Carrot Fries! And Natural Care for Common Ailments



What are those incredible looking veggies, you ask??

Just hold that thought.

Thank you all for your sweet recovery wishes to me. I woke up to an email from Cassie on Saturday morning with the subject line “Miss you!” and the following photo:


Serious bummer. I am so sad to have missed the NY Vegetarian Expo!

This said, I definitely made the right choice in staying home. I’ve been really sick since Friday: high fever, sore throat, headaches, cough. The usual bastion of misery that accompanies a terrible cold. Needless to say, my appetite—along with my desire to cook—has been pretty dim.

People often ask me what I eat when I’m feeling sick. The answer is: whatever I crave – or whatever doesn’t make my stomach turn! Typically, this means more cooked food than raw. My favorites for sick days are warm soups, baked root vegetables, sprouted grain breads and toast, brown rice and quinoa, puffed kamut cakes, and banana soft serve (which is especially awesome for a sore throat!).

Sometimes–especially if I’ve got a summer bug–I crave simple raw foods, too, like blended salads and raw veggie slaws (shredded veggies of choice, like carrots, cabbage, cucumbers, and zucchini, dressed with apple cider vinegar, raw honey and olive oil). I try to get raw or gently steamed greens in if I can – no matter how lousy my appetite is, I know that greens will make me feel better, and so I do my best to keep them down. And of course, I load up on juice, coconut water, and  hot ginger tea with agave.

This weekend, my eats included lots of these:


(Yams are back at the farmer’s market!)

Some of this:


(‘Zeke bread with coconut oil and cinnamon)

A whole lotta this:


(Kristen Suzanne’s amaaaaaazing raw Harvest Soup):

Lots of my creamy zucchini soup:


I was running a pretty high fever for two days (just under 103), and was pretty dehydrated. So my Mom was kind enough to pick up some Thai coconuts for me, which helped me stay hydrated the whole time (and the flesh is mellow-tasting and gentle enough to be a great “sick food”).

If you’re feeling under the weather, the best thing you can do is choose foods that are both sustaining (starchy vegetables and grains are good for this) and also easy to digest. If you’re really feeling queasy (or if you have a stomach ailment), try to at least get some soups down (the Pacific brand is great) and some blended foods: one favorite recipe of mine is “butternut pudding,” which is essentially butternut squash that’s steamed, then processed in a processor with coconut oil, a touch of maple syrup, and cinnamon. And if you can’t seem to digest anything at all, do try to sip as much vegetable juice as you can until you’re well enough to eat.

What about my favorite home remedies? To start, if you have a cold, I recommend using a neti pot a few times daily or as often as you need:


If you guys haven’t seen neti pots before, they’re part of an ancient tradition called nasal irrigation, which can help with everything from cold/flu relief to chronic sinus infections and allergies. Neti pots are inexpensive, and they’re easy to use. I highly recommend them!

On the whole (as you know) I’m not one for herbs and supplements. But I’m a big fan of oil of oregano for various medicinal uses, and there’s some evidence to show that it’s useful in treating fevers. You can find it in oil form, or in pills. I also recommend Quantum’s herbal cold and flu remedy. I’ve no proof whatsoever that this stuff is medicinal, but using it few times a day at the start of a cold has always helped me bounce back quickly.

carrot-fries-003-500x3752Epsom salt baths are also terrific, and have been shown to lower fevers. Cold compresses on the foreheads and wrists are also good for fever reduction.

Obviously, it helps to avoid alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and other toxins. It can also be helpful to avoid any processed or refined sugars, and sweets in general.

Most importantly, stay hydrated! Tea, juice, water: these are essential. If you have a fever, dehydration is an ever-present concern, so do your best to drink lots of electrolyte rich liquids—coconut water is ideal for this!

Of course, if you find yourself developing symptoms that are more severe than those of a run-of-the-mill cold, or if you have any doubts about the origin or nature of your ailment, you should give your doctor a call or go in for a visit.

As for over-the-counter meds—Tylenol, Nyquil, Theraflu, etc.—don’t boycott them simply to be a hero. If my fever had crept any higher this weekend, I would have considered taking Tylenol every four hours, but it stayed within a range I could handle before it broke. If your neti pot isn’t working, try Vicks or some other kind of decongestant.

Fortunately, my sniffly, sweaty weekend included one new recipe–and a fabulous one at that!

What I craved most in the last few days (in fact, the only thing I craved) were warm root veggies. And I was reminded of a recipe that one of my clients had told me about some time ago, and I’ve been dying to try: carrot fries. A fun alternative to your usual sweet potato or potato fries, these are delicious, simple, and very comforting. They’re super versatile: you could dust them with cinnamon and nutmeg for an autumnal treat; you could dust them with chili powder or cayenne for a Southwestern twist; you could sprinkle them with garam masala and curry powder for an Indian-inspired variation. Or, you can do as I did, and keep the seasonings simple.

This recipe couldn’t really be easier. Simply cut 2-3 large carrots into “fry” shapes. You can use the larger shredder setting on a mandolin for this, or simply hack at large carrots until they’re thin enough (and lots of delis sell pre-cut carrots, too). Next, toss the fries in 1-2 tbsps coconut oil (which is my oil of choice for high-temperature cooking), sea salt, and pepper. Toss them in a 450 degree oven for 40-45 minutes or so, till they’re slightly browned.

And behold, serious yuminess:


You could dip the fries in any sort of sauce: ketchup, barbeque sauce, creamy peanut sauce, ranch dressing, green goddess dressing — the possibilities are endless!


The first time I made these over the weekend, I enjoyed them with the sauce above. You’ll have to wait for my next post to find out what it is!

Tonight, with my appetite slowly but surely on the mend, I enjoyed the fries along with some steamed sweet potatoes and veggies, some massaged kale, and some ‘Zeke toast. It was a tasty recovery meal:



I hope you all enjoyed more vibrant weekends than mine! Now, get to your kitchens for some carrot fries. I guarantee you won’t be dissapointed!!


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Categories: Vegan Basics

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  1. OMG!!!!! I can’t stop eating these. They are crunchy, sweet, a good alternative to sweet potato fries.

  2. I swear by this concoction. I haven’t taken antibiotics for sinus infections since I started using this. They make it at their store Brighter Day Foods in Savannah, GA. It was a life saver on my wedding trip. It is called Cold and Sinus Blaster. You can order it from their website, but that never seems to work so I just call and order it. I order several bottles because this stuff is amazing.

  3. nothing better than plenty of natural whole foods in your diet. The less preservatives the better 😉

  4. Hi Gena! Hope you don’t mind the silly question, but I just got some coconut oil and have never worked with it before. How do you toss the carrots in the oil, if the oil is solid at room temperature? Do you melt down the oil, first? I really want to make these with the coconut oil but I don’t want to mess them up and have hunks of coconut oil on the fries 😉

    Also, what other uses/recipes do you have for coconut oil?

    Thanks! 🙂

    • Hey Beauty!

      Coconut oil is actually the only oil I use to cook at high temperatures. Why? Because its molecular structure remains intact at high temperatures. Altering an oil’s structure, which heating does, has been proven harmful in numerous studies. The best oils to cook with at medium or high temps are olive oil and coconut oil.

      If it’s in solid form, just warm it lightly before tossing with the fries. You can do this with a hot water bath (submerge the coconut oil jar into hot water), or just by leaving it near your radiator!



  5. I made the carrot fries last night to compliment my meal. My friend and I LOVED them. Thanks!!!

    I love the natural healing ideas too. I am thrilled to add them to my mix of nonpharmaceutical remedies.

  6. So sorry you were under the weather! I LOVE love LOVE my netti pot! It makes me feel better instantly. I use mine often due to my high allergies and I hate using medicine, like you only when I have to. Your sick craves are similar to mine. I keep a homemade vegan potato leek soup frozen on hand for when I am sick and it always makes me feel better.So sorry you were ill but glad you are better!

  7. Hey Gena,
    I know that you exercise regularly – did you continue your regular routine when you were sick? I’ve got a mild fever and a headache, and I’m not sure if I should be exercising. Thoughts? Thanks a lot!

    • Hi Zoe —

      I strongly urge you not to exercise! It’s ok to do some mild exercise very, very early in a cold, but if you have a fever, it’s best not to heat the body up or take away from its healing with the exertion of exercise. Healing requires rest and self-care — you can get back to the gym and yoga or whatever else you do when you’re well.


  8. Hey Gena! I don’t know if I’ve ever commented before – I’ve been reading since the spring and LOVE your blog. I could go on about how great it is… but keeping it short, thanks for this post! I’ve been sitting on the couch guzzling water and feeling terrible the past 2 days, so this post was awesome 🙂 Also, I can’t wait to try the carrots like that!

  9. Hi Gena! Just wondering, can you eat yams and sweet potatoes raw? Do you? Got a recipe? (Or maybe I missed it when I searched your recipe section…?)


  10. Hey, question…

    Do you ever get an upset tummy from eating ezekiel bread? I bought it and didn’t realize it had soybeans in it and when I ate it, my stomach started to hurt. I can’t imagine a large amount of soy in there but do you think that could be what caused it?

    I love the idea of coconut oil and cinnamon, I will have to re-create that soon!

    • Hey Shel!

      You know, the particular loaf I have doesn’t list soybeans in the ingredients. I think it differs from flavor to flavor. Even so, I doubt a touch of soy would upset my stomach too much — hard to say what caused your belly ache!


  11. I am a big fan of anything carrot, in pretty much any form. I’ve roasted chunkier pieces of carrot many a time, but haven’t done them up in fry form yet. Yet another reason to get myself a jar of coconut oil 🙂

  12. Carrot fries sound delicious! I’m so sorry about your illness sweet pea! I love that you let your body ride it out naturally. Just like in the good old days, right? Love it to death.
    Coconut oil on toast sounds pretty amazing!

  13. Yes, yes, yes! I did. Right after I read your post yesterday, I biked back home and started hacking away at my carrots. I was expecting something good, but THEY WERE ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS. Mmmmm… thanks for rejuvenating my love for baked root veggies, Gena!

  14. Feel better, love! Thank you for sharing the tips. Glad to see you’re taking care of yourself (but when are you not? hehehe). Anyway, I wish you a speedy and well recovery.

    p.s. I too LOVE putting coconut oil and cinnamon on toast. Try adding some lavender and agave too.

  15. Great post! I love the idea of sharing one cooked recipe a month. It’s really nice because it reminds all of us that the raw lifestyle is about doing what’s right for our bodies, not being type-A about adhering to the label.

    Thanks for being my favorite!

  16. Looks delicious! Glad you’re feeling better! Did you ever notice that New Yorkers seem to get sick more than other people? Not sure if it’s just my imagination, but my clients always seem to be sick. Either that or they’re just pretending because they’ve been eating unhealthy and don’t want to face me!

  17. P.S. I had a chance to attend a presentation by and meet Brendan Brazier a few weeks ago at the Toronto Vegetarian Association Food Fair. Very inspiring. I recommend his book ‘Thrive Diet’ to everyone. Maybe next year you’ll have a booth at our fair?? 🙂

  18. Hello Gena!

    I started my raw journey almost a month ago but I’ve been reading your blog since early Spring. I adore it. The design, your writing, your recipes! Yum! I just wanted to thank you for providing such a great source of information and for sharing your experiences (food-related and not) with everyone. I haven’t been to NYC in quite some time (I’m from Toronto) but I look forward to trying some of the raw restaurants over there soon.

    Thanks again!

  19. Glad to hear that you are feeling better. I agree with in that warm foods tend to help make me feel better too whenever I am sick. I enjoy soups and quinoa as well. Those carrot fries look so good! My BF introduced me to the nettle pot a few years ago, he loves it, and now got me hooked. Great thing to have on hand.

  20. I’m glad you are feeling better. Do you limit yourself at all when it comes to veggies? I have steered clear of carrots and limited sweet red peppers, sweet potatoes and other veggies that typically have more sugar (which is why I would love the banana soft serve but I limit myself to one serving of berries and one apple per day–never do I dare use dates and although I love coconut and avocado’s I am so afraid of the fat!!). I’m still really new at this and find a lot of conflicting info–just trying to clear some things up:)

    • I definitely don’t, Brandi. I find all the hysteria about carrots and roots and peppers hilarious; let’s turn our attention to refined carbs and excessive fruits and dried fruits, shall we? Carrots are rarely anyone’s real vice.

      Everyone is different. People can take different amounts of sugar, and different kinds. Some people find fructose bloating; others are fine with it.

      But it’s rare that sweet vegetables are truly harming anyone who is being moderate in different areas (desserts, refined carbs, etc.)

  21. Sorry you were under the weather – I’ve been dealing with the same thing! Thanks for all of the good tips. I have a netipot at home, and for some reason, didn’t even think about using it…I’m off to go find it in my medicine cabinet 🙂

  22. Im sorry to hear that you were under the weather, but you will hopefully be up and about again in no time! Those fries look really delicious and simple to boot. Enjoy the last day of fall 🙂

  23. I’m so glad you are feeling better Gena! I know you’re always working hard and on the go, so I hope you are getting a chance to relax and REST yourself.

    Also, I’m having a giveaway for a year’s subscription to Vegetarian Times, in case you are interested!

  24. Gena-
    So glad to hear you are feeling better! I hope you continue to heal quickly.

    I love your carrot fries…they look wonderful.

    My family uses a lot of naturopathic remedies when we’re feeling under the weather, including epsom salts and also a fantastic rub from India that contains fantastic ingredients like eucalyptus, coconut oil, cinnamon.

  25. So glad you’re feeling better Gena, and thanks so much for all of these tips. So helpful!

    Whenever I am sick, I totally crave starches. I just want warm pita bread dipped in almond butter. However, your carrot sticks look divine. I will be making those very soon.

    Love the idea of one cooked meal a month. Gorgeous recovery meal!

  26. Gena, I wanted to tell you i LOVE your blog and read it religiously. I just got over a cold (I’m in the same boat – I almost never get sick so I get really upset with myself when I do) and Hot water + Ginger + Agave truly got me through.

    I love the idea of posting some of your cooked meals! Your diet is one I aspire to and it will be great to see more of the “whole picture”

    Keep up the great writing 🙂

  27. Hope you’re all better soon!

    The carrot fries look great, but I was wondering if you think they would be good baked? I’m not a fan of cooking anything in a lot of oil – no matter what kind of oil it is.

    You’re recovery meal looks quite different than the standard BRAT diet:-)

  28. You food looks gorg as always Gena! I’m especially loving the Epsom salt tip! I love Epsom salts and use them all the time in baths for achy muscles. I had no idea it also helps to remove toxins from the bod! This is good to know!

  29. Glad you are feeling better! Thanks for showing your readers that it’s ok to be flexible, you’ve got to honor your body when you are feeling under the weather.

  30. I won’t comment on the previous post since I already have a copy of Clean Plates, but feel compelled to vouch for it. Definitely my go-to guide for restaurant navigation these days! Restaurants not included in it have all but fallen into the shadows for me in the meantime, and that’s just as well not only for health purposes but simply to make NYC dining less overwhelming in the choices department! Sheesh.

    ANYsniffle, hope you’re feeling back among the living today! Definitely noticing a lot of colds circulating right now, including my lunch date on Friday. Yesterday I’m was irritated to notice that certain twinge in my throat and thought I was in for it, despite weeks and weeks of 80-90% clean eating. I haven’t had just a generic cold in SO long! Coincidentally, I hacked open a young coconut last night and made it into red pepper soup (thankyou!) and drank the excess water. Today, no telltale symptoms remain. After reading this (awesome) post, I can’t help but think it’s not coincidence!

    I fully support integration of your favorite cooked foods here every once in a while. I actually think my favorite meals lately have been a combination of raw AND cooked veg on the same plate. All veg, all fun, but feels more conventional so there’s no “compromise” involved. So says my bioindividuality, at least. 😉


  31. It is great to hear that you are feeling better. I agree, the neti pot is a life saver. I use mine all the time to ward of the beginning stages of the common cold. I usually crave warm food too. I love steamed zucchini and raw tomato sauce.

    Feel better!

  32. So glad you’re on the mend! I’ve felt a little ‘off’ for the past week or so and I’m blaming the changing seasons. I love to see your discussion of cooked foods and their place in a raw diet, as well, and I know you’ll have wonderful recipes for Autumn – can’t wait!

  33. Great post! Love all the tips, glad you are feeling well, sorry you missed the expo!

    I love my neti pot (I have the same one). I also take oregano oil when I have an infection instead of antibiotics and I bought a natural fever reducer (from Whole Foods) for when I was having a flare up and my fever rose a few weeks back. I try to avoid meds whenever possible, especially since I take ones daily for my crohn’s.

    The fries look delicious! I need to get some brussell sprouts soon!

    Keep feeling better! HUGS! XO!

  34. love the carrot fry idea, as well as the idea of seeing the cooked foods you occasionally enjoy. and i also loved reading your thoughts on natural vs. modern medicine – this is something that’s been on my mind a lot recently for various reasons, and your perspective is very timely. thanks!

    i hope you continue to feel better, gena!

  35. I am glad you know how to take care of yourself. Thanks for all the great advice, they all look like great fall foods too.

  36. So glad to hear you are on the mend! I love baked root veggies but never thought to do carrot fries. Will definitely be trying those out.

  37. Thank you so much for your sentiments regarding allopathic medicines – you’re right, they ARE available for a reason. And thank goodness for neti pots (love the one we have at home, haha 😀 ).

    Those carrot fries look so delicious!! Can’t wait to find out about the new sauce recipe.

    Wishing you a full recovery, my fellow sick gal! 🙂

  38. Hope you’re getting better quickly!!! I swear that people who normally have lots of energy take it SO much harder when they are sick. A slight cold, and I’m simply miserable. I’m sure with a fever that high, you must be ready to climb the walls and get back to norm. Take care.
    Oh, and that dinner looks great – sick or not sick, that looks like a wonderfully comforting meal on a cool fall night. Delish!

  39. I crave homey and warm food when I’m not feeling well too. How do you make your sweet potatoes? I like to just steam them and even eat the skin as well. Lotsa vitamins and minerals. Feel better soon!

  40. Sorry you were sick 🙁 That sucks, glad you’re feeling better. I need to make those fries — they look easy and delicious!

    Thanks for the tips and I want a neti pot!

  41. I am feeling the bite of a virus, too! And I must echo your appreciation for the neti pot. Love it. I can recall reading a study that showed nasal irrigation was actually more effective than medication, but I can’t place where I read it. Antecdotally, it’s been true for me.
    For some reason, my body will not tolerate much food at all (usually I’m terribly hungry when I’m under the weather). Thankfully, I have a fridge stocked with lovely produce that has turned into my juice feast for the day. Lots of veggies and nutrients for me today.
    While I practice allopathic Western medicine for a living, it is something I generally try to avoid for myself and my family. I see health-care as a pyramid, with healthy eating, sunshine/fresh air, and exercise (prevention) as the foundation. Then comes nutritional supplements (vitamins, spirulina, etc), then naturally-sourced (yet allopathic)/homeopathic remedies, and then on top is Western medicine. When I do things in that order, I have found that my need for things like pharmaceuticals greatly decreases. I’m a big believer in letting fevers work themselves out (although with my son, I watch them closely to make sure they aren’t rapidly rising).
    My favorites for viral illnesses are garlic and spirulina. Raw garlic, crushed and left out in the open for a few moments is a terrific anti-microbial, and spirulina boosts the immune system.
    Thank you for the reminder about epsom salts – a nice soak sounds like a wonderful idea! Hope you’re feeling better soon, and thanks for the meal ideas.

  42. Wonderful post on the various ways of treating illnesses. Also, carrot fries are delicious! I made them by accident once when I was craving fries but had shredded carrots and wanted something relatively healthy. Take care!

  43. Sorry to hear you haven’t been feeling well, but glad you are now on the mend! Thank you for sharing all these great ideas. Will have to try the carrot fries too!

  44. What a genius idea! I must try this soon, as I munch on carrots all day– I need a new way to enjoy them.
    Hope you’re feeling better, m’dear!

  45. Glad to hear you’re feeling better! And thanks for a wonderful post; I appreciate your thoughtful approach to illness. And I can’t wait to try those carrot fries. 🙂

  46. Hi Gena, so sorry to hear you’ve been ill! Yucky!! I hope you start getting much better in the next few days and can give yourself some serious R&R for the next week. Those carrot fries look amazing! Can’t wait to try them tonight! xx

  47. These look great- I have some sweet potato fries in the oven at the moment, but I’ll be sure to try carrot next time! Big plus that they are neutral!

  48. Glad you’re feeling better!

    Love the fry recipe. I do this all the time with squash or sweet potatoes, but never thought of carrots… crazy 🙂

  49. I’m glad you’re feeling better now. Phew!!

    Once again, you are amazing in listening to what your body needs. I have to admit, I’m the sort of person who gets caught up with a ‘diet’ and will try to ignore my cravings along the way – in order to stay ‘pure’. You’re such a role model to me!

    Thank you.

  50. Gena, I sincerely hope you’re on the mend! Thank you for your post on allopathic vs. alternative medicine and using judgment and not being foolish. How true! There’s a time and place for both, I believe, as well. I am most thoroughly impressed that 1. you are off whipping up new recipes when you’re sick, albeit only carrot fries, it’s still work to be in the kitch when you’re sick and 2. you wrote a long, thorough, and really informative blog post on the heels of a 103F fever. Wow girlfriend, it’s time for you to go to bed and rest yourself. Feel better! 🙂 averie

  51. Glad to know that you are feeling better! Those fries look delicious. Once again, I am in awe of how easy and delicious your recipe ideas are.