Kale, the superfood saving humanity one green leaf at a time.

Kale, Spinach, Watercress

Kale, Spinach, Watercress

The only thing I knew about kale was that my 5 year old could spell it. I had heard of kale, I’d seen it at the supermarket but never knowingly eaten it until 2 weeks ago. From a distance it looked like a cross between savoy cabbage and spinach and since I’m pleased with my intake of both, I didn’t feel the need to venture near it.

A friend of mine recently started a diet of vegetable and fruit smoothies (not combined, thankfully). When I saw her 2 weeks later I didn’t recognise her. It was not that she dropped 3 dress sizes- although she did lose some weight, it was the glow in her skin, the brightness of her eyes and even her hair looked like it had taken on a new lease on life. She quite simply looked gorgeous. Another friend shared the benefits of this superfood with me. Increased mental alertness- heaven knows I need it, and increased energy- right up my street to help keep up with my boys!

So without much ado I decided to juice some kale.

Yes it was horrible.

Day 1 Salt & Spice
I had a strong craving for spice or salt, but since I was doing something right for my mind and body, I felt great! I began to imagine the compliments that were silently being amassed to be released like confetti over me by week two. So I exercised military resistance and went about with a smug smile.

Day 2 it was sweets and pastry.
I have my moments when I crave a lemon cheesecake- the single person portion so I don’t have to I’m not expected to share, then there are my Cadbury’s chocolate trifle as well as my apple pie and custard days. These days tend to be separate and unrelated. Usually inspired by some activity linked to stress or irritation. It’s my antidote especially since I have a responsibility to be a good mother to the boys and a loving wife to J. So on those days even if I don’t feel like it I force myself to indulge. Quite sad really. It goes without saying that yesterday’s smug smile disappeared and in it’s place was a thin, straight line.

Day 3 I just wanted a MacDonald Chicken Legend.
Even a happy meal would have sufficed. In fact I would have been happy to be a burger and then eat my way out to join humanity. The permission I needed came when I felt car sick whilst driving. Who feels car sick while doing their own driving? So I caved. I had a Chicken Legend with mayo, medium fries and two small bottles of orange juice.

Now if you’ve ever dieted or tried to kick a bad habit like smoking you may have experienced the dejected feeling that accompanies caving in, in a moment of weakness. You feel like a failure. That you did so well and messed it all just for a flimsy little burger? Not even a gourmet one at that?

Well… I didn’t feel that way at all. In fact from that moment on and for the next few days I was ecstatic. I felt I deserved that burger and yes it broke my streak, but who’s counting days? I devoured every bit of it with relish, I ate every chip down to the last grain of salt. And I was truly glad to be alive. At this point I stopped to hold a full conversation with myself about how dismal life would be if we ate merely for sustenance or worse, if humans didn’t have taste buds.

But now I am ready to start over. I’ve had 5 straight days of eating for pleasure rather than for sustenance. Life without taste is not how I’d like to live however, I do want to live long and I want to be healthy so here we are. Tomorrow I jump back on the band wagon. This is the plan as I type this. This time I’m adding exercise to it. Insanity to be exact. Truth be told I have never gone beyond the fit test, not even completed it. The fit test is an initial workout to show your resting fitness levels, before you begin the real McCoy. In my opinion that’s more than enough exercise. View the Insanity Workout and the annoying enthusiastic Tania here if you’re not familiar with the movement. I’ll also have a bucketful of fruit on standby and a healthy dinner nightly.

Did I mention that there have not been any compliments on my hair, skin or general appearance? I did have someone point out that I had ‘filled out nicely’. I’ll pretend I don’t know what that means.

Why did it go wrong?

I blame this on my sanguine personality. We are impulsive people to say the least and once dear friend mentioned kale, off I went to the supermarket to buy the prescription. Kale, Spinach, watercress, cucumber, parsnips, mint all blended. Since she said you don’t feel hungry while on the plan, it never occurred to me to build in lunch into the diet. I had no meal plan. All I heard was ‘juice kale first thing in the morning’ and I did. So I flopped.

I have since done some research and discovered that Kale is indeed a superfood and we’ll all do well to add it to our diet. It doesn’t have to be added in as a smoothie only, I found some wonderful recipes by Martha Stewart. And several on goop.com, one of my favourite websites. I’ll slowly introduce the boys to it via this very simple recipe of kale chips. I think Gwyneth is the kale ambassador.

If you need convincing, here are some of the known benefits of kale:

  • High in iron, calcium, Vitamins A, C, K
  • Low calorie, high fibre, zero fat
  • High in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories
  • Great for detox

Have you had success with this fad? Or joined the cult of kale?

bittermelon/flickr

bittermelon/flickr

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