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Volume 11 Issue 3
Sept/October 2005

Slow Food: Take Time to Savour the Flavour
International Slow Food® Movement

Cookin' With Kale!

Reflexology in the New Millennium

Why is Peace So Elusive?

Renewing the Sacred Balance;
Transforming and Healing the Whole Earth Community


Cookin' with Kale!
by Paulette Millis
Paulette Millis

Kale, a green leafy vegetable that belongs to the brassica (cabbage) family, has more nutritional value for fewer calories than almost any other food. It does not form a head but consists of a bunch of coarse, curly leaves. This health-promoting vegetable is easy to grow in colder climates as a light frost actually sweetens the kale leaves. Kale comes
in several varieties and colours, most common being Scotch kale with very curled bright green to greeny-yellow leaves. Others are blue kale, which has frilled edge leaves that are deep green with a bluish tinge, and black kale.

Kale is available year round and comes principally from Virginia, New York, New Jersey, and the mid-Atlantic states.

You can see from the chart right that not only is kale an excellent choice for the minerals calcium, manganese, magnesium, potassium, and iron, but it has significant A, C, and B vitamins. The minerals are wonderful for your bones and teeth, and the B vitamins are helpful for the nervous system. Dr. Leo Galland states that 1/2 cup of kale is equivalent to one serving of milk! (1/2 cup cooked kale contains 105 mg. calcium, presumably because cooking reduces the bulk considerably). Kale is not as highly allergenic as milk, and it is low in fat. If you avoid dairy products this is a significant addition to your diet. With a full serving (3-1/2 ounces) of raw or cooked kale containing less than 40 calories, this vegetable makes it to the top of the list for everyone.

Many studies have been done on cruciferous vegetables (of which kale is one) and their role in preventing cancer. Dr. Earl Mindell recommends two cups daily of these vegetables.

Indoles, a group of phytochemicals present in cruciferous vegetables, appear to alter the biological pathway that converts certain estrogens into more potent forms that can trigger the growth of tumours in estrogen-sensitive sites, such as the breast.

Sulforaphane, one of the phytochemicals present in kale, has been said to stimulate the action of protective enzymes in the liver that help the body fight against tumour growth, and one researcher states sulforaphane may be one of the most protective agents against cancer discovered to date.

Kale also contains lutein, another cancer fighting anti-oxidant.

The fibre in kale is excellent in preventing constipation and digestive diseases such as diverticulosis and irritable bowel syndrome, as well as reducing high cholesterol levels. It helps keep blood sugar levels under control as well, so it is an excellent choice for anyone with diabetes.

The following chart shows the extensive amount of nutrients in 1 cup of kale:
Vitamin A
9620 iu
Vitamin C
53.30 mg
.54 mg
Dietary Fibre
2.6 g
.20 mg
.03 mg
93.60 mg
.18 mg
296.40 mg
1.17 mg
23.40 mg
Vitamin E
1.11 iu
.09 mg
.07 mg
17.29 mcg
36.40 mg
.65 mg

Chart from

It just makes sense to find recipes that you and your family like, made from kale, to add to your diet. It is key to be sure the recipes you choose are tasty, and enjoyed, or kale will be left on the plate.

Kale is one of the few foods that contain oxalates, a naturally occurring substance that can interfere with calcium absorption, and when too concentrated in body fluids, can crystallize and cause health problems, in particular for those with untreated kidney or gallbladder problems. It also contains goitrogens, a substance that may interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland. According to Annemarie Colbin, cooking eliminates oxalic acid. Cooking inactivates goitrogens, as well.


Choose firm, moist kale with deeply coloured leaves. Warm environment causes wilting, so look for fresh, crisp leaves free of browning, yellowing, and small holes. Smaller leaves will be more tender and have a milder flavour. Kale is available all year, though peak season is mid-winter to beginning of spring.
Wrap kale in a damp paper towel and store in a perforated plastic bag in the fridge crisper. Do not wash before storing as this causes kale to become limp. It is best eaten 1 to 2 days after purchase as longer storage may cause it to become bitter.

Be sure to wash well before using as sand and dirt easily cling to the curly leaves. You may remove the stem if it is large and discard it, but both stem and leaves of smaller plants are useful.

Kale is best cooked and needs a bit longer than most greens, about 20 minutes to steam, although steaming can sometimes make it hard, bitter, and dull. Boiling kale is preferable to steaming, as it makes for a sweeter vegetable. Overcooking, on the other hand, destroys flavour and nutrients. Be sure to save the cooking water for soups or casseroles.

Buying frozen kale isn’t a good choice as it tends to be mushy. If making soup, then frozen kale is handy, and to freeze your own, wash well, chop, remove large stems, and blanch 2 minutes before immersing in ice cold water. Drain and freeze.

I planted six kale transplants this spring and they have been producing steadily. It is so rewarding to go outside and pick several leaves fresh for a meal. They are easy to grow and last into the fall, so if you have a spot near the kitchen door, or a large container, try growing kale.


Sauteed Kale

fresh garlic
lemon juice
olive oil or coconut butter

Wash, chop, and remove large stems. Saute briefly in coconut butter or olive oil with chopped garlic. Sprinkle with lemon juice before serving.

Variation: add chopped mushrooms and saute with the garlic.

Braised Kale

Wash, chop, and remove large stems. Saute with sliced apples. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and chopped walnuts to serve.

Kale and Pasta

whole grain pasta
feta cheese
pine nuts
olive oil or coconut butter

Cook whole grain pasta according to directions.

Finely chop raw kale, or boil to desired doneness.

Shred feta cheese and add cheese, pine nuts, and kale to cooked pasta. Drizzle olive oil or liquid coconut oil over all, and toss to coat. Serve.

Kale Colcannon*

4–6 servings This is delicious!

The kale and potatoes must be cooked separately, preferably just before serving.

1 lb potatoes, peeled and cut in pieces
boiling salted water
1-1/2 lbs kale, trimmed, washed, drained, and shredded
1/2 to 1 cup light cream, or use Almond Breeze for dairy-free
2 small leeks or 6 green onions, chopped
celtic sea salt
dash of cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp mace
1/2 cup melted butter (or ghee for dairy-free)

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water to cover for 10 minutes or until very soft. Drain, mash, and keep warm. While they are cooking, cook the kale in boiling salted water for 10 minutes or until very soft. Drain. Keep warm. Heat together the milk and the leeks or onions. Cook covered over very low heat until leeks are very soft and mushy. Beat the milk leek mixture into the potatoes. Stir in the kale. Beat until the mixture is light green and fluffy and the consistency of mashed potatoes. Season with celtic salt, cayenne, and mace. Serve in a heated deep dish. Make a well in the centre and pour in the melted butter. Serve with a spoonful or two of melted butter over each serving.

Turkish Red Lentil Soup with Kale

6 cups vegetable broth
1-1/2 cups red lentils, rinsed
1 small onion, grated
1 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/2 lb kale, washed and chopped OR 2 cups blanched and frozen kale
small amount of chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp celtic sea salt

Place all ingredients except kale and parsley in a large saucepan and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes. Add kale and cover. Turn off heat, leaving on burner. Let kale steam for 15 to 20 minutes. Blend until smooth. Garnish with parsley. Freezes well. –Wendy Smith

*adapted from The Unabridged Vegetable Cookbook, Nika Hazelton.

References: Food and Healing, Annemarie Colbin; Superimmunity, Dr. Leo Galland; Anti-Aging Bible, Earl Mindell, PhD; The Kitchen Gardener’s Companion, Pat Katz; The Unabridged Vegetable Cookbook, Nika Hazelton; www.whfoods.com.

The above information regarding nutritious food is not intended to replace any instruction from medical or health professionals.

Paulette Millis lives and works in Saskatoon as a counsellor and nutritional consultant. Her cookbook, Nutrition, Cooking and Healing, is available in health food stores, or by calling Paulette at
(306) 244-8890, or visit www.geocities.com/paulettemillis.


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