Are You Ready to De-Plastify Your Life?

Four years ago I took the Take Back the Tap! pledge sponsored by Food & Water Watch to give up bottled water and, instead, drink tap water. (Research shows that most bottled water is actually municipal tap water anyway!) And when you figure in the costs of company water-rights, bottling, labeling, and marketing pre-packaged water, you pay up to 10,000 times more money for bottled water than water from your own tap! And where does that plastic go? The EPA says that in 2011, the US alone generated 32 million tons of plastic waste, and only 8% of that waste was recovered for recycling. Can you imagine what the global statistics might be?

Within 6 months, I extended my pledge to no plastic bottles at all. And I was surprised how easy that first year was! I have several reusable bottles on hand (such as BPA-free Nalgene, glass and stainless steel) that I fill and chill before I leave the house. If I forget my water and stop for a portable beverage, I only buy a drink if I have an option available in a glass bottle.

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Beet Kvass

When I first head about a drink made out of soaked beets, I just couldn’t wrap my taste buds around the whole concept. When offered a glass, I literally puckered-up like I was about to sip poison, but I was pleasantly surprised! It tasted earthy, a bit salty, a hint of sour, yet a titch of sweetness and a light effervescence that I wasn’t expecting. I liked it!

The history of beet kvass is that the Ukrainians and Russians have been drinking it for over a thousand years–czars and peasants alike. An electrolyte drink, this lactose-fermented beverage could be called the traditional, real-food version of Gatorade since it provides great hydrating balance.

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Warm Beet Salad

Beets are an antioxidant-rich root vegetable that provides serious support for the liver and gallbladder. The deep pigments that give beets their rich color, called betalains, are special phytonutrients that provide anti-inflammatory and detoxification benefits.

Loaded with a variety of nutrients such as folate, potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function), magnesium, fiber, manganese (good for your bones, liver kidneys and pancreas) and immune-boosting vitamin C, beets are a great way to increase the nutrient-density of your diet. Eating beet root may help to lower blood pressure, boost your stamina, and fight inflammation and cancer.

And we’d be silly to throw away the beet greens! They are among the healthiest and most nutritious part of the plant! The greens supply significant amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron and calcium and may strengthen your immune system as well as support brain and bone health.

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You Can’t Beat Beets!

I have bad memories of the lunch ladies in grade school “making” us eat our warm, mushy canned beets. But now as a Nutritional Therapist, I realize there is so much more to beets! In the last year, I’ve come to appreciate beets in many forms – raw and shredded in a salad, pickled on a sandwich, roasted and eaten cold, as a fermented beverage called kvass, and sauteed beet greens and garlic with my eggs for breakfast. (Honestly, sooo delicious!)

I grew beets in my garden this year – traditional red beets, golden beets, and white Chiogga beets, which, when sliced, look like a bulls-eye. I harvested a whole sink full of beets the other day so I’ve been looking for more inspiration for how to use them in my diet. I’ve shared additional recipes with you at the end of this post.

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