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by David Wolfe
I had the privelege of visiting many exotic locations in my life and several this year, but Iceland was certainly the most unique
The energy of Iceland is like an Arctic Hawaii. Iceland has to be one of the most geothermally active locations in the world. There are volcanos, steam vents, hot springs, geisers, and more.
The famous geisers were one of the best sites I saw during my 5-day stay. One of them exploded with regularity every 2 to 5 minutes. The water was boiling hot. The ground is so hot in that area that the Icelanders cook bread in the Earth!
One of the major attractions for me in Iceland are the countrys many hot springs. The blue lagoon near the main airport in Keflavik was so incredible, I went back twice. The water is so rich with minerals that it is milky white. Next time, I plan on hiking out to some of the more exotic remote springs I heard rumors about.
Iceland is the warmest Arctic country in the world. The ocean currents keep temperatures within reason. I arrived in early December and the temperature was mild, hovering between 1 degree Celsius and 10 degrees Celsius. The real challenge is the wind. The wind chill factor is much greater in Iceland because there are so few trees.
Icelands weather certainly exposed me to some of the coldest temperatures I have experienced since I was a child. However, compared to past experiences, I found that my resistance to cold weather had increased dramatically after years of eating raw. In even the coldest weather, I was able to be warm in a t-shirt, a sweater, a long coat (down past my knees), a pair of gloves , a pair of jeans, a normal set of socks, and some hemp boots. No hat, no scarf.
Not only that, I found that I did not need food to stay warm. I hardly ate any food in Iceland, because there was not much to eat! I did manage to find a vegetarian restaurant that served me a nice salad one evening. I was the first raw-fooder they had ever encountered. From what I understand, there are two vegetarian restaurants in Reykjavik. Not bad for a city of 180,000.
If I did not feel cold in one of coldest climes of the Earth, why is it then that many raw-fooders claim to be cold, or get cold easily in even moderate climates like we have in California?
Typically, when one begins a raw-food diet, one tends to feel colder for several reasons.
- Blood pools in the internal organs for healing. We heal from the inside out. This obviously pulls blood out of the muscles and extremities decreasing their temperature.
- The new raw food is less dense and has less calories.
- The metabolism is affected by eating raw foods. This may cause the core body temperature to lower slightly. It will take the body some time to become comfortable at a different body temperature. A slightly lower body temperature is typical amongst raw-food eaters as compared to the cooked-food eating population.
- The body has not adjusted to taking in foods that are at room temperature. (I try to eat all my food at room temperature). Your body has to adjust to taking in foods that are at one temperature, instead of at various warm/hot temperatures.
- People consume foods that are cold from refrigeration. This lowers the bodys core temperature. Always keep your refrigerator at the highest possible temperature it will allow. Also, seek out and purchase humid-air refrigerators. Most refrigerators are dry deserts inside that wilt vegetables. Generally, fruit does not need any refrigeration.
What to do and eat to keep yourself warm in winter.
- Raise your core temperature by regularly enjoying hot baths, saunas, sweat lodges, and hot spring visits.
- Find foods that are warming for you. One woman I met in Telluride told me that wheatgrass juice raises her body temperature.
- Harden yourself to the elements. Get tough! No animal in nature wears clothes!
- Consume more blended foods. Create raw soups.
- A good transition strategy is to eat raw foods that are slightly warmed or eat raw foods in bowls that are slightly warmed.
- Drink warm water with lemon or tea instead of hot coffee. Never drink water that has been heated above 87 degrees Celsius (or 191 Fahrenheit). Once it is above that temperature, even if it has been cooled down, the water molecules will be disorganized.
Eat foods that are warming, such as
- Dehydrated foods (more calorically dense, therefore they are typically more warming)
- Blended foods
- Dried fruit (raisins, apricots, and dates are especially warming)
- Nuts (especially macadamia nuts and raw nut butters)
- Fatty Seeds (pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds)
- Sprouted Grain Seeds (good for some people, not everyone)
- Pumpkin (shred into a salad or use to make a raw pumpkin pie) overall one of the most heating foods.
- Hot peppers or chiles
- Mustard leaves
Home-grown sprouts are also an excellent winter food as they provide freshness to a diet that mostly consists of food that has been picked several days to several weeks before. Fresh plants contain very delicate plant fats called sterols and sterolins, which disappear after 6 to 8 hours once the plant is picked. These are immune system building compounds.
Another common concern is the naturalness of eating food that is shipped in from other areas. Obviously, it is ideal to eat as closely to the fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds that correspond to the location where you live. To accomplish this more closely, next year, plan your winter in advance (like a squirrel) and store nuts, squashes, fruits (heirloom apples store well), seeds, Natures First Food, raw grass powders, etc. to take you through the winter. It is not necessary to eat exactly what grows in your climate as long as you are eating what is seasonal (for example: eating watermelons in the middle of winter is less than ideal, however, eating salad and nuts in the winter is great).
Remember that the winter months are the months of hibernation, reflection, and rest. Follow the wisdom of the seasons. Enjoy the snow! Have a blessed winter solstice.
See you in Iceland!
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