Wellness

How to Stay Raw-some in Winter PLUS a Recipe from Raw Ambition

By Eileen Sims - 08 Aug 2014

If I say 'Raw Food', chances are you're thinking carrots and celery, a side salad, or perhaps you're in the dessert camp, given you can grab a slice of something nice in many places these days, and a jolly good thing that is, too.

My take on raw is slightly different. For starters, I'm not mad for salad in winter – well, only certain kinds of salad packed with warming herbs and spices. I also eat my food warm – but generally not above 46deg C where it technically becomes 'cooked' and many vital nutrients are lost.

I don't consider 'Raw' a religion; I simply think we should have more of it. Plant based foods in general have been shown to have many health advantages (better overall health, digestion, skin, longer life – that will do for starters!) and raw foods, well they are even closer to nature and all her goodness.

It might seem a tall order but keeping a good level of raw food through winter is important. Your immune system is taking a hammering, meaning you need to extract maximum nutrition from your food.

Here are my top tips to keep up the raw food in the cooler months.

Smoothies Rule

This is the best way to get a big whack of nutrients in and kick start your day. BUT, you do not need a lump of ice sitting in your tummy first thing in the morning, all that will do is kill your digestive fire and make it harder to digest. So, room temperature all the way! Include super ripe bananas, defrost your berries or use a combo of seasonal fruit, add ginger and turmeric or a pinch of cinnamon,  use warm water, pop in any supplements you favour: I love Maca in winter as an all 'round tonic. I don't add greens because I juice them instead – too many greens in a smoothie can be very hard to digest.

Add Your Veggies Last

If you're making a cooked dish like a dhal for example, add a bunch of raw veggies at the very end, things like finely chopped kale, broccoli, spinach, julienned carrot, capsicum, and just stir through off the heat. This way they are slightly wilted and warmed through but not 'cooked'; probably not entirely raw either but better than having the living daylights removed.

Eat the Fat

Keeping up our intake of essential fatty acids is really important in winter; we expend a lot of energy keeping warm, not to mention the hard time we give our skin with weather and air conditioning stressors. Eat avocados, olives, bananas, almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and my favourite, especially in a smoothie, coconut oil. This is the best oil on the planet, as long as it's raw, not bleached, hydrogenated or refined. It contains Medium Chain Triglycerides which your body preferentially burns for energy (hence body builders use it to lean off) but leaves behind some wonderful fatty acids to help replenish and repair. I also wear it all over!

Warm not Cold

If you're eating above body temperature, you're warming the body. I fully recommend having a dehydrator. I can warm up my raw breads and pizzas, make raw burgers and crackers, create pates and slow cooked veggie casseroles and take the chill off a salad if that's what I'm craving. I also make soup, usually fresh coconut based; I'll warm it up in the dehydrator for 20 minutes. I also include many warming herbs and spices such as ginger, turmeric, cloves and cinnamon, and of course, to really heat things up, cayenne, chilli and my absolute favourite warmer, chipotle pepper – which is a smoked Jalapeno powder and is something I use a good deal of.

Enjoy Some 'Comfort Foods'

I'm of the belief that winter should be a time to hibernate, just a little and comfort feed yourself, just a little. Trouble is, many of the desserts we've traditionally eaten can be rough on our digestion and not leave behind any meaningful nutrients. Well, no more! Check out this delicious Chocolate Caramel Mousse Cake exclusively for TUL readers!

AND.... A Raw Recipe for Chocolate Caramel Mousse Cake



This baby guarantees to satisfy winter cravings and quell any guilty conscience at the same time!

You will need:

1 spring form cake tin with removable bottom
Some baking paper
A Food Processor
A High-speed blender
A Personal blender – if you have one, not essential

The Base
1 Cup Brazil Nuts
1 Cup Almonds or Dried Almond Meal
1 Cup Coconut
½ Teaspoon Vanilla Powder
Pinch of Salt
About 15 Medjool Dates

The Filling
3 Cups of Cashews, Soaked Overnight
¾ Cup Coconut Nectar
1 Cup Coconut Water or Almond Milk
1 Cup Coconut Oil, Melted
½ Teaspoon Vanilla Powder
Pinch of Salt

The Chocolate Sauce
½ Cup Coconut Nectar
½ Cup Coconut Oil
4 Tablespoons Cacao Powder
½ Teaspoon Vanilla Powder
¼ Teaspoon Salt
About 2 Tablespoons Warm Water

To Finish
Some Cacao Nibs
Some Grated Raw Chocolate

Method:

The Base
•    Line the bottom of the tin with baking paper.
•    Process all the dry base ingredients and the add the dates one by one (make sure you take the stones out!) Medjool dates are the best as they are nice and soft; harder dates will just clump up and not help stick the base together. When the mixture begins to fall off the sides of the food processor, it is ready to press into the base of the pan.

The Filling
•    Melt the coconut oil gently (melt the coconut oil for the chocolate sauce at the same time).
•    Blend everything in a high-speed blender except the coconut oil. Add this slowly and make sure the mixture is really smooth and creamy.
•    Pour half the mixture onto the base and prepare the chocolate sauce.

The Chocolate Sauce
•    Blend all the ingredients together in a personal/mini blender, or you could whisk everything by hand. It needs to be quite liquid, more than the main filling.
•    Pour in a swirling motion around the filling and swirl a little more with a cake pin or chopstick.
•    Pour the rest of the mixture in and create another swirl around the top.
•    Pop your creation into the freezer overnight or for at least 4 hours.

Assembly:

•    Take from freezer and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours.
•    Remove from tin and set onto a plate.
•    Sprinkle cacao nibs around the outside and grate a little Raw Chocolate across the top, making sure you can still see your pretty swirls.
 

Eileen Sims runs Raw Ambition, empowering people to include more raw foods through classes, retreats, catering and a soon to be opened B&B in Geelong. Eileen is an Ironman triathlete and committed raw foodie with plenty of stellar training under her belt.

Image Credits: Carolyn West, The Urban List.

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