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Sunday, 14 April 2013

5 Ways to Add Kale to Your Life!

Why I eat Kale:
I eat greens everyday, and one of my favorites is kale!
Learning to incorporate dark, leafy greens into your diet is essential for a healthy body and immune system. Eating lots of greens naturally crowds out the foods that you don't want to be eating. Our cells are made up of the foods we eat. For example, if you eat potato chips you will most likely experience cravings for potato chips. When you put good things into your body, your cells crave good foods.

Greens like kale are full of antioxidants, fibre, vitamins, and minerals that help strengthen the blood and respiratory system. They are also high-alkaline foods. The alkaline minerals in our bodies are used to neutralize acidic conditions caused by the environment. I have noticed a huge improvement in my hair, skin and nails since I started eating more greens and can notice a difference if I miss them for more than one or two days.

Nutritionally, greens are very high in calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc and vitamins A, C, E and K. They are loaded with fiber, folic acid, chlorophyll and many other micronutrients and phytochemicals. Although choosing organic is recommended, eating non-organic greens is still preferable to not eating any greens at all! 

So how do you incorporate more greens like KALE into your diet?

5 ways to add Kale to your life:

1. Sweet Green Smoothies!
Add 2-4 stalks of dark leafy green kale, stems removed, and blend with coconut water(or filtered water) and your favorite fruit! Sweet fruit works best to mask the taste for beginners, like mangos, bananas, pineapple and dates!

2. Juice it!
Juicing kale gives you a straight shot of nutrients that will give you immunity and more energy than your morning cup of coffee! Removing the fibre allows this powerhouse of antioxidants to be absorbed straight into your bloodstream for lasting energy without the crash that typically follows your caffeine binge. I like to make a green juice using 4 stalks of kale, de-stemmed, one apple, one lemon and a cucumber! It tastes better than you think!

3. Kale Wraps
Those lettuce wraps are pretty popular right now, showing up in restaurants, and you can make them using Kale! The big leaves allow you to fill them up with your favorite filling. You can then rolls and make them into a wrap or use them like a taco shell. My favorite filling is mushrooms, tomato, avocado, onion and homemade taco seasoning - delicious!

4. Marinated Kale
Wash, de-stem and cut up a head of kale. Toss it in a bowl with your favorite marinade recipe or salad dressing. You can use italian, greek, or make your own with olive oil and lemon with some salt and pepper. Let the kale marinate for the afternoon or an hour, and throw in your favorite veggies to make a tasty salad for lunch, or you can saute the marinated kale to make a lovely side dish at supper. If you want a crunchy snack - try baking or dehydrating the kale to make kale chips! Pizza kale chips are my favorite. You can use pizza sauce to marinate pieces of kale or so a homemade sauce. Recipe at the end of post!

5. Baby Kale
So you've tried kale, and you just don't like it, but you want the benefits of this nutrient-dense leafy green- then you can try baby kale! It's usually pre-washed and pre-packaged in the grocery store, making it easy to throw into smoothies and fast to make salads with. It has a milder taste and has the added benefit of being easier to digest!

So what have you got to lose?? Go out and buy a bunch of kale today! There are hundreds of recipes on the internet using this trending vegetable right now. Even though KALE is sooo good for you, it's still important to eat a variety of greens for balanced nutrition. When you are done trying kale, go out and get some spinach, romaine, swiss chard or arugula! You're body will LOVE you for it.

Pizza Kale Chips 

2 bunches of Kale - washed with stems removed and torn into bite size pieces
1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 roasted red pepper (or fresh)
3-4 sundried tomatos (soaked an hour)
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional, *gives cheesy flavor)
1 Tbsp pizza seasoning  (I used fresh basil and oregano)
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tsp sea salt

1. After washing and removing the stems of the kale, place in a large bowl and set aside.
2. Place all ingredients *except kale* in a food processor and mix well, scraping sides.  Should form a paste thicker than traditional pizza sauce. Add 1 Tbsp water if sauce is too thick.
3. Pour sauce onto kale pieces and massage into leaves using your hands.
4. Spread kale pieces onto cookie sheet or dehydrator trays lined with parchment paper, greased with a thin layer of olive oil.
5. If using and oven: Bake at the lowest temperature setting for your oven for about 20 minutes ***keeping a close watch! They burn quickly.***
If using a dehydrator: dehydrate for about 8 hours at 115 degrees, checking for desired crispiness.
Enjoy your healthy, crunchy pizza snack! 

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