Et Tu, Kale?

But like any "friend with benefits," it might turn on you.

But like any “friend with benefits,” it might turn on you.


Confession: I’m not the healthiest eater, at least in the new millennium way. Maybe in a retro way. I do eat a lot of things that are good for me, but I’m also not afraid to eat plenty that are not.The last time I ate bacon was…last night. Yeah, you read that right. Bacon. For Dinner. It was breakfast for dinner night at the Casa and we had waffles, eggs and bacon (and fruit & milk). Yes, my kids feel like the luckiest kids in the world. At least for now – they may feel differently when they need balloon angioplasty.

I’m always late to the party on health trends. By the time I discovered chia seeds, I think they were already putting them in kids’ cereal. Coconut water and I have been acquainted for only a few short years, and we were introduced only because someone promised me it would stave off a hangover. (It did, and coconut water and I have been dear friends ever since. Great after races and long runs, too.). I mostly like tart cherries when they are combined with dark chocolate chunks in a cookie and I have never had wheatgrass anything. I sneeze just thinking about it. I don’t do Paleo, Clean, South Beach (though I think that is “out” now?), sugar detox or any other newfangled or old school diet idea. I do eat a variety of foods and eat very little processed food, making as much as possible from scratch. I even make my own bread as much as possible.

I have always liked kale. Growing up, my father owned a produce company, so I got to eat all kinds of fruits and vegetables long before they became commonplace in grocery stores. I remember trying mesclun salad when it didn’t even have a real name. I think they called it “mixed leafy greens.” Such poor marketing. So kale has been on my radar for a long time and I love eating kale chips and having kale in soups and salads.

But because I’m a total rube when it comes to healthy food trends, I did not jump on the kale smoothie train until, um, yesterday, when my new blender was delivered. In my partial defense, I never feel comfortable ordering smoothies at smoothie joints, because I have an anaphylactic soy allergy, and pretty much anyplace that is marketing health in a blender is also swimming in soy milk and soy protein powder. Can’t risk the cross-contamination. I stick with bottled water.

I did a 3-Day Smoothie Cleanse last year, which went well and made me feel great, but I realized after it was over that I really like chewing and really don’t like endless chopping, so packed my (crappy, 15 year old) blender away despite the glowing skin and an energy reserve that made me feel like I could leap tall buildings in a single bound.

I seriously stepped up my workload a few months ago, though, and don’t feel like I have been eating the right foods. No, I KNOW I haven’t been eating well. Dinnertime is pretty sacred around here, so I do have at least one well-balanced meal a day, but that can’t make up for the previous 10 hours of crappy eating. I’m often too busy to make a proper salad, let alone make a decent soup, for lunch. I work primarily from home, and don’t always have a chance to drive somewhere to grab a pre-made lunch. Every weekend I plan to prep things in advance for healthy lunches and every weekend comes and goes without me having done so. I don’t even pretend I’m going to do it anymore. I have had more PBJ’s than I care to admit in the past 6 weeks. PBJ’s aren’t the worst thing, but when I’m eating them instead of salads and vegetable soups, I’m clearly missing out on some serious nutrients. Plus, I’m not 7.

So, I decided to dip my toe back into the smoothie pool. It’s a quick and easy way to pack a lot of vegetables and fruits into one snack/meal. With a good blender, I can just throw everything in without chopping, so the time commitment is minimal. I can put it in a travel coffee mug and drink it as I drive the kids around to their endless activities. Seems like a perfect solution for getting some nutritious bang for my buck on busy days, and it’s a heck of a lot easier than trying to eat kale chips while driving.

You can imagine my horror when I googled “kale smoothie” for recipe ideas and several articles popped up about how kale is bad for you. Kale is bad for you? Huh? I thought it was supposed to be manna from heaven. What’s next on the “bad” list – sleep? Don’t tell me.

Apparently kale and other dark leafy greens can mess with your thyroid, create yeast overgrowth, cause kidney stones and exacerbate digestive issues. After reading the articles, it seems that you have to eat A LOT of kale (and not in balance with a lot of other stuff) for it to be a problem. It makes sense that by putting kale in smoothies every day, people might end up eating far more kale than they would eat if they had to chew it, so there is a risk of overdoing it. Plus, outside of the smoothie world, most people wouldn’t have lots of kale every single day. I‘m not planning on eating massive amounts of kale, plus, I’ll offset whatever bad and good it is doing to my body with my regular consumption of bacon & steak, so I think I’ll be ok. But still. KALE? Good Lord. I cannot believe that people are finding fault with the mighty Kale. Is nothing sacred?

Yesterday, I had a blueberry, banana, kale (only a little!) and chia seed smoothie and it was delicious. Once I have a chance to get to the grocery store (of course my new blender was delivered on a day when the fridge was pretty empty), I can pick up a variety of produce and try out some interesting combos. And from now on, I’m only looking on actual recipe sites for smoothie recipes – no more general google searches for me- because I really don’t want to come across random articles about the evils of produce and dangers of smoothies when I just dropped 300 bucks on a new blender.

And for the record, I know bacon is bad for me. And, yes I know it is heavily processed. Please don’t feel the need to tell me. I know it and I don’t care. It is delicious and I will continue to eat it until the day I die, which I recognize may come sooner, rather than later, because of the damn, bacon. I’m OK with it.


11 thoughts on “Et Tu, Kale?

  1. There are very few things that are bad for you if you’re not an idiot. Water is even bad for you in excess! Eat what you like (and if that is kale, then GIT IT GURL) but eat other things as well. And we’ll all be fine. Certain things require more moderation than others, but I think that you’ll be good.
    And serve kale with bacon. TRUST

  2. Banana, lemon, spinach, celery –yummm! And the lesser yum: banana, lemon, spinach, parsley, red pepper. Being vegan, sometimes I compromise taste for nutrient value and, since beef is never on the menu, for the sake of my iron levels, parsley and red pepper MUST be. Parsley for the iron and red pepper for the vitamin C which reduces the iron so that my body can metabolize it. Happy blending runner!!

  3. Shocking enough, there are actually some big benefits to eating bacon in moderation. (in its purest form, not that majorly cured stuff).

    I never jump on food bandwagons, so I am right there with ya, girl.

    • I love you for posting this. I don’t know if I eat the good kind of bacon, although I do get the organic nitrate-free kind. Bacon Is Good. That’s the next article someone should write!

  4. It does drive me crazy when ‘they’ tell us something is healthy and then say it’s not. I think if we just use common sense, we’ll be ok though. I personally think eating stuff from the earth is good for us. Does bacon come from the earth?

    • Indirectly, yes. So it’s good with me. You hit exactly on my point – I wish the “experts” would stop flip-flopping around with their advice. Or, I could just stop paying attention to it.

  5. Yes, more reasons to not like kale! I am a spinach guy, see Popeye. Post some of your favorite juice recipe concoctions, it is always interesting to see what goes well together and I will assume you have already mixed coconut water and kale.

    • I will put some recipes out there, but I think Colby (a/k/a the Smoothie Queen) will probably post some recipes first. I love spinach. Apparently it does the same terrible things to you that kale does, though, if you overdo it. Or maybe that only happens if you are stupid enough to read everything you find on the internet. I can’t remember.
      Popeye was a cool dude. You’re in great company.

  6. I so love this post mainly because it is so common sense. Eat a variety of food, mostly non processed, and chill the eff out. BTW #1 – I had bacon this morning. YUM! #2 – I am a vitamix convert for those kale smoothies (which honestly is about the only way I eat kale).

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