Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Kale: The Worlds Most Potent Super Food






Brain Octane!

What bumps kale up the superfood chain is its abundance in phytochemicals, substances associated with the prevention of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension – four of the leading cause of death in Western countries. Phytochemicals are believed to help prevent cell damage, prevent cancer cell replication, and decrease cholesterol levels.

Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and rich in calcium. Kale is a source of two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. Kale, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties.

Boiling decreases the level of sulforaphane; however, steaming, microwaving, or stir frying does not result in significant loss. Along with other brassica vegetables, kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. Kale has been found to contain a group of resins known as bile acid sequestrants, which have been shown to lower cholesterol and decrease absorption of dietary fat. Steaming significantly increases these bile acid binding properties.

I've always had a hard time with Kale. I've made chips in the oven and they turned out horrible tasting. I've tried to make smoothies (I have a regular blender, not a fancy expensive one) and I have to eat the smoothie with a spoon and I chew and chew and chew the chunks of Kale. Well, here is an article from a member of the Primal BluePrint Diet blog about how to get all those wonderful vitamins from Kale without a fancy blender. You can finally enjoy the worlds most potent super food without chewing!

Thanks Renegade Dad!


That’s right experts agree that Kale is incredible for improving health and I can’t think of a better way to eat Kale than in a Kale Smoothie! Kale smoothies are super quick and easy to make AND they taste great! But the problem is that Kale is a very tough plant. So when you try to make a Kale smoothie using an ordinary blender, you usually end up with a “chunky” not a “smoothie”.
That’s why most Kale Smoothie recipes and videos tell you to use a high-end blender like a Vitamix or a Blendtec. But what if you’re not in a position to buy one of those high-end blenders right now? Does that mean you can’t benefit from Kale Smoothies?
Never fear my fellow Renegades because I have done a bunch of experimentation and I have finally come up with a simple system that will have you blending up Kale into a silky smoothie using an ordinary (low cost) blender!

Important Note About Blenders: I have used several different types of blenders over the years and there is definitely a difference between brands. The brand that I have found to work the best is made by Black and Decker. They also offer a 2 year warranty which I had to use once and to my surprise Black and Decker made it very easy for me to get a replacement blender. I am currently using this blender which is on sale right now at Amazon for just under $30.  Are you ready to learn how to make a really smooth Kale Smoothie with an ordinary blender? Alright then let’s do this!

Step 1: Buy the softest type of Kale
Green Curly Kale is the softest type of Kale. So use Green Curly Kale if it is available. If Green Curly Kale is not available, the next best option is to go with Red Kale. And if Green Kale AND Red Kale are NOT available then get whatever type of Kale is available. It will just take a bit longer to blend up than Green or Red Kale.

Note: Dinosaur Kale also known as Lacinato Kale is the toughest type of Kale. With a name like “Dinosaur” Kale it better be the toughest right?! This type of Kale takes a bit longer to blend until smooth but don’t let that stop you from making Kale Smoothies with it! The benefits will far outweigh the little bit of extra time it takes to blend it until it’s smooth.

Step 2: Remove the stems
The stems are too course and are less nutritious than the leaves, so don’t bother blending the stems. We just want the leaves in our smoothies. You can compost the stems, use them in stews use them as drum sticks.

Step 5: Freeze in plastic storage container
After you remove the leaves from the stalks, put the leaves into a plastic storage container or some other type of freezer safe container that is big enough to hold all of the leaves. I use a container like this one and it works great. I can fit all of the leaves from a full head of Kale in this type of storage container. Put all the leaves in the container and then put the container in the freezer!

Step 6: Cut out frozen Kale
When you are ready to make a Kale smoothie, just take out your container of kale from the freezer and cut out a chunk of Kale with a spoon or fork. Freezing the Kale actually helps it to blend up much easier and it’s also a great way to preserve the Kale. Kale goes bad very quickly in the refrigerator. So save money, preserve nutrients and make it easier to blend by freezing your Kale.

Step 7: Put kale in blender with Liquid First
Now this step is important. Put the frozen Kale into the blender and add your liquid (water,coconut milk, almond milk etc.) Add less liquid than you think you need and then turn your blender on low. This will keep the Kale from splattering all over the blender. Once the Kale begins to break down and everything is mixed well you can turn up the blender to the highest speed.

**Important** If you start off with the highest speed the Kale is going to splatter all over your blender and you will waste a bunch of Kale. Don’t waste! Start on the slowest speed and then go to the highest speed once the Kale is blended up pretty well.
Let the Kale blend until the pieces of Kale become really small or disappear completely. That means it’s completely pulverized so your smoothie will actually be smooth!

Step 8: Add other ingredients
When you see that the Kale is nice and smooth, now add the other ingredients and blend until smooth.  I like to throw in a ripe banana, 1/4 cup of Mejool dates, some coconut milk and a handful of ice!  Or just Google "kale smoothie" and wait for a myriad of wonderful recipes to pop up!

Although this process may seem like a lot, it’s really quick and simple because you only have to do steps 1–5 after you buy a new head of Kale. Once you have your Kale in the freezer container, the only thing you have to do when you want to make your Kale smoothies is take out the container from the freezer and remove a chunk of Kale. This should only take about 30 seconds.

Conclusion
So there you have it! A quick and simple way to make a really smooth Kale smoothie with an ordinary blender!

Would you rather drinks a lot of your veggies than cook them?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ebola: Are You Concerned?



There is so much in the news today about Ebola.  I asked myself, the other day, how concerned am I?
I'm going to be traveling quite a bit this winter, by air, and that is the part that concerns me.  I know so many people who, after flying on an airplane, get sick with different respiratory illnesses.  According to the CDC approximately 20% of all travelers incur an upper respiratory infection and it's the viral pathogen respiratory infection that's the most common.  Here is a list of causative agents:  Thinovirus, respiratory synctial virus, influenza virus, human metapneumovirus, adenovirus and coronavirus. Legionella pneumophila and coxiella burnetii can also cause outbreaks of a respiratory illness.  To make matters worse for us snowbirds the best (or worse?) time of the year to travel is December through February.  In the southern hemisphere the peak flu season is June through August.  If you travel to a tropical zone you are at risk all year.  This is a direct quote from the CDC:

Direct airborne transmission aboard aircraft is unusual because of frequent air recirculation and filtration, although influenza, tuberculosis, and other diseases have resulted from transmission in modern aircraft.  

To make this matter worse certain people, such as the elderly and people with asthma or COPD, are at higher risk for air travel illness. The CDC is telling us if we must travel to practice careful hygiene. Wash our hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. We should avoid contact with blood and body fluids such as urine, saliva, sweat and the like. Which brings me to ask the following question: What if I use the bathroom in the airplane and there is some urine or sweat or semen or vomit or feces anywhere in the loo? Now what? I'm supposed to not go to the bathroom for hours and hours?  

I'm still going to travel to Mexico and within the United States but I would be extremely concerned if I were traveling to Europe. I'm definitely not planning on going anywhere in Africa or Saudi Arabia (3 million Muslims pilgrimage to Hajj in Saudi Arabia from October 2nd to the 7th of every year.)

Are you concerned?  Could it become airborne somehow?