Some call it a nutritional powerhouse; others claim it’s bad in large quantities.
But, all opinions aside, I believe everyone can agree that kale — the once-unfashionable, leafy, green vegetable — has become increasingly more popular in the last couple years.
It wasn’t too long ago that I would go to the grocery store and skirt by America’s new “it” vegetable without thinking twice about turning back. The first time I had it, it was blended in a horrendous green smoothie. The second time, I had it raw. Definitely not two of the finer kale experiences I’ve had.
Now, however, I go to the store specifically to pick it up — and if we’re being honest, I’m at the point where I actually get upset if it’s all been picked through by the time I go to buy some.
Why the change of heart?
Well, first of all: I’m a vegetarian. I’ve already limited myself to a specific subset of foods, so I can’t really be that much morepicky about what I eat. (And, yes, I have tried veganism. Never again will I make that mistake.)
Second: I love eating healthy. Even though studies have shown kale has been linked to hypothyroidism, maintaining a healthy, plant-based diet shoos me away from the drive-through — where I could be getting heart disease — and keeps me inside the kitchen, instead.
Doing this, I have not only been able to reap the health benefits of kale, but I have also been able to explore the many uses of kale. In one recipe, I used a kale leaf as a wrap in place of bread. In another, it acted as the entrée. And, in another — a soup — it played a subtle, yet filling role.
I’m not the only one who has noticed the sudden uptick in the use of kale, either. Jess Miller, a senior journalism student at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, said she, too, has also cooked a lot with kale since its second-coming.
“When I interned in Chautauqua (N.Y.), we cooked with kale all the time,” Miller said, referencing her roommates. “We’d put it in smoothies, in salads — everything.”
But, really — when it boasts high levels of iron, fiber, calcium, and Vitamin A and C, as well as zero fat, who honestly wouldn’t want to put the queen of greens in everything?