People always ask me if I ever eat ‘naughty’ food. Approximately 90% of the time I eat to fuel my body with clean food. The other 10% of the time, I do not feel guilty about what I eat. That guilt and emotional stress has a detrimental effect on my physical (and emotional) health, beauty and happiness. If I indulge, I enjoy it. I feel good about the fact that I am feeding my body with highly nutritious food 90% of the time. Most importantly I listen to my body and do what is ‘right’ for me.
The premise of clean eating is consuming food in its most natural state, or as close to it as possible. It is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle approach to food and its preparation, leading to an improved life – one meal at a time. As Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine famously said 'Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food'.
I like to adapt many of the recipes and foods I grew up with to give them a healthier, more nutritional angle. I grew up on coleslaw, but the sort of coleslaw that was drenched in store bought mayonnaise! This Vietnamese coleslaw recipe is my healthier take on a childhood favourite, it is crunchy, raw, slightly sweet, and good for you too.
Although it appears more often as a garnish with meals you eat in a restaurant, similar to the parsley nobody ever eats, coleslaw can actually be a tasty way of getting a large range of nutritional benefits. Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable, in the same category as broccoli, brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Cruciferous vegetables are renowned for their ability to cleanse the body. Experts recommend that you eat a minimum of one and a half cups of cruciferous vegetables two to three times a week in order to reap the greatest benefits from it.
The health benefits of cabbage tend to be greater when it is eaten raw, which is an advantage that coleslaw has over other dishes that involve cooked cabbage. If you have a choice between picking green cabbage or red cabbage, go for the red. Red cabbage is even more nutritious than its green counterpart.
The addition of prawns to this dish provides clean fuel in the form of protein to help you feel fuller, for longer. In this recipe the prawns are cooked on a Himalayan Salt Block to provide the body with necessary salt. Himalayan Pink Salt is a pure, hand-mined salt that is derived from ancient sea salt deposits. It is believed to be the purest form of salt available. Different to your standard table salt, which is void of nutrients, Himalayan Pink Salt has a rich mineral content that includes all 84 of the minerals found inside the human body. If you'd like to try your hand at cooking this way, we sell Himalayan Salt Blocks in my online shop - otherwise, pan fry or grill the prawns on your stove top.
For the coleslaw
¼ cabbage (red if possible), sliced finely
1 carrot, grated
1 zucchini, grated
Handful chopped coriander
Handful chopped mint/Vietnamese mint
1 red onion diced
¼ cup dry roasted sunflower/sesame seeds
Diced red or green capsicum (optional)
For the prawns
250g fresh or frozen prawns
Juice of a lemon
Juice of a lime
Coconut oil for coating pan
Other protein options that would complement this dish in lieu of prawns include tofu, tempeh, calamari, fish or chicken.
For the dressing
3 dessert spoons sesame oil
3 dessert spoons mirin
1 dessert spoon Apple cider vinegar
1-3 red chillies, chopped finely according to how spicy you like it
3 dessert spoons tamari
Pinch of salt to taste
For the coleslaw
Toss cabbage, carrot, onion, capsicum and zucchini in a bowl. Stir through coriander and mint, then sprinkle sunflower/sesame seeds on top. Yes, it is that simple!
For the prawns
Preheat Himalayan Salt Block on stove top. To do this, simply sit your salt block directly over your stove burner/s on a medium heat, and wait around 5 minutes for it to heat up gently.
Whilst your Salt Block is heating up, marinate prawns in lemon and lime juice for minimum 5 minutes.
When the salt block is warm to the touch, turn up the flame to high. Lightly coat salt plate with olive oil, (never use butter with a salt block, as the high water content in butter will pull too much of the salt flavour and over power your food).
Lay the prawns on the hot Himalayan Salt Block allowing to cook for 2-3minutes each side. When bright orange/pink, they are ready to serve. Place prawns on top of coleslaw.
For the Dressing
Mix together all of the ingredients in a clean jar, shake well. Pour over salad
HUGE thanks to Jacqueline for sharing her healing meal ideas with us this month! Stay tuned for the rest of the series where she’ll offer up more nutritious, flavoursome recipes which tackle a variety of health concerns. For more info on Jacqueline's naturopathy background and her beautiful locally made skincare range, do check out her website and Instagram.