18 February 2013

128 BEETS per Minute

Post by Debra Meadow of Blue Raven Wellness

Raw Beet and Broccoli Sprout Salad: Spring Cleaning; for Your Insides

Looking out the window just now, you may not see spring in the air, but below the surface – that’s where the action is.  Traditionally, spring means a return to movement and out-with-the-old-in-with-the-new, not just in our homes and gardens, but at the level of our very cells.  That means it’s detox time!

Don’t go running away, thinking I’m going to recommend a juice fast or master cleanse that will leave you starving for a steak.  While those protocols have their places when carefully and safely done, I’m a fan of using real, whole food to do most of the work of getting and staying healthy, and detoxification, or cleansing, as it’s often called, is no exception. It’s no accident that many of the plants soon pushing their way up through the chilly soil and into gardens, farms and markets, are the very foods we need to mop up the cellular sludge we’ve accumulated over the winter.

It’s the liver that does the yeoman’s work of cleaning up after us.  Think of it as a maid for your insides.  This maid doesn’t work for free; she needs to be paid in nutrients, and lots of them.  Fortunately, those specific nutrients will be found in abundance in the garden and on the farm very shortly.

Can't Stop; Won't Stop

Can’t Stop; Won’t Stop

Here’s just a partial list of delightful produce that will help cleanse and protect your liver:

  • Bitter greens, like arugula, sorrel, dandelion, and mustard
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Broccoli sprouts
  • Jerusalem artichoke
  • Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Nettles
  • Purslane
  • Watercress
  • Beets, beets, beets!

Did I mention beets?  Perhaps you’ve read stories of healthy Russian centenarians.  Lots of borscht and pickled beets may have something to do with that.  Beets have loads of liver-loving nutrients, including the betalains, phytonutrients that give beets their rich color.  Beside being a powerful source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, betalains support Phase 2 detoxification, where toxins are paired up with a chemical “escort” to make them water soluble so they may be shown the exit (in urine).

The beneficial nutrients in beets are especially concentrated in the skin and at the juncture of the root and leaves, so don’t trim off these precious parts (the maid loves them!)

Here’s one of my favorite cleansing salads right now.  Not only are the beets so supportive to the liver, so are the broccoli sprouts, lemon juice and mustard.  In addition, it’s a raw salad, so the enzymes remain intact.  It’s a great dish for those who think they don’t care for beets, as raw beets actually taste less “beety” than cooked.  It’s quick to make and inexpensive, so beet it!

Raw Beet and Broccoli Sprout Salad with Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette

1 small beet, unpeeled, and shredded to make about 2 cups

½ cup broccoli sprouts *

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tablespoons top quality extra virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon mustard

Unrefined sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Place shredded beets and broccoli sprouts in a medium bowl.  In a small bowl combine all dressing ingredients and whisk until well blended.  Pour dressing onto beet mixture and toss well to coat.

Serves 2 to 3

*Broccoli sprouts are available at some natural foods stores.  If you can’t find them, any fresh sprouts will do, like alfalfa or radish, or use microgreens.

Debra Meadow, NTP, is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and GAPS™ Practitioner at Blue Raven Wellness (blueravenwellness.com).  She helps people eat their way to health with real food that satisfies the senses and supports vitality and ideal weight.  Contact her at debra@blueravenwellness.com.