This is a mini series of how our lectures and cooking classes are presented

John Bagnulo and Jan Buhrman have been creating retreats together since 2009. The first series was called  “When Science Hits The Pan”. Throughout the years, and as we evolve on this path of heath, lectures have changed, foods are reconsidered, and new studies present new evidence.

It’s all about the food, the soil, the environment and living the good life.

John presents lectures on research specific to foods and changes they produce in our physiology.  The sum of these changes can make the difference between a great quality of life and one that has impaired health.  Jan teaches us how to bring it to the table with ease, efficiency, and deliciousness!

The approach is a functional medicine approach. The way to begin is to eliminate the inflammation. The way to begin is to grow it right, cook it right, and to bring cheer and joy to the table.

So, the subject today is all about liver (of course it is related to inflammation- we’ll get back to that!)

Food is medicine and beets are possibly the most medicinal vegetable there is, especially for the liver and gallbladder:

Eating foods that help eliminate or transform bile is a foundational component to all areas of health.  Most of us are unaware of just how important certain types of fiber and fiber-like molecules are when it comes to detoxification.  One of the major components to this elaborate process involves altering the fate of bile.  Bile is released when we eat most foods.  The amount of bile increases as the amount of fat, oil, or protein consumed increases.  It emulsifies fats or lipids so that they can be properly digested and absorbed.  Bile is largely made up of cholesterol but it also contains a significant amount of toxins that the liver is trying to clear and hopefully eliminate from the body.


Of course we also have to be regular.  Constipation can really get in the way of detoxification.  It is fundamental.  But even with regularity, we do not want to recycle our bile.  This happens if there isn’t adequate fiber to break its circulation.

If we lack the proper forms of fiber the bile may get recycled in what we call enterohepatic circulation.  Basically after bile has done its job, it can be absorbed in the lower digestive tract and will return to the liver.  The toxins can keep coming back like a bad penny.

Start Healing Now…It’s never too late.  Our bodies have a remarkable healing ability, if we just give it the right food.  Literally.

Beets are a high-antioxidant vegetable that contain a number of nutrients that have been shown to be cleansing and detoxifying.

Beets are rich in betaine, which stimulates liver cell function and provides a protective effect for the liver and bile ducts.


RECIPES with Beets

Bacon Eggs and Beets
Beets with Tops or Greens (arugula, mustard, dandelion, kale,  chard, etc.. )
Organic and Pastured Eggs
Bacon from a farm that raises animals well or a good source of bacon
Zaatar- or some yummy spice mixture to top your eggs.


Look for Beets that have the tops!

I call this “2 for 1” because  you are buying beets and the tops which  are wonderful when sauteed with garlic. Look for beets with lively and fresh tops. You can keep your tops fresh by cutting them and letting them “soak” in cold water for 10-15 minutes.  

Remove greens tops from the  bottoms- root- of the beets.

Start with beets- It’s ok if they are not organic as they did not make the list for pesticide residue by EWG. Of course, we always prefer organic, but this is one of the vegetables that you can buy conventionally.

Bacon: Yes, We want organic bacon- if you are going to eat bacon – you need eat bacon that came from a pig raised right on organic feed and living in very humane conditions.

This is not really an exact recipe that you follow step by step. It’s more about sharing with you a super delicious meal idea that is well balanced – just make sure half your plate is beet greens (or other greens). If  beet greens,  are not available, arugula, mustard, dandelion, kale or chard are also great!

Chop the leaves of the beets leaves and slice the stems very thin.

Cut the beets in half and rub with oil and bake 350  in the oven for  30 minutes or so. The beets do not need to be cooked to soft. Allow the beets to cool and cut into small cubes.

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until golden brown, about 6 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate and pour off all but 3 tablespoons of  fat from skillet. Add scallions and cook until softened, 1 minute. Add beet leaves and cook until tender, 5 minutes.

Crack an egg over the greens and cover the skilllet with a lid and cook until desired doneness,

Plate the eggs and greens and top with beet “croutons” and bacon .

Season with salt and zaatar.


How about Beet Mustard?

Mustard is good for you and so are beets, so you can only go right with this condiment. Now where’s the beef?

First we start with roasted beets with a little olive oil,

When mixing,  blend it just enough so that the beet is pureed, but not so pureed that you don’t get the crunch from the mustard seeds.

Beet Mustard

8 Tablespoons Yellow Mustard Seeds

4 Tablespoon Brown Mustard Seeds

¼ Cup plus 4 Teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar

1 Large Beet, cleaned, peeled, and cut into quarters

¼ Cup  Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon Sea Salt

Zest of one lemon

Coat the beet quarters with olive oil, and a little salt and roast at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Allow to cool. In a food processor, blend the beet with the mustards, vinegar and lemon zest, oil and salt until desired consistency.

Use within 1 month.


Conversations go in many directions in the class. We may cover sourcing olive oil, mustard  seeds (Frontier is a good source)  or opinion on sea salt versus table salt or how beets are grown.

We may degrease into a whole conversation about vegetables and organically raised verses conventional:

When it comes to vegetables, go for the colors of the rainbow:  the more colors you eat when it comes to plants, the more anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, healing compounds from the phytonutrients you’ll soak up.

The conversations are lively, engaging and full of new ideas when cooking. It’s an ongoing conversation of understanding and choosing what to eat can feel confusing or bewildering and we attempt to make the approach a  bit easier.

Consider joining us on a five day exploration into your health in Taos this March 2018

Leave a Reply

Kitchen Porch Catering | Martha's Vineyard | 508-645-5000