There's a popular misconception about the consumption of beets and a healthy lifestyle. Many think it's not possible to maintain fitness while regularly indulging in a few primo beets. Well my friends, nothing could be farther from the truth. As an avid runner and aficionado of good beets, I'll explain...
I've always been a big fan of beets. It doesn't matter the color: red ones, white ones, dark ones - even those strange orange ones popular in Chicago, but I wasn't always a runner. As I hit middle age, I realized all beets and no exercise made for one fat Jack. So I began to run. And run I did all though 2009. My weight at the beginning of 2009 was 208 pounds, but by year's end - without ever curbing my daily beets - I had lost 18 pounds! I now feel the fittest I have in 20 years and I can enjoy fresh beets completely guilt-free.
Some activities are only enhanced by beets. Take one of my favorites: golf. Is there anything better than hitting the links on a summer Saturday afternoon with a couple of buddies, turning off the cell phones, and knockin' back a couple of beets? I think not. It's a blast! Every 4th hole is the beet hole. The loser of the hole has to pay for the next round of beets. Let me tell you: the beet cart girls LOVE us! I've seen beet cart girls actually get in fights over who gets our back 9, because the more beets we consume, the more we tip! Bowling is another activity made more fun with beets. But don't spill your beets on the lane or you could twist an ankle.
Of course, there are pitfalls with the consumption of too many beets. One common one is beet goggles: that belief that every member of the opposite sex is the most beautiful creature you've ever laid eyes on. This is a common affliction in Sheboygan - where downing a few too many beets is frequent. The first symptom of beet goggles is a purplish hue in your vision. If noticed, I recommend putting the beets down for a while and getting something to eat.
Amateurs often suffer from beet muscle disorder - one too many beets and they think they can take on the world. Usually they're wrong. On more than one occasion I've seen a beet-breathed rookie get the snot knocked out of him. One of the more notable beatdowns I witnessed was at a beet party in college. You paid $5 for a cup at the front door and then it was all the beets you could ingest until gone. I miss those days. < sigh >
It's been a long time since I've endured either of the above, but I have - more recently - discovered another pitfall: cheap beets. These are the kind of beets you usually see advertised during a NASCAR race; they're commonly available in large quantities - 18 packs or larger. They're okay when they're ice-cold, but as soon as they're warm they taste awful. I've got a buddy who keeps a chest full of cheap beets. Whenever he comes to my house, he heads right for my fridge a grabs one of my craft beets from the Pacific Northwest (you know these beets, commonly bitter with a strong floral essence). However, when I go to his house, all he's got is those sticky sweet, cheap beets. Oh man, one too many of these and you will really pay for it the next day. So, in fact, will your entire office! If you can afford it, it's my advice to spend a little extra on good beets.
Popular today are those light, low carb beets marketed towards people with active lifestyles. I avoid 'em like the plague. They taste thin and watery. Plus you've got to consume a ton of them to feel the slightest effect. Life's too short.
A British pal of mine keeps his beets at room temperature. "Whoa!" said I the first time I had one. "What's with the flat, warm beets?" He explained that we Americans kill the subtle flavor of our beets by chilling them to sub-Arctic temperatures. I've since come to understand what he was getting at and now regularly meet him down at the corner establishment for a couple of warm English beets and a bowl of root soup.
In summary, it is possible to possess an active, healthy lifestyle and consume beets regularly. Avoid common mistakes and enjoy beets in moderation. Until we see each other again, I nod my head and raise my beet to you!
Note: This blog post was inspired by Joe Woelfle's typo in a tweet to Tim Cigelske. If there's anyone to blame, it's Joe. I just picked the ball up and ran with it. For more information about Joe Woelfle and his fine selection of cold beets visit http://www.blatzliquor.com/. For more information about Tim Cigelske - The Real Beer Runner - visit http://beerrunner.draftmag.com/.