Luke Coutinho is all praises for beetroot… welcome it more often in your kitchen
BY TARA NARAYAN’
Eating is Fun / Eating is Yuck! – A variety food column
DON’T ask me why but these days I keep thinking we don’t know how to live anymore! We don’t how to drink, eat, think, act, be happy enough to sleep in peace, so many of my friends are so stressed out that they need a couple of sleeping pills to get some kind of sleep, be it artificial sleep…that means you wake up feeling not refreshed and at the top of the world singing that song but stale and wondering when is the right time to say goodbye, cruel world.
I’m determined not to be maudlin in this rainy weather. Which reminds me monsoon time is the ideal time to give a helping hand to your immune system around which all wellbeing revolves. Usually our immune systems are down at this time of the weather and in Hindu homes at least one and all are urged to fast during the Chaturmas rainy months and all the celebrations focus on fasting and then a day of breaking fast and feasting, then go back to fasting until whenever you get the green signal that all’s hunky dory with your body beautiful, rejoice, the three or four sacred monsoon months are over and one may return to normal drinking and eating. But then I’m the type who would love it if it rained around the year for I sleep better to the drumming of the monsoon rain, sleep off to the lullabies of the rain and wake up to the hosannas of the dawn, like that. Which is like saying wish we never have to grow old!
I think I’ve been listening a bit too much to Luke Coutinho of Facebook fame now waxing lyrical over intermittent fasting and recently he was all lyrical over the one vegetable you should patronize for all kind of good things to happen if your body beautiful is stressed out because your mind and soul is stressed out, something like that. Get some beetroots and love eating them. Actually Luke was showing off a bottle of beetroot juice, drink beetroot juice daily or in combo with carrot or apple (ABC juice as in apple, beetroot, carrot) and don’t store juice, sip as soon as possible once juiced.
Can you sip your way to good health? Of course you can. If I wanted to I could go on a liquid diet but for that I need a support system! Meaning somebody to do it with me and interact with me…which reminds me I have this book in my cookbook library titled `Supercharge Your Immune System’ authored by Ellen Brown with Karen Konopelski and they have some 100 recipes guaranteed to help your body fight illness one glass at a time.
Am re-reading it this monsoon and am zapped anew about how if we put the right things in our mouth we may and can recover a more rewarding body beautiful. Here are recipes like Raspberry Banana Smoothie which is fab with fibre, Iron Mango Macadamia Coconut Smoothie for upping the iron, Flavonoid Feista Apple Blueberry Smoothie, Lycopene Luster Tomato Carrot Smoothie….yes, they’re all diseases-fighting recipes to strengthen your immune system. I endorse what the authors say about freshly made smoothies and juices made from “functional foods” being rich with immunity-boosting nutrient values to fortify immunity and wellbeing.
So go on a juicy diet if you can make it this monsoon and see for yourself how good you can be…say beetroot juice for breakfast (or ABC juice), pomegranate juice mid-morning, coconut water any time (but don’t overdo it or a system unused to liquid diet will collapse into the runs); if you ask the celebrity cookbook queen Shilpa Shetty she’ll say she wakes up a glass of warm lemon water sweetened with wild honey. If you ask me, I’ve taken to remembering to drink more water and if I can an apple kombucha tea or kefir buttermilk, even dairy curd buttermilk spiked with lemon or orange juice is super stuff. Add any fresh juice to a buttermilk and it’s glorious.
By all means take your brunch or lunch break preceded with Goan pez (of red rice, fenugreek seeds, bit sea salt or chepnim mango diced in), can turn this into a regular soup affair with additions of veggies/greens. Check out the sour greens of khatta palak…what other leaves are sourish? They are the back of my mind but don’t come to mind immediately because I’ve forgotten them…hey, we have chukkakura or Indian sorrel, but this is also called khatta palak, okay; then we have gongura or roselle leaves with their exquisite lemony tart flavor (sometimes called ambaadi bhaji), think of any more? Anyway I find sour greens really taste great in a pez porridge for a mid-morning break! If you’re not had breakfast it’s a super hunger filler.
THESE days I’m taking a new interest in ruby red beetroots. Since our friend Luke Coutinho is prescribing them for anyone suffering from high blood pressure. Funny, I’ve been buying beetroot but never do anything with them and then chuck them. I still haven’t learned how to make use of beetroots because they turn everything so red; but presumably they look so bloody because they’re a good restorative for our blood!
In the countries of the West they’re crazy about beetroot. Think Russia and the East European countries with their famous red borscht soups mostly meaty but also vegetarian here and there. There is borscht (English) and borsch…basically from Yiddish vocabulary. It’s their star soup featuring beetroots, carrot, celery, potato, onion, garlic. Sounds like a tantalizing rainy day soup to pine or live for.
But this is to say discover beetroot anew. As Luke says, if you drink beetroot juice you can bring down blood pressure and that pretty much takes care of everything else bothering body beautiful (but kidney patients please exercise caution). Clued up athletes invest in beetroot juice instead of nitrate capsules to boost energy levels! Some folk perceive beetroots as a sugar veggie but this is a fallacy, veggies can never be high glycemic as say our artificially processed, refined carb foods can be (as in say refined sugar, refined flours, mostly industrial foods of bread, biscuits, noodles, etc).
In a nutshell, beetroots’ impressive credentials as a super veggie lie in their ability to lower blood pressure, build muscle power, prevent cancer, slow dementia. What more do we want! Beetroot (Beta vulgaris) is rich in fibre, manganese, potassium, folate (vitamin B9) and vitamin C, iron and perhaps most of all magnesium which is reportedly a serious deficiency (especially in cancer patients).
So it makes sense to invest in organically cultivated beetroot juice daily. Also, look at (and eat) beetroot salad, relish, coleslaw…not to forget our very own styled raita. Next, learn how to make a divine Ukrainian borscht topped with sour cream! I had a Jewish aunt who was forever serving steam-cooked beetroot at her table – washed, steam-cooked whole in pressure cooker, peeled lightly/sliced thickly or thinly/ cubed…finally, tossed in some lemony vinaigrette, garnished with chopped dill greens. Absolutely divine except that it was her Kashmiri cook who prepared and dished it out….I wonder if Rajab is still alive or gone with the wind? We in the family were all in love with Rajab and appreciated his hands of a genius in the kitchen.
ANOTHER tidbit Do you know that the original natural color going into all the red velvet cakes small and big which so many of us are addicted too – acquired the color red with beetroot juice? Nowadays most lazy chefs and cooks prefer to use artificial color red taking pride in calling it bloody food grade color. Hey, the next time you think rich ruby red in the kitchen, think beetroot, okay.