10 Ways to Eat Kale

10 Ways to Eat Kale

10 Ways to Eat Kale

Kale has been getting a lot of press lately, but one thing you may be wondering is how to use it.  I’ve come up with 10 easy and delicious ways to incorporate kale into your diet.

But first, here are just some of the health benefits to eating kale.  I like to think of kale as a nutritional powerhouse, it’s high in iron, vitamin K (important for bone health), vitamin A (important for vision and skin)  and vitamin C (important for your immune system).  It’s also a great anti-inflammatory food which is great to fight against arthritis, it’s rich in calcium and is filled with antioxidants to help protect you from cancers.  And to top it all off it’s fantastic for detoxing the body on a regular basis to help build a strong liver.

Tips & Tricks

Best Time To Buy: Though it’s available year-round, kale is best in the winter, when frost makes its flavour sweeter.

Choosing Kale: Leaves should be dark green & frilly. They should have some “spring” to them. Bad signs: wilted, yellow or brown spots, dry leaves.

Storing Kale: Keep unwashed kale refrigerated in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

Reviving Limp Kale: Trim the stems & soak in tepid water for about 5 minutes. Voila!

Preparing kale: To prep your kale, you first have to remove the leafy greens from the tough stems. But instead of cutting them, simply “zip” them off. Hold a leaf by the thickest part of the stem with one hand while you gently pull it up and pinch it with your index finger and thumb of your other hand. Roll into little bundles (like you would with basil, for example) and cut to your desired size.

Reducing Intense Flavor: Kale that’s been massaged with oil and lemon juice will reduce its intense flavor. This method is great for introducing the dark leafy green to kale newbies!

How to use kale

Kale Chips – so yummy and makes an excellent replacement for potato chips.  You can find these in just about any health food store these days.  There are also many recipes online if you want to try making your own.

Kale Pasta Sauce – very quick and easy to make.  I personally make this dish when I’m limited for time.  Here’s the quick recipe – boil water, strip your kale and blanch in boiling water for about 1 min.  Place kale in a blender with a dash of salt 2 tbsp of olive oil, one clove of garlic and about 1/3 cup of water the kale was cooked in.  Blend all together then mix in with your favourite pasta.  In less than 10 min you’ve got dinner!

Sautéed Kale – sauté in coconut oil add some onions and apples with a dash of salt, great as a side dish.

Kale Soup – got a favourite soup, try adding some kale to it for extra flavour and vitamins!

Kale Salad – mix kale with your favourite type of lettuce, add your veggies and you’ve got a great start to a meal.

Green Smoothie – so easy to add kale into your smoothie and you won’t even taste it, it will however turn your smoothie green.

Kale on Pizza – adding kale to your own homemade pizza really adds flavour and makes it just a little bit healthier.  The kale tends to turn crispy adding a nice crunch to each bite.

Kale Stir-fry – next time you make a stir fry add some kale with sesame seeds.

Kale Omelette – bored of the same old omelette…kick it up a notch with kale, mushrooms and garlic.

Kale Pesto – pesto is not just for basil, this kale pesto is so tasty it can be added to just about anything, use it as your base for your pizza or add to your pasta.  Blanch 4 garlic cloves for 2-3 minutes; remove from water. In same water, blanch 1 bunch of kale for 30 seconds; drain. Purée garlic and kale in a food processor or blender; with motor running, gradually add about 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, about 1 cup grated Parmesan, and 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice; season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

10 Immune Boosting Foods

10 Immune Boosting Foods

10 Immune Boosting Foods

Boosting your immunity is important for coping with the cold and flu season which is upon us. Eating the following foods can help prevent you from getting sick.  My favourite wonder food is garlic, it works like magic!

But first I’d like to share with you some immune system drainers:

  • Avoid high-fat, high-sugar junk foods, as they can decrease the activity of the immune system.  Sugar actually suppresses the immune system.  Here’s an interesting fact, 1 teaspoon of sugar can paralyze your immune system for up to 4 hours.
  • It’s also best to avoid too much caffeine (pop, coffee, tea, chocolate) as caffeine can undermine your body’s immune system and act as a diuretic, which will deplete your body of water.
  • Don’t smoke! Smoking can impair your resistance as well as injure the respiratory tract, which makes you more susceptible to the flu.

My personal top 10 immune boosting foods!

sunflower seedsSunflower seeds

Two tablespoons give you more than a third of your daily requirement of vitamin E. This vitamin helps you resist the flu and upper-respiratory infections by boosting production of T-cells, a type of white blood cell that fights infection.

Good to know – with any nut or seed it best to store them in your fridge or freezer for a longer shelf life. Heat, light and air can turn the oil in nuts/seeds rancid.

Ideas for Use – by the handful raw, sprinkle them over a salad, your granola or on a yogurt parfait. Putting them in a smoothie is also tasty.

brazil nutsBrazil nuts

These nuts contain a healthy dose of cold-fighting mineral selenium. (A single Brazil nut has 95 mcg — nearly double the amount you need in a day.) Your body uses selenium to produce those infection-fighting T-cells, which in turn destroy bacteria and viruses. Studies show that this antioxidant instigates the good bacteria in our intestines to attack bad bacteria and parasites like E. coli.

Good to know – Too much selenium can be bad for your health; a small handful of nuts every few days is all you need.

Ideas for Use – by the handful raw, chop them up and toss them over a salad, your granola or on a yogurt parfait.

kaleKale

You might be surprised to know that, ounce for ounce, kale is a richer source of beta carotene than carrots or sweet potatoes, which makes it my top choice for fighting off colds and the flu. The liver converts beta carotene into vitamin A, which amps up the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells, including ones that seek out and destroy foreign bacteria and viruses. Vitamin A also helps support the lining of your respiratory and digestive tracts, which are your first lines of defence against pathogens. This robust leafy green also has high levels of vitamin C, an antioxidant that’s important for immune function.

Good to know – Conventionally grown kale can contain high levels of pesticide residues, so choose organic kale when possible.

Ideas for Use – Fat-soluble beta carotene is better absorbed when it’s in the presence of dietary fat, so try gently sautéing kale in oil, incorporating it raw into salads with diced avocado, or making crispy kale chips.

kiwifruitKiwis

Kiwifruit takes the prize for vitamin C. Considered the go-to resource for staving off illness, C can help increase your resistance to disease and keeps your defenses strong. Vitamin C increases the body’s production of white blood cells and helps to prevent infection, especially if you’re feeling burnt out or stressed. Just don’t wait for the first sign of infection to start fueling up; studies show that taking large doses of C once a cold begins does not shorten its length or severity, but a regular dose of 75 to 90 mg per day might.

Good to Know –  Vitamin C is easily damaged by heat and water. Try to consume C-packed foods raw or barely cooked.

Ideas for Use – make a kiwi yogurt in a smoothie, try your hand at a kiwi mango salad, or kiwi dipped in raw cocoa is simply delicious!

garlicGarlic

My personal favourite. Regarded as one of the most potent cold and flu fighters, garlic combats an army of invaders, including bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses, thanks to the presence of polysulfides, a class of sulfur compounds. Ajoene, for instance, inhibits the growth of a broad range of microbes, including Staphylococcus aureus (a cause of staph infections) and E. coli. Garlic’s most dynamic compound, allicin, blocks enzymes that help viruses spread. Allicin lies dormant in a clove until it’s cut, chewed, or crushed. Although garlic is often enjoyed roasted, you can maximize its benefits by eating it raw.

Good to know – garlic is a natural antibiotic, is anti fungal and anti microbial.

Ideas for Use – raw or cooked, in salads, pastas, soups, the list is endless.

MushroomsMushrooms

The Chinese and Japanese have long used mushrooms as medicine– and for good reason. Mushrooms help boost the production of white blood cells, remove toxins from the body, and restore our bodies’ natural balance. The most potent cold and flu-fighting mushrooms are shitake, maitake and reishi.

Good to know – mushrooms are also a source of vitamin d, which is also effective in itself to boost the immune system.

Ideas for Use – toss into a salad with berries and pumpkins seeds, or use in a soup to create a tasty mushroom soup.

Yogurt

Yogurt

About 70 percent of our immune system resides in our gut – so a healthy digestive system makes for a healthy body. Probiotics are good bacteria that keep naturally occurring bad bacteria in check – kind of like a bouncer for the intestines. To keep a healthy population of good bacteria, choose a plain yogurt (sugar and sweeteners can suppress the immune system).

Good to know – sugar kills the effects of the probiotics, so purchase plain and add your own fruit.

Ideas for Use– put in smoothies or make a parfait with berries and my homemade granola.

pumpkin seedsPumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are brimming with the mineral zinc, which can help you fight colds and flu. Zinc plays a central role in immune function by increasing the production of various immune cells that are involved in the body’s response to viruses.

Good to know – with any nut or seed it best to store them in your fridge or freezer for a longer shelf life. Heat, light and air can turn the oil in nuts/seeds rancid.

Ideas for Use – Add to granola and top with yogurt or kefir; use in pesto instead of pine nuts; or toast in a dry skillet with sea salt and sprinkle over soups, salads, and roasted root vegetables.

ginger rootGinger

Ginger comes to the aid when we’re sick in some powerful ways. Besides soothing a scratchy throat, it has chemicals called sesquiterpenes that target rhinoviruses — which are the most common family of cold viruses — as well as substances that help suppress coughing.

Good to know – Ginger is also a natural pain and fever reducer and a mild sedative so you’ll feel more comfortable and be able to rest easier.

Ideas for Use – peel the skin and chopped into pieces place into  pot of water and boil, ginger tea can be very soothing.  Try it in a smoothie with kale and lemon.

Green tea leavesGreen Tea

Polyphenols, potent plant antioxidants, are what’s believed to give green tea its immune-boosting effects. One laboratory study suggested that a particular type of polyphenols called catechins may kill influenza viruses. To maximize benefits and reduce bitterness, use just-below-boiling water and steep green tea no more than a minute or two. A little lemon and honey can also help blunt the bitterness.

Good to know –  don’t add milk, because the proteins will bind to the polyphenols, making them ineffective.

Ideas for Use – drink by the cup, or add matcha to your smoothie. Make an iced green tea add lemon to flavour it and a touch of honey to sweeten.

Hot Chocolate Smoothie

Hot Chocolate Smoothie

Hot Chocolate Smoothie

Smoothies are great way to get mega nutrition into a glass, they are quick and easy to make and are a fantastic option for breakfast. However, on those cold winter mornings the last thing I want to have for breakfast is a cold smoothie. 
 
Here is a Hot Chocolate Smoothie that will keep you warm, full and satisfied all morning long. 
Yes, you can have chocolate for breakfast!

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup of spinach
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao nibs
  • 3 dates
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup of boiling water (you can add more water depending on the consistency you like)

Directions:

Step 1 – Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until desired consistency.  Enjoy!