Staying Nourished with Living Foods in Winter

It tends to be far easier to eat an abundance of raw food in the summer time when all you really crave is salad, smoothies and fruit eaten outdoors underneath sun-kissed skies. When Autumn begins to roll in and the mornings are crisp and fresh and the days begin to shorten, you tend to crave hearty soups and heavier foods that will warm and comfort you.

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Chinese and Indian medicine both speak of the importance of warming food in the diet. These ancient medicines follow guidelines that stoke the digestive fire and use heating herbs and spices, as well as predominately cooked food, to create balance in the body and ward off illness and infection. Chinese and Indian practitioners determine an individual’s health in terms of their very own unique make up or constitution, and create a diet, exercise and wellness regime based around the elements of earth, fire, air and water, that takes into account every aspect of that person from their breakfast to their digestion to the colour of their tongue. These medicines are centuries old and rich in both knowledge and practice.

Raw food comes from an entirely different line of thought. Raw foodists focus on the energy that is contained in living food and the way in which raw food is abundant in enzymes that enable food to be digested by itself, rather than robbing the body of enzymes or energy otherwise needed for digestion. Raw food is seen as being specifically medicinal and life-giving in itself- it is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants- nutrients that are not tampered with nor obliterated when heated or cooked. Raw foodists claim to get sick very little, if at all, have abundant energy, excellent sleep patterns, strong digestion and vitality in general.

With these varied approaches to health, all one can really do is take all of the information on board and then see what works best for one’s own body and constitution. You certainly don’t need to eat 100% raw food all year around. It is wonderful to be able to listen to what feel right for you.

It is also great to keep in mind though if you are striving to keep up a good intake of raw food in your diet all year round, the best trick is to add plenty of warming spices into your food to give you that internal fire. Spices such as chilli and cayenne are obviously wonderful, but other warming spices include cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, turmeric, cardamon, paprika and more. Try playing around with these spices in your food and see how they feel for you. The recipes below are mostly raw but have the option of being served warm or at room temperature. Give them a try and see for yourself how vibrant and nourishing living foods can be- even in winter!

Soothing Chai Smoothie-

This recipe for a Chai smoothie is one of my absolute favourites as the weather begins to cool. I also like to make it with pear instead of banana or even persimmon too. I still like to use frozen bananas for the texture and consistency, but by all means use ripe fresh bananas if you don’t want that frosty hit!

Ingredients-

  • 1 banana
  • 1 small ripe pear
  • 1 cup of non dairy milk such as almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon of tahini
  • 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon of cardamon
  • ¼ teaspoon of powdered ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon of fresh ginger
  • a dash of freshly grated nutmeg

Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy. Taste to see of you need to add any additional spices or sweetener.

Pour into a glass and scatter with coconut and cinnamon. Enjoy!

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Carrot, Apple and Morning  Spice Porridge:

This is a raw version of traditional cooked porridge, however if you would like is as a warm meal, simply make this recipe as follows below and warm it gently on the stove top before serving.

Ingredients-

  • 1 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat groats soaked overnight, strained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1 grated carrot
  • 1 grated apple
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons coconut nectar
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 2 table spoons of goji berries
  • 1/4 cup desiccated coconut

Place the quinoa flakes, strained buckwheat, almond milk, carrot, apple and spices in a blender or food processor and pulse gently several times until the mixture comes together but it still quite chunky and thick in consistency.

Transfer this mixture to a bowl and add the coconut nectar, pumpkin seeds, goji berries and coconut and stir well.

Have a taste to make sure it is sweet enough for you ( I use very little sweetener, usually 1/2 a teaspoon or none at all, but it is nicer a little sweeter!) and then serve with an extra scattering of cinnamon and coconut.

If you do wish to enjoy this warm, simply transfer to a saucepan and simmer gently over a low heat, adding a teaspoon of coconut oil so the mixture comes together nicely.

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Vibrant Warm Pumpkin Soup-

The ingredients in this soup are predominantly raw but the pumpkin is steamed so that when you blend the soup, the result is a beautiful warm soup with the added vitality of all the fresh raw ingredients- it is perfect for winter!

Ingredients-

  • 2 cups of steamed pumpkin (reserve one cup of the hot water to blend)
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 5 sun dried tomatoes plus ½-1 cup of the soak water
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon curry
  • 1 teaspoon Italian herbs
  • 1/4 bunch basil
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 1 spring onion
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 fresh date
  • ½ an avocado

Blend all ingredients together until smooth and creamy using enough of the warm water from the steamed pumpkin to reach your desired consistency. I like mine quick thick so I only add enough to blend it through.

Season to your desired taste and enjoy!

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