Friends, let’s talk about kale.
First of all, let’s get some things out of the way:
1 – I am captain of a roller derby team called the Venus Fly Tramps. Historically, they have been known as the “crunchy-granola-hippy” team of TCRG. This does not make me queen of the hippies.
2 – I garden. I am not great at it, but I like the idea of growing my own veggies and stuff, and I like to have a moderate amount of control over what I put into my body. This does not mean I am some sort of green-thumbed earth mother.
3 – There is kale growing in my garden. I DON’T KNOW HOW IT GOT THERE. (Yes, I do. My mom had a ton, and she gave me a clipping, which I planted thinking I would kill it, as is the case with a number of my gardening ventures.) NOW IT IS TAKING OVER. I tried to sacrifice it to the bunnies in my yard, but after we put up chicken wire to protect our spinach, in a totally different part of the garden, they stopped lunching on the kale. Bunnies! Come back! This kale is for you!
For some reason, kale is really cool right now. I’ve always loved spinach. I’m a recent convert to Swiss chard. But of the healthy, leafy greens, kale seems to be getting all the press.
Kale is one of those vegetables that you probably (or at least I didn’t) hear much about growing up, unless your parents were hippies. Now, you can’t turn the corner without hearing how great kale is.
(True Fact: Since joining roller derby, I have met two women who have children NAMED Kale).
I am trying REALLY hard to like kale, since it is ridiculously good for you. Yes, I know, it’s easy to over-hype almost any food these days, but kale sort of lives up to its current hype. It is definitely finding a renaissance amongst current foodies and fitness pros, and I feel like I should jump on that band wagon, lest I get left behind with the other spinach-eating troglodytes.
Here’s why kale is a good food that you should eat:
It’s low in calories, high in fiber, and has no fat. It’s also chock full of an alphabet of vitamins – especially Vitamin K, C, and A. That means it’ll help with digestion, elimination, and is very nutrient-dense, without being calorically-dense.
It’s high in iron. Allegedly (according to science), kale has more iron per calorie than beef, hence its current moniker, “The New Beef”. Iron is crucial for cell growth, liver functioning, forming enzymes and hemoglobin and enzymes, and other important stuff inside your body.
Kale is high in calcium. Not content with taking over for beef, kale is also muscling in on milk’s calcium claims, providing superior calcium absorption per calorie. As we all know, from the milk commercials, calcium is important for in preventing osteoporosis and maintaining healthy bones.
It’s also a decent anti-inflammatory food. A cup of kale contains 10% of your daily recommended omega-3 fatty acids, which help to fight against various ailments and keep inflammation in check.
It freezes well. it actually gets a little sweeter if you expose it to some frost. Convenient.
It blends reasonably well. If you are not a super kale fan, like the author of this post, get a good blender, because you can just blend your kale until you don’t hate it anymore. great for smoothies, rough blending/chopping for sauces.
Kale has been found to contain a group of resins that lowers bad cholesterol and decreases absorption of dietary fat – these properties are enhanced with steaming. Also convenient – SINCE THAT IS THE ONLY WAY THAT KALE ON ITS OWN TASTES TOLERABLE.
I kid. Somewhat.
The moral, kale is good for you, it sort of tastes okay, so you should probably eat more of it if you want to. Here are 3 recipes that make kale not horrible to eat:
HIDE THE KALE SMOOTHIE
Just make a green monster: ice, banana, kale, dairy or dairy alternative of your choice or water, flavouring – peanut butter, frozen fruit, etc. The banana will hide the kale (make sure you blend it well, it’s tougher than spinach), and the rest of the flavour can be whatever you desire – that said, don’t add strawberries. It tastes fine, but looks like baby vomit.
Steam your kale, drain it, add a little butter or coconut oil, season it with cracked pepper and sea salt. That’s not so bad, is it? You can also wilt kale and add it to anything that you would normally put spinach into – sauces, under meats, chopped up in rice.
I, personally, am not a fan (much prefer dried seaweed for my chip alternative). But lots of people are fans, so here’s how to make them:
- Preheat your oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Remove the ticker part of the kale steams and tear into chip-sized pieces. Wash and dry kale thoroughly. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt (or curry, or rosemary, or Parmesan cheese, or whatever floats your boat).
- Bake 10 to 15 minutes until the edges brown.
BAM. Non-horrible kale in three super-low-effort ways. Enjoy! Also, if you’re looking for some kale, I might know a backyard that’s full of it.