I'll be sharing some themed posts this week on the blog - namely, how to tackle sugar cravings. It's been coming up a lot in my practice with clients, and it sounds like the sugar monster is on a bit of a bender right now. Let's look a little at ways to use food to curb cravings by giving the body more of what it needs and less of what it doesn't. In the name of balance and deliciousness, let's dig in!
Stay tuned for an after-dinner sugar craving killer and some yummy raw sugar-free cookie batter balls, coming up this week...
A little bit of an unusual approach to kicking sugar cravings with this recipe, but hear me out: giving the body a taste of natural sugars, like those in beets, carrots and sweet potatoes, on a regular basis can actually reduce the intensity of cravings for refined sugars. Plus, we get the added bonus of the nutrients and fiber that complex carbohydrates from veggies provide. Beets, in particular, are tremendously nutritious. They are rich in manganese and folate, as well as a super-powerful plant compound called betalains. They're what give beets their gorgeous color and provide antioxidant, antinflammatory and detoxification support to the body.
Nutritionally, beets are related to chard, quinoa and spinach: they all contain variations of the same red and yellow pigments. These colors, incidentally, are often indicators of how healthful a food is -- which quinoa, chard, beets and spinach definitely are. AND! Fun fact! That fun thing that happens where your urine turns red if you've had lots of beets is called 'beeturia'. How fitting, right? ;)
We might not think of them as summer veggies because they're on the denser side, but particularly on the East Coast, these little ruby orbs come into season in June and July. And man alive, are they good!
I was hugely craving a quinoa salad - something light, refreshing and simple - this week, and decided to toss some beets from our CSA into the oven to amp up the color, flavor and sweetness. (Is it just me, or has summer - and maybe being a little dehydrated) caused my sugar cravings to go through the roof? Beets, as I mentioned above, are a brilliant nutritious substitute for sugar.
I wanted to create a version of a Mediterranean roasted beet salad, one that might otherwise have feta cheese and a splatter of olive oil, along with a creamy tahini sauce.
This version, using a crumbly homemade vegan walnut cheese and a raw tahini dressing, served atop red quinoa, was a really yummy variation. So yummy, in fact, the leftovers disappeared within three meals. (It was dinner, breakfast and lunch... all within 24 hours. Hilarious. It's that good, and hey, pretty darn nutritious... so it's probably fine.) ;) Some days, variety is overrated.
If you have the time to pre-roast a batch of beets, cook up some quinoa and do up small batched of your vegan cheese and the tahini dressing, you'll be set for lunches and dinners throughout the week. Serve this mixture on top of salad greens, too, for some extra plant-tastic goodness.
I'd love to know how this turns out for you! Enjoy your gorgeous summer veggies!
- 2 cups cooked red quinoa
- 3 medium-large beets, cubed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- sea salt
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 4 tbsp tahini
- 1/3 cup finely chopped white onion
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/4 cup peppercorns
- 1 1/2-2 tbsp water
- splash of apple cider vinegar
- 1. Preheat oven to 400F. Spread beets on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for ~40 minutes or until softened and slightly caramelized.
- 2. If cooking quinoa, put it on while beets roast.
- 3. In a food processor, combine walnuts, nutritional yeast and about 1 tsp of sea salt. Pulse until it turns into a fine crumb. Set aside.
- 4. In the same food processor, combine tahini, onion, cumin, peppercorns, a pinch of salt and apple cider vinegar. Blend until combined, then add 1/2 tbsp of water at a time, continuing to blend, until it reaches a slightly runny consistency. You want it thin enough to be able to pour.
- 5. Once beets are cooked, portion out quinoa, top with beets, vegan cheese and a drizzle of dressing. Serve.
- Store ingredients separately in the fridge. Beets and quinoa will keep up to 6 days. Sauce will keep about 3 days. Vegan cheese can be stored up to a month in an airtight container.