One thing sexier than James Bond? Kale. Oh yes. Eating your daily kale is a killer way to lose weight, naturally. Read on to find out why this sexy veggie is your body’s best friend.
A new view on weight & weight loss
The traditional approach to weight and weight loss is calories in, calories out. While calories do play a role in weight gain or weight loss, not all calories are created equal. Looking only at calories is isolationist and doesn’t take into account the complex system of your body. Unhealthy weight is more than not due to two factors that have little to do with a caloric formula: nutrients and toxins.
A more holisitic view of weight and weight loss is nutrients in, toxins out. More important than how many calories you’re eating is how many nutrients you’re feeding your body. The first key is to give it enough of all the types of nutrients it needs (fats, protein, carbs, fiber, water, vitamins & minerals) so that all its systems can function properly. The second key is not to continually give it so-called “food” that is actually toxic to those systems – pretty much any food that isn’t a “real, whole” food in its original form, like junk food, processed food & fast food.
When your body is deprived of nutrients it goes into starvation mode, no matter how much or how little you eat. Whether you pig out or starve yourself, your metabolism shuts down, your body goes into stress mode, and you can’t lose weight. When you continually eat toxic food, your system gets overwhelmed and can no longer rid the toxins faster than you bring in more. These toxins end up getting stored in your system – mostly in fat cells. Stuck again with no weight loss. So how does kale help?
1. eating but always starving – kale to the nutrient rescue
Kale is a superfood because it contains all the nutrients your body needs in one nifty, leafy package. Kale is an excellent source of vitamins, especially vitamin A, C & K. It’s also chocked full of minerals, especially calcium & iron. Finally, kale is high in phytonutrients and trace minerals.
2. eating but never satiated – kale to the fullness rescue
Kale is high in fiber, especially for a leafy green. One cup of cooked kale provides 10 percent of the recommended dietary allowance. Fiber helps fill you up so you feel satiated faster. Mixing in some kale with meals is a great way to satisfy the tummy. Eating kale keeps digestion smooth, preventing bloating and water retention while at the same time super-charging your body’s detox process.
3. eating but never detoxing – kale to the cleaning rescue
Not only does kale help with detoxing by gearing up your elimination system, kale is now recognized as providing comprehensive detox support at the genetic level due to something called ITCs made from kale’s glucosinolates. An indirect way that kale helps you detox is that it helps reduce your cravings for all those crappy foods that keep you toxic. When you start flooding your body with the nutrients it truly needs, your cravings naturally decrease. When you decrease the junk, you decrease the toxin intake and eventually, your body gets a fighting chance at recovery and flush-out.
A kale a day: types of kale
There are 4 main varieties of kale, each having their own distinctive flavor and texture. If you’re new to eating kale, go exploring and see which ones you love the most. Try them in smoothies, salads, soups, casseroles, sauces and so on (see related posts for some newbie kale recipes).
1. Lacinato kale
Also known as dinosaur, black, and Tuscan kale, this kale has longer spear-like leaves with a scale-like pattern (hence the name dino kale) and a dark green color. Its flavor is deep, earthy, and mineraly (yep, makin’ that a word). It’s both a tad more bitter and a tad sweeter than its curly friends. Great in stir-fry, as a pesto, and in other cooked dishes.
2. curly green kale
Curly green is the perfect cross between a denser, cabbage-like texture and the lighter texture of a romaine lettuce leaf. It can vary from a bright green to a dusty green, depending on its age. The smaller the leaves are the younger the plant. Younger leaves have a lighter texture and flavor than the larger ones, which can be more bitter. This kind of kale has a leafy, peppery flavor and is awesome for raw dishes like salads and smoothies.
3. curly red kale
This kale is really more purple than red. It’s wonderful mixed with its curly green sister in salads to add visual color and variety. I don’t find a lot of difference in flavor or texture between the green and red curly, except that the red seems to be slightly sweeter. Great in salads and vegetable soups.
4. Russian kale
I was so happy when my food co-op starting carrying Russian kale! This is one sexy green. It’s so visually beautiful that I often use it in flower arrangements. This kale has flat, fringed leaves that resemble oak leaves. The leaf is a rainbow of red and green and is less dense than other kale varieties, almost like romaine lettuce but less watery. Russian kale is sweet, mild and peppery. Wonderful for salads and just about anything else.
Take the kale weight loss challenge!
I eat kale on a daily basis, and I prefer it raw so I get maximum nutrient benefits. Sometimes I throw a few leaves into my morning smoothie when it’s time to alternate greens (always best to mix it up – I switch between spinach, romaine, kale & chard mostly), but I always eat a ton of it each day for my lunch salad.
I challenge you to eat kale daily for 30 days, and see what happens. You don’t have to go on a diet, just ADD KALE in. Try throwing a handful into a soup, pasta dish or stir-fry. Add some to your regular favorite salad. Toss just a few leaves into a fruit smoothie. Chances are, you’ll be more energized, have reduced junk food cravings, feel less bloated and heavy, experience clearer skin, and yes, lose a pound or two or ten.
Three easy recipes to get you started
Earthy red kale salad with avocado (or use Russian kale)
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