Kale – Does it live up to the hype?
Kale – In 2015 an historic blizzard hit New York City and health-conscious green smoothie drinkers charged into stores, stockpiling their favourite leafy green. This frenzy led to a kale shortage across the city and talk of this first-world “food crisis” was heard across North America- when New Yorkers run out of the latest trendy food item, people pay attention. Is kale deserving of all this praise and fame? Yes! it is definitely a nutrient-dense food and a great vegetable to include in our diet, but we should never overdo any one food.
The favourite leafy green belongs to the brassica family of vegetables, along with broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussel sprouts. Brassica vegetables are known to prevent cancer due to their powerful polyphenols. Kale is probably the hardiest one of the bunch. It grows well in most climates and since it’s so easy to grow and keeps well, it tends to be very affordable. Nutritionally, it is a superstar! It’s known to support cardiovascular health, it’s anti-inflammatory, loaded with anti-oxidants and a great source of many vitamins and minerals like vitamins K, A, and C, and manganese.
One downside to kale is that like others in the brassica family, it can disrupt the production of thyroid hormones when eaten raw. For most of us, this is not a problem unless perhaps we eat too much on a regular basis. Another potential problem with kale is that some don’t digest it well since it contains a type of sugar that can cause gas and bloating. The good news is that cooking it can dramatically reduce its effects on the thyroid hormone and makes it much easier on the digestive system.
If kale is not your thing, you can pass on it but be sure to include other brassica vegetables in your diet. And if you’re anything like those crazed New Yorkers, remember to adhere to the wise principles of variety and moderation. Now is a great time to start growing kale in your garden. You can pick it through the summer and it’s a gift that keeps on giving; each stalk will keep producing new leaves well into the fall season.
- 1 bunch of dinosaur kale, thick stems removed
- 1 cup of basil leaves
- ½ cup of olive oil
- 1 big clove of garlic
- ½ tsp salt
Break up your kale leaves into 3” pieces and add ¼ of them to your food processor along with the olive oil and garlic and salt. Keep adding more kale and then your basil bit by bit and continue pulsing. Once your greens are in you should have a nice thick paste, if it seems too dry, add a little more olive oil.
Your pesto will keep for about a week in the fridge or for several months in the freezer. For each of portion pasta, mix in approximately 1-2 heaping tablespoon of pesto, stir it up well and top with pine nuts and parmesan cheese.
By Natalie Lavers – firstname.lastname@example.org