Friday, March 22, 2013

All Hail the Kale: What's In It For Me?

Tap into some real green energy. Kale! Photo: VitaMix 5200 Power Blender.
Inhale the Kale
If just thinking about getting back in shape after a winter hiatus makes you feel sore, I've got good news. Antioxidant rich smoothies with vegetables like kale can help you prepare AND recover afterwards. Thanks to my mum, I ate a LOT of kale as a child. Same thing for mustard, turnip and collard greens, cabbage and spinach. Just one cup of raw kale contains: 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. Depending on the soil where it's grown, kale also yields appreciable amounts of minerals like copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. The magnesium alone in kale is your best friend in replacing lactic acid in your muscles after working out.

Whole Food Juicing
Raw Kale being turned into a delicious smoothie.
The new twist is to enjoy them uncooked to fully retain all of the enzymes and nutrients often lost in the cooking process. Many people are getting into juicing which is great but I've been whole food blending for about 25 years now and that trumps just about anything. Juicing removes many of the plant's lignans and fiber which will give you a clear finished product.  It also wastes a lot of vegetable material that could be doing you and your digestive tract a lot of good. Not only that, the cleanup is going to get pretty messy.

There is another way and that is to get a powerful enough blender that will liquefy, stalks, roots and pithier parts like kale stems.  There are lots of such blenders on the market but the one I've used all these years is the VitaMix.  I simply quarter my apples, throw in some whole baby carrots and LOTS of delicious raw kale.  In about 60 seconds, I have a fully blended, raw food drink that is packed with fresh flavor, enzymes and nutrients. My machine is self cleaning so unlike a juicer, I don't have to take it apart or throw away the separated fiber and skins.  In fact if you are new to juicing of any kind, here is an easy, tasty Kale Juice-Smoothie recipe you can make in your blender.

Super Kale Smoothie
3-4 Large Stalks of Kale (stems & all)
4 Baby Carrots
2 Small Apples, quartered
1 Cup Ice Cubes
1 Cup Water
Optional 1 teaspoon Super Blue Green Algae
Optional 1 scoop Re-Body Greens Powder (contains Kale, Spinach, Broccoli & more)

Rinse your raw kale well and cut into small, 3 inch sections. Start with adding your carrots, apples, 1 cup water & ice cubes into the bottom of the blender container. Place the kale in last & add your powders. Cover and blend adding extra water and ice during the processing to keep the juice cold. Blend to desired consistency and serve.  Apples and carrots sweeten this drink up nicely with no added sugars or sweeteners. You can store your Super Kale Smoothie in an airtight container but it is best to drink within 24 hours.
Add a little extra "punch" to your smoothie by adding a green powder.

The Kale Wrap:
Kale’s health benefits come from the high concentration of antioxidants specifically vitamins A, C, and K -- and sulphur-containing phytonutrients. Kale also creates a more alkaline pH in the body which helps with inflammation dependent diseases like arthritis and rheumatism.

Carotenoids (red and orange colored fruits and vegetables) and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with what has been seen to offer specific anti-cancer activity. Kale is likewise rich in lutein and zeaxanthin compounds which have been found to benefit eye health.

Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.
If you suffer from hypothyroidism, raw cruciferous vegetables like kale, cabbage, broccoli, can further impede proper thyroid function so you might want to limit your intake of it in its uncooked form. 

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