What's So Great About Kale? - Sweet Potato Chronicles - Sweet Potato Chronicles

What's So Great About Kale?

It all started a cou­ple of years ago.  It was kale this and kale that. When you ordered deliv­ery organ­ics, the box arrived at the door loaded with kale. The store shelves seemed to sud­denly be burst­ing with giant bun­dles of thick green leaves. It made me tense. What's wrong with good old spinach? Why do they sell this kale stuff in such large quan­ti­ties? How is it so green? Does it even taste good? My mom never made me kale.

Then my rela­tion­ship with SPC began and my kale anx­i­eties deep­ened. I was intro­duced to Laura. Or should I say, LAURA, QUEEN OF KALE! whip­ping up her mini kale piz­zas and kale pesto pasta and kale quiche. Not only that, but Scar­lett helps to make these dishes and then she eats them … hap­pily!

Now, if I pro­duced a  kale pizza, my lit­tle dar­ling would screw up her face and com­mence a hunger strike. Or would she?  Per­haps I don't give her enough credit. Per­haps I hide behind my child's fussy eat­ing habits to mask my own kale inse­cu­ri­ties. I admit, I don't cook with kale very often. I've let more bun­dles turn to a soupy mess in my fridge than I care to count. But I am deter­mined because it is lit­er­ally nature's best. You know how I know this? Laura told me.

That is, Laura and the Aggre­gate Nutri­ent Den­sity Index (ANDI ). This is a real mind fuck if there ever was one. If you weren't already tor­tured by the food you and your fam­ily eats, this one ought to do the trick. The ANDI sys­tem is some­thing Dr. Joel Fuhrman cooked up and Whole Foods Mar­ket has endorsed.  Accord­ing to his web­site, Dr. Fuhrman is a board-certified fam­ily physi­cian who spe­cial­izes in pre­vent­ing and revers­ing dis­ease through nutri­tional and nat­ural meth­ods. He is the author of sev­eral books on nutri­tion and health includ­ing Disease-Proof Your Child. ANDI is his rat­ing sys­tem assigned to foods that scores nutri­ents per calo­rie, the high­est being 1000 which kale receives , and the low­est is 1 which cola receives.  We really didn't need a rank­ing sys­tem for that. It is every­thing in between that star­tles me about the ANDI rank­ing sys­tem. Accord­ing to ANDI, the sweet potato, for exam­ple, scores a mere 83, avo­cado a 36, and the much praised blue­berry gets a flimsy 130. Huh? You can refer to our posts on sweet potato, avo­cado and  blue­berry to learn why they are ter­rific foods.  I won't take it back, the ANDI sys­tem be damned.  Where Dr. Fuhrman  gets it right is with kale: it really is the veg­etable.

Kale belongs to the Bras­sica fam­ily which includes cru­cif­er­ous veg­eta­bles like cab­bage, col­lards, broc­coli, and brus­sels sprouts, a fam­ily of healthy veg­eta­bles indeed, ( just take a look at their ANDI pro­files below) but kale truly is King. Accord­ing to the web­site whfoods.org, "Kale is now rec­og­nized as pro­vid­ing com­pre­hen­sive sup­port for the body's detox­i­fi­ca­tion sys­tem. New research has shown that the Isoth­io­cyanates made from kale's glu­cosi­no­lates can help reg­u­late detox at a genetic level."  I have no idea what that means, but it sounds good, doesn't it? Whfoods.org also states that it is these glu­cosi­no­lates, which kale is espe­cially rich in, that are con­verted by the body into can­cer pre­ven­tive com­pounds. Sign me up.

To put it sim­ply, kale pro­motes health at every level, it is loaded with antiox­i­dants and anti-inflammatory nutri­ents, (Vit­a­mins C, A, E, K and ALA omega 3 fatty acids to name only its top play­ers). It is packed with fiber and is low in calo­ries, con­tains cal­cium, and B Vit­a­mins. Kale is good for your heart, plays a sig­nif­i­cant role in detox and as more and more research is being con­ducted, kale is being touted as legit­i­mate in can­cer pre­ven­tion specif­i­cally in rela­tion to colon, prostate, blad­der, breast and ovary can­cers. It is hard to argue with that, the ANDI rat­ing and Laura, so get kale in the mix.

A word of cau­tion on kale — it ranks among the dirty dozen for pes­ti­cides accord­ing to the Envi­ron­men­tal Work­ing Group so buy organic when you can.


Kale for beginners:

Kale Chips

Bun­dle of Kale

2 tsp or 3 olive oil
1/4 cup parme­sean
Wash and trim a bun­dle of kale. Remove the cen­tre stalk and tear leafy greens into medium sized pieces.
Driz­zle olive oil and then toss with your hands, be sure to get right in there. You don't need a lot to cover every­thing lightly.
Lightly dust freshly grated parme­sean.  Again, get in there with your hands.

The key to great kale chips is patience. Spread your kale out on a bak­ing sheets — the pieces must  not touch or they won't crisp up.

I cook mine for 9 min­utes in a con­vec­tion oven set to 350º. If you don't have a con­vec­tion oven try 400º for 8 — 10 min­utes. Every oven is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent, you may have to exper­i­ment a bit with time.  I always take my bot­tom bak­ing sheet out first and give the top one a few more sec­onds as I remove the crsipy chips and reload for another round.


One Comment

  1. […] What’s So Great About Kale? Given our obses­sion with kale, we can’t quite believe it took us so long to hit this one. […]

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