Ode to Beets: 150+ Reasons to Love this Root Veggie

Beets, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. 

Beets are definitely one of my favorite vegetables. One of the most amazing things about them is how good they are for your health. They are loaded with nutrients and are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, & phosphorus. They also provide fiber and antioxidants.

This root veggie also has some medicinal benefits. It helps to cleanse the liver and can be helpful for promoting healthy digestion. Because beets contain nitrates they aid in improving blood flow, lowering blood pressure, and can even boost stamina so you can excerise longer. They also contain betaine, an anti-inflammatory amino acid that helps to protect the body from environmental stress.

Beets contain several minerals that are essential to healthy nerve and muscle function and promote bone, liver, pancreas,and kidney health. They also contain B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects.

Beet greens are extremely healthy too. They are an important source of essential nutrients, like vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium. They also contain more iron than spinach and are a good source of fiber and protein.

In addition to being super healthy, beets are also really tasty and versatile. They are a great addition to soups, pastas, salads, juices, smoothies, and even make lovely desserts and condiments.

Below are 150 recipes to help you fall in love with beets. If you’re already a beet lover, some of these recipes may be familiar, but there’s also a lot of fun, unique recipes that will have you wanting to eat beets for breakfast, lunch & dinner. Enjoy!

[BREAKFAST]

1. Beet Hashbrowns from The Roasted Root

Photo Credit: The Roasted Root

2. Beet & Chia Pancakes from The New York Times

3. Chocolate Beet Muffins from Cake Student

4. Beet Hash Breakfast Wraps from Reclaiming Provincial

Photo credit: Reclaiming Provincial

5. Pink Breakfast Bowl from Ricki Heller

6. Roasted Beet, Baby Spinach & Goat Cheese Quiche from Food52

7. Red Flannel Hash Cakes from Martha Stewart

8. Beet & Carrot Muffins from Hidden Ponies

9. Breakfast Beet Shakshuka from The Whole Tara

Photo Credit: The Whole Tara

10. Beet Crust Leek Quiche from Prevention

Continue reading

Grilled Tempeh Sliders

Summer is just around the corner, which means it’s a perfect time for some outdoor cooking. We love spending warm evenings on the deck or by the fire pit cooking our dinner and enjoying the weather. Not heating up the house with the oven or stove is an added bonus!

When many people think of grilling, they think meat – hog dogs, hamburgers, steak, chicken, etc – but there are many tasty meatless ways to enjoy cooking on the grill this summer. Tempeh, tofu, and many fruits and veggies are delicious grilled. There are also some very tasty  veggie “hot dogs” available at the natural food stores near us that are made from real vegetable not weird “meat like” ingredients. They are worth trying if you can find them.

This easy tempeh burger recipe is a favorite warm weather recipe around our house. Grilled veggies make a simple, delicious side dish. We use whatever’s in season. Asparagus, corn, zucchini, sweet potatoes, leeks, beets, and peppers are just a few tasty options. Be creative!

This recipe makes enough for 4 slider size tempeh burgers. This is enough to feed 2-4 people, depending on how hungry people are and what your side dish options are like. You could easily double the recipe to make more burgers if you are feeding more people.

 

Ingredients:

Sliders –

  • 8 oz tempeh patty
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/2 cup liquid aminos
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 small, “dinner roll” sized buns, sliced in half

Toppings –

  • 2 slices onion, diced
  • A handful of fresh arugula leaves
  • Condiments of your choosing. Some great options are: homemade pickles, slaw, ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce (click here to find out how to make your own!), or mayo

Directions:

Cut tempeh patty into 4 equal pieces.

Combine liquid aminos, molasses, and diced garlic together in a wide dish. The dish does not need to be very deep, but ideally will be wide enough for the 4 tempeh pieces to sit in the bottom next to each other.

Add tempeh to liquid and spoon marinade over the pieces so they are drenched. Let marinate for about 30 minutes, occasionally flipping the tempeh so that each side has soaked for a bit in the liquid.

Start your grill. Once it is hot, add your tempeh patties. Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until both sides look nice and brown. As the tempeh cooks, spoon some marinade over it occasionally to keep it from drying out and to add more flavor.

When the patties are nearly done, add your buns to the grill, sliced side down and cook them just a few minutes, until toasted. Then take everything off the grill and assemble your sliders using the arugula greens, onions, and condiments of your choosing. We like topping our sliders with things like ketchup, mustard, diced olives, assorted veggie pickles, and barbeque sauce.

homemade veggie pickles – asparagus, kohlrabi, & beets
We make our own super tasty pickles and condiments. It’s a lot easier than you think and it’s more than worth the effort. Some of the best condiment and assorted veggie pickle recipes come from my favorite canning cookbook, Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff. We especially love her recipes for zucchini pickles and ketchup. So tasty! I would definitely recommend picking up this book if you like preserving your own food.

 

Enjoy crafting your own tasty tempeh sliders this summer. We’d love to hear about any awesome variations you come up with!

Eat Well to Age Well

We’ve all heard the saying, “you are what you eat,” but many people don’t actually take it heart. However, your diet is hugely important to your overall health. Eating well is not only essential to maintaining a healthy weight, but also can help you live longer, and can help you age better by reducing your risk of developing health problems as you get older.

Recent studies have increasingly shown that the “Western” diet — one that includes fried, processed, salty, and sweet foods, red meat, high-fat dairy products, and refined grains — is certainly not ideal for improving or sustaining health. In fact, a great deal of research links the Western diet to an array of major health issues.

A British study published in The American Journal of Medicine followed nearly 5,500 participants over the course of 24 years to determine the effects of diet on health and the aging process. The results of this study showed that people who eat a  Western diet have a greater chance of dying prematurely. And those who eat this diet and don’t die early are more likely to be in poor health as they age. The lead investigator of the study, Tasnime Akbaraly, said, “We showed that following specific dietary recommendations … may be useful in reducing the risk of unhealthy aging, while avoidance of the Western-type foods might actually improve the possibility of achieving older ages free of chronic diseases and remaining highly functional.”

Another study conducted at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis in 2009 determined participants’ risk of getting metabolic syndrome based on their diet. Metabolic syndrome is not actually a disease, but a set of risk factors including: high blood pressure, high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol levels,  and abdominal fat. The combination of these risk factors can double your risk of heart attack or stroke and make you 5 times more likely to develop type II diabetes.

The 2009 study found that participants eating a Western diet had about an 18% overall increased risk of getting metabolic syndrome. The study also found that eating meat and fried foods was linked to developing metabolic syndrome. People who ate at least two servings of meat per day were 26% more likely to get metabolic syndrome than those who ate meat only twice weekly. And the participants who ate the most fried food had a 25% higher risk of developing the syndrome than those who ate the lowest levels of fried foods. Additionally, those who drank one can of diet soda a day had an increased risk of 34%.

So, what then do we eat to stay healthier and live longer? The following suggestions have been proven to help improve and sustain health, as well as reducing the risk of developing of various health problems.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Staying at a healthy weight is one of the best ways to sustain health, as being overweight can strain your heart and joints, increase your risk of certain cancers, and cause or worsen a number of other health issues. If you aren’t sure if you are overweight a BMI calculator can help you determine this. If you don’t know how to lose weight, consult with your doctor and ask to be referred to a Registered Dietician (RD). They can help customize a weight loss plan specific to your lifestyle.

Eat Lots of Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are low calorie and are a great source of fiber and  nutrients. Eating at least five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day will help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, and a number of other chronic diseases.

Colorful fruits and vegetables, such as berries, beets, and tomatoes are rich in antioxidants, which help protect your body against free radicals (unstable molecules that are involved in aging). One study found that men who ate 10 or more servings of tomatoes or tomato products per week had a 35% decreased risk of prostate cancer. Fruits like strawberries, blueberries, and acai berries are a great source of an antioxidant called polyphenol, a compound that can help you fight cancer and degenerative brain diseases. Dark purple fruits and vegetables, like eggplant, blackberries, and plums, also help lower risk of heart disease and improve mental function.

Vegetables are a great source of fiber, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that help keep you healthier as you age and reduce your risk of developing various health conditions. Dark, leafy greens (like kale, mustard greens, swiss chard, and spinach) are rich in antioxidants. Kale and spinach are also a good source of calcium. Squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, and yams help improve lung and skin health and lower your risk of cancer. Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, can help prevent colon cancer.

Eat Less Red Meat

Recent studies have found that a compound in red meat called carnitine not only increases the risk of clogged and hardened arteries, but also encourages the growth of bacteria that increase the production of TMAO (an artery clogging compound) in our bodies. This makes meat eaters far more likely to suffer from heart disease, heart attack, or stroke than individuals who only intake saturated fats from non-meat sources.

A study conducted at Cleveland Clinic found that vegetarians and vegans have been found to have much lower levels of TMAO than those who eat meat. Additionally, vegans and vegetarians have a much lower capability of creating TMAO from carnitine. In short, giving up meat entirely could seriously decrease your risk of cardiovascular problems. However, if you can’t part from your carnivorous ways, at the very least, cutting down on your intake of red meat can help improve your heart’s health.

Eat More Fiber

Fiber helps lower blood pressure, aids digestion, and can lower your risk of developing certain cancers, type II diabetes, and heart disease. Fiber also helps you feel full longer and thus, can help you lose weight. Fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole-grains are all good sources of fiber. To get more fiber try adding chickpeas to a salad, replacing meat with beans in soups, or try swapping whole-grain bread for white.

Go Nuts for Good Fats (in Moderation)

Nuts are a great source of protein and other nutrients. Almonds, for example, are rich in vitamin E and can help lower the risk of stroke for women. Walnuts contain unsaturated fats, which can help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol). Additionally, pecans are a good source of antioxidants. While nuts are a source of “good” fat, they are not fat free, so be sure to enjoy them in moderation.

Olive oil is also a source of fats that can benefit your health, especially extra-virgin olive oil, which contains a natural anti-inflammatory that produces effects similar to ibuprofen and other NSAIDs. Olive oil can also positively affect memory and increase HDL, which decreases the amount of fat build up on your blood vessel walls (a condition called atherosclerosis).

Fish and seaweeds are great sources of the fatty acids, DHA and EPA, which are essential to brain and nervous system development. Eating more of these foods may lower your risk of dementia. Additionally, the omega-3 fats found in foods such as flax seeds, chia seeds, and fish, can lower cholesterol and triglycerides, and decrease the inflammation that can cause atherosclerosis.

Lower Salt Intake

Eating less salt can lower your blood pressure, which reduces your risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure. Controlling your blood pressure also protects your brain cells from damage and reduces your risk of memory loss and dementia as you age. Aron Troen, PhD., a neuroscientist at Tufts University explains that, “High blood pressure can damage the vasculature that supplies the brain with oxygen and nutrients.” If you frequently use extra salt to spruce up your meals, try adding spices and herbs to flavour your food instead.

You can improve your health simply by changing what you eat. Try cutting some of the processed food, refined grains, and meat from your diet and replace them with the types of foods suggested above. Your commitment to better health and longer life begins at your next meal.

 

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20130407/compound-in-red-meat-energy-drinks-may-have-heart-disease-link

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7680283.stm

http://www.womenshealth.gov/news/HealthDay/EN/2013/Apr/17/675462.
http://www.webmd.com/heart/metabolic-syndrome/metabolic-syndrome-what-is-it
http://www.webmd.com/heart/metabolic-syndrome/news/20080122/western-diet-ups-heart-diabetes-risk
http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/healthy_aging_center/diet_tricks_to_help_you_live_longer
http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/nutrition-world-2/slideshow-nutrition-longevity
http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/foods-for-long-life-and-well-being
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-blood-pressure/HI00062
http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/5-foods-to-boost-your-health?page=2