The Kale Challenge

I’m a pretty adventurous eater.

I love to try new foods, and like most of what gets put on my plate.

But there’s one vegetable that took some time for me to enjoy… kale.

There was just something about the texture… it’s a bit chewy.

And the taste… quite bitter.

That just wasn’t doing it for me.

But you know what I say… you have to try some foods 10 or more times before you like them.

And, that’s what I did with kale.

Because even though it didn’t taste that great, I knew the leafy green was packed with nutrients my body needed.

In fact, kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods out there.

Just one cup of kale gives you six times the daily value (DV) of vitamin K, two times the DV of vitamin A, and more than 100% the DV of vitamin C.

It’s also packed with antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol, which can help fight free radicals in the body. And, high in lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoid antioxidants, which support healthy vision.

Kale also contains substances called bile acid sequestrants, which have been shown to support healthy cholesterol levels.

Cup for cup, it’d be hard to find a healthier food than kale.

But, before you rush down to the store and pick up a bunch of kale, I want to issue a warning.

Regular kale is dirty.

You see, kale grows low to the ground where it’s more likely to be exposed to bugs, making it a target for pesticides.

Also, since any damage to the leaves decreases its chance of being sold, farmers often spray the leaves to keep the bugs at bay.

The Environmental Working Group, which tests fresh fruits and vegetables for harmful substances, found more than 92% of conventionally grown kale samples contained at least two pesticide residues.

Some contained as many as 18.

When it comes to kale, buy organic to limit your exposure to pesticides and other chemicals.

And, be sure to wash the leaves thoroughly before eating.

If the taste of raw kale it too chewy and bitter for your taste, there are many other ways to use the vegetable.

One of my favorites is kale chips.

They’re so easy to prepare… and taste delicious.

I just separate the leaves from the stems and tear them into bite-size pieces.

Wash them thoroughly, then dry with a paper towel.

Place the leaves on a baking sheet and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt.

Note… don’t soak the leaves in the oil or they will stay limp and soggy. A light coating works best.

Bake in a 350⁰ oven for about 10 minutes until the leaves are crispy and edges are brown.

The result? A crunchy, slightly salty treat that, in my opinion, rivals any potato chip.

You could also sauté fresh kale with some olive oil and garlic to create a nice side dish, add it to a favorite soup, or throw it in with your smoothie for a nutrient boost.

Bottomline… kale is easy to make delicious.

It might take a few tries… believe me, I know. But in time, you’re sure to find a way to love kale.

About Jeff Reagan, Editor, Jeff Reagan's Daily Health Newsletter for Conservatives

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2 thoughts on “The Kale Challenge

  1. Jeff, I have a big vegetable garden and have grown Kale for many years. I don’t use any chemical pesticides and use only my own naturally produced compost. I grow an Heirloom Kale variety that has a very sweet taste and I have come up with quite a few recipes that use Kale. My wife and I eat it at least three times a week.

  2. Hey Jeff, I’m with you on the kale. As far as your cooked kale with olive oil and garlic, try adding some sun dried tomatoes (which we purchase from Costco), as well as some pine nuts also from Costco. I think you’ll fall in love with this side dish.

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