The Raw Vegan: Staying Warm in Winter

Warm in WinterIt’s a fact. A low fat raw vegan’s normal body temperature can be significantly (though not dangerously) lower than someone who eats cooked food. This makes living through the hot summers more pleasant but it can be a problem in the winter months. Following are some of the ways I (and others) keep warm.

Roger says it’s simple. Turn up the heat. That’s fine if you don’t have to live on a budget but a little difficult if you do. My budget is more flexible right now than it will be in the future. Give me a couple of years and the crunch will set in. The thermostat will be turned down and the gas logs won’t burn as often.

Barring upping the use of the external sources of heat, what can you do?

Keep your core warm. Never eat or drink anything right out of the fridge in winter. That’s especially true for frozen foods. A food that will chill your stomach will rob your body of its natural heat. Warm the water you drink in a pan on the stove. You can safely do this with juices and blended soups, as well, by stirring them with your finger. As long as you can comfortably keep your finger in the water/food, the vitamins and enzymes will be viable. That is something I’ve read that Dr. D advises. Another method is to set the container with your food into another container filled with hot water. You can also use a dehydrator, if you own one, to warm your food.

Exercise! This is one of the best ways there is to raise the body’s heat plus it is very beneficial in other ways, too. I remember my sister complaining once to my brother-in-law that she was cold. All he said was, “Do some jumping-jacks.” That made an impression on our mother. I don’t know if she thought he was being unfeeling because he didn’t turn up the heat pronto or if she admired his ingenuity. At any rate, he was looking out for the bottom line as well as providing a way for his beloved wife to be more fit. Exercise naturally raises the body’s temperature, increases blood flow and endorphins. That makes a person feel good and improves the outlook on life.

Dress in layers. I was surprised to find a simple camisole like this one can do a lot to keep the body heat in. I had been in the sun on one of our rare warm sunny winter days wearing my camisole. When I entered the house, I put my sweatshirt back on. The rest of the day, I noticed I was notably warmer with just that much more between me and the cooler room air.

Wear long johns. Most of us wear slacks, sweats, or blue jeans and long johns can fit quite nicely underneath. There are new fabrics that are warm, yet thinner than the old “woolies” people sometimes wear. You wouldn’t have to buy a whole new wardrobe that would fit over them. If you are inclined against wearing them and would prefer the natural fibers, there are still cotton and wool ones around. They don’t have to be the ho-hum white, gray, or even the brighter red ones. They come in kicky colors and prints these days. My husband had down underwear he’d wear on cold winter days in Nebraska. The first day he had the set, he was too impatient to wait to try it out. The temperature got up to 40º F and he just about perished. Oh, what we remember!

Put on a hat. Fully 70% of the body’s heat can escape through the head. A long time ago, I read (I think it was in Mother Earth News though it probably wasn’t original with them) “If your feet are cold put on a hat.” Try it. It works. Women’s winter hats can be as utilitarian or beautiful as an individual wants. Men have a variety of ‘boggans to choose from. Or be original and make your own.

Learn to knit or crochet. I used to do both and I’ve only stopped because I spend so much time doing other things. It’s enjoyable, creative, and it can keep you warm. After I’d get an afghan (one of the people I worked with called them “Africans” and meant it) well on its way, I could use it as a throw while I was making it. Talk about comfy! You’d think that something with that many holes in it would be rather breezy but it isn’t. It’s WARM.

Cover up with a throw or one of those afghans you’ve finished when you’re reading or ::gasp!:: watching TV. I keep several around the house for just such a purpose. They can be anything from that antique quilt your grandmother handstitched to the special you bought at the last book fair. If it’s really cold, use two.

Take a bath. This could get to be environmentally unsound to use a lot of water only to take the chill off but sometimes when I am cold to the bone it’s the only way I can get warmed up. If you only have cold feet, cut down on the amount of water you are using, fill a basin with hot water and soak ’em.

Warm up the bed. If you don’t sleep in a bed that’s heated like I do, take that old cast iron skillet you don’t use any more and heat it on the stove but don’t get it so hot it will scorch your sheets. Be sure to use one of those unfamiliar items called a “pot holder” to handle it. Take it to the bed and either tuck it under the blankets between the sheets or use it like an old-fashioned bedwarmer and rub it back and forth on them until the space you will use to sleep is toasty. Jump in bed, cover up, and nod off!

Wear down booties. Okay. I know down isn’t politically correct for some but I have a pair I will put on when I first go to bed. My feet get warm quickly and they usually get kicked off sometime in the night. I don’t wear them to walk around so I’m sure that they will last me a lifetime.

Cuddle! If you have a mate or a pet, keep each other warm. There’s coziness in numbers. When Twinkle chooses to jump up and relax on my lap, her body heat definitely comes through.

Now you have a round dozen ways to keep warm in the winter. Depending on where you live in the world, it can still be in full force, winding down, or gearing up. Whatever your geographical location, you are bound to need these tips sometime so keep them handy. Stay cozy!

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11 Responses to The Raw Vegan: Staying Warm in Winter

  1. Marjorie March 2, 2008 at 11:06 pm #

    A raw vegan’s body temperature isn’t low, it’s normal. Everyone else is running a fever! Over time, this is very hard on the body.

    Great tips for keeping warm. I know Dr. D. and others advise moving to the tropics. Now that’s a solution tat appeals to me.

    My heating bill was just CRAZY this year, and we keep it in the low to mid ’60s.


  2. Tommie March 3, 2008 at 9:54 pm #

    I didn’t say it was low. I said, “A low fat raw vegan’s normal body temperature can be significantly (though not dangerously) lower than someone who eats cooked food.” I stayed away from the “fever” part of it since I didn’t want to enrage the masses. However, you are right. The cooked food with its overload of toxins does put the body into a fevered state.

    As for Dr. D’s solution, I’d do it if I could afford it. It’s certainly a solution that appeals to me, too! I keep saying I’m a Tropical Creature and I firmly believe it’s true.

  3. Ashley October 13, 2008 at 12:24 pm #

    Since when were down booties and underwear considered vegan??

  4. Tommie October 13, 2008 at 2:38 pm #

    I’m not that hardcore about being vegan. I’m vegan in what I eat but I wear whatever I have available. Before I went vegan I already had down booties, leather shoes, etc., etc. And if I found a nice leather jacket at Goodwill, I’d buy it. Sorry if that offends you. I believe it’s up to the individual on that.

  5. Christy December 10, 2008 at 11:23 am #

    “Turn up the heat. That’s fine if you don’t have to live on a budget but a little difficult if you do.”

    Since when do people educated enough to follow a vegan diet measure the costs of cranking up the thermostat only in dollars from their wallet?

  6. Tommie December 10, 2008 at 8:27 pm #

    And how do you equate vegan with something that always has to extend farther than not eating animal products?

  7. bay December 27, 2008 at 2:44 pm #

    Thanks for the tips. I prefer not to crank the heater because I don’t like the environmental impacts.

    BTW, I love the photo. You look so cute all wrapped up.

    • Tommie December 27, 2008 at 3:01 pm #

      I was aiming for cold and miserable-looking!

  8. bay December 27, 2008 at 9:12 pm #

    lol. Well you look good even cold and miserable. That’s nothing to complain about.

  9. Big G. January 24, 2009 at 7:34 pm #

    No problem keeping warm on a raw diet. I live in temperatures of -40’s for 6 weeks or longer. The key is to live a healthy lifestyle.

    • Tommie January 24, 2009 at 7:44 pm #

      That’s great and will be a huge encouragement to those who find it a problem. I’m acclimated, myself, but the first year was difficult. I find finishing my shower in the morning with straight cold water invigorating and I’m warm when I towel off.

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