Detox Beet and Pink Grapefruit Salad is perfect for days when you want to eat light and clean.
With the holidays behind us and 2012 in full swing, everyone seems to be ready to hit the reset button and renew their vows to eat healthy. There are an abundance of detox diets, juicing diets, and the more well know diets such as the Dash Diet, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, and the Biggest Loser Diet. What do all of these diets have in common? Although each of these diets has their own angle, all of them promote a diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, lean proteins, heart-healthy fats, and low-fat dairy foods.
These individual diet programs offer a disciplined approach to eating with the goal of improving health and losing weight. However, if you simply set a goal of your own to pay attention to everything you eat and drink (keeping a log helps), I believe you can come up with your own customized healthy eating plan at a fraction of the cost, eliminating all processed foods, and enjoying a wide variety of your favorite whole foods. Although pre-programmed or pre-packaged diet plans might result in quick weight loss short-term, I believe a conscious commitment to feeding your body a balanced diet of unprocessed, whole foods is the key to long-term health. We all fall off the bandwagon once in a while, but if we know how to pick ourselves back up, we can return ourselves to good health.
Salads, smoothies and soups are the perfect medium for including a nice assortment of healthy fruits and vegetables in the daily diet. Today, I share a simple, straight forward Detox Beet and Pink Grapefruit Salad that is refreshing, light and clean. Complete with antioxidant rich beets and grapefruit, and heart healthy nuts, this salad is the perfect beginning to dinner and would just as easily serve as a nice lunch salad.
But before we get to the recipe, I wanted to share what I’ve learned about beets. I have to admit that I never thought much about beets until a few years ago. I was under the impression that they really didn’t offer much nutrition wise. Plus, until I tasted my first Roasted Beet Salad, I didn’t even like beets. Today, I am a beet convert, especially after learning just how powerful these little red vegetables are.
Beets have a unique phytonutrient profile different from many other antioxidant-rich vegetables. They are a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains, which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxification properties. Betalains are only found in edible form in beets and prickly pear. I’m getting a bit technical here, but one cool thing that I learned is how betalain pigments help detoxify our bodies. Apparently, betalains trigger a process by which toxins are neutralized, and made water-soluable for excretion from our bodies. Pretty cool, right? Okay, I’m showing my geeky pre-med side.
And what about grapefruit? Not only is grapefruit an excellent source of vitamin C, but pink and red grapefruit contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that may protect cells from the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. Several scientific studies have found a lower risk of cancer among people who eat lycopene-rich foods.
I hope I didn’t lose you with all that information, but I just think it’s so cool that the lowly beet and the common grapefruit can be such powerhouses.
Okay, back to that Detox Beet and Pink Grapefruit Salad recipe. This recipe was inspired by Betty Fussell, who is being recognized this week by a group of bloggers as one of the Top 50 Women Game Changers in Food. According to Gourmet Live, Betty Fussell’s books are a “snapshot of every major recent food trend – often before it happened.” For the past fifty years, Betty Fussell has been writing articles and books on the subject of what it is to be an American, covering a variety of topics – food, travel, movies, theater and the arts. Her writing has appeared in scholarly journals, food publications, popular national magazines and major newspapers. She is the author of eleven books, including The Story of Corn, documenting the history of corn, and a food memoir, My Kitchen Wars.
If you’re interested in more beet recipes, I’ve made Fresh Beet and Apple Soup, Pureed Beet and Carrot Soup, Pasta with Roasted Beets and Pine Nuts, Oven Roasted Beets with Sage and Thyme, and Orange and Beet Dip.
Detox Beet and Pink Grapefruit Salad
- 4 large handfuls of baby spinach mixed baby greens or arugula
- 4 small beets roasted, sliced
- 1 pink grapefruit peeled and sectioned
- 1/2 red onion thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
- 4 drizzles of avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
- 4 drizzles of your favorite fruit vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
Place a handful of greens on each of 4 salad plates. Arrange sliced beets, grapefruit segments, and red onions on top. Sprinkle walnuts on top.
Drizzle avocado oil and vinegar on top. Season to taste with a little salt and pepper.
I used Trader Joe's Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar, which has some nice tang and fruit flavors; use your favorite fruit vinegar (raspberry vinegar would be nice). I happened to have some avocado oil on hand; you can simply use olive oil.