Beets. When growing up, I hated them with a passion. Mom would always get those canned beets and it was like eating red barf mixed with yuck and a dash of bleh. So I’ve always been resistant to them skipping the canned beets during the holidays and avoiding them at all cost. Fast forward to the second decade of the 2000′s and we’re in a Beet-topia.
Since the olympics, beets have seemingly made a huge stride in popularity due to their health claims. The 2012 Olympians brought the earthy vegetable to the spotlight and I honestly couldn’t be happier (other than in about 2 more years, every product you buy will say “now with Beets!” or some dumb shit like that). Beets certainly do pack a wallop of vitamins and have supposed claims to improving an athletes performance, but does it really? I have been adding beets to my daily green smoothies (another hot button craze right now) and have been monitoring my performance to see if there have been any noticeable gains.
From what I’ve read, here are the highlights of the beet and it’s mythical properties.
Cynicism aside, here’s what I found out that was helpful for me. It contains a fair amount of good carbohydrates and it’s loaded with fiber. That’s all I’m really concerned about in biking performance.
I’ve been eating beets 3 times a day in my green smoothies now for 2 weeks, the result? Well, I have had some change in performance but there’s the other factors like that I train like a dog every week and I’ve been working on getting down to “race weight” so I still keep a skeptical eye with the beet intake. But I do feel better and feel like I have a tad more energy.
I have always hated cooked beets so I’ve been consuming them raw. I read up about doing that and due to that oxalic acid they contain, it could irritate the mouth and intestinal tract. Well as you can see from the profanity in this post, it’s irritated my mouth. My intestinal tract? Well let’s just say I’ve not had to send any Instragram photos to my boss.
Like anything, you should do your homework before adding something into your diet, especially during race season. It could completely take you down and thwart your cat4 3rd place title hopes and dreams. I actually have enjoyed adding beets into my smoothies and in all honesty I’ve seen some gains in performance (however I have not made 3rd place in Cat4 – I blame the sandbaggers that always show up to and screw everything up >:( )
If you’re interested in my green smoothie recipe, it’s pretty barebones simple:
Scott’s Green Smoothie (as suggested by Nutritionist Kelli Jennings)
Blend that shit up and chug as quick as possible so your tastes buds don’t have time to say “WHAT THE HELL MAN!? THERE’S A COCA COLA SITTING LIKE 2 INCHES AWAY! WHY ARE YOU NOT DRINKING THAT!?”
I do this smoothie 3 times a day, sometimes 4. I actually like the taste of it now, but it was an acquired taste, that’s for sure. But you know what else was an acquired taste? Beer. I remember my first beer I had, I took a big gulp hoping that I too, would enjoy the happiness they show in the beer commercials. Instead, I felt like I was going to die and vomit everywhere…
…fortunately I overcame that problem. Now I have another problem but my AA life coach says I’m going to be just fine and I’ve almost got my next chip!
So if you’re looking to add something healthy, vitamin packed and a source of good carbs? Try beets. If you’re looking to be a hipster and say “I ate beets before they were popular.” You’re too late, because I’ve already blogged about it.