Friday, July 26, 2013

Kale Recipes and Tips

How do I eat a whole head of kale a day?

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Why Kale?
Well, for starters, I don't eat kale every day. I believe it's healthier and more interesting to switch my greens and eat a variety throughout the week. But it's important to eat plenty of dark leafy greens, especially for iron, which vegans need to monitor carefully. About six months after becoming vegan, I was going through an extremely lethargic and irritable period and went to see my doctor. My tests came back looking great except for being slightly anemic. I started eating more iron and noticed a big change in my energy and mood! Now I make sure I'm getting enough.

Kale is packed with important minerals and vitamins A, C, K, and B-6, and is a superfood when it comes to the prevention of many kinds of cancers and osteoporosis. That's right veggie friends- the next time someone asks you where you get your calcium, you might politely remind them that kale has more calcium per gram than milk, (not to mention easier absorption) with none of the fat and cholesterol!
Here are the two super-simple recipes I use to get my daily dose of kale:

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Oil-free Rubbed Kale Salad
This is an easy salad for established kale-lovers, but if you don't exactly love the taste of raw kale this can still serve as a great base to add on to:

  • 1 head of kale (I like Jacinto or dinosaur kale better than curly, for salads)
  • the juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 avocado
First you gotta wash and peel your kale. By "peel," I mean doing this:

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It's fun! Just hold the stem firmly at the bottom/ (cut end) with one hand, then use the fingers of your other hand (like my left in the picture) to apply pressure and slide from the cut end toward the tip of the leaf. The leaves should strip right off! Nice, huh? Discard the stems and put the leaves in a large salad bowl. Add the lemon juice and avocado.
Now that your hands already super-clean from rinsing and peeling the kale, go ahead and stick 'em right in and enjoy the gooey feeling as you massage the juice and avocado into the leaves. They will start to wilt as they are rubbed and coated with this base "dressing." Finished! No oil needed!

If the end result is underwhelming to your taste buds, try adding one of the following:
1. salt (go easy! Added sodium detracts from the healthiness of this recipe)
2. sliced almonds and a sweet fruit like apples, mango, or peaches
3. sliced heirloom tomatoes, garlic, and nutritional yeast
4. or, serve it over some brown rice and add beans or potatoes

Next, a much more universally delicious way of getting kale in liquid form:

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Good Morning Juice:
  • 1 head of kale
  • 3 or so oranges, blood oranges, or grapefruit, whichever you prefer
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup blueberries
Peel your kale (or not, if your juicer can handle the stems), peel your citrus of choice, and wash your blueberries. Then juice 'em up and enjoy! If you only have a blender, try straining it at the end to get a similar drink. This one is soooo delicious! I drink this for quick energy after I get up. Kale has lots of its own vitamin C, but the kind that comes from the citrus aids in iron absorption from the greens. The blueberries round out the flavor and are wonderful antioxidants to boot.

Go getcha some GREEN!