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Back To The Basics 1: Kale – The Surprising Benefits of Overlooked Foods

Our message here at Fundamental Health Solutions is “Move Right, Eat Right, Think Right, and Live Right.” Most people assume that, because I’m a chiropractor first, that I’m only concerned about the Move Right part, but nothing could be further from the truth. It’s so important to your overall health that you have all four areas in balance.

Part of what we want to do here on Wellness Wednesday is give you a little bit deeper look at some specific foods with awesome nutritional properties. Some may surprise you, and some may make you turn up your nose at first, but I assure you that we’ve done our research and identified the foods with the best bang for your buck.

Dark Leafy Greens

During the month of April, I want to focus on dark leafy green vegetables, like lettuce and spinach.

You might think, “Well, that’s not very imaginative. Everybody starts a health food blog with greens.”

But what I’m finding out from my patients and people who read the blog is that we tend to gloss over the fundamentals in a search for “superfoods” and trendy items, like wheatgrass and chia seed. It’s like a basketball team that only practices slam dunks, but never works on dribbling, passing, and shooting. That’s why it’s so important that we reestablish good habits on a palette of basic food, and then build from there. (Don’t worry, we will spend some time with the “superfoods” later on.)

My hope is that, through this series, you will fall back in love (or finally discover) the rich value and amazing flavor of the things God’s Green Earth gives us.

Up First: This Is NOT An April Fool’s Joke

Spinach is easy.

Lettuce is a no-brainer.

I want to start with a challenge.

Whenever I mention this power-packed piece of produce, half the audience turns up their nose. That’s a shame, because they are missing out on a real treat. Kale is one of the healthiest things you can put on your fork, and while it may seem slightly bitter to some palettes, I will give you a recipe below that will help you ease into it. I think you will surprise yourself with how much you end up liking it.

Kale is so flexible, you can prepare it in several different ways–from raw to sautéed to stir-fried–and its unique, rich flavor still shines through. Some people actually make kale chips by cutting it up into bite-size squares and frying it with a little coconut oil and salt and pepper.

Of course, you can always throw it in a blender with a banana, a handful of frozen strawberries, and a cup of fresh coconut milk. Smoothies are the easiest ways to grow your taste for veggies you might otherwise avoid.

Consider these benefits of kale, from this article on mindbodygreen.com:

Kale is a great anti-inflammatory food. One cup of kale is filled with 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids, which help, fight against arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disorders.

Kale is great for cardiovascular support. Eating more kale can help lower cholesterol levels.

Kale is high in Vitamin A. Vitamin A is great for your vision, your skin as well as helping to prevent lung and oral cavity cancers.

Kale is a great detox food. Kale is filled with fiber and sulfur, both great for detoxifying your body and keeping your liver healthy.

Kale is high in Vitamin C. This is very helpful for your immune system, your metabolism and your hydration.

 

 

 

(Vitamin C? I bet you never thought THAT was in your salad.)

I encourage you to read the whole article. It’s short and it covers several other amazing perks of eating kale. With all these great health benefits listed, even the most resistant soul may be as excited to add kale to their daily diet as I am.

What About You?

I can tell people all day long about why you should eat kale, but sometimes it takes a little something extra to get people to come on board. I’m going to share a recipe below; would you share YOUR favorite recipe with us? Leave it in the comments below, or on Facebook. Who knows? You might find a new way to enjoy this amazing vegetable.

Oh, and if this article got you thinking differently about kale, I would encourage you to share it with someone you know, on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus. You might be surprised at who reads it and changes their diet (and their life) as a result.

“At the end of your feelings is NOTHING, but at the end of principles is a PROMISE.”  — Eric Thomas

 

Oh, and here’s that recipe I promised. Try this with your finicky kale-hater, and I think you’ll win over a new convert:

Winter Pasta

4 cloves of garlic, peeled
4 small shallots, peeled
1 small bunch of kale – 1/2 lb / 8 oz, stalks removed, washed well
1/3 cup / 80 ml extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup / 2 oz goat cheese, plus more for topping
2 tablespoons + hot pasta water
fine grain sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
fresh lemon juice – optional
12 oz / 340 g dried penne pasta
fresh thyme – and thyme flowers

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the boiling water generously, and add the garlic and shallots. Boil for 2-3 minutes, stir in the kale and cook for another ten seconds. Don’t overcook. Working quickly, use a slotted spoon or strainer to fish the greens, garlic, and shallots from the water. Use a food processor to puree the ingredients along with the olive oil and goat cheese. Add a couple tablespoons of hot pasta water if needed to thin things out if needed. Then season with a touch of salt and plenty of black pepper. Taste. Depending on your goat cheese, you might need a little extra acidic oomph if your sauce is a bit flat. If so, add fresh lemon juice a bit at a time until you’re happy with it the sauce. Set aside.

Reheat the pot of water and boil the pasta per package instructions. Drain and toss immediately with the green sauce. Serve topped with a few pinches of fresh thyme, and more crumbled goat cheese.

Serves 4-6.

Prep time: 10 min – Cook time: 10 min

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