why raw veganism isn’t doing you any favors (at this time of year).

I have had several clients apologize lately for not wanting salads and wanted to share something in this larger forum to touch one this.

1. Don't apologize for your food choices. To me, or anyone. Chances are, your choices aren't as 'bad' your internal voice tells you they are. Plus, eating for anyone's approval - or really, any reason apart from feeling your best - isn't sustainable. Something to keep in mind. :)

2. IT IS OKAY TO NOT WANT A SALAD AT THIS TIME OF YEAR. Especially if you live on the east coast (specifically in New York, where it's been minus 1000000 degrees for the last four months), it makes incredible sense that your body doesn't want cooling, crisp veggies. Not feeling drawn to these at this time of year is a terrific sign that your body is responding to its environment and craving something seasonally appropriate. 

If we think about this seasonally, raw, leafy, cooling foods make a bunch more sense in spring. Sprouts, leaves, and stems are highly detoxifying, lightening foods -- from a Macrobiotic perspective, these are incredibly health-supportive because they help break up months of heavier 'guck' sitting around in our bodies. We start to move more as it warms up, and these foods encourage internal movement and detoxification.

In winter, the body wants to be warm: that's why we bundle up! Eating cooked foods is like bundling up from the inside. Think of it this way:

The body has to work pretty hard to keep itself at a toasty 98 degrees. When it's cold outside, it has to work extra hard. Introducing cooling veggies makes this even more difficult. Plus, raw foods tend to be harder to digest. The body only has so many resources to allocate: it can either keep itself warm or it can digest properly, so many people actually experience a slowing in digestion during the winter. Add raw foods to the mix and digestion slows down even further.

Are you with me?

When we eat seasonally, the body has an easier time absorbing and utilizing the nutrients we ingest. More nutrients mean more useable fuel, which means a more efficiently-running system. When the body receives food it knows is in line with the season, it doesn't 'worry' that appropriate fuel is scarce. It won't go into panic mode and needlessly store everything we give it; instead, eating in line with nature reduces the body's stress response. (Not to mention that all that extra work to digest raw plant fiber can overtax the kidneys and adrenal glands, which are also associated with how we deal with stress.) Less stress = less sickness, and less sickness = more vibrant, thriving energy. 

The best way to give your body a break is by incorporating more cooked and warming foods, particularly grounding veggies and warming spices. These are our best bet for this time of year: they are easiest to breakdown,  they promote smooth digestion, and they add heat to body. 

We'll get back to the raw produce in spring... which seems to be coming soon! In the meantime, take a little pressure off yourself to eat a salad for every meal. Your body - and your brain - will be grateful. And warmer. :) 

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2 comments on “why raw veganism isn’t doing you any favors (at this time of year).
  1. Vanessa says:

    Super interesting and totally makes sense that our bodies wouldn’t be craving salads, but I didn’t know that they were also harder to digest in winter. Interesting!

    • amyheight says:

      It’s very much an ‘allocation of resources’ kind of situation. It can be a little kinder to the body to give it a break; plus, cooked veggies can be just incredibly yummy. :) Thank you for reading!

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  1. […] wrote this article early this year about raw food in winter and how cool foods don’t promote digestive health, generally. They slow […]

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