Friday, June 7, 2013

SuperFood, Secret Life of Kale. A Plant's-eye View. Gandhi. Mt. McKinley. Tree Knocks Down Power Lines.


For “Foodie Friday”:

Crouching Garnish, Hidden SuperFood: The Secret Life of Kale

Crouching Garnish, Hidden SuperFood: The Secret Life of Kale

“Could kale, a less domesticated, disheveled form of cabbage, really be one of the most potent healing foods in existence today? 

Few foods commonly available at the produce stand are as beneficial to your health as kale.  And yet, sadly, it is more commonly found dressing up something not as healthy in a display case as a decoration than on someone's plate where it belongs.

Kale is actually a form of cabbage that evaded domestication, sharing many of the same traits as wilder plant relatives unafraid of holding on to their bitter principle, and relatively unruly appearance.

Kale is perfectly content letting its luscious green leafy hair down, being the 'hippie' member of a family that includes the more tightly wound broccoli, cauliflower and the Brussel sprout, whose greater respectability as far as most restaurant menus go means kale is more likely to be found forgotten, shriveling up somewhere on the bottom shelf of someone's refrigerator, no doubt possessed by someone with every intention (but not the time and appetite enough) to eat it.

But please do not underestimate this formidable plant, which grows as high as six to seven feet in the right conditions, casting a shadow as long as the impressive list of beneficial nutritional components it contains. Its nutritional density, in fact, is virtually unparalleled among green leafy vegetables. Consider too that during World War II, with rationing in full effect, the U.K. encouraged the backyard cultivation of this hearty, easy to grow plant for the Dig for Victory campaign that likely saved many from sickness and starvation. Over a half century later, kale's status as a former cultural nutritional hero has faded into near oblivion ... until now, we hope!

So, let's get a better sense of all that kale has to offer by looking at the nutrition facts basics of only one cup of raw kale.

Kale Nutrition Facts

You will notice that it contains less than 1 gram of fat (.3 grams to be exact), 2 grams of protein, and subtracting the 1 gram of fiber from the total carbohydrate content (7), an effective carb content of 6 grams per serving, which is almost entirely complex carbohydrate, i.e. "starch." This means it has a 3:1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio – an exceptionally high amount of protein for any vegetable, and one reason why it has recently been acclaimed as the "new beef."

Kale Contains ALL The Essential Amino Acids and 9 Non-Essential OnesKale Protein and Amino Acids


Indeed, like meat, kale contains all 9 essential amino acids needed to form the proteins within the human body: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine – plus, 9 other non-essential ones for a total of 18.

Consider too that compared to meat, the amino acids in kale are easier to extract.  When consuming a steak, for instance, the body has to expend great metabolic resources to break down the massive, highly complex, and intricately folded protein structures within mammalian flesh back down into their constituent amino acids; and then, later, these extracted amino acids must be reassembled back into the same, highly complex, intricately folded and refolded human proteins from which our body is made. This is a time-consuming, energy-intensive process, with many metabolic waste products released in the process.

For the same reason that massive mammalian herbivores like cows, for instance, eat grass -- not other animals -- kale can be considered anabolic, "meaty," and worthy of being considered as a main course in any meal. The nice thing, too, is that less is needed to fulfill the body's protein requirements.  Also, kale is so much lower on the food chain than beef, that it doesn't bio-accumulate as many, and as much, of the toxins in our increasingly polluted environment. And this, of course, doesn't even touch on the great "moral debate" concerning avoiding unnecessary harm to sentient beings, i.e. eating kale is morally superior than eating/killing animals.

Kale is an Omega-3 Diamond In the Rough

Kale Fatty Acid Composition

While it is considered a "fat free" vegetable, it does contain biologically significant quantities of essential fatty acids – you know, the one's your body is not designed to create and must get from the things we eat or suffer dire consequences.

In fact, you will notice it contains more omega-3 than omega-6, which is almost unheard of in nature. It is a general rule that you will find a 40:1 or higher ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 found in most grains, seeds, nuts and beans. Peanuts, for instance, have 1,800 times higher omega-6 fat levels than omega-3, which (taken in isolation) is a pro-inflammatory and unhealthy ratio. Kale, therefore, is a superstar as far as essential fatty acids go, and especially considering that all of its naturally occurring fat-soluble antioxidants protect these fragile unsaturated fats from oxidizing.

Kale's Vitamin Content More Pays For Itself Many Times Over

Kale Vitamin FactsNow to the vitamins.  Kale is a king of carotenoids. Its vitamin A activity is astounding. One cup contains over 10,000 IU's, or the equivalent of over 200% the daily value. Also, consider that most of this vitamin A (retinol) is delivered the form of beta-carotene, which in its natural form is the perfect delivery system for retinol (two retinol molecules attached to one another), as it is exceedingly difficult to get too much. If you compare it to the synthetic vitamin A used in many mass market foods and vitamins, it is an order of magnitude or higher safer.

Kale Is An Eye-Saving Super Food Rich In Vitamins

Kale has a few more surprises left in the "vitamin" department. It turns out that it is loaded with both lutein and zeaxanthin at over 26 mg combined, per serving.

Lutein comes from the Latin word luteus meaning "yellow," and is one of the best known carotenoids in a family containing at least 600. In the human eye it is concentrated in the retina in an oval-shaped yellow spot near its center known as the macula (from Latin macula, "spot" + lutea, "yellow"). This "yellow spot" acts as a natural sunblock, which is why adequate consumption of lutein and zeaxanthin may prevent macular degeneration and other retinal diseases associated with ultraviolet light-induced oxidative stress.

Keep in mind that a 26 mg dose of lutein+zeaxanthin can easily cost a $1 per dose.

In effect, one could calculate the cost reduction of this added bonus into kale's sticker price, which incidentally, is insultingly low considering all it has to offer. How, after all, does one price the preservation of your vision?

Next, the vitamin C content, at over 80 mg per serving, is impressive. Consider, this is not ascorbic acid (which is semi-synthetic, and divorced from the food factors that help confer its amazing vitamin activity). Food vitamin C is a rare and precious element in the modern diet that is an absolute requirement for us to maintain our health. It can be likened to condensed sunlight frozen within the plant and released into our bodies after we eat it. Those who know kale well, can feel a happy little glow form within them after consuming it. And, I imagine, if we had the proper measuring device, we might see a slight uptick in intensity of the biophotons that are continually emitted from our body.

Kale: The New "Vegetable Cow"?

Kale: The New "Vegetable Cow"?

Now, just when you thought kale was just too good to be true, there is the matter of its remarkable mineral composition. Of course, the quality and mineral and microbial density of the soil within which it is grown is a factor, but kale generally has the ability to provide an excellent source of minerals, in what is known as food-state. Unlike inorganic minerals, e.g. limestone, bone meal, oyster shell, the calcium in kale is vibrating with life-sustaining energy and intelligence. At 90 milligrams per cup, this highly bioavailable calcium actually contains more calcium per gram than whole milk! Also, a calcium bioavailability study from 1990, comparing milk and care in human subjects, found that kale calcium was 25% better absorbed, proving that the propaganda in support of milk as the ultimate source of calcium isn't as mooo-ving as commonly believed.

Just to be a bit exact about how much calcium there is in kale, for every gram of kale there is 1.35 mg of calcium. For every gram of whole milk, there is 1.13 mg. The difference, also, is that milk calcium is complexed with a sticky protein known as casein. This is why Elmer's glue was once made of milk protein. It is exceedingly hard for one-stomached (monogastric) mammals (that's us) to digest, and so, the calcium is difficult, if not impossible (in some) to liberate.

Kale Mineral Composition

Also, casein proteins require a large amount of hydrochloric acid to break down with our protein-digesting pancreatic enzymes.  Over time, this can lead to some metabolic acidosis which may further leach calcium from our mineral stores, e.g. bones, teeth, causing a net loss in calcium following the consumption of cow's milk products heavy in casein, especially cheese.

Kale, like most vegetables, on the other hand, are alkalinizing and therefore actually reduce the body's requirements for acid-neutralizing minerals (e.g. calcium, magnesium, sodium, silica, potassium) and therefore reducing the total amount of calcium we need to stay in pH and mineral balance. Kale, therefore, not only contains more of the right form of calcium, but may actually reduce your daily bodily requirements for it. Move over moo juice, there's a new "vegetable cow" on the block!

Kale is also an excellent source of magnesium, which is why it is green. That deep, dark chlorophyll within its leaves contains one atom of magnesium per molecule. And considering how many of us are dying from excess elemental calcium, adding additional sources of magnesium (which acts to balance out calcium) can have live-saving health benefits.

Finally, kale is more than just a nutritional "superfood." It comes from a long line of plant healers, and could very well be considered and (given future FDA drug approval) used as a medicine.  Newly emergent biomedical literature now shows it may be of value in the treatment of cancer, elevated blood lipids, glaucoma, and various forms of chemical poisoning. We have made available the first-hand abstracts on our Kale Health Benefits research page, for those who, like us, enjoy geeking out to the science. Also, kale, like most Cruciferous vegetables, is exceedingly high in several other extensively research anticancer compounds, such as sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol. The data set on these are even more impressive than on kale itself, with over 140 disease states potentially remedies for sulforaphane alone: sulforaphane health benefits.

So, some of you are thinking: sure, sounds good, but who is their right mind is going to eat Kale?

Here is a great tip worth trying. Instead of eating an egg for breakfast with toast, try chopping up half a bunch of kale, a quarter of an onion, and stir fry it in a tablespoon of coconut or olive oil for a few minutes till it is tender. Make sure to add in a pinch of sea salt (I prefer Bragg's liquid aminos), a pinch of pepper, a teaspoon of lemon or if you are like me, use Ume Plum Vinegar. Also, go to your local health food store and get dulse flakes.

Note: Dulse flakes can be found in a pepper shaker like container. Kale, like most Cruciferous vegetables, contain naturally occurring goitrogens (or unnatural ones that have accumulated in them, such as perchlorate and various agrichemicals, especially in non-organically farmed vegetables) which can block the ability of the thyroid to utilize the iodine required to produce thyroid hormones (T4, T3). Since so many folks are already completely deficient in iodine, it really can't hurt (excepting rare cases of hyperthyroidism). Therefore it is a good practice to use it as a kale-specific antidote seasoning.

Do all this and I promise you, there is a good chance but it will taste great, and leave you feeling deeply and completely nourished!”  From:

From me: I try to have some organic kale in with the other veggies when using my auger juicer. 


A plant's-eye view

“What if human consciousness isn't the end-all and be-all of Darwinism? What if we are all just pawns in corn's clever strategy game to rule the Earth? Author Michael Pollan asks us to see the world from a plant's-eye view:”


On This Day:

Gandhi's first act of civil disobedience, Jun 7, 1893:

“In an event that would have dramatic repercussions for the people of India, Mohandas K. Gandhi, a young Indian lawyer working in South Africa, refuses to comply with racial segregation rules on a South African train and is forcibly ejected at Pietermaritzburg.

Born in India and educated in England, Gandhi traveled to South Africa in early 1893 to practice law under a one-year contract. Settling in Natal, he was subjected to racism and South African laws that restricted the rights of Indian laborers. Gandhi later recalled one such incident, in which he was removed from a first-class railway compartment and thrown off a train, as his moment of truth. From thereon, he decided to fight injustice and defend his rights as an Indian and a man.

After World War II, he was a leading figure in the negotiations that led to Indian independence in 1947. Although hailing the granting of Indian independence as the "noblest act of the British nation," he was distressed by the religious partition of the former Mogul Empire into India and Pakistan. When violence broke out between Hindus and Muslims in India in 1947, he resorted to fasts and visits to the troubled areas in an effort to end India's religious strife. On January 30, 1948, he was on one such prayer vigil in New Delhi when he was fatally shot by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu extremist who objected to Gandhi's tolerance for the Muslims.

Known as Mahatma, or "the great soul," during his lifetime, Gandhi's persuasive methods of civil disobedience influenced leaders of civil rights movements around the world, especially Martin Luther King, Jr., in the United States.”


First successful ascent of Mt. McKinley, Jun 7, 1913:

“On this day in 1913, Hudson Stuck, an Alaskan missionary, leads the first successful ascent of Mt. McKinley, the highest point on the American continent at 20,320 feet.

Stuck, an accomplished amateur mountaineer, was born in London in 1863. After moving to the United States, in 1905 he became archdeacon of the Episcopal Church in Yukon, Alask, where he was an admirer of Native Indian culture and traveled Alaska's difficult terrain to preach to villagers and establish schools.

Stuck referred to the mountain by its Athabascan Indian name, Denali, meaning "The High One." In 1889, the mountain, over half of which is covered with permanent snowfields, was dubbed Densmores Peak, after a prospector named Frank Densmore. In 1896, it was renamed in honor of Senator William McKinley, who became president that year.

Mount McKinley National Park was established as a wildlife refuge in 1917. Harry Karstens served as the park's first superintendent. In 1980, the park was expanded and renamed Denali National Park and Preserve. Encompassing 6 million acres, the park is larger than Massachusetts.

Hudson Stuck died in Alaska on October 10, 1920. Today, over 1,000 hopeful climbers attempt to scale Mt. McKinley each year, with about half of them successfully reaching their goal.”


Misty and I went to get Jay, as he called wanting to work, and he sounded OK.  He is still getting over his bender, but I knew we had more rain coming, and I was hoping that he would get the polycarbonate roofing on my screen porch.  Since the recent rains, without a roof, everything was wet in there, so mosquitoes were laying babies in everything.  I don’t like using DEET, but I had to, to go out there. 

Ray and I moved most of the aloe plants, the chairs and potting table from inside the screen porch so that Jay could get an 8’ step ladder in there.  All the plants had to be drained, and many were carried out into the back yard to dry out in the sun.  Jay perched on top of the framing of the screen porch roof while Ray and I handed him tools, lumber and roofing.  All the roofing is installed, but we didn’t get the weather membrane or flashing installed where the roofs meet, so when the rains came everything on the screen porch got wet again.

Then the power went out.  Ray came to tell me that a tree had fallen in his son’s yard that is next door to me on the other side.  A short while later the power came back on, but the tree had taken down the electric lines and plopped them right on top of my neighbor’s metal mobile home, and were also hanging down in my side yard, touching my cargo/camping trailer.  I couldn’t believe that the power was on with such a dangerous situation, and called the power company.  They didn’t even know about it. 

Since the power came back on, my living room TV won’t work.  Always something!

A couple of hours later a bucket truck came to fix it temporarily.  They pulled up the lines so they are no longer on the mobile home or in my yard, but they still aren’t anchored very well to the line post.  They will be back.

Simba finally settled down at the Cat Habitat, and is being nice to the volunteers who clean there every day.


Sandra Merrikin said...

I started eating Kale twice a week a couple of months ago. I use it in my shrimp or scallop stirfry.

Very dangerous situation there with the wires, hope they get it fixed before any more strong winds and rain come your way.

Karen and Al said...

thanks for the great info on kale. Going to make my morning smoothie and will definitely add some kale.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Thank you for your comments, Sandra and Karen.

As I said, I put my kale through my auger juicer with the other veggies, and I include an organic apple for sweetness. "An Apple A Day...."

Happy Trails, Penny.