Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Feeling spacey? Eat your root veggies

beetsHave you ever desired more focus or concentration? Or the ability to be more decisive and hold your ground? Before you convince yourself you have ADD, try eating some more beets. I'm confident these root vegetables will bring you down to earth.

This ancient remedy has been on my mind ever since a session with my client Sejal yesterday. She was in high spirits, but had a hard time staying focused during our call. As a result we ended up jumping from one topic to the other. It was clear she needed some support to 'get grounded.'

In my view, Sejal was operating 'in her head.' A condition I see often with academics, like her, and those in highly analytical professions. While this mentality has helped her formulate brilliant thoughts, it has also left her disconnected from her physical body.

Beets can help us get back in touch with ourselves - a traditional remedy that like many things has gotten lost in this time of industrial agriculture and modern nutrition-speak.

And to understand you may have to suspend your beliefs on what is possible through food. When we consume a plant or an animal we take on more than just its nutrients and vitamins - we also take on its energy! This can mean the swiftness of a wild deer or, yes, the groundedness of a root vegetable.

I first learned of this theory from Steve Gagne, author of the book The Energetics of Food. In regards a plant, the energy comes from how it is grown. Beets and other root vegetables collect nutrients from the soil around it and grow downward. When we consume them we bring energy to the lower parts of our bodies - contributing to the sense of firm footing, and enhancing other bodily functions. (Yes, beets are also great for constipation!) Consequently, food that grows upwards, like fruit and sugar, bring energy to the head.

This simple theory might seem out of place in the world of genome mapping and genetically modified crops. Yet there is something about its simple straightforward nature that appeals to me. A sign that mother nature had a plan. Perhaps the question of what to eat, does not require a PhD after all!

I enjoy beets roasted in olive oil and on a simple bed of arugula with lemon juice. Find them at your local farmers market.

*Photo courtesy of huumbug on flickr

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Integrative Nutrition