The Skinny on Kale

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Welcome to the second Health and Wellness Wednesday. Today, I’m honored to have Karen McFarland guest posting. She’s got lots of tips and great info to share with us about kale.

Take it away Karen.

Thanks, Lynn.

It seems that some of our friends have health concerns that have caused them to be very sick with headaches, food allergies, inflammation, acid reflux, and toxins—yeah, you got it—nasty stuff.

Are you having those issues, too?

I’m here to share the skinny on something that can help you feel better. It might not be on your list of favorites, but when I share with you some of its awesome benefits, you may just change your mind.

What am I talking about?

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Home grown Kale, upper left corner. Photo via Jenny Hansen.

I’m talking about Kale.

Kale?

Yes, kale.

Kale is the sexiest of all vegetables. Yeah, I said sexy. Why? Because it provides a rich earthy succulent flavor and packs more nutritional value with fewer calories than almost any other food on earth. And the cool thing is, it can be found in markets throughout the year with its season reaching a peak from the middle of winter through the beginning of spring when it has a sweeter taste, especially the Tuscan variety, and it’s more widely available.

Like its cousins the broccoli, cauliflower, and collards, kale is a descendent of the wild cabbage, a plant that is thought to have originated in Asia Minor and brought to Europe around 600 B.C. by a faction of crazy Celtics.

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Photo by Jenny Hansen

Curly kale played an important role in early Europe, having been an important crop during ancient Rome and a popular vegetable eaten by peasants throughout the Middle Ages. It was English settlers who brought kale to North America in the 17th century.

So let’s take a look at the benefits of this sexy vegetable, shall we?

First of all, this bad boy Kale has some of the best cholesterol–lowering benefits of any vegetable around. It has recently been proven to lower the risk of certain types of malignancy such as cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate.

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Photo via Diana Beebe – WANA Commons

It is now recognized as promoting comprehensive support for our body’s detoxification system, even helping to regulate detox at a genetic level, whoa…while playing a major dietary role as respects to both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Okay, now that I’ve convinced you, how do I eat it, you say?

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Photo via Jenny Hansen

 

Well, if you want to heat it up–I mean cook it, you will want to prepare it properly. To do this you want to ensure quick and even cooking by cutting the leaves into ½” slices and ¼” stems then let them sit for approximately 5 minutes to enhance its health promoting properties, then steam it for another 5. Voila, you’re done.

But one of the best ways to enjoy Kale is fresh in a salad. And the most desirable trick is to give it a massage. Yes, I mean you need to get in there and give that sexy green vegetable a deep tissue massage. You can feel it relax as the leaves darken and shrink to almost half its volume. The flavor changes as well. In fact the color and texture will change and soften with its pre-massaged bitterness replaced by a sweet green flavor.

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Photo by Jenny Hansen

Your taste buds won’t lie, people. They will sing because it really is the king of the salad. And because you’ve massaged its leaves, *shivers*, it will have an amazing texture and just the right amount of sweet and bitter flavor so you don’t need much salad dressing. It’s suggested that all you need is a little extra virgin olive oil along with a pinch of salt and vinegar or lemon juice and you have a perfectly composed salad.

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Photo by Lynn Kelley – WANA Commons

Now, if you really want to turn things up a notch, you can juice it! That’s right. Kale gets even sexier when it’s mixed in a juice with some beets and cucumber in a carrot base. Or perhaps you might prefer an apple base instead for an even sweeter experience.

Whatever the case, you can always bank on its delicious flavor along with its awesome fresh nutritional benefits. And don’t let not having a juicer stop you. Most health markets now have juice bars which makes drinking down that bad boy that much easier and affordable.

So what do you think? Have you been in a slump? Feeling a little funky and sluggish lately? Fighting a flu or cold? Or heaven forbid you have a more serious illness? Could you be using some of that sexy Kale?

(As a sidenote: Kale is rich in vitamin K, so if you’re one that’s prone to blood clots, please eat in moderation and eat lots of garlic because it’s a natural blood thinner.)

Lg-Twitter-ShotKaren McFarland resides along the Southern California coastline as an author of literary fiction whose previous background as an accomplished interior designer made it possible for her to have worked with clients from all over the world. She is married and has two sons. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, getting lost in a book, walks along the beach, great food and conversation, shopping, smooth jazz and rock ‘n roll, driving along PCH, top fuel drags and travel.

Vist her blog here.

Are you familiar with the Dirty Dozen list and the Clean Fifteen list? Kale is on the Dirty Dozen list.

“These lists were compiled using data from the United States Department of Agriculture on the amount of pesticide residue found in non-organic fruits and vegetables after they had been washed.” Here’s the 2015 Dirty Dozen list.

 

 

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27 Responses to The Skinny on Kale

  1. Good information to know. Unfortunately, kale is among the veggies that contain goitrogens, so the only way I could have it is in limited quantities and well cooked. Same with broccoli and cauliflower, which totally sucks because I LOVE broccoli and cauliflower and could eat them until they were coming out of my ears. Instead, I have to be careful and only eat them a couple of times a week. But it sounds like I need to add a third day and try the kale. 🙂

    • Hi Kristy! It really does suck when we have to limit foods we love. Yes, try the kale. I’m also going to try baking kale chips this weekend so I have a healthy snack handy! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  2. Hi, Karen! I’m not a big salad eater, but that kale salad sounds good–will have to try that! And good tips on massaging it and buying organic. Lynn, I’ll look forward to seeing how your kale chips turn out!

  3. YIKES, I’d better lay off Christopher’s kale consumption. He does eat lots of garlic. I’m just scared to give it to him now. 🙁 I love kale smoothies, kale salad (with raisins) and lots of other kale recipes. Great post, Karen and Lynn. I didn’t know about massaging it. MUST try that. See? I get smarter when I stop by here.

  4. I keep meaning to check kale out. I will hunt for it today. Great post, Karen.

    • Hi Catherine – You’ll have to let us know if you like kale. I’ll post about how my kale chips turn out, so that might be another option you can try. Might be a healthy snack. We’ll see!

  5. Pingback: Beef Is What’s For Dinner | Karen McFarland

  6. Hey Lynn! You know that I live me some sexy Kale! The health benefits are amazing.

    I thought I’d share with you my most recent post for you today, “Beef Is What’s For Dinner.” http://www.karenmcfarland.com/beef-is-whats-for-dinner/ It ties in nicely with Kale and has very important information on what’s being done to our beef supply.

    Thanks so much for sharing my post! ((Hugs!))

  7. Diana Beebe says:

    I love kale! (Thank you for using one of my kale photos! That was fun to see. 🙂 )

    My kids love to eat kale chips, especially if we’ve grown the plants (some baby ones are braving the winter right now) AND I managed to make sure there are absolutely no caterpillars on the leaves. One time, I missed a tiny green caterpillar. I still hear about that!

  8. Thank you, Diana, for adding your kale photo to WANA Commons. I was thrilled when I found it on there. And your photo of kale chips is what clued me in that this is possible with kale, so thank you for that idea. This is good to know that your kids love to eat kale chips, too.

    Okay, so caterpillars aren’t desired in the garden. I have a lot to learn about organic gardening. How do you keep the squirrels and rabbits away?

    • Diana Beebe says:

      Hand picking caterpillars and even squishing bugs are not my favorite things. Bleh. Our backyard fence is pretty sound, so we don’t worry too much about rabbits. If we plant in the front flower beds (I’ve got broccoli growing now), then we just hope for the best. Here’s a post I did about rabbits: http://dianabeebe.com/2014/04/repelling-rascally-rabbits/

      We haven’t had a problem with squirrels eating the veggies. We do have problems with rats sometimes and set out snap traps–I don’t like the idea of poisoning the rats because then the owls might eat the poisoned rats. Another reason to garden organically, right?

      • Oh, that’s right, I read your post about the rats. Hope you caught all of them. That’s nice that your backyard fence is keeping the rabbits out. Thanks for your link on rabbits!

  9. The good news is that we eat a poopload of kale (and garlic) and have for years; the bad news is that I still don’t feel energetic or well.

    I see your comment above and want to note that squirrels don’t seem to bother our veggies (I fight them for the hickory nuts though), but rabbits are the absolute worst. Chicken wire (0r some other small-weave metal) fencing is about the only thing that works for us to keep them out. That and eating them. 😉

    • Teresa, LOL about the poopload of kale. I’m sorry it’s not helping you feel well. 🙁
      Thanks for the tip on the chicken wire to keep rabbits out. Dagnabbit, rabbits! Good to hear both you and Diana say the squirrels don’t eat your veggies. 🙂

  10. Patricia says:

    Hi Karen (and Lynn). I’ve only recently discovered kale and I love it! I just mix it right in with my other greens in a salad or I put a spoonful of tuna and a slice of dill pickle on it and roll it up like a lettuce wrap. I’ve not heard of massaging it, but I’ll give that a go.

    And, I’m not much of a juicer, but I might give that a try too.

    Thanks for all the yummy facts.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  11. I’ve always thought it was really bitter. Now I know – give it dinner and a massage.

  12. yvettecarol says:

    Nice job, Karen! I do try to eat kale now and then, however, it always comes out a bit tough. Not sure what I’m doing wrong. My sister loves making kale chips by drying them with parmesan sprinkled over, and they’re good!

    • Yvette, I like your sister’s idea of sprinkling the kale chips with parmesan. Sounds yummy. I wonder if you’d like baby kale better. Have you tried that, or is it still tough?

  13. My daughter makes green smoothies using kale, and they are pretty good. Thanks for the valuable information!

  14. Hi, Karen and Lynn,
    I’ve been circling kale for a few months now. By “circling,” I mean going to Trader Joe’s and buying bagged salads and frozen vegetable/grain mixes that contain kale. The massage tip intrigues me so much, though, I’m going to buy a bunch of kale and lay hands on it.

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