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

Summer Tomatoes

Growing your own food is such a rewarding feeling because I’m in charge of the whole process. My food is healthy, fresh, and pesticide free. I have full control over everything, especially on the kind of fertilizers and lest control I use. Everything is done organically. There’s nothing like fresh picked vegetables. Food that ripens in my garden have more nutrients than many store-bought vegetables that must be picked early for shipping. The process has been quite easy with some minor bumps in the road. I do research and watch some ‘How to Videos’, because I’m not an expert and I want to get it right hopefully the first time.

I’m so proud of my tomato crop this year. I made sure I planted just the right mixture of just what I need. OMG! Last year I planted too many cherry tomatoes. They were over producing and I wasn’t pruning. It was a little disaster in the garden, and I was overwhelmed by cherry tomatoes. I ended up giving most of them away. This year I have all sorts of varieties for various different needs. Since the cherry tomatoes are my daughters favorite, I only planted one. As they ripen, she picks them and eats them like gum balls. Usually there’s none left for anyone else. That reminds me, I still have cherry tomatoes in the freezer from last year.

The picture above are my The Jersey Beefsteak. This variety is one of my favorite tomato’s to grow because they grow pretty large and the flavor is sweet with a little tart. I make a really nice tomato and onion salad with them. I also make my own apple cider vinegar and olive oil dressing. The juices from the tomatoes makes the dressing taste so fresh and sweet. I have three of these Jersey babies in the garden this year. I also use them for making my homemade marinara sauce. Recipe here.

These Early Girl variety grows quickly (hence ‘Early’) and they have high yields. They’re pretty common amongst home growers for that reason. I do believe it takes about 50-55 days after planting to maturity. You can easily grow these in containers too.

Check these green beauties out. I bought the sucker (baby plant) from the farmers market. The tag read, Organic Roma Tomatoes. These are obviously not because they are much longer. After some internet research, I stumbled upon a lookalike, they’re actually called, Long Tom. They can grow up to 9″. According to the website, they’re also known for bearing huge amounts of meaty red paste tomatoes with very few seeds in them. I can’t wait to taste them. Thanks for stopping by and reading about my organic tomato lifestyle. I hope I was able to inspire you a little to eat organically and grow your own organic garden.

Tomato Salad Recipe

  • 2 Beefsteak tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • Parsley
  • 1 Garlic
  • Small Red onion
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • Simple dish that requires 10 minutes of preparation. Cut tomatoes in big chunks and set aside in a bowl. Peel, cut and discard cucumber seeds. Rough chop parsley place in bowl with tomatoes and cucumbers. Dice garlic and onions and place in bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and gently toss everything together and enjoy.
  • Pickled Hot Peppers

    Pickling hot peppers is an island delight for Jamaicans. I’ve watched my mother preserve her peppers this way for decades, and now it has become one of my favorite things to do with my homegrown hot peppers.  This is also a wonderful way to preserve your hot peppers.  You can use any type of hot pepper or vegetables to add to your jars.  My mom loves to put carrots in hers. I’ve done it before in the past and it comes out just as great.  For this recipe, I’m keeping it simple.  I had a lot of peppers to start with so these 4 jars is equivalent to 4 pints/16 oz. You can also modify this recipe by decreasing the vinegar to 2 cups per jar. 

    Ingredients 

    • 4 Large onions sliced
    • 4 Green bell peppers 
    • 8 Scotch bonnet peppers
    • 4 Ghost peppers
    • 24 Habanero peppers 
    • 4 Tbsp Dried Pimento seeds (whole allspice)
    • 2 Tbsp sugar 
    • 8 Cups White Vinegar 

    Cooking tip: Wear protective gloves and goggles (optional). When done, wash all tools and surface with cold water and soap. 

    Instructions

    1. Sterilize the mason jars in a large pot with boiling water for 30 minutes. 
    2. While your jars are boiling slice your onions and peppers into desired shapes. Leave the seeds. 
    3. Remove jars with a tong and set aside to cool. 
    4. After about 10 minutes, layer the vegetables, peppers, and pimento seed in the jars. 
    5. Warm the vinegar and sugar in a pot on the stove.  Do not bring to a boil. 
    6. Pour warm vinegar into jars and set aside to cool.  
    7. Tighten carefully with the lids. 

    You do not have to refrigerate your jars.  I know some people who do.  It’s optional. These jars are beautiful to give away as gifts. Just add a ribbon to make them even more special.  

    Enjoy! 

    Homemade Tomato Sauce

         When August and September rolls around and you have a sea of freshly picked tomatoes, there’s only one thing I could think of, pasta sauce. After I’ve shared and eaten and picked, it’s time to preserve for the winter. As if I live in the wilderness. I don’t obviously, but it’s cost effective to preserve for later uses.  My tomatoes were at its ripest and that’s what you want. The reddest, sweetest and densest tomatoes. 


    INGREDIENTS

    • 10 pounds fresh tomatoes 
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 4 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 3 garlic clove, halved
    • 2 basil springs 
    • 3 bay leaf

    PREPARATION

    Step 1:  Cut tomatoes in half horizontally. Squeeze out the seeds and discard, if you wish. Press the cut side of tomato against the large holes of a box grater and grate tomato flesh into a bowl. Discard skins. You should have about 8-9 cups.

    Step 2:  Put tomato pulp in a low wide saucepan over high heat. Add salt, olive oil, tomato paste, garlic, basil and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a brisk simmer.

    Step 3:  Reduce the sauce by almost half, stirring occasionally, to produce about 4 1/2 cups medium-thick sauce, 25 to 30 minutes. Taste and adjust salt. It will keep up to 5 days in the refrigerator or may be frozen.

    I freeze mines. Let it cool completely and insert desired amount in ziplock freezer bags. I like the quart sizes. Enjoy!!

    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

    Growing Tomato Tips


         My heirloom Hartman’s yellow Gooseberry tomatoes are sweet, mild and very tasty.  This is my first year planting them, and I’m pleased by the results so far.  When I purchased this seedling, it was about a foot tall.  I dug a whole twice the size of the pot it came in, and covered the whole root system with compost soil mixed with the dirt I dug up. I then sprayed it with diluted liduid kelp to give the plant a little boost of nutrients to get it going.  Within one month of adequate even watering and good sunlight, the plant tripled its size.  You can eat these raw or sautéed.  Anyway, you’ll just love the taste.  The color will also brighten up any dish and will wow any crowd.  Not to mention, they’re also very easy to grow. 

    Growing Tomato Tips

    1. Spacing between plants:  2-3 feet apart for room to grow. 
    2. Cutting the tomatoes from the vine with a scissors protects the plant and the fruit. Don’t tug or pull. 
    3. Fertilize with Azomite and liquid Kelp both add calcium and trace minerals.  
    4. Store tomatoes if green on the countertop, stem side up to ripen. 
    5. If you refrigerate – limit for 3-5 days, this will also effect the flavor and texture of the tomato.
    6. Stake, trellis or cage tomato plants to support and keep them from the ground. 

         Growing tomatoes in the summer is simple, plus if you don’t have a garden, growing in containers work just as fine too. You can grow beets, lettuces, carrots, cucumbers and so much more in pots on your balcony or patio. If you have the space and the sunlight, go for it.  Check this beauty out below! 

    Have fun with growing fruits and vegetables. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to grow your own foods. Organically of course😉

    Resources: Grow Organic – Online resource for everything organically grown. 

     Tomatoe Pruning and Tomatoe Diseases 

    Growing Beets in Containers – The Basics

    Best Tomato Varieties For Containers

    My Radishes Are in Season 

    I love adding radishes to salads because it adds a beautiful color, flavor, and dimension. They have a slight pepper taste that’s tolerable to small children, and an apple like crunch. Slice them thinly and add them to your salads. These red beauties are healthy for you especially, if you have blood pressure issues. They’re known for regulating pressure and reliving congestion. Radishes have antibacterial, antifungal, and detoxifying properties. They’re an amazing source of fiber, which is beneficial for keeping your digestive system smooth and regular. Radishes are also a natural diuretic, purifying the kidney and urinary systems and relieving inflammation. If you want to boost your vitamin C levels, just add some radishes to your diet. Try this simple salad with kale, radish, figs, bell peppers and some grapes. No dressing required, just a little squeeze of fresh lemon juice to add some zing.  
      
    Growing radishes literally takes about 60 days to mature…it’s very easy to grow. The Old Almanac reccomends planting 4-6 weeks before the average date of last frost. Direct sow the seeds in your garden ½ inch to an inch deep and one inch apart in rows 12 inches apart. Thin to about 2-inch spacings. Radishes need sun and even watering. Within 4-5 days the seeds will germinate. When they’re ready, you’ll see a a vibrant red ball. The longer you leave it in the ground, the bigger the radish. 

    How do you normally enjoy your radish? Do you also grow them? I would love to hear from you. 

    Resources:  Planting Radish Radish Nutrition Facts 

    Growing Organic Carrots 

    Organic Carrots
    Look what I see? My carrots are popping up. I’m so excited!!  My best advice for growing carrots is just grow them. I have them planted in four different locations in my garden. In order to grow amazing carrots the soil has to be loose, free of rocks and heavy debris, organic fertilizer, and can drain water well. 


    I’m also tying to grow carrots in planters. These I started two weeks ago, and they’ve already sprouted.  I purchased organic potting soil and combined it with organic compost. I’m obsessed with carrots as you can see. They’re delicious number one and two, they’re one of my main bases for juicing. You can’t have enough carrots around. 

    The best “How to video” for growing carrots and any other type of vegetable plants can be found on GrowOrganic website. They offer the best organic advise, organic fertilizer products, and so much more.  

    I can’t wait to juice and sauté these bad boys. 

    Fresh Cut From OrganicREADY’s Garden


    My first cucumber from the garden. There’s nothing better than picking fresh vegetables and eating it on the same day. The taste is fresher than any store bought produce on the market, even organic vegetables. Plus, all the nutrients are all there.  Store bought vegetables travel from afar and takes days even weeks before we get them. By the time we buy them in the supermarket, they have already lost most of their nutrients.  


    I’m looking forward to juicing these lovely cucumbers. If you didn’t know, eating the skin of organically grown cucumbers are highly beneficial. One, the wax on organic cucumbers are non-synthetic and doesn’t contain harmful chemicals, and two the skin contains more nutrients than the flesh.  Conventionally grown is another story.  Those cucumbers contains pesticides, synthetic wax and nasty chemicals. Wash it thoroughly with vinegar and water, then peel and peel the skin all off.  Since I grow my own, a simple cold water rinse is sufficient.  As you see above, nothing’s going to waste😘. For more information about the health benefits of cucumbers click here

    Eat organically and be happy🌱

    Me and My Lady Friends


    I woke up thinking it was Friday this morning. SMH! You could just imagine the feeling that overcame me when my reality settled in.  It’s not TGIF, instead Hump Day.  I was even planning out my weekend laying in bed. Oh well, it’s Wednesday, so I thank God for waking me up, and I got myself and the family ready to hit the city pavement.  The night before, I was pretty busy cooking, cleaning, and entertaining one of my favorite cousins, Ken.  I gave him a grand tour of OrganicREADY’s garden and of course shared some of my harvest with him. Ken left with a yellow squash, kale, callaloo, a green bell pepper and two eggplants.  After all of that and putting the kids to bed, guess where I went, back in the garden. 

    Gardening is exceedingly rewarding, as you see here, but time consuming. That’s my beautiful organic eggplant above.  I grilled it on the stove yesterday and it was yummy!!  Growing my own vegetables have significantly cut down the cost of my monthly grocery bill.  I’m practically growing a little of everything. There’s carrots, cucumbers, garlic, yard beans, cabbages, tomatoes, peppers, hot and sweet and much more. It’s a wonderful feeling and my hobby. Gardening takes patience, planning, strength, and tender loving care.  Me and the family prune, weed, till, mulch, fertilize, water and so much more.  My body is extremly limited due to injuries I sustained in an accident earlier this year.  Lucky for me, my family helps out immensely. I wouldn’t give up gardening for anything.  Come to think of it, it’s my stress reliever.  I just wish I had an extra three hours in my day to get everything done.  Summertime is a busy time for me, especially; during the week because I also work. I average about 5-6 hours of sleep a night, where as, during the fall and winter months, it’s between 8-9 hours.  


    Look at my eyes and my hairline, LOL! Last night, I got four hours of sleep time and my eyes are feeling heavy, dry and they even look dark.  Thank goodness for undereye concealers.  Hopefully, I’ll make up for it tonight.  My edges (hairline), on the other hand, needs some tender loving care or more like a dye job. Not going to happen this weekend! The grays will have to wait.  My priorities have shifted to my garden so my eye pencil will have to suffice for now.  


    Check out my beets and some of my beautiful garden friends, the Ladybug. They play a natural/organic role in controlling unwanted pests in the garden. Ladybugs feast on aphids and anything smaller than them.  I ordered these from GrowOrganic. Aphids are annoying but so far, my ladybugs are keeping them at bay. 


    Are you planting a garden this year? What’s in it? I would love to share ideas and tips🌱