TAKE THE KALE CHALLENGE …
Many of you know from watching the videos, I eat Kale almost everyday. It’s probably my favorite vegetable of all times. When it comes to fruits and veggies, have you heard, “the richer the color - the higher the nutritional value”? Well, that certainly holds true for Kale. Kale is a cruciferous vegetable that can be considered a super food that contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, macronutrients (the average U.S. adult is currently deficient in), and cancer-preventive nutrients.
For a few decades now, we've known that many phytonutrients work as antioxidants disarming free radicals before they can cause damage to DNA, cell membranes and fat-containing molecules such as cholesterol. New research is now revealing the phytonutrients in cruciferous vegetables, such as kale, work on a way deeper level. They actually signal our genes to increase production of enzymes involved in detoxification, (which eliminates harmful compounds). The phytonutrients initiate an intricate dance in which gene response elements direct the steps of dozens of detoxification enzyme partners, each performing their own protective role in perfect harmony with the other dancers. As a result our cells' ability to disarm and clear free radicals and toxins, is optimized. Nice, huh? I’ve always said life is better when I’m dancing. Now that has a deeper meaning for me. Who’d a thunk eating Kale would make your insides dance? And if that’s not enough to convince you to eat Kale … Here’s a few studies to wrap your head around.
At the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA, a study of over 1,200 men was conducted. Those eating 28 servings of vegetables a week had a 35% lower risk of prostate cancer, but those consuming just 3 or more servings of cruciferous vegetables each week had a 44% lower risk of prostate cancer.
In the Netherlands Cohort Study on Diet and Cancer, data was collected on over 100,000 people for more than 6 years. Those eating the most vegetables benefited with a 25% lower risk of colorectal cancers, but those eating the most crucifers did almost twice as well with a 49% drop in their colorectal cancer risk.
In Singapore, air pollution levels are often high, putting stress on the detoxification capacity of residents' lungs. A study of Chinese women in Singapore found that non-smokers, eating cruciferous vegetables lowered risk of lung cancer by 30%. In smokers, regular cruciferous vegetable consumption reduced lung cancer risk by 69%!
And ladies that don’t smoke and have good digestion don’t think you’re exempt, for it goes beyond prostate, colon and Lung cancer. Eating a diet high in cruciferous vegetables appears to lessen the occurrence of a wide variety of cancers, also including breast and ovarian cancers.
Free radical damage doesn’t just lead to cancer. Those little tyrants can damage the body in many other ways including painful inflammatory conditions, such as asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
So for our purposes of the Kale Challenge, we are going to use the guidelines to lower your risk of cancer … you need only 3 to 5 servings of cruciferous vegetables per week. (1 serving = 1 cup). So I challenge you to eat Kale 5 days a week for at least one month and see how you feel. If it’s working for you – perhaps you’ll keep it up ☺
Here is my favorite recipe and some variations.
Braggs Liquid Amino Acids to taste
1. Wash, pull leaves off stems and steam Kale leaves (2 minutes or
less- you want to retain the nutrients) (save stems for juicing if you have a
2. Spray on braggs (to taste – maybe a dozen pumps)
3. Generously douse with Olive Oil
4. Squeeze lemon (to taste-maybe ½ a lemon)
Above is the basic recipe and sometimes I eat it just like that. Below are variations and things you can add to switch it up or make it a more complete meal.
1. Add red, yellow or orange bell peppers on the bottom of the steamer so you’re steaming them while you’re steaming the kale.
2. Pine Nuts or Walnuts
5. Earthy Rice
7. Dried Fruit
8. Hard boiled eggs
10. Water Chestnuts
11. Add kale to a sandwich instead of lettuce
12. Add Kale to soup a few minutes before serving