Beets - Summer Farmers' Market Bounty

It's well established that we LOVE summer farmers' markets. Overflowing with the healthiest food nature has to offer, and bringing together different segments of a community, they are an amazing opportunity to get in touch with your food, where it comes from, and the people who nurture it. It's incredibly easy to get inspired while roaming the stands and we always feel great about making such healthy, delicious choices. The connection to what you eat that's forged at a farmer's market is something beyond what we can make at the supermarket, and it's really an opportunity not to be missed. 

One of the more colorful and unique flavors to be found comes from Beets. There is a colorful spectrum of varieties, and lots can be done with both the bulb and the leaves. From recipes that date back generations to new, modern recipes that look at the root vegetable in a whole new way, beets are a great way to add color and sweetness to your cooking. 

If summer's heat has you preparing crisp cold dishes, you'll love our delicious beet salad. Bright, crisp, and a little bit sweet and sour, this salad is guaranteed to hit that summer sweet spot.

Be sure to wear an apron and wash your hands often, as beet colors tend to bleed.

Happy eating!

Sweet & Sour Summer Beet Salad

Salad Ingredients

  • Fresh beets, any color
  • Mandarine orange segments (1 can - juice drained, or 4 fresh - peeled and separated)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds or roughly chopped walnuts
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 2/3 cup goat cheese
  • Arugula

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup aged Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs honey or dark Agave
  • kosher salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Rinse and cut both ends off your beets, leaving the skin on.
  2. Place hole beets on a large sheet of tin foil.
  3. Drizzle beets with olive oil and rub to coat.
  4. Fold tin foil up and around the beets to make a sealed tent, so that the beets will steam while cooking.
  5. Bake beets, on a cookie sheet, at 415 for approx. 1 hour and 15 minutes. Check if your beets are done by piercing the largest beet with a knife. If your knife slides in, they're done.
  6. Let beets cool, and when they're ready to handle, rinse them under cold water and remove the skins. The skin should slide off while the beets are still warm.
  7. Quarter beets (depending on size you can cut smaller chunks) and chill in the refrigerator until cold.
  8. While your beets chill, melt the sugar in a pan on med/high heat. As the sugar melts, add your nuts and toss to coat in the caramelizing sugar. This step moves fast so pay attention. When they nuts are coated immediately remove from the heat to stop the cooking and prevent the sugar from burning. Toss them on a plate to cool. Once cool you can break them apart into smaller pieces.
  9. Whisk all dressing ingredients together and season to taste.
  10. Toss together chilled beets, orange slices, and your crumbled goat cheese. Let sit for 20-30 minutes.
  11. Place arugula on individual plates, top with beet mixture, and sprinkle with your caramelized nuts. 

Enjoy!

Vacation Journal - Mango Madness

Summer brings the sweetest fruits, and if you know me, you know that the mango is the Holy Grail. The sweet and tangy fruits are just as good of a dessert as they are an athletic recovery food. For many years in the sport of swimming, a favorite after practice recovery snack was dried mangos. The natural sugars boost your glycogen stores, giving you fast acting recovery to the most readily used energy source in the body. What I had never done, until last week, was pick mangos straight from the tree. Luckily a much-needed vacation gave me the opportunity I was waiting for.

After a grueling year of school, I was ready for a reprieve. My wife and joined our families down in the Virgin Islands for a week of R&R. Upon arrival to the house we booked on the little island of Jost Van Dyke, we had freshly picked bananas waiting for us, that had been picked from a tree ten feet away from the kitchen. The bananas literally tasted like banana pudding, I had never had a banana so sweet, or so fresh. When I walked outside I noticed the two huge mango trees that sat right under our house.

As you might imagine, I went ape for the mangoes. Every day I picked fresh fruits straight from the tree. About 50 feet down from the two big mango trees were several smaller trees that held mangos about the size of a tennis ball, which were much more tart and acidic, but still a delightful treat. I kept thinking to myself, “why don’t I have a grove of fruit trees at my house?!” There is truly no comparison or substitute for foods that you pick immediately from the source.

Speaking of eating from the source, we ate fish straight from the sea! The Island of Jost Van Dyke is tiny. 192 people populate the speck of land, and the fishing we did was nothing like you’d see in movies. Out we went on a tiny little boat with makeshift equipment. A few hours later we approached the dock with Kingfish, Mackerel, and Barracuda, in hand. We fished in 90 to 120 feet of water, with live baitfish called Spack. Our fisherman, Dave, cleaned the fish right on the wooden dock, and sent us on our way to cook a feast. Upon catching the Barracuda we asked him, “do people eat Barracuda?” He looked at us like we were crazy and said, “of course, it’s great!” He was right, albeit the Barracuda was a bit tougher; the flavor was still sweet and a little briny. What took the tough consistency away was when my Dad decided to cut the large filets into smaller medallions of about two inches by two inches.

We ate those fish for three meals. On the second day I was thinking, “this is a day old and it’s still more fresh than anything I could ever buy in Austin!

The brilliance we experienced eating straight from the land and sea makes me miss the islands already. The flavor was of no comparison; the nutrients were packed to the brim, literally seeping out of the mangoes as we picked them. Looks like I’ll just have to start a fruit grove in Austin!

Carbs & Gluten Explained

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Carbohydrates are a very important part of an athletes’ diet, but many athletes who are following a gluten free diet may find it difficult to know where to get their carbohydrates.   Cutting out gluten does not mean having to avoid all carbohydrates, contrary to popular belief.  Gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye, is a major component of most breads, pastas, crackers, cookies, and other starchy snack foods.  In recent years, however, with the increase in diagnosis of Celiac disease, an autoimmune disease where a person cannot digest gluten, and an increase in those with gluten sensitivity, there are many more products to choose from for those following a gluten free diet.  There are also many naturally gluten free options for athletes following this diet. 

Carbohydrates are important both pre- and post-workout for all athletes.  Those who are on a gluten free diet may find the following gluten free carbohydrate options to be easy to work into their sports nutrition regimen.

Naturally gluten free options:

  • Brown rice
  • Air popped popcorn
  • Quinoa
  • Millet
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Potatoes
  • Gluten free oats
  • Nonfat/lowfat milk and yogurt

Gluten free products:

  •  Brown rice crackers
  • Gluten free bread
  • Gluten free granola bars/nutrigrain type bars
  • Gluten free English muffins/bagels
  • Gluten free pasta
  • Gluten free granola
  • Chex cereals

It is common to see many gluten free products in your usual grocery stores now, rather than having to shop at a specialty food store.  There are also many websites, blogs, and recipe books dedicated to the gluten free diet. 

For more information on gluten sensitivity as an athlete, reference these fact sheets from SCAN:

http://www.scandpg.org/local/resources/files/2010/SD-USA-Fact-Sheet_May-2010_Gluten-Sensitivity_aa.pdf

http://www.scandpg.org/local/resources/files/2009/SD-USA_Fact_Sheet_Gluten_Sensitivity_In_Athletes_Oct%2009.pdf

 

Today's News - Sound Advice for Living Well

image sourced from nytimes.com

image sourced from nytimes.com

Our regular reads always include looking over the Health & Wellness section of The New York Times. The famed paper is an excellent source of innovative and healthy recipes from cuisines home and abroad, and is always on the cutting edge of exercise, health, and science reporting. 

Today happens to have been a banner day for exactly the kind of informative reading we expect from the publication, and we want to share two of our favorite morning reads with all of you. 

First, a quick essay from our favorite, Mark Bittman. Tirelessly forging ahead in his crusade to change public opinion and help Americans eat cleaner, more natural diets, he's written about the misconceptions surrounding the big three - salt, fat, and sugar. Bittman explains how each effects our bodies and what changes really need to be made in order to stop and reverse weight gain. An important read for all of us. 

Second, the reporting and analysis of an eye-opening study on how we perceive our own efforts in fitness. Spoiler alert, we're not working nearly as hard as we think we are. While that may seem initially discouraging, we'd like to challenge you instead to look at it as empowering. We're capable of more than we give ourselves credit for, and stronger than we think we are. Now it's time to really push ourselves and achieve greater results. 

So take a few minutes to read these two important articles, and maybe even explore what else this great resource has to offer. Keep moving, keep cooking, and never stop dreaming. We're here to arm you with the knowledge and confidence to put your best foot forward on the path to achieving your dreams. Healthy = Happy.

WHAT CAUSES WEIGHT GAIN - BY MARK BITTMAN

OVERESTIMATING HOW HARD WE EXERCISE - BY GRETCHEN REYNOLDS

OUR FAVORITE HEALTH & WELLNESS SECTIONS AT THE TIMES - BOOKMARK THESE!

WELL - PHYS ED

WELL - RECIPES FOR HEALTH

WELL - HOME

Mango Madness - Recipe Post

Mangos. Garrett LOVES them. They're a well know favorite that plays a recurring role in his tasty approach to healthy eating. So, it was no surprise when Garrett was invited by the National Mango Board to contribute a recipe to their brand new all mango cookbook. Including delicious recipes from breakfast, to sides, to delectable desserts, the collection really showcases the diversity of this amazing superfood fruit. 

To ease into the heat of summer and hot weather cooking techniques, we blended up a creamy mango Gazpacho, offering a new twist on the traditionally tomato based cold soup. Served with a topping of grilled shrimp and homemade mango salsa, we guarantee a refreshing and inventive crowd-pleaser. 

Check out the cookbook snapshots below to learn more about what makes a mango such a powerful superfood, download your own copy of the cookbook here, and enjoy the sweet, natural goodness.

Happy eating!

CREAMY MANGO GAZPACHO WITH LEMONGRASS CHILI SHRIMP

Gazpacho

Makes 4 servings

  • 5 small ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, and cut into chunks
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1 seedless cucumber, peeled and chopped
  •  1 ½ cup sweet onion, diced
  • 1 Serrano pepper, seeded and minced
  •  2 tsp chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 2 tbs creamy peanut butter
  • fresh cilantro

Purée all ingredients except cilantro in blender. Chill at least 2 hours.

Shrimp

  • 1 lb jumbo shrimp (roughly 12) shelled and deveined
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  •  1 Serrano pepper, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp puréed lemongrass (chop before pureeing)
  • pinch salt

Whisk together all ingredients then brush onto shrimp until well coated.

Arrange shrimp in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook, turning once, about 3-4 minutes until cooked through. Remove from skillet and set aside.

To Serve

Ladle chilled soup into four bowls. Top with fresh cilantro & grilled shrimp. A small scoop of chopped mango mixed with ginger and chili can also be added with the shrimp and cilantro for garnish.