This has been one of my most difficult Winters- I will not lie. I’ve been struggling to eat well, working a lot and enjoying very little. Brain chemistry in the dark of Winter has made the gym my best friend, since I’ve found myself very much needing the mood boosting effects of a strenuous workout every morning. In the evening, I try to make time to eat something healthy but not too heavy several hours before bed, as I’ve found one of the most valuable benefits of night time intermittent fasting to be improved sleep quality and more easily recalled dreams.
Beets are one of my favorite vegetables. For years I wouldn’t touch them, but now I’m always looking for new ways to enjoy them-Beet juice, borsch, beet kvass, beet pkhali, roasted beets, pickled beets, and beet salad. For being such a weird, dark little root, they are super versatile. Aside from being delicious, beets have several health benefits that I think make them especially attractive. They are great for your liver function, and that dark red color comes from some great inflammation fighting antioxidants. Nitrates though, are the real asset here. Nitrates are converted by your body into nitric oxide, which acts on your blood vessels to create conditions that improve blood pressure and circulation. Light research into the benefits of nitric oxide reveals countless articles indicating improved athletic performance and mental function.
Walnuts are full of protein, vitamin b6, magnesium, potassium and iron. They are packed with inflammation fighting omega 3 fatty acids and liver protecting antioxidants. They also contain melatonin, making them great for evening meals. They encourage a healthful satiety and all the healthy fats make your brain feel great. Beets and Walnuts are a common food combination in Eastern Europe- in Russia, in Ukraine, in Georgia….the two are consistently coupled, tradition emphasizing nutrition over and over again.
In this salad, beets are paired with walnuts and goat cheese, and drizzled with olive oil and balsamic. It is a fast, simple, throw together pile of food, boasting all the benefits of beets, combined with all the benefits of Walnuts, making it a delicious and nourishing meal to support an active or depleting lifestyle. If you’re crawling home from work to eat “whatever” and watch some TV or veg out on social media, I would challenge you to throw this salad together, turn off your phone, and eat mindfully instead. Just once or twice a week, a light but nutritionally dense meal, with contemplative eating habits, can help to reset your mode of operation, bringing you back to a place where you can be in control of your thoughts and better utilize that precious after work free time.
Beet Salad- One serving, as evening meal
1 small to medium beet, grated
1/4 cup walnuts, smashed a little but not powdered
1.5 inches off of a goat cheese log, crumbled
1 handful of spinach or arugula
Balsamic and Olive oil for drizzling
Salt and Black pepper to taste.
Throw a small pile of greens into a bowl. Grate the beet, and add it to the bowl as well.
Top with crumbled walnuts and goat cheese. Drizzle liberally with olive oil and balsamic vinegar before seasoning with as much salt and black pepper as you prefer.
Turn off your devices. Sit down, and think about your plans for the rest of the evening, or the next day, while you enjoy the earthy, tangy, restorative salad in front of you.
Bevarage Pairing Suggestions
Chamomile tea, cucumber water or kombucha. Avoid beer, soda or coffee with this meal.