womenTALK: Blog

Tuesday, Sep 03rd 2013

Please Don't Eat Kale

authored by Sheryl Kraft

When I was a kid, I wasn't exactly a veggie lover. My repertoire consisted of (canned) corn, carrots and, occasionally, zucchini. Anything else was met with stubborn resistance. If the dog was nearby, I'd sneak her whatever I refused to eat—and she got a virtual rainbow! The more my parents begged me to eat my peas or lima beans ("There are so many reasons you should eat your vegetables," they insisted), the more stubborn I became.

I'd show them.

But taste buds change, and so does stubborn resistance. Of course, I got older and discovered new and better ways to prepare vegetables. Veggies took on different meanings and tastes, and I embraced and enjoyed them all from A to Z—with the possible exception of okra.

I thought I knew everything about vegetables until I recently discovered a new love: kale. Where has it been all my life? Suddenly, kale is everywhere and I can't ignore it any longer.

I can list quite a lot of reasons you should eat this veggie. But, I've found when it comes to trying to convince people to like new vegetables, they can easily revert to acting like children—and rather than welcome them into their lives, they run as far away as possible.

Well, I can play that game, too. Forget it.Please don't eat kale. And to prove my point, here are three good reasons why you shouldn't:

  • There are too many ways to prepare it. You can eat it raw, gently sautéed, lightly steamed, juiced or roasted into crispy savory chips. Who wants to be bothered with so many different preparations, all in the name of health and great new tastes? Sometimes it's easier just to be boring and predictable and stick to the same old, same old. Why should food be interesting, anyway?
  • If you eat kale, you'll be doing your body a big favor. But, then again, you do your body a favor every time you exercise or eat a carrot or two. Who needs another superfood packed with more vitamin C than an orange, more provitamin A than any other leafy green, plus healthy doses of calcium, omega-3 healthy fat and a bevy of healthy molecules known as phytonutrients? People might accuse you of being a health addict, and who needs that kind of ridicule, really?
  • Kale is too much work for your body. After all, when you ingest it, your body puts kale's valuable resources to work to help protect you against diseases like cancer and diabetes. Kale also gets your body busy boosting your brain and cardiac health, your bone health and your immune system. Why overtax your body when all around you other people are just rolling the dice with their health? You should just lighten up already and let well enough alone.

So, please don't eat kale. Refuse it if you think your diet is just fine and your health doesn't need a boost. Stay away from it unless you're interested in the health of your eyes, due to its eye-health compounds of lutein and zeaxanthin. Only eat it if you want to treat your body to some weighty health benefits, including cancer protection and lowered cholesterol.

It's quite addicting, this veggie. I've just ingested this amazing plant a handful of ways: in its raw form (as a salad), cooked (sautéed kale with garlic and oil) and—my favorite—chips (as in potato chips, but with much less guilt). There are at least 50 ways to enjoy it all day long, and you can find out about them in a new book.

Jennifer Iserloh (aka, "The Skinny Chef") and author and psychiatrist Drew Ramsey, MD, after seeing the wild success of their e-book, now offer the book in print. It's called Fifty Shades of Kale: 50 Fresh and Satisfying Recipes That Are Bound to Please.

I promise the book won't make you blush. (But it may tease you and make you lust after kale). This impressive book is bursting with all things kale—nutrition info, cooking tips and 50 yummy ways to prepare my new favorite veggie.

If you find yourself a kale convert and want to win a free copy of their book, just leave a comment at the end of this post and you'll be entered to win. One name will be chosen at random. Once your name is chosen, I'll notify you by e-mail (so make sure to include your e-mail address!). If you don't acknowledge my notification within 48 hours, I'll pass your winnings on to the next random name, who will be oh-so-happy. U.S. residents only.

Compliments of the authors, here's a peek into what kale can do for your taste buds:

Kaleslaw
You may not think of coleslaw as sexy, and you'd be right—most coleslaw is far from a turn-on. But this colorful, lighter version brings the sexy back with superfoods like carrots and red, yellow, or orange bell peppers. It's also a great way to enjoy your kale in the raw.

Serves 8.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (10-ounce) bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped (about 10 cups)
  • 6 carrots
  • 1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, cored, seeded, diced or thinly sliced
  • 1 1⁄2 cups kale-onaise (recipe below)

Directions:
Fit a food processor with a shredder attachment. Shred the kale and carrots and transfer both to a large bowl. Add the bell pepper and Kale-onaise and toss well. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to overnight before serving.

Nutritional Information:
Amount per serving (1 cup): 187 calories, 3 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat (2 g saturated), 8 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 591 mg sodium.

Kale-onaise

Dress up any dip, sandwich or dressing with this flavorful and healthy mayo that also offers the nutrient value of raw kale and fresh garlic. This creamy condiment will soon take the place of butter on your breakfast toast.

Makes 3 cups.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups packed chopped kale
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (organic if possible)
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Directions:
In a food processor, combine the kale leaves, salt and garlic. Process until finely chopped. Add the mayonnaise and lemon zest and juice and process until smooth.

Nutritional Information:
Amount per serving (2 tablespoons): 60 calories, 0 g protein, 0 g carbohydrates, 7 g fat (1 g saturated), 3 mg cholesterol, 0 g fiber, 93 mg sodium.

Chocolate Kale Fudge Pop
These rich, indulgent fudge pops get a boost of fiber thanks to a hearty dose of kale.

Serves 8.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 cup torn kale leaves

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients except kale and add the warm water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mixture is smooth and thick. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
  2. Place kale in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Stir the kale into the chocolate mixture and divide it among 8 ice pop molds and insert ice pop sticks.
  3. Freeze for at least 4 hours before serving. The pops will keep for up to 3 weeks in an airtight container in the freezer.

Nutritional Information:
Amount per serving (1 pop): 127 calories, 2 g protein, 32 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat (1 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 8 mg sodium

Kale Chips
Baking kale for a brief time doesn't damage its nutrients, so these are chips that deliver all the goodness of kale.

Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch kale (about 1 pound)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Set out two ungreased baking sheets with sides.
  2. Rinse kale under cold running water and pat dry with a paper towel or dishtowel. Wrap kale in another layer of fresh paper towel or another dry dishtowel—kale must be dry to crisp up. Squeeze and unroll. Roughly chop leaves and discard stems or save to add to your favorite soup recipe.
  3. In a large bowl, toss leaves with olive oil and salt, rubbing leaves with your fingers to coat well. Transfer leaves to the baking sheets, spreading them out in an even layer, so they do not touch.
  4. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, turning once or twice, until crisp. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information:
Amount per serving (2 cups): 86 calories, 3 g protein, 12 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat (0 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 2g fiber, 132 mg sodium

Comments

Oct 07, 2013 15:Oct 3 | Stella Miller said

My new BFF

I recently bought Kale, first time ever. Had to google how to clean it and what to do with it. I found my new BFF. I made it into one of those "green drinks" that people cringe at when you see or read about them and I absolutely loved it. I gave up drinking coffee and have replaced that morning cup of joe with a green drink and I feel fabulous. Had I known the benefits of this horrible looking green vegetable years ago, I would have been eating kale prior to this.

Sep 21, 2013 02:Sep 2 | Pat Petzel said

Kale

I have never tried it, but will start now after reading the health benefits and the recipes. Thank you.

Sep 27, 2013 14:Sep 2 | Sheryl said

Pat, I truly hope you will

Pat, I truly hope you will now be a kale eater! Let me know how you like it.

Sep 17, 2013 19:Sep 7 | Carolyn said

Kale

Never tried Kale but this article has me interested.

Sep 20, 2013 16:Sep 4 | Sheryl said

I think you'll love it! I

I think you'll love it! I hope so, anyway. Let me know...

Sep 16, 2013 16:Sep 4 | Joy Poulsen said

love KALE!

kale chips are my favorite and I actually got my kids eating them!

Sep 18, 2013 10:Sep 10 | Sheryl said

That's great to hear,

That's great to hear, Joy...I'm curious...do your kids know that they are actually kale? They do taste great!

Sep 10, 2013 18:Sep 6 | àlysa said

I love kale!

I love kale!

Sep 18, 2013 10:Sep 10 | Sheryl said

So good to know there are so

So good to know there are so many kale enthusiasts out there!

Sep 10, 2013 17:Sep 5 | rose gargiulo said

50 shades of kale

Would love to get a copy of the book...let me know what details you need. thanks so much!

Sep 18, 2013 10:Sep 10 | Sheryl said

All I need is the comment,

All I need is the comment, and then the winner is randomly drawn. But sorry, Rose...your name was not chosen. Better luck next time!

Sep 10, 2013 16:Sep 4 | Living Large said

I've only had it once that I

I've only had it once that I know of and didn't like it, but maybe if I had it a different way. Some of these recipes actually look pretty good.

Sep 09, 2013 11:Sep 11 | said

I Love Kale

Thanks for your kale post...post is great and kale is great.

Sally

Sep 11, 2013 20:Sep 8 | Robin Rodgers said

KALE

I agree! We love kale here. We have baby kale in salads or saute kale with onions and chicken italian sausage for a dinner. So great!

Sep 18, 2013 10:Sep 10 | Sheryl said

Nice to see you here, Robin!

Nice to see you here, Robin! Yum, that sounds delish. When am I invited for dinner?

Sep 09, 2013 11:Sep 11 | said

I Love Kale

Thanks for your kale post...post is great and kale is great.

Sally

Sep 07, 2013 15:Sep 3 | Helene Cohen Bludman said

I am so glad you posted these

I am so glad you posted these recipes. I am trying to jump on the kale bandwagon so I will give these a try. Thanks!

Sep 09, 2013 17:Sep 5 | Sheryl said

Great, Helene...let me know

Great, Helene...let me know how you like it! I'm always happy when people step over to the (healthy) side.

Sep 07, 2013 14:Sep 2 | Barb Best said

Kale

"I say to hale with kale!" BUT I will learn to like it... Hmmm, the Chocolate Kale Fudge Pop looks particularly tempting.

Sep 09, 2013 17:Sep 5 | Sheryl said

I like your attitude, Barb.

I like your attitude, Barb. How could anything taste bad with chocolate in it??

Sep 07, 2013 10:Sep 10 | Bonnie said

kale

I wish I could enjoy Kale. I love all kinds of greens. However, I have to take warfarin to live and Kale is of the list of acceptable foods due to the vitamin K. I do still eat greens moderately. How else can one get all the benefits?

Sep 09, 2013 17:Sep 5 | Sheryl said

Bonnie, yes, you're

Bonnie, yes, you're absolutely right about the warfarin. But you can get the same/similar health benefits from other greens - sounds like you already are!

Sep 06, 2013 18:Sep 6 | ROSALBA GORDON said

Please, don't eat kale

I use kale instead of spinach in my morning smoothie, it's delicious! Also, I make chips it's so good, healthy and cheap. Thanks Sheryl for the recipes, I'll try to makeit in the weekend.

Sep 09, 2013 17:Sep 5 | Sheryl said

What else do you put in your

What else do you put in your smoothie, Rosalba? That's such a healthy wayh to start the day. And the chips are a very special treat, aren't they?

Sep 06, 2013 11:Sep 11 | Sharon Greenthal said

I've yet to get my husband on

I've yet to get my husband on the kale bandwagon - maybe these recipes will help?

Sep 09, 2013 17:Sep 5 | Sheryl said

Why not try to chocolate pops

Why not try to chocolate pops and don't mention the ingredients to him...you never know...

Sep 09, 2013 17:Sep 5 | Sheryl said

Why not try to chocolate pops

Why not try to chocolate pops and don't mention the ingredients to him...you never know...

Sep 06, 2013 10:Sep 10 | Ruth said

kale

My journey to appreciating kale is a long one, but I am part way there. Smoothie to smoothie, day after day. But I can't imagine combining it with chocolate.

Sep 09, 2013 17:Sep 5 | Sheryl said

Part way is progress, so I

Part way is progress, so I think you're on the right track, Ruth!

Sep 06, 2013 10:Sep 10 | Sheryl said

Let me know when they're

Let me know when they're ready, Irene. I'll be over!

Sep 05, 2013 10:Sep 10 | Diane Heinze said

50 Shades of Kale

I will never eat kale!!! Sounds like a terrible idea :)

Sep 09, 2013 17:Sep 5 | Sheryl said

Can't we get you to change

Can't we get you to change your mind, Diane? It's really good. Honest.

Sep 09, 2013 17:Sep 5 | Sheryl said

Oh, c'mon, Diane. Give it a

Oh, c'mon, Diane. Give it a try - you might be pleasantly surprised!

Sep 03, 2013 16:Sep 4 | Brette Sember said

I put it in the food

I put it in the food processor and chop it up with a little water then I freeze it in small bags and I use it all winter in place of chopped spinach in recipes.

Sep 06, 2013 10:Sep 10 | Sheryl said

That is a great idea, Brette,

That is a great idea, Brette, especially for leftover kale - thanks!

Sep 03, 2013 16:Sep 4 | Julie Phelps said

Kaleonnaise?

Now why did I never think of making that myself? My only other healthy-type spreads have been homemade pesto, Dijon Mustard, or homemade hummus.
So happy to have a new choice!

Sep 06, 2013 10:Sep 10 | Sheryl said

Glad to add another choice to

Glad to add another choice to your healthy arsenal, Julie!s

Sep 03, 2013 16:Sep 4 | Alexandra said

Fudge pops with kale? They

Fudge pops with kale? They sound amazing but I cannot do that much sugar. I learned to appreciate this veggie in a raw foods class. We learned to make a salad similar to the one you post here. And, kale smoothies. Yum!

Sep 06, 2013 10:Sep 10 | Sheryl said

Kale smoothies - sounds good.

Kale smoothies - sounds good. What do you put in them? Can you share a recipe, Alexandra?

Sep 03, 2013 16:Sep 4 | Irene said

You've convinced me~

Gotta bake some again. It's been a while~

Sep 17, 2013 19:Sep 7 | Judy said

Kale cookbook

I would love to win the Kale cookbook and get on the kale bandwagon! Thanks for your ideas to get us started.

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