Kristen Coffield, the Culinary Coach of The Culinary Cure, talks about fun new ways to enjoy raw, healthy vegetables by turning them into slaw! Watch her during her October 9, 2017 segment on Good Morning Washington combine fresh ingredients to create Broccoli and Asian Pear Slaw, Antioxidant Asian Style Slaw, Mexican Style Slaw, and Carrot, Beet & Apple Slaw with Cranberries.
We all know that raw fruits and vegetables are really good for us. There are many benefits to eating real foods in their natural state — they fill you up with bioavailable nutrients, are loaded with health-supporting enzymes and prebiotic fiber essential for healthy gut biome, and contain vitamins and minerals. By eating raw foods our bodies naturally lower inflammation, improving digestion and cardiovascular health, and help fight preventable diseases. Eating raw foods also increases our energy and helps us maintain a proper body weight.
You might be surprised to know that cooked vegetables (with a couple of exceptions) are actually harder to digest than raw! Cooking nutrient-dense vegetables over 112 degrees Fahrenheit, can actually destabilize some of the plant enzymes, compromising antioxidants and vitamins in the process.
Inflammation is linked to many of our greatest health concerns, from cancers and autoimmune disorders to neurological disorders and hormonal imbalances. When food gets stuck along the digestive tract there is a likelihood it will start to ferment, creating a toxic situation and causing gas, rancid fats and putrified proteins which irritate the mucosal lining of your gut. This is often referred to as leaky gut. Besides sounding gross, even constant low levels of inflammation in the body are dangerous.
The fiber in raw fruits and vegetables is necessary to keep food moving through the digestive system. Raw foods are loaded with healthy fiber and special enzymes, which help to break things down in our digestive tract. While our bodies come complete with the ability to produce enzymes in the pancreas, aiding our digestion, the other half of the enzyme equation is contained in raw foods, known as exogenous enzymes. The more exogenous enzymes in the body, the more efficiently the body is at digesting nutrients; thereby not stressing our system and causing inflammation. Remember, nutrient dense foods are only as good as the amount of nutrients absorbed into the body — we want to maximize absorption to benefit our health.
We can counter the possibility of a digestive inflammatory response by improving the acid/alkaline balance the body. We know that diseases can more easily develop when we have a high level of acidity in the body. An acid state is known as acidosis and it is linked to lower immunity. There are many environmental factors that can contribute acidosis including processed foods, toxins, stress and even cooked foods. One of the ways that a plant based diet helps to lower inflammation is by helping to alkalize the body; thereby reducing acidity and minimizing the possibility of foods fermenting in your digestive system. Raw foods have all that lovely fiber and those good-for-you enzymes that help to neutralize those dangerous acids and keep your body more alkaline.
Knowing the health benefits of raw foods is great, but the real challenge is to get those veggies into your diet with some simple, delicious recipes that work on a busy schedule. Instead of a traditional green salad, get excited about making slaws your new gorgeous salads and sides.
- Choose organic whenever possible. You will be lowering your toxic load and reaping flavor benefits.
- When possible, buy local and eat seasonal to help protect the environment.
- Learn some new tricks. Get a vegetable spiralizer and start using vegetables in new ways. Sweet potatoes, beets and turnips take on a new dimension when they are made into noodles.
Traditional slaws are made with cabbage and creamy dressings. To make your slaws more health enhancing, and to reap the longevity benefits of your vegetables, lighten things up with flavor and health-boosting additions like miso, fresh ginger, herbs and citrus juices. Slaws can be any combination of thinly sliced raw vegetables and, once you get the hang of it, slaws will be your new go-to side dish.
Slaws are as easy as traditional salads; in fact, if you need a short cut, most grocery stores now carry pre-made selections of slaw ingredients. They are good in a pinch, but your slaws will have more nutrients and more flavor if you take the time to slice your own vegetables. Additionally, the flexibility of slaws should not be underestimated. There are countless vegetable combinations that work as slaws — allowing you to tailor recipes for every taste. So work through a couple of recipes and get the hang of it, then you will have the tools you need to start creating your own healthy slaws.
Remember, your body was designed to eat and digest raw foods. The more brightly colored vegetables you can get on your plate, the better. In our busy world, slaws make it easy and delicious to get your daily dose of veggies in one simple serving. Simple, delicious and beautiful, slaws deserve a place on your plate.
This easy slaw packs anti-inflammatory and antibacterial nutrients in a colorful and nutritionally dense package. This slaw does a great job of making you forget the mayo, yet it looks great and tastes better. The dressing adds to the nutritional benefits with miso and sesame. I suggest you make a double batch of the dressing, it is delicious on everything!
Miso contributes to breast, bone and cardiovascular health as well as supporting the immune system and joint health.
Cilantro is an herb that has long been valued for its health benefits. It has anticancer, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties as well as helping to lower cholesterol and support liver health.
Cabbage is a great value given its powerful anticancer and liver strengthening benefits.
Bell Pepper is a super star antioxidant loaded with vitamin C and packed with other antioxidants like Vitamin A, and folate.
- 4 cups shredded Napa cabbage
- 2 cups shredded red cabbage
- 1 cup thinly sliced bell pepper color of choice
- ¼ cup thinly sliced scallions
- ¼ cup chopped basil
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons chopped mint
- 2 tablespoons white or yellow miso
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar( not sweet)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tsp brown sugar, honey or maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- Combine all slaw ingredients (except toasted sesame seeds) in a large bowl and toss.
- Combine all dressing ingredients in small bowl and whisk.
- Add ½ a cup dressing to slaw and toss well, add more dressing to taste.
- Top with toasted sesame seeds before serving.
I love this slaw for its gorgeous colors and textures. Slaws are super easy to make and you can get creative using any vegetables you happen to have on hand.
Beets are rich in nitrates that can help lower high blood pressure. They are also rich in plant alkaloids and B vitamins. Their vibrant color means they are loaded with beneficial photo chemicals and other healthy nutrients.
The saying an apple a day keeps the doctor a way really has merit. Apples have anticancer, anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular health benefits. They aid in digestive support because they are loaded with fiber and also contribute to bone health. Apples help reduce high levels of C-reactive protein which is a contributing marker of inflammation.
Carrots have anticancer and cardiovascular benefits and are loaded with antioxidants. 1 cup of carrots provides more than 4 times the daily recommended serving of vitamin A!
- 4 large carrots peeled and sliced into match sticks or grated
- 1 tart apple,like Granny Smith, sliced into ¼”strips
- 1 beet peeled and in julienne strips
- ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
- ¼ cup dried unsweetened cranberries
- 1 tbsp minced mint
- 2 tablespoons slivered toasted almonds
- 5 tablespoons citrus juice. Can be a combination of orange, lemon and lime I like 3 tbsp orange 1 tbsp lemon & 1 tbsp lime). Use what you have
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Combine onion, cranberries and 2 tablespoons orange juice in a bowl to combine.
- In a large bowl place broccoli, carrots and apple, add onion cranberry mixture.
- Combine remaining juices, olive oil and salt. Sprinkle over salad mixture tossing to combine.
- Top with toasted almonds.
I love the crisp crunchy texture of asian pears combined with cruciferous vegetables like broccoli. The sweetness of the Asian pears and currants, combined with the salty sunflower seeds is irresistible. The slaw is delicious and substantial enough to be dinner on its own. This is a simple tasty recipe that makes a welcome addition to weekday dinners.
Broccoli has anticancer properties and contributes to cardiovascular and bone health. Rich in vitamin K, broccoli increases bone density and helps to lower the risk of fractures.
Asian Pears are a great source of prebiotic fiber, are low in calories and pack in potassium, magnesium, folate and vitamins C and K.
- 1 Bunch of broccoli, florets separated and stems peeled, trimmed and grated or julienned
- 5 sun dried tomatoes in thin slices
- 3 carrots coarsely grated
- 1 asian pear in ¼” cubes
- ½ red onion finely sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes cut in ½
- ½ cup currants
- ¼ cup toasted sunflower seeds
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- optional-pepper to taste
- In a large bowl toss the broccoli with salt and olive oil.
- Add the other ingredients to the bowl with broccoli, toss well.
- Add lemon juice and orange juice to salad and toss well.
- Sprinkle with sunflower seeds before serving.
One of the things that makes slaws so fantastic is that there is no exact science to making one. You can literally shred, slice and dice any combination of vegetables, whisk up a light dressing and voila! Cabbage gets a bad rap from being over used in industrial format coleslaws, but this recipe lets it shine. The salty addition of pumpkin seeds make it pop!
Cabbage is a nutritional rock star. It has anticancer properties in the form of glucosinolates, which are compounds the body can convert into cancer fighting agents. Glucosinolates also help improve the ability of the liver to detoxify the body.
Jicama is low in calories and high in a unique fiber containing oligofructose inulin, which has zero calories and does not metabolize in the body. This fiber helps promote bone health by enhancing absorption of calcium from other foods and serves as prebiotic fiber in the intestines. Jicama also contains vitamin C and potassium.
- 4 cups thinly sliced red cabbage or combination of red and green cabbage
- 2 cups shredded jicama
- 8 radishes thinly sliced
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup finely chopped scallions
- ½ cup golden raisins
- 1 tablespoon jalapeno ,seeded and diced
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl and toss.
- Combine remaining ingredients(minus pumpkin seeds) in small bowl and whisk together well.
- Toss ½ cup dressing with slaw, adding more dressing if needed.
- Top with pumpkin seeds before serving.
Make way for healthier cocktails! This summer’s hottest trend in sipping is cocktails made with uber-healthy juices, trading sugary sweetness for nutrient dense deliciousness.
These super-juice drinks create a simultaneous detox/retox situation, off-setting the negative effects of alcohol with a cleansing infusion of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, making happy hour healthier.
Fruit and vegetable juices are naturally hydrating and have no added sugars, giving them a powerful advantage over traditional mixers. Who ever thought it was a good idea to make drinks so sweet you might actually get a sugar hangover.
There are lots of reasons to avoid liquid calories, overly sweet drinks skew your ability to discern sweetness and the glucose can actually spike your blood sugar, causing the release of insulin. Too much sugar, or foods that turn into sugar in your body lead to increased weight gain, specifically body fat.
Pairing fresh fruit, vegetable, herb and spice juices with alcohol is a great way to take a habit you already have, and make it healthier. The better you eat and drink, the better you feel and look. So say goodbye to that Rum and Coke and embrace a Greentini, to dial down sweetness and invite new exciting flavors into your bar.
The beauty of taking a greener, less toxic, approach to adult beverages is that you don’t need a juicer to make this trend yours. Every grocery store has a selection of healthy, fresh squeezed juices you can use as mixers.
I have provided the recipes if you want to squeeze your own, but the flavors in these drinks are easily found in most grocery stores or your local juice bar. You can even take it up and notch by adding extra ginger and turmeric shots to any recipe.
Eat, Drink and Be Healthy!
- 4 medium red carrots juiced
- 1 golden beet juiced
- 2 stalks celery with leaves, juiced
- 15 oz beet/carrot juice pre-squeezed juice
- juice of ½ a lemon
- ½ cup gin, organic if possible
- Beet slice for garnish
- Combine first 3 ingredients, or juice mix, with lemon juice in pitcher.
- Stir well to combine.
- Pour over ice and garnish with a beet slice.
- 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- ½ cup Reposado tequila
- 1 cup ice
- Thumb size piece fresh ginger grated
- Zest from 1 lime
- 1tbsp Kosher salt - optional
- Pineapple spears
- Combine lime zest and Kosher salt on a small plate
- Wet the rims of 4 glasses with a lime wedge and dip in salt & zest mixture.
- Place first 5 ingredients in blender and pulse until blended.
- Pour into glasses and garnish with pineapple spears.
- 2oz Blanco Tequila, organic if possible
- 1oz fresh squeezed pink grapefruit juice
- 2oz seltzer water
- 1 slice of Jalapeño or Serrano chili
- 1 lime wedge squeezed
- Mix first 3 ingredients in a glass with ice and stir.
- Add chili pepper and lime and enjoy!