Friday, February 3, 2017

5 Ways Runners Can Beet Inflammation

Full disclosure: that is not a typo in the title.

I'm eating beets.

Since my recent diagnosis with rheumatoid arthritis, I've started incorporating some changes in my diet. I am not a dietitian, nor am I an expert on nutrition. But I've done a lot of reading about anti-inflammatory foods and I'm pretty amazed at how much certain foods can really affect us. Including beets.

Not only for people with RA, runners can benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet as well. Eating foods that are known to curb inflammation can help with recovery from a tough run or injuries.

Plantar fasciitis anyone? Iliotibial band tendonitis? Pain in the assitis?

Anything that ends in -itis?

It's all inflammation.



Here are some of the easiest and tastiest ways to increase your anti-inflammatory food intake.

Smoothies

Now that I am fighting an autoimmune disease, I'm working on increasing my fruit and vegetable intake. This is a bit of a challenge for me since I'm not a big fan of veggies. Last year, I received a free box from GreenBlender and I started making morning smoothies, mostly for my son. The GreenBlender smoothies opened up a whole new world for us. I loved the unique ingredients and creative recipes--there were so many items I had never heard of. My son swears that the smoothies helped him score podium spots in his gymnastics meets.

Needless to say, we were hooked!

Over the past year, Matthew and I have continued making our smoothies. After my diagnosis, I gave up my morning bowl of cereal and have been drinking smoothies every morning. We continue to experiment with new recipes and ingredients. Our smoothie journey has been a fun and rewarding experience. How many 17 year olds know anything about maca powder? Or how to grate turmeric and ginger root? Corny as it may sound, hearing him ask me to buy more spinach warms my heart.

Along with my weekly menu planning, I do weekly smoothie planning. Knowing what I'm going to make in the morning and having the ingredients on hand really streamlines the process. While there are a lot of smoothie recipes on Pinterest, my favorite source is the GreenBlender website. The website has a ton of recipes and you can search by category. Naturally, I search the "anti-inflammatory" category. The best part of all this is--I am feeling better.

Talk about a mood booster--this one tasted like sunshine in a glass!
If you don't want to do smoothie planning and shopping--admittedly, it is a lot of work--GreenBlender is a great service. They deliver all the ingredients, measured, packaged, and ready to go so that you can easily and conveniently make healthy smoothies. The ingredients are organic and fresh. Use my discount code LONGWAYHOME to receive 20% off your first box!

Beets

Beets are an anti-inflammatory superpower. Beets contain substances that have been found to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and vascular-protective effects. One review that I read also cited several studies that found beetroot to significantly enhance athletic performance!

Knowing all that, how can you not eat beets? Well, for a lot of us, the taste is a little strong. Like dirt.

So when I was contacted by Red Ace, a company that makes beet juice shots, to try their product, I was a little hesitant. After talking to Marcia, who has tried the product, and considering all the benefits of beets, I decided to give it a go. Red Ace sent me a case of all three flavors: red beet, beets and greens, and beets and turmeric. I will admit that I was a little nervous to try them. But with my resolve to overcome my symptoms and get off the steroids, I was game.

Plus, my sons were all in. Shots anyone?

I know what you're thinking. What kind of mother does shots with her sons? Only the coolest mom in town...

We know how to party at the TTLWH house! Bottoms up!



All 3 of use were pleasantly surprised by the good taste of the beet shots. I've tried all 3 flavors and I can attest to how good they really are. In fact, the shots disappeared so quickly, I had to order another case!

Each Red Ace Beet Shot contains juice from 3 whole beets. The product is 100% organic. You could also mix these in with your smoothies, but I think they are so good, I'm going to keep drinking them straight. They do make your urine turn pink, but hey, no hangovers from these!!!


My next shipment is already on the way. Party on!

If you want to try Red Ace Performance Beet Shots, I have a 15% off code: takinglongwayhome for you to use. I've also seen the shots at Whole Foods. 

Fish Oil

Fish oil is another powerful anti-inflammatory agent. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil reduce inflammation by blocking cytokines and prostaglandins. Fish oil also helps fight heart disease by lowering triglycerides, and may even help with cold tolerance and Raynauds. After my diagnosis, my rheumatologist had me increase the amount of fish oil I was already taking. She stressed the importance that even though there might be plenty of fish oil listed on the label, only DHA and EPA count in my total of 2400 mg/day needed to reduce inflammation. Yes, you read that right. I didn't start out at that dose right away--I slowly increased it over about 6 weeks to avoid any GI issues. 

Buyer beware: some brands do not contain the stated amount of DHA/EPA. Consumer Reports reviewed many brands of fish oil, and they listed 10 brands that passed their scrutiny. One of them, Carlson Labs Super Omega-3 Gems, (affiliate linkis the one that I take. I take 5 capsules per day to meet my prescribed dosage.


Green Tea

I love iced tea. Love. To save money, and because unsweetened tea is so hard to find, I started brewing my own tea for iced tea. A few years ago, I read about the benefits of green tea and made the switch. One of my friends mentioned a matcha green tea she tried, and once I tried it, I was hooked. Matcha is a powder made from the green tea leaves. While you can actually brew tea from the powder, I use the bags which contain leaves and powder. I love the stronger taste of the Matcha Green Tea. Because Matcha Green Tea is more concentrated, there are more of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits to enjoy. Matcha is also purported to have cholesterol and triglyceride lowering effects. There are many brands out there, but my favorite is Rishi Tea Organic Super Green Tea Matcha. (affiliate link)




Nuts and seeds

In the middle of the afternoon, when my energy is dipping low, there's nothing more satisfying than a handful of almonds. They fill me up and give me a boost. Nuts are a great source of healthy fats, which can lower cholesterol. Nuts also contain potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds. Raw unsalted nuts are the best. If you are making smoothies, throwing a handful of nuts or seeds (like chia seeds, flaxseed, or hemp seeds) will boost the protein content of your smoothies and provide plenty of anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids.


It's too bad that it took rheumatoid arthritis to make me realize that I needed to clean up my diet. I realized that my diet wasn't as bad as I thought. I've still got adjustments to make. But it's great to already be seeing improvement in the way I feel.

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For more information, here are some great resources:
Run to the Finish: 30 Scientifically Proven Post Run Meals for Optimal Recovery
Dr Weil's Antiinflammatory Food Pyramid
Women's Running: 5 Natural Ways to Tackle Inflammation with Whole Food
Shut Up and Run: The "Diet" Every Runner Should Know About (some links in post are not up to date)

I'm linking up with the Friday 5 v2.0--Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness host this great link up!



Disclosure: I received the Red Ace Performance Beet Shots in exchange for my honest review. 

97 comments :

  1. I love beets. Right now I'm jamming with pickled beets made by one of my clients! I really want to check out this book!

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    1. I wish I loved beets--but I sure love the beet shots!

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  2. I LOVE beets, I love them best garden fresh, boiled up with lots of butter and salt and pepper. Cold beet salad is also delish.

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  3. I learned all about inflammation and how to combat it back when I was trying to conceive and miscarrying like it was my job. Because my automimmune system was using inflammation as a way to thicken up my blood and fight off the "intruder" that was the baby. Yes to beets and curcumin and turmeric and I guzzle fish oil. You are the coolest mom ever with those shots! They are so delicious I runfess I've been hoarding mine. I suppose I should order more.

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    1. I'm having withdrawl, waiting for my shipment!

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  4. I absolutely love beets. I try to drink a beet smoothie at least two times a week. I've never heard of the Red Ace product so I'll have to check that out!

    I don't really follow a particular diet. I just try to adhere to the 80/20 rule, but since I have suffered from inflammation related injuries int he past year (IT band, runners knee), I try to eat anti-inflammatory foods.

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    1. I'm learning how to eat beets. I do mix them in smoothies occasionally.

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  5. I love beets! I have not tried the shots but I will look for them at whole foods for sure. Would love to read the book I have a few a few of his and love them.

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    1. The book was great, and my antiinflammatory diet fits nicely into his 5 principles!

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  6. Assitis. ;) I wish I could make a good smoothie. I don't feel like mine are ever sweet enough and they get so chunky. Way to go on the healthy choices. I have a looong way to go!

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    1. My smoothies aren't as smooth as they could be either. I have a Ninja, but I'm looking at investing in a Vitamix.

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  7. I love beets, but rarely make them at home b/c they're so messy to roast, peel, etc. I do order the beet salad at restaurants pretty often and did on Weds!

    The beet shots look yummy and hopefully they'll help your RA.

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    1. The beets are hard to work with--they stain everything!

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  8. Wow, you packed a lot of info into this post! I'm one of the few runners who does not do smoothies...and I realize I need to get on the wagon and do what all the "cool kids" are doing ;-)

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    1. It's a lot of fun--that GreenBlender service is the gateway drug for sure!

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  9. We have been through the month from hell with our 9 year old son. What we thought was a Type III reaction is actually an autoimmune disorder. We do not have a pediatric rheumatologist yet as we just discovered this yesterday, but even just reading your post about diet and inflammation has given me something to hold on to. Our situation is just unfolding, but I know that diet will have to be addressed imminently. Thank you! Your posts are always my favorite, but today's was super enlightening.

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear about your son. Take it day by day. The diet changes can wait until you get things under control.

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    2. 1st step is a confirmed diagnosis. We were fortunate to receive a referral to a pediatric rheumatologist. Day by day, yes that's exactly how we are living with this right now. Keep on writing and inspiring Wendy. You make a difference.

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  10. I tried green blender and I was not a fan. However, i'm the only one in my family that likes beets and wouldn't mind trying those shots. I normally eat the beets out of the can. Do the shots taste like that or are they more "earthy" like pulling beets right out of the ground?

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    1. The shots are delish. They do some flavoring to make the beets less "earthy" tasting.

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  11. I don't follow much of a diet but do think to snack on fruit rather than sweets.

    I love beets. I need to remember to eat them more. I'm not a smoothie fan - love my oatmeal.

    I've recently started drinking more tea. I'm going to try me some Matcha.

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    1. I just ordered a big shipment of my Rishi matcha tea. Yum!

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  12. I just do moderation and try to keep it mostly clean and healthy. I tried beet chips recently. They were tasty. I have a decaf green tea every evening.

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    1. I really did eat healthy prior to my diagnosis, but I've got to change my game a bit more.

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  13. Look how handsome your sons are!!!! Awww!!!
    I love this post and that diet can help inflammation. Even if it's a small amount, I'm sure it helps. Beets have been a long favorite of mine. Your graphic is adorable too-- I pinned it for you!

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    1. I think they are handsome too! But of course, I'm biased.

      Thanks for the re-pin!!!

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  14. Love this! I am all about curing illnesses with REAL FOOD. I can't remember the last time I took any sort of medication. I follow a vegan diet, and eat very few processed foods. This is helped my body in so many ways. Thank you so much for sharing this!

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    1. I wish I could do this without medication but food alone wouldn't be enough. Someday, maybe!

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  15. Great post! :-) I've always loved beets, though I like them roasted the best...kinda brings out the sweetness. My main focus in my diet is: as much fruits and veggies as possible. Because I have no trouble getting enough of all the other stuff...so I just try to focus on the fruits/veggies/seeds. It's true, like you said about the smoothies, that sometimes that takes extra planning. But so worth it!

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    1. So worth it! It's been so much fun experimenting with all the ingredients! I never ever thought I'd eat beets.

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  16. Thanks for such great info. Do canned beets yield the same benefits? I will start adding them to my salad asap. Inflammatory response is such a beast.

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    1. I'm sure canned beets are just as good!

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  17. Love Matt Fitzgerald -- I have several of his books.

    I actually love beets, too. The real thing. Although I don't eat them as often as I ought to. Every since I had this yummy beet goat cheese salad in Dresden, of all places, I've been obsessed with them. I order that almost every time I see it on the menu.

    I started drinking green tea years ago for the health benefits (and now I just like it). Although Matcha is a bit too earthy for me.

    My downfall, which luckily you don't share, is sweets. If I could do it, maintain my weight, and stay healthy, I'd eat sweets for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and in between, too. It's far easier to add stuff than take it out of your diet!

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    1. Oh...I hadn't thought of the beet-goat cheese combo. I could totally do that!!!

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  18. I love smoothies and I take them to work with me every morning. With spinach and berries (my usual combo) they do not look very appealing. One co-worker looked at my ugly smoothie and asked "how do you drink that slurry?" Is there a way to incorporate raw beets into a smoothie without dyeing your whole kitchen?

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    1. I chop the beets into small pieces and add them to the blender. The only thing that turns red is my cutting board and my fingers!

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  19. Wendy, we have to talk about Red Ace...

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  20. I follow the eat, sleep, run, repeat diet. I don't eat meat, besides seafood, but I really hate to give my diet a name or label- I just eat. If I wanted meat I'd eat it, but I don't and that's okay. I have seen these beet shots at Whole Foods but never tried them so I'd love the chance to!

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    1. I think they are on sale at Whole Foods right now--might be a good time to try them!

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  21. I drink tart cherry juice since that's supposed to help too. I'm not a vegetable person, and wouldn't touch a beet with a 10-foot-pole, but at least there are other choices I do like.

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    1. Never say never! I said the same thing. My husband is dying that I love the beet shots!

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  22. I've had pooitis too many times to count. I've got kiditis as well; it's a chronic condition that doesn't seem to be letting up. As you know, I've been enjoying my new healthy eating habits and I too am obsessed with smoothies right now. ALL THE SMOOTHIES. My stomach can't handle raw veggies unless it's obliterated in a blender.

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    1. Right? I was afraid to put spinach or kale in my smoothies, knowing what those leafy greens do to me on the run. But so far so good!

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  23. i dont think ive ever had beets... how sad especially since im a vegetarian most vegan eek! i guess i should try them :)

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    1. I think the Red Ace beet shots are the gateway drug to the real thing!

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  24. 20 years ago I lost 30 pounds using Weight Watchers. It was a lot easier to keep it off in my 30s, but I like being able to eat any type of food. We're probably more "flexitarian" than anything - we don't eat a lot of meat, but not completely vegetarian. I've been working hard to get in more fruits and veggies this year. Smoothies are a great way to sneak them in!

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    1. I eat a lot less meat than the rest of my family, much to my husband's disappointment. I gave up beef a few years ago, but I will occasionally have a steak or pot roast.

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  25. Okay, you had me at -itis! I'm all about anything that will help with inflammation and my posterior tibial tendonitis! Although I'm not a fan of beets either, these products do sound good and they "beet" chewing up ibuprofen daily! I'm going to check these out today! Thanks for the tips.

    P.S. ....you are such a cool Mom, shots with your boys, how cute is that! :)

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    1. I can't take ibuprofen right now because of the meds I'm on for my RA. So changing the diet was all I had left!

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  26. I've heard about the benefits of beets but haven't tried beet juice yet (because I think they do taste like dirt) - however, I may have to give those shots a go, as my joints have been aching lately. I'm really impressed at how you are taking charge of your nutrition as it relates to your RA.

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    1. I can only control what I'm eating, right? I've been having a lot of fun with the smoothies.

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  27. i try to eat mostly clean with "healthy treats" and lots of super foods. I drink a cup of green ginger tea every night too!

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  28. The only thing missing from my diet are beets! Just saw an article about beets and thought about how I need to incorporate into my diet. Thanks for all the great info!

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    1. Everything I read said beets were a superfood! This was the best way for me to try them.

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  29. This is so helpful! I know I should be eating alot more of these foods but its tough to incorporate them into my diet. I drink smoothies in the summer but not as much in the winter. I want to try that beet juice because I dont like beets!

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    1. I've given up my morning bowl of cereal, which was really hard for me! But the smoothies are good and filling, and I know I'm doing the right thing.

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  30. Yum! And don't forget blueberries! They are rich in proanthocyanidins, which also help decrease inflammation. As an added bonus, they can actually help LOWER cholesterol! I start every day with a huge handful of walnuts and blueberries along with a liter of water. Great way to kick-start the day!

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    1. Oh yes! We eat a lot of blueberries here. Cocoa too, btw...

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  31. Great post, Wendy! I really want to like beets but so far all I can taste is dirt. I even told Rick it was my goal this year to learn to like them. I might have to try the shots--I mean, who doesn't like shots, right? I am so happy all of this is helping you feel better!

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    1. I'm with you on the dirt flavor. But let me tell you..those beet shots are no joke. So good!

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  32. I love beets. My hubby also swears by coconut oil for inflammation reduction.

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  33. Cool Wendy! By coincidence I'm roasting beets tonight, something I haven't done in a long time. I'm sure we all have our reasons for needing an anti-inflammatory diet, it's something I've been working on lately too. I do love breakfast smoothies. I had some really good ones in Hawaii including a couple of anti-inflammatory ones I'd like to recreate at home. If I do add them to my blog's smoothie collection I'll let you know! I'm glad your rheumatologist includes some dietary and supplements in his or her regime, sounds very up to date.

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    1. Yes, I'll take any and all smoothie recipes!

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  34. I'm not sure I can trust you on the beets. They are the one vegetable I don't like...

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    1. I'm not sure I can trust myself anymore--I had brussels sprouts at Christmas and liked them, and now beets? Who am I?

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  35. I've found that wheat is a HUGE source of inflammation for me. I feel so much better since I've mostly eliminated that!

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    1. Good to hear that helped you! I've definitely cut back on my wheat intake.

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  36. I love beets. My nana used to make the most insanely delicious pickled beets, and I crave them all the time. Every time beets are offered on a menu, I get them. I just have no clue how to prepare them at home.

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    1. I wish I loved beets! But I'm working on it.

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  37. Several years ago I stopped eating gluten containing foods. My energy is great. Still consume chocolate daily!

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    1. Oh, I couldn't give up chocolate! Plus it has anti-inflammatory properties!

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  38. While I did love the smoothies from Green Blender, I could not justify spending that much money on it. But I could spend money on running shoes and new OIselle gear. :-) I love the convenience of receiving everything in one box since I am too lazy to go to the store to buy the ingredients.

    I would love to try the beet shots. I am missing so much healthy food in my diet. I do eat oatmeal with chia seeds and sometimes hemp seeds so at that is is a start?

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    1. I loved the convenience of the Green Blender service. Loved! If I wasn't able to make the smoothies myself, I'd spend the money, just to make sure I was getting a healthy start to the day.

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  39. I am gluten free, dairy free, and soy free for health reasons.

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    1. That's a lot to give up! I hope you are feeling good.

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  40. Thanks for the great information, Wendy. I've been hearing a lot about the benefits of beets lately, but haven't looked any further into it. I already take fish oil and regularly have a handful of nuts in the afternoon. I just can't do the green tea, though. I've tried and just don't like the taste of any teas or coffees...

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    1. I've really learned to like a lot of things I would have turned my nose up to in the past!

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  41. Great post Wendy! I use beets in my smoothies for that very reason!

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    1. We've got a beet smoothie on the menu for this week. I'm missing my beet shots while I'm awaiting my shipment. My husband is making fun of me...

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  42. I love beets! I am a dairy-free vegetarian. I try to follow a mainly whole foods diet. :)

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  43. I don't think I've ever eaten beets. Oh, but I'm up for shots! LOL. Those are such a cute pictures of you and the boys. I don't follow any particular "diet". I do try to eat my colors and limit my sugar.

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    1. Pretty sure it was the shots thing that hooked me...

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  44. I love beets... I imagine the shots are pretty good. I like to juice them with a couple of apples and a thumb of ginger.

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  45. Right at this very moment I have a beet sitting in my fridge that has been there for... quite some time... I like beets, but they are not my favorite to prepare. I wonder if I can still juice my questionable beet and at least somewhat utilize it. I'd love to try those beet shots sometime.

    I don't really follow any particular diet. I should pay more attention to what I eat because in all honestly I don't think I eat near enough for the physical demands I put on my body. Ugh. I'm terrible, I know.

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    1. Its why I like the beet shots. I'm not a fan of beets.

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  46. I LOVE beets!!! I eat them raw. I'm a weirdo. I know. And tart cherry for inflammation. You sound like a cool mom. Kinda like my mom parenting style ;-) oh and I've read Run Fast Eat Slow. Amazing wealth of nutritional guide!

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    1. I've gifted that book--it's a good one!

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  47. I do love me some beets! YUM! My diet? Everything in moderation :) well except for wine - HA! I always make a plate and automatically divide it in my head and that is all I eat. The rest goes in my lunchbox :)

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  48. I eat healthy foods, like beets, most of the time with a small bit of not as healthy, but I'm okay with that. Fortunately, I like beets! I like Matt's books, too!

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