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Salted Golden Beets

Most of the time, grocery stores carry the deep garnet-red beets, but if you’re lucky, you can visit one of our local farmer’s markets and find these beautiful golden beets with concentric white stripes inside and a mild, soothing flavor. My hope is that this simple recipe will help you kick start your journey toward better health by introducing you and your family to a more obscure vegetable that may not ordinarily make it into your basket every week. If you are already a beet lover, then read on for validation! It has been said that beets are important for women because they can regulate hormones. In fact, one of the first known uses for beets was for medicinal purposes as an aphrodisiac because they contain trytophan, an amino acid that is a precursor to the neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin (1).

Although I was born and raised in Berks County, I never actually heard much talk of beets other than at a friend’s house where they made their own “red beet eggs.” My mother used the term “gourmet” well before the farm-to-table movement became fashionable, although it wasn’t until I started participating in my first farm share that I really gained an appreciation for this earthy powerhouse. My favorite variety, the golden beets are not as widely available as the garnet red ones, so when you happen to see them, my advice is buy as many as you can! You’ll typically find them in abundance in the spring and summer in our area.

I find myself being more intentional about food now more than any other time in my life, by focusing on teaching my children about healthy eating and the connections between nutrition and disease. Early childhood is an important foundation for health and wellbeing. Throughout the primary years, children are rapidly changing, growing, and developing in both ability and personality. While regular exercise has been a major focus of educational curriculums, one of the most important components of overall wellness is often overlooked: the importance of proper nutrition.

By consuming a diet of mostly whole, plant-based foods, children are far more likely to avoid a host of problems that are beginning to show up far earlier these days such as diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and chronic autoimmune diseases. According to a study by California researchers Jacobson and Gange (2) it is estimated that over 9 million people in the United States have an autoimmune disease, females are 2-3 times more likely than males to develop autoimmune diseases, and some estimates cite numbers as high as 12-13 million people. The answer is really quite simple: less hot-dogs, more vegetables.

If you find your children daring each other to eat dirt this summer, perhaps you’ll have a reason to introduce the “mild dirt” taste of the beet. Welcome to the movement! It is my hope that you and your family continue finding strength in plants!

Ingredients
1-2 lbs of golden beets
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt & pepper
1/4 cup aged balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. goat cheese per 2 slices of beets

Preparation Instructions
Trim the beet greens and reserve for salad. Wash the beets well and peel the skin off. Slice them crosswise about 1/8 of an inch thick and bake on parchment paper with salt, pepper and olive oil for about 40 minutes at 400 degrees. Arrange 1 tablespoon of goat cheese in between 2 slices of beets and then sprinkle with balsamic vinegar. This dish tastes great hot or cold.

References:
(1)Conversion of L-tryptophan to serotonin and melatonin inhuman melanoma cells. Andrzej Slominskia, Igor Semakb, Alexander Pisarchika, Trevor Sweatmanc,Andre Szczesniewskid, Jacobo Wortsman. First published online 1-4-2002.

(2)Jacobson DL, Gange SJ, Rose NR, et al. “Short analytical review. Epidemiology and estimated population burden of selected autoimmune diseases in the United States.” Clin. Immunol. Immunopath. 84 (1997): 223–243.

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