Monday, January 2, 2012

Beet and Apple Cucumber Refresher


Happy 2012 to All from Inspired Edibles!

As we welcome in the New Year, I thought it might be particularly timely to share some fresh ideas on clean eating. 

January is an ideal opportunity to take stock in our health and get ourselves grounded in some health-building routines.

To kick things off, I'm featuring foods that minimize inflammation in the body and help support our liver (that wonderful organ that works so hard to clear toxins from our blood – our body’s true detoxification agent). Virtually every nutrient we consume, is filtered through our liver and transformed into a biochemical form that our bodies can use.  When we bombard our livers with non-foods and drugs of various kinds (including alcohol), we risk overburdening this vitally important organ and undermining its ability to function optimally for our health and wellness.

Today, we are giving our bodies a well deserved boost by celebrating the benefits of glorious beets in the company of some other powerhouse nutrients.  And, here's some even better news, you won't need a juicer to make it happen!

Nutrient Profile:

Beets are a particularly excellent source of folate and potassium and a good source of manganese, fibre and vitamin C – nutrients that have been shown to help protect us against heart disease, birth defects and certain forms of cancer. 

Don’t throw out the greens! 

Beet greens, for their part, are an excellent source of vitamin K as well as a good source of magnesium, iron and potassium.  They are also an outstanding source of lutein, an antioxidant that helps shield our eyes from free radical damage serving to protect us against macular degeneration and cataracts.

Beet greens can be easily incorporated into soups, stews, salads and stir fries.

Anti-inflammatory, Healthy Aging and Liver Support:

The pigment that gives beets their gorgeous purple-red hue is also responsible for many of the vegetable’s health benefits.

Beets contain betaine, a natural compound that has been shown to reduce the growth of many types of cancer cells.  Betaine also acts to shield cells from aging by helping protect the liver from chemical damage and reducing inflammation in the body. Congestion throughout the body and a sluggish liver can contribute not only to fatigue and discomfort, but also to weight gain, especially in the abdominal region.  Abdominal fat, in turn, sets the stage for a cascade of inflammatory processes throughout the body which many health care practitioners now believe may be the root of disease.

There are also natural nitrates found in beets that function to improve blood flow to the brain. This mechanism assists in supporting cognitive function and reducing the risk of age-related dementia by enhancing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the brain.

-----------------
Beet and Apple Cucumber Refresher
  • 1 generous cup cooked and sliced beets, roasted or well rinsed from a can
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, chopped
  • 1 happy looking apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Handful of parsley
  • 1/4 cup water or to desired consistency
-----------------
 
Notes:
  1. Be sure to keep your beet greens and left-over parsley – we will be using them in another recipe later this week;
  2. The apple lends just the right amount of natural sweetness to this drink but, if you like, you can add a tsp or so of unpasteurized honey or agave to the mix;
  3. If you choose to roast the beets, you can do so using this method.

Combine beets, cucumber, apple, lemon juice and parsley together in a blender.  Add water and blend - beginning with 1/4 cup and slowly adding more - until ingredients are smooth and desired consistency is achieved.

Serves 2

53 comments:

  1. Darn beets! I want to like them. I really do. They are pretty. They are healthy. But try as I might, I just can't do it. And I've tried. I suppose I could try again this year. Maybe 2012 will be the year of the beet. ;) Happy New Year Kelly! I'm looking forward to your cleansing recipes.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow....it is pretty...but I'm in carb mode and it's not an overflowing bowl of pasta with a side of cake-lol!

    What it is though, is a reminder that clean eating can be tasty, easy, and quite pleasing to the eye....I guess party time is over, eh?

    Happy New Year Kel, thanks for the friendly nudge...:)

    Tam

    ReplyDelete
  3. Happy New Year, Kelly and thank you so much for this nutrition lesson! I vaguely know which vegetables or fruits are good for us, but always have to check for their real benefits. I had no idea beetroots are so good for our health. I like beetroots (especially with herring), but cucumber is my number one guiltless vegetable! If I don't have one in the fridge I panick! This drink sounds and looks very unusual and luscious! Your recipe is a real detox, not like my avocado and mayonnaise salad ;-) (well only one tablespoon, but still mayonnaise...)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love the color of this drink! I started to experiment with beets but I prefer them in my salads, not so much in my smoothie unless it's a small amount. I'll have to try your recipe this month and let you know how I like it. I bet roasting the beets gives the smoothie a nice flavor. Happy New Year and look forward to your beet green recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I will most certainly be whipping this one up! It looks and sounds delicious. Time to think about my liver :)
    Happy New Year Kelly!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Growing up my mom would make us beet and apple juice for snacks or to go with our lunch. Cucumber would add such a nice refreshing quality. What a great reminder that it can be this easy to get in a few servings of veggies in one simple steps.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I intend to eat a lot more beets from now on, my beloved doesn t care for them, so the idea of using them in smoothies and drinks like that is very appealing, as I can make it for myself only, if he gets jealous, he can have a sip and be brought to the light side. :-)

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is JUST what I need to kick start my morning as I go back to work tomorrow! YUM-fest :D

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is so pretty, Kelly! Have you ever tried beet powder? I just bought some and was thinking of experimenting with it!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I LOVE Beets! My dad pickles them and they are superb & delish.

    Happy 2012, Kelly Xx Kiss. What part of England do you live in?

    My Inner Chick http://myinnerchick.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. ahhh i would totally juice this! thanks for the info on the beet greens. i never know what to do with them....

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am generally not a huge fan of beets lol. I have no idea why.. but I just don't care for them. But since I love your outlook on healthy foods, I will try it again and see if I like it for 2012 :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. ciao Kelly.

    Have a happy new year.

    Aria

    ReplyDelete
  14. A healthy way to start the new year. A great breakfast juice idea!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Happy new year Junia! Of course you can juice it dah'ling (you are the Queen of juicing) - but if you don't happen to have a juicer, there are other options... ;0

    ReplyDelete
  16. Amazing Kelly, I absolutely love beets, particularly roasted beets — roasting them really bring out the natural sugars. I will definitely give this a try (lord knows I gave my liver a good workout this holiday season ;-)!) Such a gorgeous colour too. For those who've never eaten red beets you may wish to mention that they maintain their gorgeous red colour on exiting!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I adore beets and love this refreshing combination...delightful!
    Happy 2012!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Ah, if only I could actually get raw beetroot :( It's a joy being in Sweden - raw beetroot, raw horse-radish... all these things which France refuses to stock :( They sell all their beets pre-boiled in big tubs... What's the fun in that? I want my beets with greens on and rock hard so I can roast them :( Boooo. Delicious looking recipe anyway though. Something to save for the summer when the beets are available for picking at the local pick-your-own farm!

    ReplyDelete
  19. what can you do? In this recipe the beet flavour is predominant - I won't lie - but you can sneak them into loaves/muffins and stews with more of a camouflaged taste ;0

    ReplyDelete
  20. Yay! Hello Miss Tammy - wonderful to see you here! I know, I know, we all love our carbs... and you know the cycle as well as I do... it gets easier once you're off.

    Cheers Sister! Happy New Year :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Well, chances are, if you're eating a varied diet with lots of vegetables and some fruit, you're doing just grand! Cucumber, really? I had no idea Sissi... ;0

    Nothing wrong with mayo - olive oil + egg

    (it's the 'fake' mayos - "light" "fat free" purportedly created for our better health that are full of garbage ;0)

    ReplyDelete
  22. It's one potent drink! - full of flavour and gets all the engines going ;0 Love it the first week of January...

    ReplyDelete
  23. Happy New Year Fellow Foodie!!

    Let me know if you give it a try and what you think... I find it not only tasty but a highly effective... ;0

    Bliss to you -

    ReplyDelete
  24. Your mom was so avant-garde...how splendid!

    I know, I love that about blended drinks - you can work so much in to them - the skies (or is that the belly?) is the limit! :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. didn't your beloved get the memo? You're not suppose to 'like' beets (that's for freaks like me) - hee..hee..

    There you go, make him jealous, that's the strategy ;)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Yay! Happy return to work Tiffany :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Beet powder? How intriguing... is it like green tea powder (Matcha?) - can wait to hear more...

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hee,hee... Thanks Kay! Cheers to 2012.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hi Aria! Thanks for dropping by and a very happy new year to you! :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thanks Leaf... I like starting the year this way too! Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
  31. haha... good point! (although in pureed form such as this drink, not so much... which makes me think we probably absorb it better too because our system is actually digesting more... fun stuff this nutrition world!). Cheers Eva! :)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Thanks so much Magic of Spice - happy to hear your feedback and all the best for 2012 to you!

    ReplyDelete
  33. There's some seriously funky stuff going on in France... no beans, no beets... waz up with that?

    Hope your having a glorious time in Sweden Charles - jalouse!!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Don't forget the "no sour cream" while we're at it, and don't even get me started about meat substitutes like Quorn for vegetarians, or just those times when I actually don't want to sink my teeth into flesh "yet again" :/

    ReplyDelete
  35. hee.hee. I say you start a revolt :)

    I find meat substitutes (ie: processed junk made to look like meat) of almost every kind pretty gross and laden with sodium. You’re better off with beans and fermented soy as substitutes. Stick to the real stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Did you try Quorn before? The "basic" stuff (i.e. not the ready made pies or sausages, but just the basic chunks or mince) are actually really good. They marinade really well and absorb wine excellently, making for an excellent quorn chunk and mushroom pie. Bit of flaky pastry on top - delicious. I agree meat substitutes in general can be pretty rank, but I'm actually pretty impressed with Quorn, although it was a few years since I had it. I never did check sodium content so I couldn't comment on that but sometimes it's nice to have something with a "meaty bite" to it (as much as I love beans and their ilk) (not that it matters that much since I'm not vegetarian anyway, but I'm thinking of the poor veggies everywhere, wronged by the evil might of France! :p)

    ReplyDelete
  37. Love me some beets! Super food like no body's business :) Never tried the green bits though. Must try them!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hmm, I've never made something like this in the blender...but it's really just a smoothie in disguise. I may have to try this out! Happy New Year, Kelly!!!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Love this! Beets are one of my very favorite things!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Kelly...I LOVE beets....but how could something so healthy look so luscious! I must admit, I've never pureed beets into a drink, but combined with apples and cucumbers...and what an interesting and healthy 'slushie'. I'm curious.....I've heard that beet greens should be utilized more....are they bitter? GREAT post! : )

    ReplyDelete
  41. That sounds like a great way to start the new year! Hope you enjoyed the holidays Kelly!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Stay tuned... recipe coming tomorrow with the greens! :)

    ReplyDelete
  43. You can certainly use a juicer if that's what you have but the blender works well too. Yes, the blender I guess technically makes it a smoothie ;0 - Happy New Year Amy (still thinking of that cute golden I spotted on your site... :)

    ReplyDelete
  44. Hi Anne - You know, I made a recipe with the greens today (stay tuned for tomorrow's post) and I couldn't detect any bitterness - the cooking process helps and if you can preserve the nutrients in the recipe then it's a win/win :)

    ReplyDelete
  45. Thanks Jen - I've enjoyed the drink the last two mornings... I find it so refreshing and flavourful! Happy new year ~

    ReplyDelete
  46. Mandy - The Complete Cook BookJanuary 4, 2012 at 7:08 AM

    I used to have raw beetroot, celery and apple juice freshly juiced in the mornings for breakfast - think I should visit your lovely recipe, especially seeing that it has all of these wonderful health benefits.
    :-) Mandy

    ReplyDelete
  47. Hi Mandy, happy new year. I agree, such a perfect way to start the day - I enjoyed a glass yesterday mid=morning after my workout... so refreshing and uplifting.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I've really never had much to do with beets, but just looking at this thick, delicious drink has reconsidering. And the health benefits you've listed are also a good reason to try this. It looks like you can eat it with a spoon!!

    ReplyDelete
  49. haha, you probably could! you can also water it down as desired. Cheers Linda!

    ReplyDelete
  50. My husband and I love beets and their greens. I don't think I could get him to have the drink...but I could put all of the ingredients in a nice salad dressed with a vinaigrette and he would love it.

    ReplyDelete
  51. sounds heavenly to me... thanks Karen!

    ReplyDelete
  52. I try so hard to like beets but I just haven't been able to do it :( I do enjoy the greens though. Maybe I'll just make myself drink things like this and eventually I'll start to like them

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your feedback - it's wonderful to hear from you!