“Oww. Yikes! Moan…” said Jack, clutching the source of his agony with greasy hands… his bloated belly.
“Hey, Man,” said a worried Vinny. “What in heck did you eat this time, to cause all this grief?”
“All I had was a bite of Mama’s fish and chips. You know I don’t usually eat fried stuff, Vinny. But Mama’s fish and chips? I just couldn’t turn that down, and…” Just then another cramp hit, sending Jack into spasms of pain.
Vinny suspected it was Jack’s gall bladder acting up. Normally, gall bladders just chug along doing what they do naturally… releasing bile into the intestine to help break down food, especially fat. But when gall stones come into the picture, look out. If one of those babies gets jammed in the tube leading from the gall bladder to the intestine, inflammation causes THE worst pain a guy will ever experience. When bile can’t get to where it’s needed, in your gut, the fat just sits there… with no place to go. Excruciating!
The doc confirmed Vinny’s suspicions. “Jack Spratt can eat no fat,” he intoned, while kneading the right side of Jack’s sore tummy. The pain shot up Jack’s shoulder and pierced his back.
“Never again,” yelped Jack. “But if I can’t eat fat, what can I eat?”
“No saturated fats, whatsoever,” the doc began. “So no red meats, no butter, no cream, no sugary baked goods, no ice cream, no creamy cheeses. All those foods increase your cholesterol, from which those pesky gallstones are made. ”
“Okay, okay,” muttered Jack. “I get it. No saturated fat. But what CAN I eat?”
“Beets,” announced the doc. “Lots and lots of beets. Including the leaves.”
“Yuck!” said Jack.
Vinny smiled. He loved beets. And Vinny had never suffered from gall stones.
“Beets contain something called betaine,” the doc said. “Betaine is a powerful tonic for the gall bladder. Learn to love beets and avoid saturated fats, and you may not need to have your gall bladder taken out surgically.”
Jack moaned again. The thought of a knife slicing through his stomach was decidedly unpleasant. “No operation!” he ordered. “I’ll do anything. I’ll even eat beets! What else should I know?”
“You do need a little fat, of the healthy variety,” the doc said. “I recommend fats like flax seed and avocado oil, as well as coconut oil and fish oil. You need omega-3s and medium-chain fatty acids from these foods to be in top health. Also, lots of fruits and veggies that add fiber. But beets. Beets are bile’s best friend. Beets can make a real difference.”
“I can help there,” said Vinny. “If you’re not allergic to eggs, here’s a great way to have beets for breakfast.”
Jack Spratt’s beety breakfast bowl
- 1 hard-boiled egg, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup cooked beets, chopped
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon honey mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh lemon juice, squeezed over, to taste (optional)
Mix all the chopped ingredients together in a bowl. Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. I love honey mustard in this recipe, but if you use a nonsweetened mustard or some other flavoring like horseradish or salsa verde, or pureed jalapeno, you might want to add a little sweetener, too. I use stevia for this purpose, a no-calorie, all natural sweet food.
I usually cook up a whole batch of beets and hard-boiled eggs, and store left-overs in the fridge. The left-over eggs can be used in salads or simply as a snack when hunger strikes. The left-over beets can be warmed for a veggie side or used in soups, salads or hummus.
Of course, you don’t need to have suffered from gall stones to enjoy this meal. Having beets regularly will keep anybody’s gall bladder in top operating order.
And don’t throw out the leaves. They’re loaded with betaine. Besides, you need the leaves to make my favorite company dish of all time… ta-da… Beetniks.
This is beet season in Canada. Fresh, lovely beets are available by the bushel. Vinny has posted many times about beets’ magical, healing properties. His recipes should give you some ideas for serving beets in ways your family can learn to love. Why don’t you tell us all about your own beet-eating adventures?
- Hummus: Pretty in pink – Try the Cinderella of the hummus crowd, a beet and garbanzo duo that knocks your slippers off! The flavor and color of this dish come from the pickled beet. This versatile dish delivers fiber, antioxidants and betaine. A princely dish for your gall bladder!
- Beetniks: A winning formula – Sonny and Cher show us how beets can give you the edge in your next race. Use the leaves of beets to make beetniks, a wildly popular party food on the prairies. Go Riders Go!
- The Queen’s beets – Let them eat cake – Find out how the King of France made his wife, Marie Antoinette, a happy, healthy lady. Make a moist, delectable chocolate cake yourself, using beets and stevia to reduce the fat and sugar in every slice.