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Review | Kale

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A review of kale, its not just for juicing anymore.

Summary: 

Oh where to begin. Kale is a leafy green vegetable that has been gaining traction over the recent years for being the poster child for the “super food” movement, Kale is pretty super, I mean not like its out there fighting crime and helping old ladies across the street, but in a way it is…In the sense that the range of people that are eating it are cops all the way to those super healthy yoga ladies in their 90’s that could beat me up. But back on topic, kale is a wonderful food that has a wide range of health benefits for us grapplers and it does not need to only belong in super expensive juices. I’ve put together this review of kale to provide some insight on its inner workings and give out a favorite recipe.

General Information

Kale is, as previously stated, a leafy green vegetable that belongs in the same family as cabbage, Brussels sprouts and collard greens. The technical name the vegetable category would be “cruciferous vegetables.” Vegetables within this family come with all sorts of health benefits. Such as a little known fact, cooked cabbage has more vitamin C than oranges per serving. With that being said, kale is the most super charged vegetable in this category. Kale provides us with shockingly high levels of vitamin’s A and C and staggering levels of vitamin K, which is a fat-soluble vitamin which has cancer reducing qualities and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Spinach is to Popeye as kale is to grapplers.

Spinach is to Popeye as kale is to grapplers.

Kale might be tricky to spot to the untrained eye in a grocery store. I know when its time to shop it is all about getting in and out of there as quickly as possible with as little work. You should not be grabbing anything bagged that says kale. Go for the big green bunches that has tight little curls in the leaves. Don’t be alarmed if the stems are a little reddish as well. There are many different varieties of kale but all share the same benefits. You want to keep kale in a cold place and avoid moisture on it. Fresh kale can keep in your fridge for upwards of 5 days before it starts to alter in taste and get bitter.

When is the best time to eat this super green known as Kale?

Time of year: Kale like other hearty leafy vegetables in its family screams winter. The actual season for kale is winter through early spring but it is common now to see it year round due to indoor farms that are climate controlled. Thank god our diets don’t have to go on seasonal breaks.

Time of ingestion: Try and eat it with dinner as a side dish a couple days a week to ensure you are getting enough of it. He primary make up of kale fits really anywhere into our day just as long as you can find time to eat it. Which you should or Ill come and flying arm bar you…who am I kidding I’m 6’4 215 I cant do flying armbars. But the threat stands to prove my point. Ill go through serious measures to ensure this vegetables consumption.

If vegetables were X-men who would kale be?

If vegetables were X-men who would kale be?

Important to note:

Note #1: While kale is super beneficial there is a catch. To get the benefits you really must be eating a certain amount of kale regularly. How much you ask? You should realistically be eating around 1-2 cups of it per day, 3 days a week. That’s pretty easily done if you cook it in bulk or make chips out of it and have it always available.

We sweat, so our food must sweat too.

We sweat, so our food must sweat too.

Note #2: Why is kale found primarily juiced? Because kale is made up of very fibrous material that is hard for our body to process fully in order to get all of the nutrients it provides. Juicing essentially removes all that fiber and leaves us with just the nutrients right? Yes but the same effect can be achieved by cooking kale slightly. By cooking it you start to break down the fiber structure and make it more digestible. Also fiber is not a bad thing to have, fiber to put it lightly, aids in “clearing us out.”

Benefits

  • Its delicious.
  • Its nutritious.
  • Zero fat, low in calories and provides more iron than beef!
  • It is a serious anti-inflammatory based on omega-3 fatty acids
  • Reduces the risk of at least 5 different types of cancer based on it being high in antioxidants.
  • Great for detoxing due to fiber and sulfur content.
  • Affordable and easily accessible.

Cooking tips and tricks:

I personally love quickly steamed kale with almonds and golden raisins.

I personally love quickly steamed kale with almonds and golden raisins.

Best methods of cooking: Steamed, braised, sautéed, dehydrated

Flavor pairings: Apples,  raisins, balsamic vinegar, salty cheese such as parmesan or feta, shallot, onion, quinoa, bacon/ham in general,

Fat pairing: Olive oil, almonds, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, walnuts coconut oil

 

Time saving tips

You can always buy bunches of kale and prep it buy removing the stem and chopping the leaves and then store in your fridge in Chinese take-out plastic containers portioned out. For instance you will have 1 serving in each so when it is time to cook you just pull one out at a time. Make you to place a dry paper towel in the bottom to collect any moisture.

Recipe idea:

One easy way to ensure you are getting your daily requirements of kale is to make it enjoyable. What habit do we all miss or have a hard time with? Snacking. So why not make kale a snack without having to dish out 10 bucks for a tiny box of kale chips when we can make our own for a fraction of the cost!

Super easy spicy kale chips
Makes 4 cups
INGREDIENTS
Main Components
Kale, stems removed, torn into pieces the size of chips: 1 bunch
Olive oil: 1 Tablespoon
Salt: as needed ~1 teaspoon
Cayenne pepper(optional): 1/8 tsp if you like a little heat
Garlic powder: 1/8 teaspoon

Work on your grip strength by ripping up kale chips

Work on your grip strength by ripping up kale chips

METHOD
Main Components
This is an easy one. Turn your oven on to preheat to 300 degrees.
While the oven is heating up take the kale and separate it. An easy trick is to literally just tear the leaves away from the stems for this one. There is no need to be delicate.
If you kale is a little sandy (based on where you bought it) wash it and dry it completely.
Once you have shown everyone how tough you are by tearing those leaves up place them all into a bowl and drizzle with olive oil while moving them around in there. Make sure all of the leaves get some oil on them and are not all stuck together.
Place a piece of parchment paper or foil onto a baking sheet.
Now lay the kale leaves in an even layer without overlapping the leaves…you want the leaves to be kissing not….well you know how the saying goes.
Now sprinkle salt over the leaves from about a foot above them. This is the way to always season to ensure the salt is spread more evenly.
Place the tray into the oven and set a timer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes go check them out…if the edges have begun to brown but not burn, take them out of the oven, if they haven’t, put them back in for another 5 minutes.
Once the time is up and the leaves are cooked remove the tray from the oven and let it cool. Store the chips in a dry container and snack away!

EQUIPMENT
Oven
Large bowl
Baking sheet with foil or parchment paper
Some strong hands

PRO TIP
Play around with seasonings…if you like old bay, sprinkle old bay on the chips before you place them in the oven! Or onion powder, garlic powder, anything, that’s the joy of cooking.

Yet another Black belt to add into the food academy

Yet another Black belt to add into the food academy

 

Images via: spinachtiger
MNLocavore
Cailincallahn
WebMD
TheKitchenSink

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