5 Weeks To Healthier Eating Challenge. Week 1: Kale

Here’s the challenge: 5 weeks, 5 super-foods, and 5 ways to prepare them! We all want to eat healthier, right?   The secret to healthier eating is NOT to obsess about all the foods you CAN’T eat, but rather focus on adding new, health promoting foods to your existing diet. For the next 5 weeks, I will be presenting one food a week for you to try….or to try in a new way.   All you have to do is try just one of the five recipes presented each week and decide….is this a food I can live with?

Week 1: Hail To The Kale!

Kale recipe

I recently shared a simple kale recipe on Facebook, and it practically went viral! (Well, mini-viral at least.)   So I can only conclude that there are people out there who are as enamoured with kale as I am. Who would have thunk it?

In our book, 100 Perks of Having Cancer Plus 100 Health Tips for Surviving It, my esteemed co-author Susan, talks about 9 of the health promoting benefits of this fabulous super-food (pg. 193). I would now like to share with you 5 of these benefits. (Just because I know you have a short attention span, and 5 is a nice, easy number to work with.) So here goes:

  1. Anti-inflammatory properties. When it comes to your health, the inflammatory response in the body is the root of all evil! Inflammation is the underlying cause of arthritis, heart disease, cancer, and a number of auto-immune diseases. Kale is an incredibly effective ANTI-inflammatory food, which may prevent and in some cases, even reverse the inflammatory response in the body.
  2. Iron content. It is a common misconception that most vegetarians are anemic. In fact, kale is a great source of iron and per calorie, it has more iron than beef!
  3. Calcium content. Move over milk! Kale contains 90 mg. of calcium per serving. This is more calcium, per calorie, than milk, and as an added benefit this calcium is more easily absorbed by the body than is the calcium from milk.
  4. Low calorie. One cup of fresh kale has just 30 skinny little calories, and less than one milligram of fat. (Plus loads of fiber to keep you feeling full longer.)
  5. Cancer-fighting kick. Here is why I love it!   Kale belongs to the cruciferous family of veggies, along with broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. These veggies are extremely high in phytochemicals, sulforaphane and indole 3-carbinol, which are not just fancy words, but have also been proven to protect against cancer.

So there you have it. Five good reasons to eat kale. Now let me share with you 5 of my favorite ways to eat it.

1. Kale chips. A delicious snack that you don’t have to feel guilty about eating.

kale chips

1 bunch of kale, washed and stems removed.

1-2 tablespoons olive oil (I use “herb infused” olive oil for extra flavor)

Desired seasonings to taste (sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc.)

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F. Make sure kale is COMPLETELY dry. Tear kale into pieces, toss in a bowl with olive oil and seasonings. Place in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!

2. Quick kale. Ok, I don’t actually have a name for this recipe, (or a picture, sorry) so I just made that one up in a pinch. This is a quick and easy side dish, which I also use on top of pasta.

1 whole Large Bunch Of Kale, Or 2 Regular Bunches

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2-3 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced

Salt And Pepper, to taste

1/2 Lemon, Optional

Thoroughly rinse the kale in cold water, soaking if necessary to remove grit. Tear the kale into chunks.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and quickly stir it around to avoid burning.

Throw in the kale and toss it around the skillet. Sprinkle in salt and pepper and continue cooking until slightly wilted but still crisp, about 1 to 2 minutes. (Or longer if you like.)

Remove the kale to a plate and serve!

Option: Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the top.

3. Colorful Kale and Cabbage Stew….try saying that fast 3 times. It is quite the mouthful…and quite the delicious tummy full too! With super foods like kale, sweet potatoes, onions and garlic, this stew is a winner for cancer fighting nutrition. (And a great Fall comfort food)

kale stew2

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cabbage, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups kale, shredded
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 large sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 medium red potato, cubed skin on, well scrubbed
  • 2 1/2 cups organic vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a medium stock pot, heat oil and sauté onion and garlic for 2 to 3 minutes. Add cabbage and kale with about 1/2 cup of water, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add vegetable broth and carrots and simmer an additional 10 minutes. Then add the sweet potato and red potato, and continue to simmer, covered for about another 20 to 30 minutes. Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

4. Kale and Quinoa Salad. As beautiful to look at as it is to eat.

kale salad blog

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice…about 2-3 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable broth
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste taste to see if you need it

1 tsp. chia seeds or ground flax seeds for thickening

Salad:

  • 4-6 cups chopped kale leaves (about 4-5 ounces)
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans rinsed and drained (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1/2 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 avocado sliced or cubed (optional but recommended)
  • additional lemon juice and seasonings to taste

Directions

Heat a saucepan that has a lid. Add the rinsed and drained quinoa and the garlic and toast it until almost dry. Add the vegetable broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover. Simmer until all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

While the quinoa is cooking, make the dressing in a small bowl or measuring cup: whisk together the lemon juice, 3 tablespoons broth, chia/flax seeds, chile powders, cumin, and salt. Allow to stand until the chia seeds start to thicken the dressing.

Place the kale in a large serving bowl. Add half of the dressing and massage it into the kale using a wringing motion until the kale is very tender. Two minutes of massaging should do it, but the longer, the better. Add the quinoa, black beans, carrot, and bell pepper, along with the remaining dressing. Mix well and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Just before serving, check the seasoning and add more lemon juice, chile powder, cumin, and salt, as needed. Stir in chopped avocado, if desired, or serve with slices of avocado on the side.

5. Kale Chowder

kale chowder

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 heaping tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 heaping tsp dried rosemary
  • 7 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 4 cups kale, de-stemmed, finely chopped

Directions

Saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil for about 5 minutes and stir. Then add in the carrots, parsley, and rosemary, and cook for five more minutes while stirring.

Add in the vegetable stock and chopped cauliflower. Simmer until the cauliflower is softened.

Place the soup into a blender, but leave some pieces of carrot and cauliflower behind so it will be a bit chunky. Blend the rest of the soup until it’s smooth and then place it back in the pot.

Add in the chopped kale. Simmer for another 10 minutes until the kale is fully cooked.

Kale recipe

 

So there you have it folks, 5 great recipes to choose from to get you back on track with your healthy living plan.

Another thing I really love about kale is that it is so easy to grow from seed. My mother, who is a fabulous gardener, has it growing in abundance. So needless to say, kale is finding its way into many of our meals. If you have more kale than you can digest right now, don’t fret, here is an easy way to “keep” it: Bring a pot of water to a boil. Place kale in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, just until it turns a bright green color. Immediately put it in a drainer and run it under cold water to stop the cooking process. Place in containers and freeze.  Of course, you would not make chips with this “blanched” kale, but it works great in other recipes.

If you like these recipes, and you would like to learn more about eating for cancer prevention, please sign up for our Free 4 day Cancer Plan 4 Life Kickstart Program. Bon Appetit!

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