Superfood spotlight: Kale

So, as the old saying goes, “you are what you eat”, so I want to be super, just like Kale!!!

Food is changing everyday, and what is changing is not the food itself, but the image of food. In the year 2012 we are being bombarded with fast food ads everytime we turn on the T.V or flip the pages of a magazine. What is most alarming is that most of these ads are luring the consumer to buy foods that are high in fat, sodium, and sugars. The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale recently published a study in which the link between food ads and overconsumption of these foods is explored. The results, which can be seen here demonstrate just how vulnerable we have become to the ever changing food trends as we allow ourselves to be influenced by what we are told by the media. Food is very much like fashion nowadays, and that is not necesarily a good thing. We follow trends and we eat what everyone else is eating. We thoughtlessly spit out terms like “organic”, and “low fat” without really knowing what they mean and continue to buy food that has been packaged with those labels just because the “top chefs” endorse them. We buy these foods without ever really reading labels and trying to understand their fat, salt, and sugar contents.

In this big convoluted mess of food labeling, food trends, fast food, and foodies we loose sight of what food really is, nourishment. We must take a step away from the supermarket frozen food aisle ( which conviniently lights up as you walk by) and reevaluate what we are putting into our bodies and WHY it is that we chose to eat that. No matter what anyone is trying to sell, we must always think of our health first and try to buy as many unprocessed, unlabeled foods that have no other agenda other than nourishing and energyzing our bodies. Of course, making them taste good comes with a little bit of creativty and effort.

Allow me to introduce you to kale. Kale is just perfect in every way. Not only is the lush green color the perfect addition to an incredibly healthy salad, but its antioxidant and antiinflamatory nutrients help against chronic inflamation and oxidative stress, both of which can be contributing factors to certain types of cancers. Kale is rich in vitamins K, A, and C, and is also rich in fiber. Of course, this is only a brief summary of kale’s superpowers, however, it is trully amazing to see how these simple and natural foods are the ones that keep our body in check. It is a gift of nature and we must learn how to use it by trying to absorb as much education about the food we eat.

So Kale is amazing, that is all I wanted to get across. It is best when bought during the late winter and early spring months when its in season. It can be braised with tomato sauce, baked or dehydrated into kale chips, and tossed with you favorite ingredients for a delicious salad.

Make delicious kale and roasted butternut squash salad by peeling then dicing ( about 1 inch thick) a butternut squash. Toss the cubes in olive oil and roast until tender. Season with salt and pepper and allow to cool. While they cool, remove the kale leaves from the thick stems and wash thoroughly. Once its rinsed well, tear the leaves into bite size pieces with your hands. Drain well and set aside. I love this salad with a curry vinaigrette that I make by mixing 1 tbs of dijon mustard, 1 grated garlic clove, 1 tbs curry powder, 2 tbs golden balsamic vinegar, and 3 tbs olive oil. You can add honey for extra sweetness. Gather dried apricots and cut them into thin strips. Now toss the kale, squash, and apricots with the vinaigrette and top with dry sunflower seeds for an extra crunch and goat cheese for a tangy punch that will pair well with the curry. you can add a poached egg or a chicken breast for extra protein! Enjoy and remember to always eat mindfully!

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