Eat More Kale
Kale is building quite the reputation these days.
From salads to smoothies, served at breakfast, lunch or dinner, this trendy green is popping up everywhere.
We all know that vegetables are good for us – high in vitamins and minerals, low in calories – but do you know just how good kale is for you?
When it comes to nutrition, kale is ridiculous.
In a 1 cup serving, raw
- ~35 calories
- 1,328 %Daily value (%DV) Vitamin K
- 354 %DV Vitamin A
- 88 %DV Vitamin C
And the thing is, you probably eat more than 1 cup at a time, especially if you’re cooking with it. But the nutrition doesn’t stop at face value.
Like many other similar greens, Kale has been studied extensively in its preventative benefits to many diseases, but most specifically cancer. Many studies have shown that, thanks to the extremely high levels of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer nutrients present in kale, it surpasses all of its’ cruciferous counterparts as a nutritional powerhouse.
Let me try and give you some perspective here.
If you’ve ever been in a Whole Foods Market you might have noticed foods with a score next to them, especially those foods in the produce department. This score, known as the “Agregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI)”, rates a food based on its nutrient density – paying close attention to micronutrients including vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals. The scale ranges from 1 to 1000 with 1000 being top notch.
Do you know what Kale gets? A 1000! Spinach follows in the leafy green department at 739. Now that’s not to say spinach is bad for you, cup for cup you just get more bang for your buck with kale. For some reason seeing these numbers makes me want to start subbing half my spinach with kale in recipes.
So I am. Even in my smoothies.
I have a friend who loves kale even more than me.
This friend, known to some as Elizabeth and many as Buffy, is an amazing and talented chef who, for as long as I’ve known her, enjoys eating vegetables & legumes like I enjoy ice cream. Years ago she inspired me to want to eat cleaner and closer to the source, and today I love sharing food finds, nutrition tips and recipe swaps with her.
Last year Buffy showed me how OK it was to replace my spinach with kale in my morning smoothies. I had to trust her – she wouldn’t drink anything that tasted gross (I nervously hoped). See, I did spinach in my smoothies often, but that thing she whirled up was a whole other shade of green.
I took a deep breath, and then I took a sip.
OH. MY. GOD
Trust me on this.
Combined with the right ingredients you wont even know you’re drinking kale.
So I went home and from time to time throughout the year I made myself a smoothie with kale. I felt healthy and clean when I did it but i never really craved the green concoction. Until now.
Last month I traveled back to Providence for Buffy’s wedding. While on my morning run I bumped into the bride-to-be armed with her ritual morning green drink in hand. My mouth started to water. It was 8am, 95degress and I was craving…kale.
I ran as fast as I could back to the hotel and told my husband to forget about bagels, eggs or anything else brunchy he was hoping for. We were headed to Wildflour. Stat.
Wildflour’s, an amazing vegan bakery and juice bar, has a smoothie called “The Dino.” I got it that day and with the addition of chia seeds & maca powder I’ve been recreating it (as often as I can) since.
Not only is it super simple to make, it’s super delicious. And, thanks to the perfect combination of healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates, plus vitamins and minerals, it provides you with everything you need to jump start your morning or push through your afternoon slump.
In a blender combine the following:
- 6 oz almond milk
- 1 – 2 T raw almond butter
- 3 stalks of kale (~1 cup)
- handful baby spinach
- ½ c blueberries
- 1 small banana
- optional: ½ T chia seeds & ½ tsp maca powder
Feel free to use cows milk or soy, nut butter of your choice and any berry. And always add more or less liquid to achieve desired consistency.
I already can’t wait to wake up tomorrow morning…