In the Confessions of a Dietitian Department, my “adventures” with beets have been up and down over the years.
Maybe you can relate? You know beets are a healthy, nutrient-dense vegetable, and you “should” be eating them more often. But…. something about them doesn’t work for you. Whether it’s the texture, taste, color, the fact that your pee or poop may be frighteningly reddish, or perhaps you grew up having to eat canned beets (which should be considered as a crime in some states).
I had a bad experience with roasted beets about 10 years ago. I was at a friend’s all day BBQ enjoying food and drink. Later that night, I was SIIIIICCCKK. Like, I don’t-even-want-to-describe-it-to-you-kind-of-sick. It HAD to have been the beets I ate at the partay ‘cuz that’s all that I revisited later on… or that revisited ME later on.
But truthfully, I did eat some smoked pork that had been sitting out in the blazing sun all day at the BBQ. I also enjoyed a couple cocktails, so it likely was not the beets that were the problem after all. But, this is what has stuck in my mind all these years.
And so, my personal challenge has been to let go of that incident and heal from this mini personal “food trauma.”
I have come to LOVE beets my local Whole Foods Market has available on the salad bar. They are grated, beautiful, and I don’t have to touch them. Golden beets are also a terrific option for when the sight of the red beets is just too much for the sensory experience.
I decided it was time to venture back into having beets in my kitchen. And finding ways to come to more peace with them in my stomach.
How about in a smoothie? Yesssss…..I can do that, for I am a lover of The Homemade Smoothie.
And here’s how it went down, ya’ll.
1/2 cup light coconut milk from the can (I used the Sprouts organic brand)
1 raw beet about the size of a tennis ball (about 150 grams by weight), cut into quarters If you don’t have a Vitamix type of blender, you can use a steamed, roasted, or a microwaved beet to make it easy on the blender.
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp unsweetened raw cocoa powder
1 cup frozen organic mixed berries
1 Tbsp organic crunchy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
20 grams of protein from an unflavored whey protein (I used Tera’s Organic Whey)
handful of ice
Mixing instructions: Add all ingredients to a powerful blender (that would be a Vitamix!) if the beet is uncooked and be mesmerized. Then: 1) have an open mind 2) drink 3) enjoy your accomplishment.
Seriously, many of the beet smoothies on the Interwebs call for added sugar, so it was an intention of mine to skip this piece. Plus, you’ll see most of the recipes also call for bananas and have zilch on the protein piece. Noooo, bananas don’t make you fat, but I did want to stick to a banana-free version for my first go around and sneak in some protein.
Basic nutrition profile for one serving:
44 grams carbohydrate
14 grams fiber —> you may not want to gulp this right before your training run!
30 grams protein
17 grams fat
1:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio
This blend is super filling and provides a great source of folate, magnesium, iron, potassium, and antioxidants. The beets are a natural source of nitrates which is beneficial for circulation and blood pressure.
I’m sure you’re wondering about the taste, yes? I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Gag-free. Sure, there was some beet flavor, but it was not dirt or like licking the earth. Woot!
Beets aren’t merely for athletes… most EVERYONE can benefit from including beets in their food life. Give it a whirl and let me know whatcha think on the ol’ Insta.