The first thing I heard when my school nutritionist, Lela Neimitz, announced what dish she would be preparing for myself and a few other residents of Milbank Residence Hall at Hamilton College, was that we would be making beef tacos with avocado salsa. As home cooked food is hard to come by in a secluded college in the middle of upstate, the sound of freshly seared beef on tacos with avocados made my taste buds dance. But then my expectations sunk like they do every time I take a bite of the mac n' cheese my school prepares hoping it'll be different when I actually read the pamphlet: beet tacos with avocado salsa. Needless to say, I was a bit skeptical. But  I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of flavor in the tacos as well as the many benefits that came from them, including stress relief.

To Beet or Not To Beet, that is the Question

beet, vegetable, beet root, sweet, tuber
Nathalie Kent

One of the reasons I was with my campus nutritionist was to talk about how food can alleviate feelings of stress. Since food is a huge part of the college experience and is a common escape for almost anyone dealing with stress, she told us about some great foods with mood enhancing vitamins and minerals, and you guessed it, beets is one of them. Beets have calcium, protein, magnesium, folate, potassium, iron, and fiber to name a few. These nutrients all serve different purposes for the body; for example, fiber improves your digestion and magnesium regulates your emotions. All together, the benefits that these nutrients provide help regular bodily functions, so you will physically feel better overall, inevitably reducing stress. The beet tacos were the perfect snack to be healthy and stress free.

The recipe includes few ingredients, doesn't require some grandiose Foodnetwork kitchen to make–after all, the ones I tried were made in a college suite kitchen–and is surprisingly good for its lack of grass-fed, plastic-packed ingredients. Not to mention the taste. The beets are kind of sweet, which contrast well with the saltiness of the sautéed kale. The avocado salsa adds a cooling, creamy compliment to the overall savory flavors of the dish. We had the option of choosing a soft or crunchy taco shell to hold everything, and after trying both I would say that either one works well for this taco. However, if you're someone who likes a variety of texture in a dish, then the crunchy is definitely the way to go.

For better or for worse, the taste was so good that all of the tacos were devoured before I could get a picture. They are assembled like a normal taco; the kale and beets stacked on top of each other and the avocado salsa going on top.

#SpoonTip: add sour cream to the final taco for a pleasant savory to sour contrast, and eat with fresh orange slices on the side as a pleasant palate cleanser.

The Recipe

Kayla White

The recipe was quick an easy to make, and involves other ingredients that are good for your health/stress reducing. For example, the recipe calls for avocados, which can prevent you from eating unhealthy snacks since they are so filling, and seeing as eating unhealthy can physically stress the body, staying away from them will inevitably reduce stress. Kale is another healthy choice that this recipe uses, and as we all know that kale is a superfood, it's not hard to believe that all of its superpowers–I mean, nutrients–can defeat stress.

Nowadays, stress isn't too uncommon. With some people in college and some people dealing with full time jobs and other personal stress-inducing problems clouding the sunshine of relief, I wouldn't be surprised if people weren't doing somersaults for some stress relief. Well, thank goodness for the existence of food. When other things fail, food is always there. This beet taco option is healthy and delicious and is guaranteed to leave you stress free. I know that immediately after I ate them, I felt this overall sense of strength and health throughout my body. It was a great feeling. Happy cooking and may you beet that stress!