Before you bail on kale, experiment by going green

Food & Drink

kale

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?

Underrated superheroes: Green Tea and Lemon

Food & Drink, Health & Beauty, Healthy Recipes


My favorite tea brand? Yogi Tea. Its inspirational quotes only add to the reasons why I drink tea every morning. Photo by me.

One of my favorite times of the day is the morning — not waking up, but everything after the fact. Breakfast arguably plays host to the best cuisine out of all meals of the day (and you can get away with lathering it all in syrup, which is also awesome); you get to plan what you’re going to do with your day, whether it be getting errands done, working out or relaxing (something I’ve done a lot of since graduating from college a few weeks ago); and you feel more accomplished, even if you don’t end up getting anything done. You woke up with the sun, and that’s a feat in itself anymore. At least for me.

To get myself ready for the day, though, one of my favorite morning routines is preparing a cup of hot green tea with lemon. I love tea anytime during the day, but drinking tea in the morning helps me relax, reflect and focus — all of which I value greatly when I want to begin (and continue) my day on a good note. Not to mention green tea, in particular, is chock full of antioxidants and a number of health benefits, including a notable decrease in pancreatic and stomach cancer rates, heart disease and total cholesterol, as well as the prevention of dental cavities, stress and chronic fatigue.

The lemon helps the reduction of said ailments even further. According to Lifehacker.com, catechins, the main health compound in green tea that helps reduce cancer, heart attack and other diseases, isn’t absorbed in the intestines very well, with about 20 percent making it through after digestion. Studies showed that adding lemon to green tea helped the body absorb up to 80 percent of the catechins, or 13 times more than usual, following digestion.

Who knew something so underrated could be so powerful? Next time you’re reaching for the coffee pot, try a cup of green tea with lemon instead! You’ll feel better in the long run, you’ll be more refreshed and you’ll still get your caffeine!