By Martha Hicks Leta
Most adults with busy lives become creatures of habit when it comes to cooking and eating. At the grocery store, if we get there at all, we tend to stick with the same familiar staples. In the produce aisle that usually means the same boring rotation of broccoli, green beans and lettuce, leaving an entire spectrum of leafy greens, unexplored.
Kale, for instance, is a dark leafy member of the cabbage family that thrives in cooler weather. If you’ve spent any time in fishing villages like New Bedford or Provincetown or if you are of Portuguese descent, you’re probably familiar with kale as a staple in things like Portuguese Kale soup, which runs a close second in these parts to traditional New England clam chowder, and yet it’s a much healthier alternative.
As a nutritional powerhouse, kale is unsurpassed. Says expert Teris Espinosa at Fitness Together in North Attelboro, “Kale is packed with nutrients. It is a great source of fiber, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, potassium, copper and manganese.”
This sort of nutritional punch delivers myriad benefits, such as lowering cholesterol, fighting free radicals that cause cancer, improving eye health, and reducing risk of heart disease, even more so when it is eaten cooked instead of raw.
“Kale is great in so many ways,” says Espinosa. “Delicious in smoothies! Add it to some fruit, almond milk and protein, blend it and yumm! You can brush some olive oil on it add a little sea salt and bake it to make kale chips.”
Before you go charging for the kale a few caveats from Web MD expert Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD. “Vitamin K is necessary for a wide variety of bodily functions, including normal blood clotting, antioxidant activity, and bone health. But too much vitamin K can pose problems for some people. Anyone taking anticoagulants such as Warfarin should avoid kale because the high level of vitamin K may interfere with the drugs. Consult your doctor before adding kale to your diet.”
If Kale is in your dietary wheelhouse, add it to your protein shake to replenish after a challenging FT workout,. To do so, you should thoroughly wash the kale leaves and remove the stem, which can be a bit too fibrous for most blenders to handle. If you want to go hog wild, you can blanch and freeze it before blending. This will allow you to use only what you need and you can save money by buying it in bulk. Try these delicious kale recipes for extra nutrients in your diet:
Post FT Workout Smoothie
In a blender combine:
1 cup almond milk
1 scoop of your favorite protein/whey powder
3 ice cubes
1 handful of washed kale leaves without the spines
1 handful of frozen blueberries
Crank it up and enjoy!
FT North Attleboro Kale Chips
1 bunch kale
1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic minced
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Thoroughly wash and dry kale. Remove leaves from stem and spine. Cut or tear leaves into bite size pieces. In a bowl lightly coat kale pieces with EVOO and garlic. Sprinkle with sea salt. (For variety add chili flakes and paprika.) Place kale pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment, or coated with non-stick spray.
Bake for 12-14 minutes.
To find an FT Studio near you check out FTGetsResults.