This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to see what that means.
(Paleo, AIP, GAPS, Wahls, Whole30)
“Kale is my best friend.”
~ Alanis Morissette
I've got to be honest with you: the first few times I tried kale, I didn't like it at all. I thought it was tough, bitter, and I wanted no part of it. Then I discovered Lacinato Kale: a variety that holds all of the nutrition without all the bitterness. Throw in a little garlic and a handful of dried cranberries, and I'm in love. I make this recipe every week.
Dr. Terry Wahls says, “When in doubt, choose kale.” Once you see the nutritional profile for this amazing green, you'll understand why it comes so highly recommended.
1 cup of raw, chopped kale contains:
- 864% of your daily need for Vitamin K (works together with Vitamin D to promote bone strength and a healthy heart). If you're thinking, ‘Whoa! That's a lot.' Rest assured that unless you are taking prescription blood thinners, there's no risk of eating too much Vitamin K. Most people don't eat enough.
- 206% of your daily need for Vitamin A (works together with Vitamin D to regulate the immune system, especially important for those with autoimmune disorders).
- 134% of your daily need for Vitamin C (needed for the growth & repair of every tissue in your body).
- A blend of B Vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, b6 and folate); all B vitamins are essential to mitochondrial function, which is the focus of the Wahls Diet.
- A blend of minerals: (calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and manganese).
- Glucosinolates (which are linked to cancer prevention).
- Over 45 different flavonoids (which have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects).
Garlic is medicinal as well, offering all of the following benefits:
- And it also supports iron metabolism, helping to prevent and treat anemia, a condition that often coincides with autoimmune disease.
As kale's popularity has grown, more varieties are showing up in grocery stores and farmers markets. The two most common are Curly Kale and Lacinato Kale. Curly Kale tends to be a little more bitter. Lacinato Kale has a bunch of alternate names just to
confuse shoppers keep us on our toes: Cavolo Nero, Tuscan, Black, and Dinosaur Kale. So, instead of going by name, a picture might be helpful (photos courtesy of the Territorial Seed Company):
Recipe: Kale with Cranberries
adapted from the Moosewood Restaurant
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 large bunch of lacinato kale (de-stemmed & chopped)
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup water
sea salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste (optional – omit for AIP)
- Mince your garlic first and allow it to rest while you prepare the other ingredients. This allows it to release the medicinal compound – allicin.
- If you've never had kale before, you'll notice the stems are quite hard. Peel the leaves off the stems, and throw the stems away. Then chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet or soup pot over medium heat. (I use a soup pot to keep the kale from flying around the kitchen during the “tossing” part of the next step.)
- Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add kale and toss to coat evenly with the oil.
- Add cranberries & water. Cover and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add salt & pepper last, toss to coat, and enjoy!
If you're feeling adventurous, you can try cooking the leftover kale stems instead of throwing them away. Here's a recipe: Smoky Sautéed Kale Stems.
More Delicious Recipes & Resources