I know there are lots of raw-food enthusiasts who encourage a 100% raw-vegan and even fruitarian diet all year-round. Of course many of them live in Florida, Costa Rica, and Southern California and do not experience the winters that those of us nearer the other pole do!
I can only speak from my experience. As someone who has been living this way for ten years, what I have found is that eating all raw and even juice-fasting throughout the cold months, while certainly doable, requires enormous discipline (discipline that is not always necessary for cellular cleansing and improvement).
It’s true, some of my best and longest fasts have been in December, but it took all I had to commit to them. (As most fasters know, it’s those first 24 to 48 hours of the fast that are the most difficult. After that, if you’re keeping your intestine cleared of the accumulated and awakened rubbish and by-products, each day gets easier and easier.) In addition, there are a handful of days each winter when I eat only winter fruits, bananas, and dried fruits, but they usually come as a need for yin after too much yang.
Typically, given my druthers, what I want to eat in the cold months are not fruits but vegetables—big, raw, leafy green salads with chunky, hearty vegetables and raw goat cheese, some baked beets or steamed spinach, and a little dark chocolate for dessert. We also eat out a lot in the winter, so I can enjoy my favorite vegetable-centric meals in restaurants.
For me, the cold winter months are made bearable with lots of good lovin’, food I actually desire, and plenty of fun (as well as my beloved infrared sauna). Quality time with family and good friends and festive nights out enjoying some great red wine are my sources of warmth. I don’t consider myself weak because I pepper my winter with such pleasures. Rather, I just respect my natural cycles and what works for me. Those things transform the cold and drab seasons into an inviting, enjoyable passage. Along with that, I look forward to the Cerignola and Castelvetrano olives that I get at my gourmet store and organic, long-stemmed carrots. These are all part of my daily feasting.
What I’m getting at is that all things are cyclical. Much as I love the vegetable-centric meals, goat cheese, chocolate, and wine in the cold months and find “fruit nights” a less satisfying choice, I find that, come the warmer temperatures, the opposite happens. Without any prompting, I desire fruit meals over vegetable meals. I choose date balls and dried figs for dessert over chocolate, and have only the rare desire for wine. In the warmer months, I crave fruits, fruit-based soups, frozen-banana-carob milkshakes topped with cinnamon and shredded coconut, and avocado salads—while things like goat cheese, chocolate, and wine feel dense and acidic* most days (I still want them from time to time, but usually with the addition of lots of cucumber and cherry tomatoes or salsa in the salads to make them more “fruity” and refreshing). Wine, cheese, and chocolate are still on the scene, but less so—they are more my go-to staples when I’m eating out or entertaining guests. In short, the meals that serve me best in fall and winter are different from those that serve me best in spring and summer. It’s an intuitive thing, not a strict “by the nutritional book” thing.
I have found it serves me well to trust, embrace, and respect the seasons of life in all aspects. I’ve learned after all these years to go with the flow. If I’m really honest with myself, I will be fully aware if I’m on a slippery slope of devitalized vegetables or too much wine or chocolate, or even overeating. If I am honest with myself, I will gravitate toward what will truly satisfy me, what I truly want, in both body and spirit. This also ensures change and variety, even if there is a lot of repetition during the course of each season. The repetition will eventually make way for a shift that will bring a different sort of repetition, but there is nothing wrong with some repetition if it springs from genuine desire and intuition.
Here’s another bit of food for thought: Any of the foods discussed in this diet-lifestyle are fine as long as we enjoy them correctly—that is, in the right combinations, with plenty of fresh, raw juices to keep the system alkaline, and while paying respectful attention to intestinal cleanliness to keeping yeast colonies at bay, as needed.
Acknowledging the wisdom of our relationship with the seasons and understanding the nuances of the “petri dish” of the human body are two excellent guideposts we can use to make sure we never veer too far off course and consistently progress.
So, without further ado, here’s what I’m eating now…
Now that the weather has warmed up, I find that all I want are juicy fruits and fruit soups or salsa-guacamole-style green salads. Here are two meals I’m just LOVING these days:
DINNER #1: THE FRUITY DINNER
(Note: this meal is not for those who are battling yeast issues.)
2 to 3 Fuji apples (I know apples are out of season, but I have been chomping at the bit for them!)
The Spring Cell Cleanse (my amazing new fruit soup):
2 cups fresh pineapple, cubed
5 ounces fresh, organic baby spinach
1 cup organic alfalfa sprouts
2-3 dried, organic Turkish figs
½ medium Hass avocado (ready to eat but not overripe)
5 frozen strawberries, or a couple of ice cubes instead if needed (used to keep the mixture from warming while blending)
1-2 cups of water (to blend)
stevia to taste (use sparingly, as the soup is naturally pretty sweet, but I sometimes add a little stevia for extra sweetness)
Blend in a high-speed blender until smooth. Makes approximately 5 cups. Some nights I eat it all; other nights it’s too much. Use your intuition to gauge the right amount for you.
2-4 dried, organic Turkish figs
1 container of Salud-brand macaroons (about 7 macaroons per container)
These macaroons are stunning, made with only coconut, honey, and spring water. They are not a raw product, but they are lighter and a “quicker exit” macaroon than any I have found in the raw marketplace (the raw ones either have coconut oil, nuts, or both, making them very heavy). I get them at Health Nuts in my neighborhood in New York City. They are also carried by Health n’ Harmony in Manhattan (and probably several other store locations I’m unaware of). Salud is based in Brooklyn and their macaroons can be ordered by calling 347-295-1191.
Our brilliant Chef Doris has undertaken the challenge of outdoing Salud—so watch out, Salud! She aimed to create a rendition of macaroons that uses half the amount of honey that Salud uses, supplementing with NuNaturals stevia, to reduce the yeast-feeding component. She has come up with a brilliant rendition, and I’m encouraging her to package them for purchase, so stay tuned!
DINNER #2: THE COOL SOUTHWESTERN
To start: a bunch of Cerignola and Castelvetrano olives and yummy, organic, long-stemmed carrots with green tops (No, I don’t eat the green tops, but these carrots taste the best, and the greens hanging off the ends make me feel like Bugs Bunny!)
The Cool Southwestern Salad:
8 ounces mixed greens with herbs (by Earthbound Farms; or make your own by adding cilantro, dill, and parsley to some tender baby greens) ½ cup of the best quality guacamole you can find (or make your own)
1 medium Hass avocado, diced
1 cup Green Mountain Gringo-brand mild salsa
2/3 cup fresh cucumber, diced
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Juice of 2 lemons
NuNaturals stevia to taste
Enjoy the amount that feels right to you. You can mix the remainder into your next salad—just pop it on top of fresh greens and watch it come to life!
Dessert: Same as for DINNER #1, more or less.
I hope that wherever you are, in whatever season, you tune into what the season is telling you. Temper all that you have learned about what is best for your bio-terrain, your detox level, and your social and emotional stages, so you don’t ever push beyond your comfort zone. Most of all, enjoy the moment, because soon this season will be over, carrying us all into a new phase with new tastes, new pleasures, new ways of seeing things.
Now that The Rose Cleanse guidebook is completed (it’s up on DetoxCommunity now, and will be available for non-members tomorrow) and Emotional Eating S.O.S.!, Part III is completed (to be posted later this week on the community site, sorry for the delay), I hope to get back to posting regularly.
In the meantime, I hope to see some of you at the Advanced Detoxification Course starting Tuesday at Organic Avenue here in NYC, or for Detox Walks (every Thursday morning), also here in NYC. The information is on the Events page. This is a great way to get your questions answered. I’m actually amazed that more people haven’t been taking advantage of this opportunity. I’m not taking clients anymore, but here is a completely free opportunity to ask me anything you want! The weather has been spectacular for us, and this coming Thursday promises another stunning, sun-drenched morning!
*NOTE: If you are a beginner, these things are far less dense and acidic as part of a largely raw vegetable “Detox 4 Women approach” than what you were consuming before, so they will be advantageous (as we affectionately call them, “safe poisons”). One person’s poison is another’s antidote!