Feeling Cold in a Raw Food Diet

Are you feeling cold in a raw food diet? In this article we want to shed light on the reasons for this concept, answer common questions about it, and show various tips and options for a raw food diet, even in the winter.

Why do so Many People Think it’s Necessary to Eat Warm Food?

Most people are used to eating at least one warm meal a day from an early age. Our bodies can’t just be fobbed off with new circumstances from one day to another, and unfamiliar things are strange and unsatisfying at first. Plus wearing hoods feel damn comfortable in our everyday lives.

Warm soup conveys feelings of comfort and happiness, and we often associate it with memories of childhood. Warm food relaxes us, and also makes us a little tired.

indian coconut curry

Is it Correct to Assume that We “Need to Eat Something Warm?”

It’s really interesting to honestly ask yourself if you truly do “need to eat something warm.” In most cases, warm food only makes you warm for a short period, and even a little tired at the same time. The tiredness can be explained by the increase of white blood cells, which is a defense reaction to cooked food (also called digestive leukocytosis).

How is Body Heat Generated?

No other species on this earth eats cooked food, and our human bodies actually don’t need a warm meal, either. Primarily, body heat is generated by metabolism and muscle work, and for that, nutrient-rich foods and exercise are important. It’s the efficiency of food, which is the sum of enzymes, biophotons, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, that activates our metabolism.

Why does Raw Food Seem Cold and Off-Putting to Some?

This happens mainly when the raw food diet is associated with strict rules and having to give up certain foods, and it may bring to mind the image of “nibbling carrots” like a rabbit. This mindset is counterproductive and unhealthy, and won’t bring anyone any happiness.

Instead, it should be about nutrient richness and well-being, and not just about fulfilling a 100% raw food diet. The art lies in feeling for yourself how much of a raw food diet makes you comfortable, and whether maybe it’s still nice to have a cooked meal in the evening.

As a rule, eating a higher proportion of raw food gradually leads to more vitality, awareness, and mental clarity and, with this free approach, automatically leads to an increase in the proportion of raw food as a result of this new well-being.

Going back to nature is very conducive to this approach: the plants are our food base: only they have the ability to transform sunlight into organic matter – carbohydrates, fats, and protein. It would be more clever to refer to raw food instead as “sun food” because it feels much easier to associate sun food with warmth.

Substantial Changes Happen When Food is Heated

  • Vitamins and enzymes that the food provides to support digestion are mostly destroyed. As a result, the body has to give many more of its own enzymes and expend energy that would otherwise be available to the body in other ways.
  • Carbohydrates are broken down and lead to a faster rise in blood sugar.
  • Proteins are denatured once they reach 43º Celsius.
  • Thousands of new chemical compounds are formed, as well as addictive substances: Gluteomorphins are formed in foods containing gluten, and casomorphins are formed in dairy products, which is part of the reason why it’s so difficult to give them up. The natural sense of taste is irritated. Zoologists can also confirm that animals with access to cooked food attack it uncontrollably and develop civilization diseases.Acrylamides are formed during intense heating when carbohydrates and proteins combine. Acrylamides are poorly metabolized by the body, and usually end up getting deposited in connective tissue. They are also suspected of being carcinogenic and mutagenic.

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What Are Warming Foods?

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) distinguishes between yin and yang-rich foods. Yin-rich foods, including water-dense fruits like cucumbers, tomatoes, and melons, have a cooling effect, while yang-rich foods like root vegetables and leeks have a warming effect.

So if you want to avoid being cold with a raw food diet, you should avoid water-rich fruits during the winter and opt for denser, naturally warming foods.

The key is to eat seasonal and regional vegetables and fruits. Starting in the fall, a lot of these warming foods are available to us:


  • Root vegetables (carrots, beet, Jerusalem artichoke…)
  • Cabbage vegetables (kale, pointed cabbage, cauliflower…)
  • Pumpkin and onion plants
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Leafy greens (lamb’s lettuce, purslane…) and wild herbs
  • Sprouts and microgreens
  • Fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, kimchi…)
  • Fruits (apples, plums…)
  • Spices (cinnamon, ginger, chili, pepper, cardamom, mustard…)

Further Tips:

  • Thorough chewing is particularly helpful. This allows hot or cold food to arrive in the stomach at a similar temperature..
  • Eat food at room temperature and not right out of the refrigerator.
  • Possibly serve the food on warm plates.
  • It’s also an option to heat soup to 40º Celsius.

What Are the Advantages of Eating Fresh Vegetables, Even in the Winter?

The benefits are terrific, so who would want to avoid those?

Fresh plant foods are rich in biophotons, chlorophyll, nutrients and enzymes. They have alkalizing, antioxidant, and immune system-boosting effects. . 

The raw vegan diet, which also means dairy and gluten free, means no more sniffles and no more colds. Even over Christmas you can keep your feel-good weight. 😉

With the following recipe ideas, you can bring the whole family to the table, even on chilly days:



 Preparing bowls together can be fun for the whole family, both in everyday life and at family celebrations, and can meet everyone’s individual needs. To do this, set out a buffet of all sorts of warming ingredients:

Leafy greens, sprouts, microgreens, fermented foods, raw bread, fried foods, and freshly prepared, delicious dips. All of these ingredients don’t even need to be prepared every day; they can always be kept in stock in a raw food kitchen. 😉

And here’s the kick that makes community possible

If desired, these bowls can be supplemented with steamed vegetables, like sweet potatoes, and anyone who wants more “classic” cooked food can add to their bowl tortellini, gnocchi, or a slice of pizza, for example.

This way, the whole family can eat together and everyone is satisfied.



You can get similar benefits out of making wraps. These can be served with cabbage leaves or corn fritters, raw or fried. Again, salad dressings and delicious dips are a good finishing touch.

Indian Coconut Curry Hand Massaged

In the following dish, we’ve successfully developed a very smooth and warming recipe that retains most of its raw food quality. For this, the vegetables are very finely chopped, gently heated to a maximum of 40º Celsius, and massaged by hand.



What Could be the Reason for Feeling Cold in a Raw Food Diet?

Let’s think about why you actually feel cold, or why one person may be colder than the other. Animals that live in the wild don’t freeze – they have their fur. We, instead, dress warmly for the winter. But sometimes warm clothing is not enough – we feel cold from the inside.

Various Aspects Can Play a Role Here:

It’s very essential that the body is well nourished and the cells are given what they need. In particular, iron, magnesium, or vitamin B12 deficiencies are associated with being cold.

Lack of Movement

Iron also plays an important role in blood circulation and oxygenation of the body. If the iron stores in the spleen, liver, and bone marrow aren’t regularly replenished, this can show up as constantly being cold. The perfect source of iron is dark green leafy vegetables, and in turn wild herbs and microgreens. This vegetable iron can be absorbed especially well when combined with vitamin C, i.e. on a sample basis with ingredients that contain vitamin C, like peppers or dips with orange or lemon juice.

Iron Deficiency

Iron also plays an important role in blood circulation and oxygenation of the body. If the iron stores in the spleen, liver, and bone marrow aren’t regularly replenished, this can show up as constantly being cold. The perfect source of iron is dark green leafy vegetables, and in turn wild herbs and microgreens. This vegetable iron can be absorbed especially well when combined with vitamin C, i.e. on a sample basis with ingredients that contain vitamin C, like peppers or dips with orange or lemon juice.

Magnesium Deficiency

More than 300 metabolic processes depend on magnesium. Magnesium mainly has a relaxing effect but also regulates blood pressure and stimulates the metabolism. So a magnesium deficiency can be accompanied by a lack of energy, exhaustion, and consequently, a lack of exercise and muscle loss. Women, in particular, freeze quickly because they have less muscle mass by nature.

A magnesium deficiency can be countered really well with magnesium (foot) baths, rubs with magnesium oil, or taking Sango coral powder as a supplement.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin which the body stores in the liver. Dr. Switzer calls vitamin B12 the king of vitamins – no other vitamin exerts a comparably positive influence on the physical well-being of humans.

As an important co-enzyme, all the cells in the body need it, and it’s particularly involved in the formation of red blood cells, which supply the body with oxygen. If we’re lacking in this vitamin, we become tired and, above all, more sensitive to cold. If the vitamin B12 store in the liver is empty, we also refer to this as “the liver freezing.”.

The priority here is to focus on a healthy digestive system, as a person’s vitamin B12 supply is largely dependent on a healthy stomach and intestinal health.

Fluid Deficiency

If there’s a constant lack of fluid, we may experience circulatory problems and become more sensitive to cold, especially in our hands and feet. In addition, water also serves as a heat reservoir, which means that a well-hydrated body continuously releases heat.


Hypothyroidism is associated with a slowing down of metabolic processes and can manifest itself, in particular in listlessness and low blood pressure.

Permanent Stress

In stressful situations, the release of stress hormones by the adrenal glands results in, among other things, an increase in heart rate and muscle strength, while at the same time, the supply of energy for organ activities is reduced. If someone stays stressed over a long period of time, the production of stress hormones in the adrenal glands becomes exhausted, resulting in fatigue, listlessness, and the accompanying cold.


Too much acid in the body can be noticeable if we wake up already cold in the morning – a sign that the body is putting a lot of energy into neutralizing and excreting excess acids.


Anyone who has ever fasted knows this: You move less, your blood pressure drops, your body detoxifies, and you get cold easily. Switching to a raw vegan diet initiates gentle detoxification. This explains the experience of many raw foodists, who may feel an increase of cold in the first winter after the big change of diet, but already less in the second year.


We Can Counter All the Above Aspects With the Statement:

The raw vegan lifestyle gives us the greatest wealth of nutrients and supports our awareness and love for our bodies, as well as for nature. In a well nourished body, active metabolic and organ processes are able to take place, and over time, being made cold in a raw food diet becomes a thing of the past.

In this sense, we wish you a lot of joy with SUN FOOD


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Ulrike Eder (Author)

Ulrike is a naturopath, Holistic Nutrition Coach, Hippocrates Lifestyle Medicine Coach and phytotherapist. Together with her husband, Jürgen, she leads the Holistic Nutrition Coach training program of Your Nutrition Academy.



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