Kale. Where did it come from? It’s like it appeared out of thin air and onto everyone’s dinner plates. Well, in reality, kale has been around forever. If you haven’t tried kale, you are kind of missing out on life. Don’t be scared; it’s really not that bad. So what stirred up this big boom in the demand for kale? Celebrities, hipsters and vegetarians may be to thank for bringing attention to this hearty cuisine, but who really knows?
A woman putting kale into her blender by Jamie Grill.
About two years ago, the owner of the juice bar I work at told us we were going to start putting kale in a new drink. It wasn’t a juice drink (which would have been a little more understandable), it was a smoothie. Needless to say, all of us employees were disgusted at the thought of putting “lettuce” in someones smoothie. Well, it turns out the smoothie was actually DELICIOUS. Kale had been gaining popularity, and customers were more than willing to give it a try. It is now a permanent fixture on our menu and, dare I say, the most popular smoothie we sell? Surprisingly enough, if you put a modest amount of kale into your smoothies, you really can’t taste it.
Although it looks like a form of lettuce, kale is actually part of the cabbage family. It comes in several different forms, but “curly kale” is the most common. It is considered a super food because the health benefits it contains and the variety of ways you can consume it. It is low in calories yet rich in fiber, protein, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids. Kale has more vitamin C than an orange, more calcium than milk and more iron than beef.
Consuming kale is an excellent way to get fiber into your diet. However, it is best that you eat kale raw, blended or cooked rather than juiced because juicing takes the insoluble fiber out of fruits and vegetables. With that being said, kale still has other amazing benefits, when juiced, to boast about.
A close up of curly kale by Charles Imsteph.
Like all foods, kale should be consumed in moderation. Too much of anything can be a bad thing. Kale has been linked to thyroid problems because it is a cruciferous vegetable. These types of vegetables may prevent the absorption of iodine, leading to thyroid issues. These issues mainly arise when kale is consumed raw, so in this case, cooking it would be best.
Whether its raw, cooked or juiced, there are several ways to incorporate kale into your diet. I have seen kale chips, sautéed kale, blended in smoothies, juiced, in soup, and on pizza. You get the point. You can basically put kale in anything! Now that you know the amazing benefits of kale and how simple it is to get it into your diet, what are you waiting for?!
Until next time,
The Juice Bar(ista)