Not many people are liking the green veggies.  I know that phase where every child sees anything green on their plate it is instantly nasty, just by looks they feel this way.  If you never outgrow that, boy are you missing out on some seriously good-for-you food.

Kale is a relative newbie to the veggie-nutrient craze.  There is tons of research on fellow cruciferous cousin broccoli, and there is a good amount of nutritional research on cousin cabbage, but poor little kale gets all left out. It’s the middle-child syndrome of the veggie world.

If you want a hint of what a little powerhouse underdog this vegetable is, let me spell it out for you.  Kale has vitamins C, A, B1, B2, B3, B12, K, E along with minerals such as calcium, iron, manganese, copper, folate, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, and sulfur.  Oh wait, it doesn’t end there, kale also contains omega 3, forty-five different flavonoids (such as kaempfor & quercetin), cartenoids (including betacarotene & lutein) and even tryptophan (you know, the sleeper chemical in that super-sized turkey).  Kale has been shown in recent studies to combat FIVE different cancers (bladder, breast, colon, ovarian, prostate).  That’s just the tip of the perverbial iceberg. 

For those who are looking to lower their cholesterol intake, kale as ZERO cholesterol and actually is better than prescription drug cholestyramine (hope I spelled that right–my handwriting is more like chicken scratching, in fact I think my 2yr old writes better) at flushing out bile toxins.  Kale also has, on a per-calorie comparison, MORE protein than beef.  I believe Lightning McQueen states it best: KA-CHOW!  

Now, there are some issues surrounding thyroid, liver, and gallbladder.  For anyone with thyroid issues, and they are told to lower their intake of foods that interfere with their thyroid functions, lightly steaming your kale is going to provide a power pack of nutrients, without all the naturally-occuring chemical reactions that may react negatively with your thyroid ((always consult your naturopath–the helpful properties may far outweigh the negative on cruciferous veggies)).  For those who have liver and kidney issues, you also may want to first speak to your naturopath as the oxalates in kale, which aren’t high but do accumulate if you are eating kale for every meal every day, may interfere with your kidney and liver – related health issues. 

For the rest of us who are able to enjoy this delightful little vegetable, always be sure you are purchasing this one in the organic veggie section.  You will get far more nutrient content in the organic kale than you will non-organically grown kale, and you’ll also be ingesting less organophosphates by eating organic kale.  

Now, back to what I was alluding to above — for those of us who are able to indulge in kale as often as we like, process the leaves in your morning smoothie, add the leaves to your pizza, omelette, and pasta sauce (only add the last 5mins or so before serving to get the best flavor), and you can simply steam them for 5mins, add a little of your favorite oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.  It is also best for the kale NOT to wash it until you are going to use it because the water will be a welcoming host to spoilage.  This, of course, is difficult to do when the stores spray their stuff with water to make it look tasty, but if you grow your own, then you can harvest only as much as you need, when you need it.  You can also sprinkle your kale with fresh lemon juice 5mins prior to cooking–this will enhance the phytonutrient content of the kale.  (I know, right? Pretty cool.)  You can also cook kale stems similar to asparagus — quick boil in salt water.  I personally haven’t tried that yet, but I’ve read it’s pretty tasty that way.  Annnnddd… if you still have an overabudance of kale in your garden, make some kale chips.  Oh yes, they are tasty.  You can get creative and splash them with just a little olive oil and Himalayan (or Celtic) salt, or create your own flavor of kale chips.  They are a healthy little oven-baked snack.  OR, you can first pay out $7 or $8 for a small bag of kale chips at your local organic market before you make your own.  However you want to make it, the versatility of kale is amazing.  I can’t wait to see what other nutritional benefits of kale are studied in the near future.  

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