June 10, 2016

My first experience with beets was in the elementary school cafeteria.  Yeah, they served that!  Straight from a can, it was a perfect portion of the thinly sliced “mystery” food placed in a clear plastic cup.  I was mostly attracted to its deep crimson color, thinking it was a new fruit I’d never tried before, and was expecting something super sweet.  But my child-like palette didn’t understand it.  It wasn’t good… at all!  And there I had it.  I would never try another beet again!

Years passed, like 20 of them… I would never be fed another beet in my household in my adolescent years, nor gave the earthy root a chance while I cooked on my own.  And then I became a chef, vastly exposed to exotic foods of all kinds.  Though, the beet was not so exotic, it was something that so many people, circa 2003, were just starting to rediscover.  We reinvented the beet!

My second taste…  It was a small dice of a golden varietal, freshly roasted and peeled, to be prepared on a mixed green salad with goat cheese, pomegranates and candied nuts.  It was delicious!  I tried the red one.  My fingers dyed red… My cutting board, my freshly pressed white coat, my lips, coated in this delicious, natural color.  I was in heaven!  Among its sweet flavor, it had a very earthy tone, nutty aroma and buttery texture.  Once an adolescent mistake, and something that should never be canned, the beet was now at the top of culinary cuisine being paired with some of the most amazing accompaniments like goat cheese, pomegranate, mango, blackberries, and wine.  The flavors were endless and so was my experience with the incredible beet.

Among the crazy chef life I had, I started to find my interest in running again, something I hadn’t done since high school.  Running was my way of distressing, losing weight, and clearing my mind.  Low and behold, I found even more of a compliment to my life in the healthy foods I chose to eat and create in my own recipes.  Beets, of course, among them.  First, because of the high level of antioxidant support, I started regularly incorporating this power vegetable into my healthy diet.

In recent years we’ve all been hearing the trend of the great beet benefits floating around in endurance sports magazines and other media sites.  Studies have gone beyond the science of dark pigmented fruits and vegetables having anti-inflammatory affects.  Beet juice is proven to improve athletic performance.

A few years down the road I was no longer the gourmet chef with endless varietals of beets coming in from local farms.  I was a busy athlete, a different career and I needed my beet fix easy and fast.  Juicing it every few days became a task and the juice never tasted as delicious as it did on day 1.  In addition it would usually oxidize, losing all of its health benefits.  I was just wasting my time and throwing my nutrients down the drain.  I joined the Big Sexy Racing movement 4 years ago and came upon this delicious and convenient drink for my beet addiction among our very own sponsors.  Not only could I order in bulk directly from Beet Performer or Amazon, if I ran out of my stash it was always close by to purchase at my local Sprout’s farmers market and some grocery stores.  It was EASY!  No waste, no clean up, and all at the pop of a can.  When I’m using the product regularly, I notice a huge different in my performance.  Overall I had a huge boost in energy throughout the day, not just after I was drinking the juice, and the fatigue and inflammation that I had experienced in previous training periods seemed to be minimal.  With my regular training, my performance improved because I was getting much more out of my legs.home-cans-1

Beet Performer has done its research.  Beets contain Nitrates, a naturally occurring molecule that helps promote blood flow and oxygen in the system.  What more could an endurance athlete need?  Drinking the juice regularly and following a balanced diet and training regimen, the body will extend its endurance and vastly improve its intensity during exercise.  One study showed that “beet juice increased the time to exhaustion: cyclists who drank beet juice could ride 16% longer than without beet juice in their diet.  The beet juice also allowed them to increase intensity with less oxygen cost” (See Study).

Back to my first love for running and delicious roasted beets another study found that “runners who ate baked beets before running a 5km time trial ran faster and had a lower rate of perceived exertion during the first part of the run” (See Study).  As I am in the peak weeks of my marathon training I take in ½ can of Beet Performer daily, and this is per my own suggested caloric intake.  The general recommendation for beet loading prior to a race is 1 can each day for 1 week leading up to the race, then 1-2 cans on race day (usually 2 hours prior).  On race day I’ll plan to take in1 full can with breakfast.

Beyond the training, sure, I still cook. I’ll hit the local farmer’s market for a “candy stripe” beet varietal, and roast those beauties up with an amazing aged balsamic vinegar.  I’ve roasted the golden variety and made a zesty beet hummus.  I’ve made crispy baked beet chips, a beet veggie burger, and dare I say you can make a beet cupcake?? Okay, I never made the cupcake but I know people have. The possibilities are endless with how creative or to the extent of ease you want to take your beet experiences.

In the mean time, stay true to your health and your training.  If you’ve had bad experiences with the beet root in the past, it’s time to reinvent your health and GIVE BEETS A CHANCE!



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