5 reasons {and ways} to eat kale

Recently Graham and I started eating a bit differently.  It was due to the combination of receiving a high cholesterol diagnosis and with starting to try to get pregnant again.  BOTH of our bodies needed a tune-up.  Graham wasn’t about to go on high cholesterol medicine and what I eat is literally the only thing that I can control when it comes to making sure a pregnancy can thrive.

We knew we needed to change the way that we ate, but we weren’t sure what exactly needed to change.  Somehow we stumbled upon a documentary on Netflix {okay, it wasn’t an accident, Netflix conveniently/creepily “suggested” it for us before we even thought about watching a documentary}.  It was called “Hungry for Change”. 

If you do not subscribe to Netflix, you can watch the movie on Amazon!

What we took away from the movie was that what we “need” in every meal can be obtained through plenty of other sources.  For example, our protein doesn’t always have to come from meat.  Protein is found in beans and nuts, for instance.  And by substituting in beans or nuts as a protein source some of the time, it would cut down on the high cholesterol producing fats we consumed.

It also reminded us that eating foods in their most natural, whole state was the best for our bodies.  Even “healthy” processed foods really aren’t that great for you once you start comparing it to the nutrients and benefits of eating a piece of fruit or a vegetable.  Also, if you do not know what an ingredient is that is listed on the box, your body probably doesn’t know how to process it.

Basically, Graham and I have adopted a {mostly} plant-based, whole foods diet.  The reason I say mostly is because we aren’t cutting out meat/animal by-products {cheese, eggs, etc} completely from our diet….instead of saying “we can’t eat meat” we are saying “we are going to try and eat more alternate forms of protein” and try to stick with no-fat dairy products. 

What we are definitely focused on, however, is the whole foods aspect of this change.  Cutting out processed foods is our main goal.

Don’t get me wrong, we still enjoy some of our favorite foods.  We have what we’ve termed “cheat days” where we go out for dinner to one of our local restaurants, or enjoy a dinner with friends, etc., but even when these cheat days come around, we are making healthier choices!

With all of this being said, one of my new favorite foods is kale.  I have always been intrigued with kale, but was always too intimidated to buy it.  Now that we stay on the outer walls of a grocery store {produce and dairy sections} when shopping, I have been buying new things so that we can continue to expand our food base.

Here are my top five reasons for eating kale:

1.  Kale is packed with vitamins and antioxidants that fight disease and boost the immune system.

2.  Calorie for calorie, kale has more calcium than milk and more iron than beef.

3.  With 5 grams of fiber per cup, kale aids in digestion and can help lower cholesterol.

4.  Kale helps hair grow, by improving circulation in the scalp.

5.  Has 10x more Vitamin C than spinach.

If lists aren’t your thing, maybe this graphic from Nutribullet will convince you to add kale to your diet:

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Telling myself to eat more kale was one thing.  Actually eating more kale was another.  Here are five different ways I now eat kale and have easily added this veggie to my diet:

1.  Make kale chips

2.  Throw pieces of kale into soup

3.  Use it instead of a tortilla….wrap your burrito into a kale leaf!

4.  Add a layer of kale to your lasagna or pasta dish {just like you would spinach}

5.  Chop it up into a salad or sauté it with a little olive oil and lemon juice for a side dish

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