Spring. We've been waiting for it after a looooong, cold winter. But even as the daffodils show up, and the first bit of sun feels so good, spring is ... painful. As in spring training. Pavement pounding runs. At the risk of sounding like an old fogey, spring gets a little more painful each year. Good thing my head, at least, is harder than my glutes. Hard enough to commit myself to a sprint triathlon in a couple months.
While the internet is rife with quick, easy weight loss "miracle" cures, and all kinds of snake oil, I know the only road is the slow, painful, and the only way to get there is keep training and eat right. Even beets. Which, believe it or not, are a lot less painful than lifting weights after age 40.
I recall asking my folks, as a kid, if beets were good for you. There was not exactly chart-topping "vitamin" content from the basics understood at the time about what few nutrients were desirable. I didn't love them, they were okay. And sure, the little cubes from the can were fun to stack on my plate and all. So, why did I need to eat them? Turns out, its a good thing I did.
It seems odd that just now, after centuries of things like beets growing in the garden, that scientists have just begun to recognize the value of things like phytonutrients. Even so, no one knows exactly how much of these nutrients are "required" daily and they have yet to show up on a nutrition label. Yet beets are loaded with these very nutrients. Red beets, in particular, contain betacyanin and anthycyanin, which give the beet its lush, purple color. You know, that stain you cannot get out in the wash.
These phytonutrients have cancer fighting properties, for colon cancer in particular. They also provide a form of dietary nitrates that are being studied as an endurance-booster for athletes, up to 16% better endurance according to this University of Exeter study.
As an aging "wanna-be" triathlete, I'll take any help I can get. Even if I don't run any longer as a result, this smoothie is good enough just to drink for the taste. Now, if I could just find the vegetable that prevents sore muscles from when "older" people try to train like we're still in our twenties ... Trust me, I'll post that recipe if I find it!
Beet, Berry, Banana Smoothie
3 beets, roasted, instructions below
2 cups frozen blueberries
12 oz. 100 percent fruit juice (black cherry or berry)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the stems and leaves off the beets, saving the leaves for cooking as greens. Wash the beets and trim off the root end. Wrap the beets in foil. Roast in the oven for about an hour. Allow to cool enough to handle. Take a paper towel and rub each beet. The peel should rub off easily. You can store the beets in the fridge until you are ready to make the smoothies.
Place all ingredients in the blender. Blend well. Makes 6 one-cup servings.