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It’s Easy to Include Kale

Not so, “Ugh, kale”

I always encourage my patients to include dark greens everyday.  They invariably make a face and snarl “ugh, kale”.  Then I’m off and running with a dialogue on the glories and ease of enjoying kale.

decorative kale

During the summer I love picking kale fresh out of the garden; it also looks beautiful growing in a planter – and it will keep growing even after early frosts. Over the winter, it’s still easy to get a bunch of kale at the grocery store. Wrap the base of its stems in a moist paper towel and then put the punch in a plastic bag in your fridge, to keep it fresh for a week or more.

 Kale ornaments this beautiful flowerbed at the Linz Gallery of Art in Austria – nobody seemed to mind that I sampled it!

We shifted to whole foods plant based in 2010,  and I discovered the real fun and glories of kale when Caldwell and Ann Esselstyn came to present at a Healthy Eating Adventure Kick Off in Mercersburg in 2011 . Dr. Esselstyn talked about the benefits of dark greens to your endothelium – antioxidant, anti inflammatory, increases Nitric Oxide production and increases the production of endothelial progenitor (precursor) cells by the bone marrow.  He presented his 12 year study of the power of plants in healing patients with severe cardiac disease; this study and his subsequent with 198 more patients provide convincing evidence and our Healthy Eating Adventures continue to confirm the many many benefits.

Ann Esselstyn sharing kale tips at their 2011 visit to Mercersburg.  

Many Thanks

Ann did her kale stripping demo and extolled all it’s uses – massaging kale with hummus, even putting it in oatmeal for breakfast; after that, kale became a best friend in my kitchen.

Kale Adds Zing to Leftovers!

I was poking back through photos and discovered this video we had done about one of the many easy ways to include kale. Pardon the shakiness – Hubby was laughing, but you can see how easy it is to “strip the kale”. Watch how easily you can add kale to increase your dark greens, pretty much to anything you cook or reheat – soups, stews, steamed veggies. Just “strip the kale” from it’s stems; add it to your pot early if you like it blended into the flavor, or just at the end of cooking to  let it wilt just a bit.

Kale peps up a salad.  Massaging with Lemon!

Simply strip the leaves and break into bite sized pieces.  Then squeeze fresh lemon over it and give it a good massage.  This both tenderizes it  and takes any bitterness away.  (Kale doesn’t usually get bitter except the really older leaves on the plant. )  You can just toss this with your salad, or you can “steam fry” it with some garlic and onions for a delicious side dish – yummy with balsamic vinegar.

Topped with Frozen Kale

Something happens when you freeze kale allowing it to cook for less time to soften. Adding this last when roasting ensures it keeps a bit of texture.

Krispy Kale on Roasted Veggies

I also like to add kale to my roasted veggies. After the seasoned veggies have cooked for 30 minutes at 375, I add a can of beans (drained) – what ever color will look pretty, and I add some kale pieces. Bake for 20 more minutes. Comes out krisp and flavorful!

Beautiful – Kale, veggie, fruit basket – and one of our favorite cook books.  Photo is from our earliest Healthy Eating Adventure – 2010 – AKA “Engine 2 Mercersburg”.  Over 500 persons have participated since Rip Esselstyn came to Mercersburg to help kick off our community adventures.

Many thanks again Rip,  Ann and Dr. Esselstyn  we’re still going plant strong, kale happy!!



An Adventure is a community-based 28-day program that can kick-start you on a lifetime of healthier eating with a whole foods, plant based lifestyle.

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