The Colors of Health: Red, Gold, and Green

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, going raw has really opened up the world of vegetables to me – well, that and joining a local organic CSA.

Over the last three weeks, we’ve probably gone through four (if not six!) heads of cabbage – some of them green, some of them red (or, technically, purple).

Anyway, I started off using the larger, outer leafs as wraps for burritos and using the smaller, inner leaves for making small batches of slaw.

That was until I made a batch of raw hummus out of tahini and zucchini that was just begging for some chips – hence the habit of tearing red (or purple) cabbage leaves into chip sized chunks was born. Trust me, no one was more surprised than me about how good raw cabbage leaves taste when combined with a little hummus! Let’s just say that life was good.

But then the CSA cabbage started.

I had one head left over from the week before, had just bought a red one, and got two more!

At this point in my life I am committed to two things when it comes to food: don’t waste it and (obviously) don’t cook it!

So, racking my brain for an answer, I hit on a solution: slaw. And lots of it!

Now, if you’re like me and grew up anywhere remotely resembling the south, your idea of slaw probably involves a lot of mayonnaise and other sundry items – none of which resemble anything close to being raw (let alone good for you). But I was determined, and here’s what I came up with:

1 head of cabbage (green), shredded
3-4 carrots, finely grated
1/2 cup of parsley, finely minced (I’ve also used cilantro)
Braggs Liquid Aminos, to taste (at least 3 tablespoons, for those of you who aren’t familiar with Braggs)
2 limes, juiced
1/2 – 1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon of cinnamon (or more, to taste)
1 teaspoon of turmeric (or more, to taste)
1 teaspoon of cumin (or more, to taste)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Himalayan sea salt (pink), to taste

This stuff is seriously delicious. I’ve been eating it by the plate – sometimes alone, sometimes mixed with Shirataki noodles, which aren’t technically raw, but aren’t technically food, since they’re all fiber and are, by design, indigestible.

Since I was eating so much cabbage – as wraps, as chips, and as slaw, I found myself wondering what nutrients cabbage actually contained. I mean, it wasn’t like I didn’t know what cabbage was prior to my latest pro-cabbage phase, but I certainly hadn’t ever given it much thought. I mean, it’s cabbage. Not that interesting. Right?

Well, not really.

Cabbage, as it turns out, is a cruciferous vegetable – as are other well known superstar vegetables (a/k/a super food veggies) such as broccoli, kale, brussels, and bok choy. According to the Whole Foods website:

The phytonutrients in cruciferous vegetables initiate an intricate dance inside our cells in which gene response elements direct and balance the steps among dozens of detoxification enzyme partners, each performing its own protective role in perfect balance with the other dancers. The natural synergy that results optimizes our cells’ ability to disarm and clear free radicals and toxins, including potential carcinogens, which may be why cruciferous vegetables appear to lower our risk of cancer more effectively than any other vegetables or fruits.

For more information about cabbage, go here. And to learn more about the health benefits of cruciferous veggies and how to get more of them into your diet, go here.

Now, some of you might be thinking: Well, that’s all well and good, but I thought cabbage gave people gas.

Well, yes and no.

Personally it doesn’t bother me, but I know it does some people. That’s where the turmeric comes in. And besides it’s wonderful flatulance reducing properties, turmeric is a superfood in it’s own right.

Trust me, if your not getting enough cruciferous vegetables or turmeric in your diet, you might want to consider adding more. Men in particular, should seriously consider increasing their intake of turmeric – especially to any recipe including cauliflower (which is, you guessed it, another cruciferous veggie)!

So, if you’re stuck in a rut on your vegetable consumption, branch out. And whatever else you do, eat your turmeric!

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