One of the most important things I learned at nutrition school was the significant link between leafy greens and our health – especially kale. I have to admit, when I started at IIN I was afraid of leafy greens. I mean, I ate them in salads at restaurants, but I had no idea what else to do with them or where to start. Now that I’m working with clients, I’ve realized that a LOT of people feel this way about greens! One of the first things I teach my health coaching clients is about the benefits of greens. Most people feel significantly healthier and better after adding daily greens into their diet – even if they aren’t changing anything else!
The good news is, greens don’t have to be a scary or boring-tasting part of your diet. Now that I’ve incorporated leafy greens into my daily diet, I feel amazing and I can’t imagine going a day without kale!
Kale is one of the most nutrient-rich greens out there – it is a magical, powerful food! Here are just a FEW of the many health benefits of eating more kale:
- Improved digestion - leafy greens are full of fiber and sweep your digestive tract clean
- Improved mood and energy levels – full of vitamins, nutrients and grounding earth energy
- Less food cravings – the nutrients and fiber in kale keep you satisfied (cravings usually signify a lack of nutrients)
- Cancer-fighting - the phytonutrients in kale activate detoxifying enzymes in the liver, reducing the risk of many cancers.
- Calcium - yes, calcium! You don’t need milk to get it. Eat kale – the calcium is more easily absorbed by our bodies than it is from dairy products.
- Vitamin B6, magnesium, Iron, Folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K -- all great for immune support to keep you healthy
- Weight loss – kale’s fiber content and nutrients keep you full and satisfied longer, and boosts your metabolism by keeping insulin levels steady
- …..and more! I’m telling you….kale is magic.
And you’re in luck! I’m here to show you 3 easy, delicious ways you can incorporate more kale into your diet.
#1: Sauteed Kale
What you’ll need:
- A big handful of kale (more if you’re serving multiple people – the kale shrinks when cooked)
- 1/2 an onion
- 1 large garlic clove
- Splash of tamari (wheat-free soy sauce).
- Small pinch of cayenne (optional)
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Dab of coconut oil for saute (optional – you can use water/other oil)
Cut your kale into small pieces and put it in a pan with onions, garlic and coconut oil or water for saute.
Add tamari, lemon juice and cayenne and saute for about 10 minutes, or until onions are translucent.
There you go! The perfect health-packed side dish.
#2: Raw Kale Salad
What you’ll need:
- 1 bunch of kale
- 1 tomato
- 1 onion
- 1 cucumber
- Whatever other veggies/add-ons you like (I’ll give you some ideas below!)
- Your choice of dressing – I use a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, cayenne, sea salt & black pepper!
Chop up your raw kale (wash it thoroughly!) and put it in a salad bowl.
Easiest/quickest salad: add chopped tomato, chopped onion, chopped cucumber, dressing, and EAT!
My favorite: get a little crazy with it. Add carrots, radish, avocado, pumpkin/sunflower seeds, and blueberries! I swear this is the most delicious salad EVER, and one of my favorite ways to enjoy kale!
#3: Green Kale Smoothie
What you’ll need:
- A blender (preferably a high-power blender like a Vita-Mix, but a regular one will do!)
- Handful of kale
- 1/2 a banana
- Coconut water, coconut milk, almond milk or regular water – your liquid of choice
- Berries, peaches or whatever other fruit you think would taste good!
Blend all ingredients and DRINK! One of the BEST ways to have more kale. I drink these every day, and believe me, they taste DELICIOUS. (Read more about green smoothies here).
I hope this post inspires you to get more of the magical green stuff, KALE, in your diet! Don’t be surprised when you feel like a million bucks.