Monthly Archives: November 2015

In the Defense of Beets

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It seems as though today the familiar velvety red and earthy beet has lost its glamor. Have many of us just had too many of these roots forced down our throats as children by our parents that the thought of them make us cringe? Perhaps we’ve allowed our fear of beets linger too long into our adults lives and it’s time to rediscover the bright and BEETiful nature of the beet.

Before the beet had its claim as a root vegetable, it was long consumed only for its leaves. It wasn’t until the late 1500s that it was starting to be cultivated for its root, and even then, it wasn’t for another couple centuries that it had positive global recognition. Northeastern Europe was the first area in the world to start cultivating the beet as a stable, seeing its value as being one of the only vegetables to grow through the winter.

Though an incredible value to grow throughout the winter, the beet also has outstandingly positive health effects. Beet root has long been used for its ability to stimulate the liver’s detoxification processes. The compound that gives beets their rich dark color called betacyanin, a pigment, has been thought to suppress the development of some types of cancer. Beet root has been shown to increase the level of antioxidants in our bodies, which also aid in preventing cancer. The beet root is one of the greatest sources of the amino acid glutamine, an essential nutrient to positive intestinal health. Beet roots also aids in the production of nitric oxide, a powerful molecule that increases blood flow and has heart protective properties. The leafy greens that grow on the surface are also chalk full of vitamins, minerals and fiber to keep our bodies happy and strong.

It’s no doubt that these familiar vegetables are good medicine, for our mothers always told us that, but do they stand up as worthy and palatable for consumption? Yes they do! Beet root is as versatile as our beloved potatoes. Roasted with herbs and spices; chopped and thrown into a vegetable soup or stew; shredded raw on salads and sandwiches. How about for a sweet treat in a smooth with bananas, berries and seeds?

At the Fort Collins Food Co-op we know the importance of beets. For much of the year, due to our longer cool vegetable growing season, we carry local, organic beets from our friends at Native Hill Farm. If you’re interested in trying something with a zest, try MM Local’s pickled beets, a Boulder company committed to quality pickled products using local and organic ingredients. Or support the local growing business of Turtle Mountain Tea by trying their vegan beet kim-chi.

In the words of Tom Robbins, “The beet is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon, bearded, buried, all but fossilized; the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies.” (Jitterbug Perfume)

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Thanks is for Giving

BLogIMageHappy Sweet Potato Awareness Month (did you know they are different than yams?);Happy National Peanut Butter Lovers’ Month (did you know you can freshly grind your own at the Fort Collins Food Cooperative’s bulk section for just $5.99/lb?); Happy Movember furry–faced fellows!

Much there is to be happy about this time of year (like Yoda speak), and even more to be grateful about (like The Force Awakens). As earth tones catch your eye, with spiced cider/tea to warm your bones and abundant squash/root vegetables fill your belly with some slices of apple/pumpkin pies to delight your taste buds; indeed it is a timely celebration of our hard–earned harvest of 2015.

Like the Ancient Greek Hippocrates, the western pioneering physician, once stated, “Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.”

I have since consciously adopted a diet that works for me, without attaching any rigid labels to myself because I know that just as certain ailments require certain remedies, so also do I feel the need for different foods, based on their symbiotic effects on my overall health.

It’s important for people to be in tune with their own individual needs, as the eastern Ayurvedic tradition notes will differ based on body constitution.

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Staying Healthy over the Holidays

During the holidays, we are more susceptible to infections due to increased stress and the fact that most of us attend more social functions at this time of year, increasing our contact with viruses and bacteria.

Naturopathically, we speak of optimizing our ‘terrain’, or our inner environment, so that we can be around pathogens and not get sick.  Since 70 to 80% of our probiotic foods resides in our gut, maintaining healthy gut flora is the key to maintaining our health. We do this by eating a mostly whole-food diet, eating probiotic foods or taking a probiotic supplement and by managing our stress effectively.

We can further support our immune system by finding out what we are allergic or sensitive to and by avoiding those substances. This frees up our immune system to fight infection.

Sugar and refined carbohydrates are inflammatory, and are taxing to the immune system. In one study, it was shown that the immune system was suppressed by up to 50% for 7 hours after subjects ingested 2 sugary soft drinks. Cutting down on ‘artificial food’ is always the best, but if you choose to indulge and you are around sick people, consider using a neti-pot before you go to bed to cut down on the immune system’s workload.   Also, get plenty of sleep most nights, so you don’t stress your body excessively when you stay up late for a holiday party.

If relational stresses come up, consider performing ‘bilateral cross-crawl’ activities such as walking while swinging your arms, while focusing your thoughts on the distressing situation. Using bilateral cross-crawl movements connects the right and left sides of your brain, making it easier to process through difficult emotions. After dealing with the difficult situation, focus on what you are grateful for.

By Joan Waters, ND   www.practicalhealthsolutions.com

For more article’s like these visit Joan’s website and blog.

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