Beet ittt! Beet ittttttttt!
Love you, MJ. Okay, let me set you straight on beets--as in the vegetable. They're super duper good.... said no one ever (except me). I think they taste like corn, but slightly sweeter and tastier overall. Don't even get me started on that gorgeous purple hue. I just die over it. It's screaming antioxidants. Your bod will LOVE you for this salad. Eating plants is such a breeze when they taste this good. I bet you won't even realize all the fiber, folate, carotenoids and flavonoids you're scarfing down!
I'm doing my thesis on nutrition initiatives centered around James Care for Life's Garden of Hope, where we're cultivating a cure for survivors of OSU's comprehensive cancer center. It's a wonderful initiative to make fresh, seasonal produce more accessible and to stress the value of food in prevention of cancer and maintenance of a healthy lifestyle for survivors. Did you know over a third of all cancers could be prevented by nutrition and lifestyle interventions? That's a whole lot of lives. The American Institute of Cancer Research came up with a set of guidelines to prevent cancer, including adopting a plant-based diet. It doesn't mean one must eliminate meat, but the focus of the meal should be the fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans and legumes rather than the meat. Essentially, two thirds of the plate should be plants. There are beautiful fruits and vegetables that are proven to aid in the prevention of cancer, yet nearly 80% of Americans aren't getting the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables per day.
An apple is more than pie filling--it, along with all its veggie friends, has the power to prevent the handful of chronic diseases that we are needlessly dying of at alarming rates each and every day.
People complain that they don't want to spend a lot of money on food, and yeah, I get it. Those veggie guys aren't cheap. They aren't subsidized like sugar, corn (which more often than not turns into high fructose corn syrup and heavily processed, genetically modified soybean oil), wheat, beef and milk. Did you know hexane, a byproduct of gasoline refining, is what soybean processors use as a cheap way of extracting oil from the soybeans? Yes, the soybeans are literally bathed in the stuff. Pretty please try to avoid conventional soybean oil when reading labels. At least if it's organic, you know they didn't use a hazardous pollutant to make it. The bottom line is that unfortunately, the government isn't paying farmers to feed us disease-fighting foods.
Yes, healthy food is more expensive than a happy meal; but I'd rather spend a buck and a half on a big head of broccoli than waste thousands of healthcare dollars down the road on diseases I could have prevented with produce. Those colorful, antioxidant rich, disease-fighting foods are the cure; and they're literally preventing and even reversing chronic illness as we speak.
Pay now or pay later. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables is hard, but heart transplants are harder.
A groundbreaking study was recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition titled "Adherence to the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research guidelines and risk of death in Europe: results from the European Prospective Investigation into Nutrition and Cancer cohort study." Researchers investigated whether concordance with AICR recommendations is related to risk of death. The study included 378,864 people in nine different countries. They found that across the board, following the guidelines (increased physical activity, plant-based diet, limiting red meat, alcohol and sugary foods, etc.) significantly increased longevity and also was associated with a lower risk of dying from cancer, circulatory disease and respiratory disease.
Eat plants. Pretty please.
Beet and Green Bean Salad with Tangy Dijon Dressing
- For the salad:
- 3 cups leafy mixed greens
- 8 oz green beans, ends removed and sliced in half
- 1 15oz can beets, sliced
- 1 small red onion, sliced thin
- For the dressing:
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- squirt of honey (about a tsp)
- pinch of salt
- pinch of pepper
- Bring a medium pot of salted water (a couple inches) to boil. Set aside a large bowl of ice water for the green beans.
- Blanch the beans. (Add green beans to pot and boil for about three minutes, or until just tender.)
- Drain beans and let them sit in the ice bath for a few minutes to chill.
- Prepare dressing by whisking together dijon, red wine vinegar, olive oil and honey. Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
- In a large bowl, combine mixed greens, drained green beans, sliced beets and sliced red onion. Toss with desired amount of dressing, add a pinch of salt and pepper and serve.
Make sure to enter my Kroger's Simple Truth giveaway! Today (Friday) is the last day!