There is a lot of buzz going around the health community, especially on social media, about a salad. This salad was developed by Dr. Ray Peat and is known as the ‘raw carrot salad’. Some claim it healed them, and others think it is a total scam. Personally, I have heard enough positive testimonies and seen enough of a positive change in myself to believe there is indeed some validity to the claims made about this carrot salad.
Who is Dr. Ray Peat?
Raymond Peat was a PhD physiologist from the University of Oregon. He is best known for his work on the connection between our overall health, the endocrine system, and nutrition. While some find his research to be boring or unfounded, I think it is fascinating.
His work shows the different hormones and cells in our bodies and how food affects them. I agree with his belief that the average western (or American) diet directly suppresses thyroid function. Just think about all the chemicals, artificial hormones, and toxins in the foods that are consumed on a daily basis. Many of the popular prepackaged foods seen today didn’t even exist 100 years ago! We are just now seeing the long term effects these things have on the human body.
He did extensive research into the thyroid and hormones in the body. He mentioned there is a strong connection between estrogen levels of serotonin. His research also shows that women with estrogen dominance (or excess estrogen) were able to lower their symptoms just by consuming raw carrots.
The benefits to consuming a simple salad
Carrots alone are incredible. They have incredible anti-fungal properties but what is so fascinating about them is their fiber. Because they are mainly insoluble fiber (can’t dissolve in fluids), it is difficult for our bodies to break it down and process it. This allows it to be a sponge of sorts and bind to the toxins that are present in the intestines. It also can pick up excess estrogen before it has a chance to be reabsorbed.
What is estrogen, and why is it bad to have too much?
Estrogen is sex hormone that regulates many processes in the body, especially in women. During puberty it is what causes the growth and development of the female reproductive system. There are many factors that change the amount of estrogen we have in the body such as age, puberty, menopause, dieting and exercise, foods, and chemical exposure. There are chemicals we come into contact with (such as the ones found on heat transfer receipts and in plastic containers) that our bodies interpret as estrogen. This can lead to an imbalance of this important hormone and a lot of very negative health effects.
Too much estrogen without the progesterone to combat it, can lead to a lot of uncomfortable and sometimes harmful side effects. This excess estrogen gets circulated through the gut and is often reabsorbed, especially if your digestion is slower (which is very common as we age). This extra estrogen can result in all the menopause and menstrual aches and pains that are so common. It can also cause thyroid issues, more fat storage, and an overall slower metabolism in both men and women.
“Scrubs” the intestines
The fiber in the carrot not only holds onto estrogen and toxins, but also scrapes the intestines. This can aid in removing any biofilms that have accumulated overtime.
Protects from bacterial endotoxins
By binding to the endotoxins in the gut, the carrot effectively removes them. Too many toxins in the gut often lead to inflammation. This can trigger things such as inflammatory bowel disorder, leaky gut, bloating, and other digestive related issues.
Aids in a healthy liver
Pulling toxins out of the body is great, but especially for the liver. It is responsible for a lot of hormone conversion by taking inactive hormones and changing them into usable and active compounds. When there is less toxic strain on the liver it can do this more easily. This leads to liver health, and better hormone balance.
Helps normalize the gut
That fiber also keeps things moving and aids in digestion. It can also increase our fat excretion which essentially means it has a positive effect on our metabolism.
Coconut oil is the recommended oil for the salad because of its natural health benefits. It can boost the metabolism, lower cholesterol, increase skin health, and is great for the thyroid.
Apple cider vinegar
This vinegar is used in recipes, skin care recipes, and DIYs such as my detox bath and armpit detox recipes. It can help to kill harmful bacteria, helps to balance blood sugar, and is great for heart, and skin health. When it combines with the oil in the salad it gives it a vinaigrette like dressing.
Salt is good for so many things. I personally prefer sea salt, (especially crucial four) because it is high in minerals, helps with hydration, improves digestion, and prevents muscle cramps. It can also regulate blood pressure and nourish the adrenal glands.
Making the raw carrot salad
To start, take one fresh, preferably organic carrot and wash it. Peel and discard the skin then prepare the carrot. This can be done either by turning it into ribbons with a potato peeler or shredding it with a large cheese grater. Add the oil, vinegar, and salt to the carrot and mix well.
It really is just that simple.
1 carrot – ribboned or shredded
1-2 tsp. coconut oil – can also use MCT oil or high quality extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp vinegar – apple cider vinegar is recommended but can substitute with white or rice vinegar as well
Pinch of sea salt – brining or pickling salt is an option, I really appreciate the extra minerals in sea salt
It can seem like such a hassle to prepare every day, so if desired you can prepare a few days worth of carrots all at once. You can do 5 days or so at a time. Just ribbon your carrots with a potato peeler and transfer them into a large jar. Fill the jar with cold water so that the carrots are completely covered and store it in the fridge. This keeps them fresh and allows them to maintain their fiber and crispness.
Storing them in water also aids in lowering the beta carotene which is what causes some people to turn orange when consuming a lot of carrots. That is most often a result of a slower thyroid or someone who just has trouble converting the beta carotene into a usable form of vitamin A. If this is you, no, you won’t turn completely orange from eating raw carrot salad. You might just have a slight orangish hue on the palms of your hands or bottoms of your feet.
Frequently asked questions
Who can eat a raw carrot salad?
Men, women, and children. Anyone can benefit from the estrogen binding effects of the fiber and the gut cleaning. If you start eating it and it effects you negatively, check with your health care provider.
What If I cannot eat carrots?
I haven’t done as much research into alternatives, but I have heard that bamboo shoots and a few types of mushrooms when cooked properly are also very difficult for our bodies to digest. They can provide a fiber substitute.
Can I just eat a plain carrot instead?
Since the carrot fiber is one of the key parts to the salad, technically yes. The vinegar, oil, and salt are all also beneficial to overall health and seem to work very well all together. Grabbing just a carrot is great if you are in a hurry or run out of some of the other ingredients, but it is better to just make the raw carrot salad if you can.
Can I just dip baby carrots in a mix of oil and vinegar and call it good?
NO! “Baby carrots” are not actually miniature carrots. They are carrots that have been peeled, cut, and shaped into the cute tiny versions you see at the store. They often come from carrots that are misshapen or malformed, the ones the store cannot sell. All of them are rinsed in a chlorine solution to prevent mold or bacteria growth. Yes, even the organic ones. So please don’t use those to substitute a carrot, you should probably just avoid them all together.
Are there things I can add to the carrot salad, or does it have to be plain?
I know of so many people who add things to the original recipe! Add some spices, seasonings, dried fruit, grated apples, hot sauce, condiments, whatever your heart desires. I would recommend adding those things in addition to the classic recipe so you are still getting the benefits of the oil and vinegar. I added a bit of the “pizza sprinkle” from Trader Joe’s and it is so stinking good.
Is there a right or wrong time to eat it?
Technically no. I have heard it is better to eat it about thirty minutes or so before a meal. Also, while haven’t personally found this to be the case, there are some who say it messes with their sleep if they eat it too late in the day.
Is there a concern with the toxins found in carrots
If you are someone who is on a low-oxalate diet, carrots are usually supposed to be avoided because they are considered a medium oxalate food. Anyone who is in a metabolically imbalanced state tends to be more sensitive to plant toxins, including oxalates. So, if this is you, consult with a nutritionist or doctor just to be sure.
Why coconut oil?
It has a few acids such as caprylic and lauric acid, which are very beneficial to gut health. There are also many other benefits to consuming coconut oil.
Can I prep it more than a few days in advance?
You can. I wouldn’t suggest doing more than a weeks supply at one time just so it doesn’t get funky. I am sure you could prep the whole salad but I find it much more enjoyable to add the oil and vinegar fresh. That way you aren’t dealing with cold bits of coconut oil in your salad. When I prep my carrots, I do one for each day of the week then put them in a jar with filtered or purified water and store them in the fridge. Each day I take out about a cup which I then dress and eat. Makes it so much easier and more enjoyable than having to grate or ribbon a carrot every day.
Disclaimer* I am not a doctor or medical professional. Nothing that is written in this post should be taken as medical advice. I share my personal opinion and the findings of my research.
- 1 Medium Carrot (preferably organic)
- 1/2 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
- 1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
- Sprinkle of Sea Salt
- Wash the carrot and remove the peel.
- Using a vegetable peeler "peel" the carrot into ribbons or grate it with a large cheese grater.
- Melt the coconut oil if needed then drizzle over the carrots.
- Add in the vinegar and salt. Mix well.
- Best enjoyed 30 minutes before a meal or with the meal itself.
- Coconut oil can be substituted for organic and very high quality olive oil.
- The apple cider vinegar can be replaced with white vinegar or rice vinegar. Personally, I prefer the slight sweetness from the acv.
- Once you have made the original recipe, feel free to add other toppings or spices to make the salad more exciting.
- To avoid prepping a carrot every day you can prepare several days' worth of carrots and store them in a glass jar in the fridge. Add enough filtered or purified water to the jar so the carrots remain submerged.