My love for kale is oft proclaimed and well known and yet not always well understood.
Some have even referred to me as the “Kale King” or “King Of Kale”, although I’d never be so callus as to label myself with such grandeur.
Sufficed to say, kale is my favourite vegetable and one of the very few things that I make a point of eating every single day.
My day, nor my life, is not complete without kale.
I will go out of my way, no matter where I am, to get my kale in.
This might even mean coming home after a meal out and making a point of having some.
For those who are wondering…. yes… I eat my kale COMPLETELY raw. Undressed, un-massaged and I generally purchase it pre-chopped, although I am equally happy to tear it right off the stem myself.
I will rarely chop it myself as I simply cannot bear to put it through such pain.
All of this leads to one question though…. Andy why do you love kale so much?
A simple, reasonable and fair question on the surface but one that requires an answer that is more flavourful than the vegetable to which it pertains.
It all started in my teenage years….
Those of you who have read my “Dietary Dud To Dietitian” article will know that I was not a very healthy kid growing up and that a big part of my inspiration for entering the dietetic filmed stemmed ( pun intended!) from the fact that I was able to change the trajectory of my life, and my health, by embracing improved eating patterns.
When I finally came to the realization that enough was enough with my lifestyle at the time, one of the first thing that I realized I needed to change was the fact that I simply was not eating ANY vegetables.
Even as someone with no nutritional knowledge back then, I knew vegetables were important.
I needed an easy solution to this massive issue which would also take into consideration the fact that I was a lazy teenager with no cooking skills ( truth be told, I still have no cooking skills).
So I looked at the Canadian food guide ( which by the way is flawed, but far from useless), and took note it recommended I eat at least one green and orange vegetable a day.
I thought long and hard about how I could do this each and every day in the most painless way possible and quickly arrived at a goal of eating raw spinach ( kale wasn’t popular back then) and orange bell peppers with my dinner meal.
I never cared much about taste or preparation and once I set my mind to consuming raw spinach and a bell pepper everyday, I never looked back.
Truth be told, it did not feel like a chore at all and I grew to truly enjoy it, as unappealing as it may sound to some.
I would eat this combination of vegetables religiously every single day because it required no preparation time and, like I said, I honestly and truly enjoyed it.
No matter where I would be or what was going on, there would hardly be a day of the year that would pass for the next several years where I would go without spinach and a bell pepper.
What I am sharing today, truly, is more of a love story than anything else.
Spinach was my highschool sweetheart… my first vegetable love.
Quite honestly, the one I thought I’d be with forever.
But as it so often does, young love faded for us as with time and newer, more delicious temptations swayed my heart.
One faithful ( or unfaithful day if you are looking at it from the perspective of spinach) day, although I don’t remember which it was, I encountered a bag of chopped kale at the grocer.
Kale was popular, in-demand, curvier, crispier, more flavourful and I could not help but give in to the temptation of trying it…
On that monumental day, everything in my life changed forever.
In an instant I realized that kale was superior to spinach in every possible way and, without looking back, I knew I had found the vegetable that I would be spending the rest of my life with.
To this day we have never been apart, but our relationship is about so much more than just vitamins, minerals and bowel movements.
We lift each other up, which is how it should be in true, pure love.
My deep love of kale has inspired so much of my content and become such a irreplaceable part of my brand identity.
In exchange, I’ve done everything I can to inspire the masses to forge their own love affair with kale and to appreciate that beauty, and health, lies in the deceptive simplicity of its rugged leaves.
And if kale is not the one for you, that’s okay too.
I can only hope that, one day, you too can find your one true vegetable love and show it a lifetime of loyalty and affection.
If you do, I promise that you will be greatly rewarded.
That is, of course, unless you fall in love with iceberg lettuce.
No promises in that case.
Until next time,
Andy De Santis RD MPH