winter we are less in contact with the earth and eating these root vegetables naturaly grounds us and makes us feel more balanced. They are also filling and comforting.

Eat grains. It is strange to hear myself saying that, because I really tend to stay away from them for the most part. However, in the winter, one exception that I will make is for oats. I find oats to be warming and satiating. One recipe that is wonderful in the winter is my Apple Cinnamom Oatmeal. If you make it the night before , it’s ready in the morning and it’s awesome! You can even warm it up using the techniques described above, but however you eat this it will leave you feeling warm, full and happy with lots of energy for your day.

Other awesome grains? Quinoa and bucwheat. Ok, buckwheat is actually not even a grain; it’s a seed! But it is warming!  Recipes: Nori Rolls with Sprouted Quinoa and Sprouted Buckwheat Pizza Crust. Also when you sign up for my newsletter I have a free e-book with 20 of my favorite raw recipes. There is an awesome breakfast recipe in there, Chia Energy Cereal, that is my favorite right now, and it has buckwheat in it!

Sign up to get my newsletter and free book here! (note: the free book is just being released this Sunday)

Get dehydrating! Sometimes it is hard to eat all the calories that our bodies need on a raw diet, especially in the winter. Dehydrated foods are denser and contain more calories, and so they are more filling, satiating and comforting. Learn how to make flax crackers, granola, cookies and make sure to have some of these foods on hand.

 Heat your dishes

Heat your bowls, plates and cups before using them. Restaurants know this little trick and do it all the time. Sometimes we don’t think of the little things but once you get in the habit of doing this you will see that it’s a little touch that makes a big difference in keeping foods and beverages warmer longer. It also feels more comforting on the hands, to the touch, and psychologically makes you feel warmer. Think of a drink in a cold cup on a winters day – not so appealing. But holding onto a nice hot cup instantly makes you feel warm and happy. It’s a little thing that makes a big difference!

You can dehydrate or heat dishes in a warm oven but the quickest and easiest way is to run them under hot water for for a few seconds first. If you fill a mug with hot water, you can just let it sit with the hot water in it while you prepare your beverage. Pour out the water and pour in your drink and the cup is toasty warm for you.



More lifestyle tips to keep you warmed up

Take hot baths and pamper yourself!  A hot bath can get your body temperature up in about 5 minutes and can make you feel hot from the inside out. They are amazing.

Epsom salt baths are detoxifying and relax your muscles as well as nourish your body with much needed (by virtually all of us) magnesium. An epsom salt or aromatherapy bath is very complimentary to the alkalizing, healing properties of the raw food lifestyle and perfect to warm you up n a cold winter day. Read more about therapy baths here.

Layer up! Wear more layers. Treat yourself to a big snuggly blanket to wrap around you reading. Wear nice warm layers and comfy socks.

Put cayenne pepper in your socks and gloves. (ok, I still have not tried this, but I keep hearing it works. Have you ever tried it?)

and finally, of course..  Exercise!

For more tips, check out my post How to Eat Raw – Tips to Get You Started

Now let’s make some Hot Cacao!


Hot cacao recipe and How to stay raw in the winter


Rich and Frothy Hot Cacao Recipe

1 cup Almond Milk
¼ cup Cacao powder
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 tsp Cinamon
Optional: a dash of nutmeg, star anise and/or cayenne – to really warm you up inside!

Add a half cup very hot water to the rest of ingredients in a blender jar. Sometimes I boil water and then let it cool down some before adding. Blend for a minute until frothy and warm. Pour into a pre-heated cup and dust with a sprinkling of cinnamon. Delicious!!


Cheers, to a happy, healthy and warm winter!


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