How to make healthy choices every day

Roasted Sesame Winter Slaw

So we’re in the thick of it. Holiday parties, work celebrations, family gatherings and whole lotta food! Everywhere. You can’t swing your party dress without hitting a tray of canapés. In between social events I can hear you complaining about your extraordinary eggnog intake and uncontrollable cookie consumption, sprawled out on the sofa like an overfed cat. So how about something a little lighter, no? I felt it was time to bring a little sanity – however, delicious sanity – to the table today.  

Roasted Sesame Winter Slaw does seasonal and healthy all at the same time. By using a variety of cabbages, kale, and carrots, you can take advantage of locally grown foods, as most of you will be in the zone for all of these veggies.
This slaw is pretty different from your mayo-drenched picnic classics. Instead, a creamy (yet protein and calcium rich) tahini sauce dresses things up. And with a hint of orange, the kids will totally fall in love with this salad too.
The other boss element of this salad is of course, the roasted sesame. Always warming, nutty and familiar, sesame somehow turns any ho-hum dish into “oh, what did you do to this?” Such a cheap trick, but it works every time.

Savage Cabbage 
Now that I live in a country that somewhat follows seasonal food patterns, I realize how little cabbage we eat in North America – it quickly gets pushed to the back of the produce heap, ‘cause let’s face it: cabbage is not sexy. Cabbage is what your grandmother eats because she doesn’t know any better, right? Wrong! Your grandmother eats cabbage because she does know better. Let’s look at the reasons cabbage is savage, because it’s fun.

#1 – bang for your buck. Cabbage is crazy cheap for the amount of food you get. You’ll see when you make this salad for instance, that 2 cups of shredded cabbage is hardly a dent off the head. This means you get to eat cabbage for a week (or perhaps share some with your grandma).
#2 – cabbage helps to prevent cancer. This cruciferous veggie contains a whole host of nutrients to battle tumors. More than 475 studies have examined the role of this cruciferous vegetable in cancer prevention (and in some cases, cancer treatment). The uniqueness of cabbage in cancer prevention is due to the three different types of nutrient richness found in this widely enjoyed food – antioxidant richness, anti-inflammatory richness, and richness in glucosinolates. [1]
#3 – cabbage battles colds and flu’s. Because cabbage stimulates the immune system, has the ability to kill bacteria and viruses, and has a high vitamin C content, this is one vegetable that should be a guest at your table more often this winter! [2]

Roasted Sesame Winter Slaw
Makes a lot
2 cups each shredded Savoy cabbage, purple cabbage, kale
2 cups shredded carrots
2 scallions
1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
½ cup chopped mint (optional)
½ cup sesame seeds

Tahini Cream Dressing with Orange
Makes 1 cup
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. liquid honey (or agave, maple syrup)
1/3 cup tahini
½ cup water
a couple pinches of salt (depending on whether or not your tahini is already salted – season to taste)
zest of 1 organic orange (optional)

1. Wash and shred the cabbage and kale as finely as possible (you can use a food processor attachment for this if you like). Place in a large bowl.
2. Shred the carrots either with a food processor or on a box grater. Add to the cabbage.
3. Finely slice the scallions into rings. Wash and chop the parsley.  Add to the bowl.
4. Whisk dressing ingredients together. Add water to thin to desired consistency.
5. Roast sesame seeds in a dry skillet until they begin to pop. Remove from heat immediately.  Pour over salad ingredients.
6. Toss everything in the bowl together and serve. Pour dressing on only after the salad has been plated – this way you get some bites with lots of dressing and some without for the best balance. Garnish with extra parsley and sesame seeds.
Salad (without dressing) will keep in the fridge for at least 2 days. 

I’ve received a few emails from readers asking for my best advice, or tips on maintaining a healthy weight over during the holiday season. If you are someone who finds themselves experiencing mind-altering diet obsessiveness these days, all I can say is this: relax. Try to let go of the calorie counting, or the number latkes you gobbled. Enjoy this time of year and the company you surround yourself. Be in the moment. Taste every bite. Don’t lose the joy of eating and the beauty of food, because now is the time to really soak it all in, with all the people you love.

I hope everyone is enjoying a very happy and healthy holiday season so far. Best wishes to all! And many thanks for the amazing recipes you’ve sent in too. I am going to have one delicious weekend 🙂

Love always, Sarah B

Sources: [1]
[2] Balch, Phyllis A. Prescription for Dietary Wellness. New York, NY: Penguin, 2003. 
Copyright 2012 My New Roots at

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