Refueling With Beets

People often ask me, what vegetable should they eat daily? I used to say, organic kale or spinach. Now I tell people to eat beets along with their greens. Eating any form of green vegetables is crucial in any diet, but eating the whole beet plant is a two for one deal. The beet greens are just as edible and highly recommended to eat just like any other green vegetable. According to the whfoods.org, beet greens nutritional intake consist both of fat-soluble vitamins like A and K, as well as water-soluble vitamins like vitamins C and B2.  Beet greens are also packed with vital minerals like calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese and potassium.  In the phytonutrient category, beet greens show special benefits in the area of carotenoid richness. Beets are also naturally sweet so eating the greens will counter balance the sugar in the beets. Instead of tossing the green tops in the garbage, juice them with the beet or sauté a bunch and serve as a side dish.

Video: How Sugar Beets are Turned into Table Sugar

I recently stumbled upon this study done by researchers at Wake Forest University. According to the study, beets contain a high level of dietary nitrite, when ingested nitrite converts into nitric oxide (NO). Don’t get it confused. Nitrite into Nitric Oxide! So, the NO increases the blood flow and oxygen in the body. With this increase of blood flowing to your brain, your performance may be enhanced. This study is fascinating because they also discovered that drinking a beetroot juice supplement before a workout can make the brain of older people look younger. Whether you’re looking for performance enhancements or a younger brain, it’s definitely worth getting your daily doses of beets in.  Another study results were outstanding. Results indicated that beetroot juice given as a single dose or over a few days may improve performance at intermittent, high-intensity efforts with short rest periods.

  1. Muscle recovery after workouts
  2. Improved time trial performance
  3. Decreased cost of work when performing

Thus means you can finish the race or workout feeling less fatigued. Eating beets will increases your body’s endurance. I suggest based off of my research, opt out of the Gatorade and go for beet juice instead. My passion is eating healthy and spreading my knowledge of the importance of eating a nutritional diet, mainly plant-based. It’s been over a year now since I’ve added exercising into my lifestyle. In the beginning, I was exhausted and achy from my workouts. It was difficult to get on a consistent regimen but since I’ve got added beets to my weekly diet, I’ve noticed a positive upward shift in my energy pre and post workouts. I’ve always enjoyed eating and growing beets, and now that I’m working out, I’ve incorporated beets in my daily diet. I juice, shred for salads, or roast in the oven. Beets and their greens are now a staple in my household. If I could only get my two boys to eat it!

Other Health Benefits of Beets

Beets can lower blood pressure; promote eye, respiratory, and bone health; build immunity and increase stamina; and fight premature aging. There’s evidence they may even help prevent cancer. They’re highly nutritious, abundant in phytochemical compounds, low in fat and calories. Beets’ also supports detoxification.

Simple Beet Juice Recipe

  • 1 medium beetroot with the greens
  • 1/2 peeled lemon
  • Small piece of ginger
  • 1 cup of spinach
  • 1 cucumber

Here a little home video of me picking beets from my garden. I hope I was able to inspire you to start eating beet greens.

Sources

        Study:Effects of beetroot juice supplementation on intermittent high-intensity exercise efforts
        Study: Beetroot juice supplementation reduces the oxygen cost of exercise without improving mitochondrial efficiency: but how?
        Study:The Potential Benefits of Red Beetroot Supplementation in Health and Disease
        Study:Effects of Beetroot Juice on Recovery of Muscle Function and Performance between Bouts of Repeated Sprint Exercise
        Beet Greens –whfoods.com
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Still Harvesting My Greens in November

Just got in from the gym and decided to make myself a protein green smoothie. This is always a quicker option than cooking, especially when your tired. Check out my beautiful bouquet of greens. Just freshly cut from my garden. It’s November and cold here in New York, however my collard greens, curly leaf kale, Tuscan kale, and parsley are surviving strong. Even the two days of frost we had a couple of weeks ago. Kale and collards are cool-season greens that are part of the cruciferous family along with cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and bok choy. They grow best in the springtime and fall and can tolerate frost. Leafy greens are power food packed with power nutrients. Plus all greens are low in calories. And a serving of just about any of the deeply colored ones contains your daily supply of vitamins K and A, most of your daily vitamin C, and a hefty helping of fiber, B vitamins and essential minerals. They’re great additions to smoothies too.

  • 1/2 cup of kale
  • 1 cup collard greens
  • 1/2 cup of figs
  • 1 cup of flaxseed milk
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 tsp of organic Maca powder
  • 1/2 cup of ice

Check out the protein content on this plant-based flaxseed milk. It taste sooooooo good. I bought it from Whole Foods.

Benefits of kale

  • Anti-Inflammatory Benefits of Kale
  • Glucosinolates and Cancer-Preventive
  • Kale also extend to its cholesterol-lowering ability

Resource: The World’s Healthiest Food – Kale

Eat Eggplants to Protect Your Brain 

Growing up, my mother never cooked or grew eggplants.  I’ve heard stories of my late grandfather growing it, which he referred to them as Garden Eggs. In my adult life, I’ve grown to love the taste.  I grow and cook them, and I even got my mother to enjoy growing and cooking with them too.  Eggplants are extremely healthy and versatile to cook with.  It is a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B1, copper, manganese, vitamin B6, niacin, potassium, folate and vitamin K.  Eggplants also contains phytonutrients; such as nasunin and chlorogenic acid.  The nasunin is the antioxidant responsible for providing your brain with food.

In animal studies, nasunin has been found to protect the lipids (fats) in brain cell membranes. Cell membranes are almost entirely composed of lipids and are responsible for protecting the cell from free radicals, letting nutrients in and wastes out, and receiving instructions from messenger molecules that tell the cell which activities it should perform. Nasunin is located in the purple skin of the eggplant so don’t peel it.  It’s job is to search and defeat free radicals.

According to Rice University, free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Once formed these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction, like a dominoe effect. Their chief danger comes from the damage they can do when they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane.  Free radicals are basically bad for you and they are everywhere.  They can break down healthy cells and multiply.

What are free radicals?

Free radicals are highly unstable and reactive molecules that damage living cells. These can come from everyday pollution and other common stressors, like the ones listed below:

  • Everyday air pollutants
  • Smog / UV rays
  • Up to 80% of free radical damage is caused by the sun (1). Always wear a broad spectrum SPF!
  • Lack of sleep and exercise
  • Stress
  • Illness
  • Fried foods
  • Alcohol & Tobacco
  • Pesticides

Oxidative stress occurs when there are too many free radicals running amuck.  It leads to stressed out cells that are broken down and weakened. Then, diseases like cancers, cardiovascular disease, emphysema, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ulcers and a boatload of other inflammatory diseases can developed.

Free radicals are also associated with aging skin.  That’s right!  Sunblock isn’t the only defense for aging.  What you feed your body/cells is extremely important too. Eating dark leafy greens and high pigmented fruits that are rich in vitamin C helps to protect your cells and support fighting off free radicals.  Don’t forget to eat up your eggplant too because it will protect your skin from aging prematurely.

Did you know?

The high purple skin pigment on eggplants is also a form of protection for the plants. Researchers at the US Agricultural Service in Beltsville, Maryland, have found that eggplants are rich sources of phenolic compounds that function as antioxidants. Plants form such compounds to protect themselves against oxidative stress from exposure to the elements, as well as from infection by bacteria and fungi. If we eat the eggplant, these antioxidants protects us. Can you name a fast food chain that can do that? I think, NOT!

Resources:  
Protective effects of dietary nasunin on paraquat-induced oxidative stress in rats.

Eggplant: Medical News Today

Kale-A-Bration Time! 

I’ve coined the term, Kale-a-bration because that’s how I feel when my kale plants are thriving beautifully.  There’s a celebratory feeling that comes over me every time Im in my garden.  Kale is my new go-to because it goes in practically every dish I make.  From salads, cold or hot pasta dishes, soups, green juices and can’t forget my smoothies.  My kale patch serves my family of five well, and I still have enough to share with my friends and family.   There’s nothing better than freshly picked kale. The flavors are so strong and the leaves are full of life and vigor.  Growing my own garden saves me a lot of money. What I grow serves my family through the summer and winter months. I freeze my greens, tomatoes and so much more for the winter months.  My favorite is definitely the kale plant. 

Kale is very easy to grow and extremely versatile. It also grows well into the cold winter months.  This superfood is packed with a slew of vital nutrients our bodies depend on.  Just one cup of chopped cooked kale contains 1180% of the daily requirement of vitamin K, 98% of vitamin A and 71% of vitamin C, 27% of manganese, 6% calcium, 22% copper and so much more!  There’s also a mixture of antioxidants like cartotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin – help promote eye health, protect against cataracts and age-related macular degeneration) and flavonoids (more than 45) which have anti-cancer properties.  It also contains 10% dietary fiber and only has 36 calories! 

The brassicas vegetables are highly nutritious for fighting cancers. It’s beneficial to eat them everyday.  The kale variety I’m growing is known by three names, Lacinato kale, dinosaur kale and Tuscan kale.  It’s one of my favorite to plant because it’s easy to grow from seed, cooks exceptionally well, and the crop loves the cold, so I’ll continue harvesting from this patch way into the winter months. I’m also growing cabbage, collards, bok chow, broccoli and cauliflower. A healthy blend of the brassica family.   My garden is grown with no pesticides or herbicides. I take careful pride in what I plant and how it’s maintained. If I have pest, I don’t spray harmful chemicals.  I rely on ladybugs 🐞 and praying mantis to eat aphids and other small pest, which usually infest my brassicas. If you’re interested in organic pest control, order from Peaceful Vally

What Gets You Through the Mornings?

For me, I rely on my fresh green juices. Fresh juice from raw foods like spinach, carrots, kale, and collards green are the easiest sources and most effective way to get your greens in your diet. It’s also providing me with high quality nutritional vitamins and minerals. Plus, a boost of energy. You would be surprised by how a cup of fresh green juice can boosts your energy.  Most people start their day off with coffee and honestly, a cup a day won’t hurt. According to a recent study on coffee consumption, healthy people who consumed 4 cups or more a day is associated with a lower risk of death.  I think that’s excessive, even for healthy people. I’m healthy and I can’t manage to even finish one cup. I can’t imagine four cups a day.   If you are a lover of coffee, don’t skip it just add a green juice or two to your daily routine. The greener the veggies, the better.  The green pigment in plants is the chlorophyll, and that’s what detoxifies our blood.  The very best sources of chlorophyll found on the planet are dark green vegetables and algae. Chlorophyll is the cellular organelle that allows for organisms to produce their own food through photosynthesis. All plants and several different types of microorganisms go through photosynthesis. Algae includes several different types of photosynthetic microorganisms, and there are several different types of chlorophyll present in algae.  These chlorophyll supports our cells by revitalizing and restoring them.

In my cup I have spinach, kale, green apple, lemon (without the skin), ginger and celery.  With these simple ingredients you’ll definitely get your energy levels up. The options are endless when it comes to fresh juices.  My philosophy is simple, eat lots of whole plants no matter how you choose to do it, just get the rainbow of colors in your diet. I’m a big lover of salads, smoothies, vegan dishes and fresh juices. Substitute one of your typical meals for a large bowl of salad and add a fresh juice to that also. This way you’ll make your quota for the day.

Fresh Juice Recipes – just a handful of each green plant is needed. 

Classic – kale, Swiss chard, Juice Recipe  spinach, celery, apple, lemon, ginger

Sweet – kale, spinach, pineapple, mint, half of jalapeño

Orange delight – carrots, granny smith apple

Vitamin C Boost– gradefruit, orange, lemon, ginger and dash of cayenne pepper

Article:  

Why Consume More Plants? 

Types of Chlorophyll Present in Algae

Coffee Study: Higher coffee consumption associated with lower risk of early death

Detox Green

Green Smoothie 

I woke up this morning feeling for an easy breakfast. I didn’t have the desire to cook. The kids are on their own for breakfast today. With two teenagers, they can fend for themselves in the kitchen and their little sister can eat whatever they cook. It’s just one of those days. I started my morning with a big mug of green tea with lemon and finished it off with a simple organic green smoothie for breakfast. I just used what was on hand. Luckily for me, I had some fresh organic spinach. 


Simple Recipe 
2 Ripe organic bananas

Hefty handful of organic spinach 

2 Cups of organic almond milk 

1 Tablespoon of organic chia seeds 

1 Cup of ice

1 Tablespoon of organic wheatgrass powder

The wheatgrass powder adds more vital nutrients to the smoothie making it a powerful energy booster.  The chlorophyll in the wheatgrass supports detoxification of the body. Apart from the detoxification, it also ensures that there is an increased amount of oxygen sent to every cell.


I like to add chia to my smoothies. This ensures I’m getting more fiber, Omega 3 & 6’s, and healthy protein in my diet.  These are simple additions you can infuse your juices or smoothies with to boost up your vitamin intake. 
Enjoy! 

Fresh is best! 

  
There’s nothing better than reaping fresh vegetables from your garden, especially broccoli. Broccoli is one of those vegetables that needs to be eaten right away because it losses the nutrients after it’s been picked. Whether you enjoy your broccoli raw or cooked, harvesting from your garden or buying from the farmers market is your best option. Don’t rely on the store-bought versions.  They’re soft and almost limp. Here I am displaying my harvest above, and I ate some raw and cooked that very same day. There’s a huge difference in the taste.  This crucifer was crisp, subtly sweet and utterly tender. 

Broccoli is a good source of the carotenoids lutein, vitamins C, A, K, folate, and fiber, and a very good source of manganese, tryptophan, potassium, b-vitamins, magnesium, omega 3’s, iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamin E.  All of which are important for cancer prevention and other degenerative diseases. 

Last year, I planted broccoli for the first time but I was not successful.  My timing was way off.  I sowed the seeds too late and by the time the plants matured, snow came. This year, I purchased six seedlings from my farmers market and transplanted them mid-spring. I harvested one already last week, so this is my second harvest thus far.    

Here’s a before picture. That’s my uncles hand there. The plant is humongous. The bigger you space them from one another, the bigger the broccoli heads basically. It’s amazing and very rewarding growing your own vegetables. The benefits are endless.  I’ve already started on my fall crops, and I’m including cauliflowers this year. 

Wish me luck!

My Broccoli Seedlings

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Fall is approaching and this is the best time to start growing “Fall Vegetables”. These are vegetables that thrive best in cooler weather.

• Beets
• Broccoli
• Brussels sprouts
• Cabbage
• Carrots
• Collards
• Kale
• Kohlrabi
• Leeks
• Lettuce
• Mustard
• Swiss chard
• Turnips

I’m growing broccoli, carrots, and beets. In the two pots above are my broccoli seedlings. I started these indoors about a month ago, and now they’re ready to be transplanted. I planted the carrots and beets directly in the earth a few weeks ago, and I’ve also planted some carrots in a pot.

In New York, the weather is averaging between 75-82 degrees, and at night low 60’s, which by the way is perfect growing conditions for these plants. According to the broccoli seed package, the soil temperature should be between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit, and maturation is 60-90 days. This is the best time to get these seedlings into the ground.

I love the Fall vegetables, especially broccoli, and my children love them too. Broccoli is extremely healthy for you. I read an article on Huffington Post titled, Broccoli Eaters Get More Out of Life, just the title alone intrigued me.

Well, researchers in New Zealand have found a link between eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, and linking it to eudaemonic well-being. Of course, I had to further research eudaemonic, which according to the dictionary, means happiness. I’m genuinely a happy person and I eat a fair amount of plant-based foods; nonetheless, I believe this is true. The original study is pretty interesting as well.

I’ll keep everyone updated on my broccoli journey. These just went into the earth this week. I think by early November they’ll be ready for harvesting. If there’s any frosting, I’ll have to cover them up with some agribon cloth. It’ll protect the plants from freezing. Wish me luck!

My Fresh Juices

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Drinking freshly made juices and smoothies tops the chart for one of the best sources of obtaining vitamins and minerals naturally. People who adapt a whole food plant base diet (WFPB) find that most of their health problems were caused or significantly worsened by their old diets. These old diets consisted of eating processed foods, high proteins (meat, poultry), sugary beverages (artificial juices, sodas), dairy, and white starchy foods. Eating a WFPB diet resolved their health problems naturally and quickly once the body started getting the proper fuel.

Lets look at my favorite success story and documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead by Joe Cross. His personal struggles through navigating the prescription laden healthcare system and finding his own path for a healthy body all by juicing fruits and vegetables, is truly a remarkable and astonishing story.

    “My movie is not about weight loss; my movie is about getting healthy.”

Watch this documentary! Joe’s medical struggles which are very common among millions’ of Americans’ is played out in front of you. It shows his body transformation over the course of 60 days and his strong will for avoiding fast foods. He accomplished his goal just from juicing fruits and vegetables.

Joe’s personal journey led him to lose over 100 lbs, and getting off all his prescription medications, and curing his autoimmune disease disorder. His entire physical body changes by the end of the movie. It’s truly remarkable. Conventional medicine couldn’t deliver that.

Drinking fresh juices and smoothies allows our body to naturally heal itself by replenishing the vitamins, nutrients and minerals our body craves. Stay away from processed, artificial ingredients, sugary drinks, white starchy foods, meats, fish and dairy. In the picture my tall glass bottled green juice has kale, spinach, lemon, ginger, and apples. In the smaller cup I have spinach, watermelon and pineapples. I drank them for breakfast and for lunch I’ll make myself a salad, which I will post a picture of later.

Joe’s story is very inspirational. He’s my hero. I learnt so much from his documentary and you can also. His website has so much valuable information about rebooting your health. You can read other people’s Reboot testimonies as well. Joe’s website.

Disclaimer: Please be advised this is a sharing of information that is not meant to be used to replace medical treatment and your own intuitive sense of your body and what it needs. Please see your medical provider (Doctor., Naturopath, Acupuncturist, etc.) to follow up on suggestions.

Dark Greens

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Dark green leafy vegetables
Kale, collard greens, spinach, and broccoli are good sources of vitamin E and folate.