How should raw vegans and vegans alike stay warm during the winter?
1. Mind the Thermal qualities of foods.
Foods can help to warm or cool the body. There is also a neutral classification (charts can be found online). You may wonder how raw vegans stay warm during the winter. Well, thanks to the Chinese, there is research about warming and cooling foods and their effects on the body. Warming foods include many iron-rich foods, which I will talk more about later.
Some warming foods (with suggestions) are:
Fennel--you can roast the bulbs, juice them, or add to salads. They will keep you looking young, too!
basil-can't go wrong adding it to marinara, pesto, fruit smoothie, juices, detox waters, or basil lemonade
carob--vegan chocolate powder. Great to add to smoothies or desserts for a chocolate flavor. You can also make hot chocolate with it!
cumin-- I love it on just about everything
chives--again, easy to add to soups and salads
cinnamon--smoothies, desserts, oatmeal, curry
coriander (cilantro)--guacamole, soup, rice dishes
dates and most dried fruits--snacks, smoothies, casseroles
dill--wonderful flavor addition to salads and dressings
garlic--curry, pesto, marinara, dressings. Garlic really makes everything taste awesome, but be careful to not consume too much because most garlic have pesticides and it also can break down the lining of the stomach with regular High levels of consumption. Good alternatives are shallots, red onion or yellow onion, and leeks
ginger--be sure to eat this raw! It takes some getting used to, but I simple peel a big piece, cut it into "fries" and eat them in the morning and at night
leeks--very easy to get in by incorporating into soups and salads.
mustard greens--blanched with shallots yum!
nuts--smoothies, salads. Be sure to always soak your nuts. This wakes them up and gets rid of extra toxins inside of them. Proper soaking times can be found online.
oats--oatmeal ideally should be consumed without sugar, but if you must have something, choose chopped bananas, dates, or dried fruit
onion--great in cooked and raw soups and salads. I go through several onions a week.
papaya--these are usually GMO. But if you can find a non-gmo one, great! I can't eat them alone, so I usually blend with bananas and/or pineapple.
parsley--great for Mediterranean style food. I also like it juiced in v8 type juice recipes
parsnips--love these roasted but also taste great raw & shredded
pepper (all types)-- you can even put cayenne pepper in your socks to warm up!
quinoa--stuffed peppers, soups, sprouted
Rosemary--great addition to roasted root veggies, pizza, and savory pies
Seeds (chia, mustard, hemp, sunflower)--these should be soaked as well like nuts. Very versatile in the kitchen.
horseradish--what wasabi is made of. Great for respiratory system. Ever tried horseradish mustard?
watercress--great addition to soup and salad. Flavor comparable to arugula.
wild rice--steamed or sprouted
2. Eat Iron rich foods
Iron helps to produce oxygen for red blood cells, therefore, it helps regulate body temperature by allowing the metabolism to work properly. To make sure your body absorbs iron, you must eat it with vitamin C. Luckily, cruciferous vegetables have both iron and vitamin C, so you don't have to worry about vitamin C addition.
Vegan friendly iron-rich foods include:
Brussels sprouts--tastes great raw or cooked. You can shred them, lightly massage, and add cranberries and fresh mustard. I think it's pretty good.
raisins--great oatmeal topping
dried peaches & apricots--dried fruits have more iron because the water has been removed making them have a smaller mass, which means more iron can fit into a smaller space, making the iron quantity higher
raw pumpkin seeds--when you're carving that pumpkin, stick the seeds in a dehydrator. I avoid roasting because it lowers iron content, though roasted pumpkin seeds still have some iron
non GMO soy beans & tofu--about 95% of the worlds tofu is gmo, so I avoid eating it. But some vegans and vegetarians are tofu lovers and it definitely will keep your iron high
pinto beans--love these and they are great alone or added to salads. Wonderful looking legumes (beans should also undergo the soaking process mentioned above)
arugula--delightful peppery flavor. Easy to blend into smoothies, add to soups, or base of salads
collard greens--steam and season. Simple
tahini--this is blended sesame seeds. Typically an ingredient in hummus. Can also taste great drizzled on salad. Makes a nice quick salad dressing mixed with lemon juice and coconut nectar
thyme--love it on just about everything. Add onto pizza or pasta or roasted root veggies
black beans--goes great alone or with potatoes or make black bean quesadillas with lots of peppers if your up to it
brown rice--great source of fiber and good carbohydrates. Easy to have with all fruits and vegetables
juiced prunes--yes, you should invest in a juicer. You are able to have fresh untampered and raw juice in practically no time. And when you do invest in one, know that less than 50% of the vitamins are actually in your juice--the rest is in the pulp. So, use the pulp in cooking. If you're not ready to use it right away, put it in a plastic bag in the freezer. You can add to stews,soups, sauces, and breads. It also makes a great treat for the compost if you're into gardening!
oatmeal--simple, quick, yummy, very warming. Love it with cinnamon and dark chocolate.
potatoes--steam and then bake to make crispy French fries. So delicious. Make sure you're buying vegan potatoes and preferably local. They are now shooting potatoes up with animal derived DNA to accomplish a longer shelf life. Watch out! Always have an eye open.
molasses--you can drizzle this over oranges to make sure you have vitamin c with it. You can also put it into fresh orange juice or lemonade. You can put it in oatmeal or on pancakes (have a glass of OJ!) Or take it straight!
cooked Lima beans--never eat these raw. They are actually quite toxic.
black eyed peas--I love them with okra, onions, and tomatoes (tomatoes provide the vitamin c).
broccoli--broccoli has vitamin C and iron! Wham, bam, thank you, broccoli
raw kale--be sure to massage your kale with some vitamin c to help break it down. It can be a bit difficult for your body to break down. Try massaging with fresh lemon juice and sea salt to retain the nutrients.
dark chocolate--who could say no? I enjoy Green and Black's brand. You can also eat cacao powder in smoothies or make your own raw chocolate
sunflower seeds--great on salads, raw crackers, and breads. Try sprouting them :)
peas--anything goes. Try sprouting them :)
watercress--stated above. **Has more iron than spinach and more calcium than milk**
Lightly cooked spinach--cooked spinach has higher levels of iron than raw. Always remember to Eat optimally.
3. Eat for thyroid function.
A proper thyroid function is also pertinent to body temperature regulation. Your thyroid is responsible for your metabolic rate, therefore, it deals with energy levels, brain function, thermoregulation, and weight regulation.
Foods good for proper thyroid function:
flax seeds (omega 3s)--most people have an omega 3:6 ratio imbalance. They consume way too many 6s and not enough 3s. It is very important to balance this ratio in order to have proper weight maintenance. Omega 6s are found in cereals, breads, chicken, and some nuts. 3s are found in flax seeds, walnuts, broccoli, and chia seeds.
nuts (selenium)--yes, nuts are high in fat, but should be eaten regularly by everyone. "Nuts make you fat" is a myth. I eat nuts every day, and I don't see fat. Nuts provide good fats for the brain and act as natural antidepressants. Your brain is 67% fat, replenish the fat!
whole grain foods (fiber)--rice, whole wheat if you're not gluten intolerant, oats, etc. there are so many gluten free pastas on the market. My favorite is Tinkyada brown rice pasta; if you can have gluten and live in the little rock area, Sophie's Stand of Hot Springs Vends at the Hillcrest Farmers Market on Saturdays 8-12--she now carries vegan pasta as well as gluten-free/vegan pasta! :)
Local fresh fruits and vegetables--come on, guys, they're great for everything! Usually all high in fiber, natural sugars, vitamin c, and metabolism boosters. Please try dates--they're great for everyone.
seaweed & watercress (iodine)--*iodine should only be consumed by those with a thyroid function at a low rate (hypothyroidism) or have had their thyroid removed. And only eat iodine high foods if you are not taking an iodine supplement* those with hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid, which is very rare in today's world, should not have high levels of iodine.
beans (protein, antioxidants, complex carbs, vitamins, and minerals).
**Side note and discussion**
It has been brought to my attention recently that some don't consider seaweed to be vegan. I am now rethinking my stance on this, but for the time being, I still have "seafood" in my pantry. The argument is: since the algae is a living food in the sea, it is meant for sea life to eat, not land life (humans). Does the act of harvesting sea vegetables throw off the natural ecosystem? Is it doing the least amount of harm! which is the key of veganism? Let me know your thoughts, please.
4. Mind these 4 tips:
-Know that drinking hot drinks will actually make you colder, not warmer. Go for room temp or slightly cold.
-Drinking alcohol does not actually make you warmer, it gives you the illusion of being warmer while weakening your immune system.
-Don't eat processed sugar--it does nothing but spike blood sugar levels and distract your body from functioning properly
-And keep in mind that during the winter, you burn more calories because your body tries harder to warm itself. Eat more (and better)!