Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Healthy Brunching at Beets 'n Roots

As you may know if you've read my posts on Clean Eating and School Policies on Health, I take an unfashionably moderate approach to all things related to health. Having grown up in a Mediterranean household, I'll never be able to omit pasta or ice cream from my diet, and - thanks to relatively good genes and no issues with allergies - I've never had reason to banish them from my kitchen.

I'm a great believer in following your own path when it comes to health and my own experiments with restrictive diets have left me miserable and exhausted. I'm lucky to have grown up in a part Italian household where eating freshly prepared, good quality food was a given; but it just so happened that olive oil-laced focaccia and the odd tiramisu was on the menu too.

In my own kitchen, I've continued the tradition - we never eat processed, ready meals but we also take joy in the odd slice of homemade cake, or an artisan gelato from Swoon. Fresh fruit and veg is also included in every meal and the only drink on the menu is water (and a good Chianti from time to time for the adults.) So yes, it's a moderate approach. But every so often, I do like to give myself a proper dose of the good stuff, be that in the shape of more frequent veg juices, a break from the alcohol and caffeine or going meat-free for a week. 

But as one of my cupboards will attest, this approach can result in an overstock of expensive ingredients that just don't get used (I'm thinking of the coconut flour that I used once in a cake that has remained untouched since about 2016) So I'm always happy to come across a cafe or restaurant that can cater to my wellness needs when I'm feeling a bit low and in need of a boost, without the need for an expensive trip to Holland and Barrett.

Beets 'n Roots on Cotham Hill fits the bill perfectly - it's relatively local to me and nestled in a quiet corner of one of my favourite areas of the city. Close to the bustle of Whiteladies Road, it's got a sun-trap of a terrace ideal for getting your dose of Vitamin D whilst enjoying something nourishing from the cafe's enticing menu.

I visited on a pleasantly warm spring morning, along with some other Bristol bloggers, to trial the cafe's new menu, devised specifically to pep you up and restore some glow after the long slog of winter. Sitting on the terrace, lapping up the sunshine with a delicious cold-pressed raw juice in my hand, I could literally feel the colour coming back to my pale cheeks. 

The cafe offers an imaginative choice of options for breakfast and brunch. As breakfast is perhaps my favourite meal of the day, it took me a while to narrow down my choice from the tempting offerings, from a healthy take on a fry up to virtuous Buddha Bowls stuffed with good stuff like acai, goji berries and quinoa. But it was the buckwheat pancakes that won my heart - laced with maple syrup and a dusting of coconut shavings and pumpkin seeds, they were delicious. 

Catering to the sweet tooth I simply can't fully shrug off (and at pushing 45 I don't think I'll ever lose it now) they felt like a treat rather than a boring healthy substitute for the real deal; rarely does such health food truly excite me, but these pancakes really hit the spot.

I chased them down with a side order of smoothie bowl,  essentially a more filling and interesting take on your standard smoothie that comes with a variety of your choice of topping. Merrily decorating mine with fresh fruit, cocoa nibs, berries, seeds and bee pollen (a first for me - I quite liked it) I felt like I'd been deposited in some kind of tropical health spa rather than a street in central Bristol. 

If we were in any doubt as to the benefits of eating this kind of food, at least every so often, Bristol nutritionist Rosie Letts, who has worked with the cafe to devise their juices, explained the process of cold pressing and the benefits of high quality, veg-based juicing. Again, not being in possession of the industrial-style, expensive kit necessary to do juicing well, it's always good to know you can get your fix easily elsewhere - the juices at Beets 'n Roots are well worth a detour and they tasted a lot better than my clumsy attempts at healthy veg combos. 

Other items on the carefully considered menu include the prerequisite avocado & tahini on sourdough (because you simply can't call yourself a healthy cafe without these three items on offer), soups, healthy burritos and bean burgers. And get this - there are even cakes on the menu too.

There are take-out options too, but if you really want to indulge in some self-care (that's not a word I like, to be honest, but the principle - taking time out, slowing down, giving yourself some small but significant treat each day - is something I can get behind) I highly recommend making a point of eating in, especially if you get the chance to sit on the terrace in the sunshine with your guilt-free treat. 

Beets 'n Roots is a friendly, laid-back cafe, the perfect place to head to if you're feeling a bit lacklustre or low and need some colourful goodness in your life - I certainly left a little lighter, a little more bouncy and a lot less jaded than when I arrived.

Visit Beets 'n Roots on Facebook and Instagram for more information. 

I visited Beets 'n Roots courtesy of the cafe and Socialight. All words and pictures are my own.

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