The ancient wisdom of Ayurveda generally cautions against consuming cold, raw food. This restriction applies especially during fall and winter months for all people and year-round for anyone suffering from weak digestion, a condition known Ayurvedically as deficient Agni, or low digestive fire.
It makes sense that we don't want to steal heat from our body to warm up whatever we put into our stomach. But raw food doesn't have to be cold! In fact, delicate raw foods like fruits, sprouts and leafy greens can be heated all the way up to 118 degrees without becoming cooked (i.e. retaining their cellular and enzymatic integrity.) Whole nuts, soaked grains and other dense raw foods may remain raw and alive at even higher temps heading into the 150-155 degree range.
It follows that we can enjoy the benefits of fresh, living foods and respectfully feed the flames of our digestive fire simply by shifting our raw culinary focus away from things like cold salads, chilled soups or frozen fruit drinks and more towards gently warmed raw recipes.
Even the infamous green smoothie, oft maligned in Ayurvedic circles for its "indigestible" complexity of contents and chilly rawness, can be prepared and consumed* in a way that honors Agni.
Turkish Delight: A Warmly Spiced Green Smoothie
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1 Tbs chia seeds
1 cup warm water
2 medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1 cup raw spinach
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 tsp turmeric
Put the kettle on and warm some fresh water on the stove while you put the hemp seeds, chia seeds and dates into your blender. Pour hot water on top and let the dates and seeds soak for about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and blend until creamy. Pour into a mug and sprinkle with cinnamon before drinking.
*Note: How to Drink a Smoothie
Because digestion begins in the mouth, it is crucial to remember that a smoothie is really more food than drink! For best digestion and assimilation, a smoothie must be sipped and savored, thoroughly ensalivated and introduced into your stomach slowly so that it can be recognized, welcomed and processed efficiently. Never gulp it down like a glass of water! I always tell my clients: Chew your smoothie! Although liquified, it contains a significant quantity and assortment of solid ingredients and needs to be eaten like a food.