Learn To Love Kale…Your Body Will Thank You.

I can’t tell you how many times I hear people say, “Oh that’s too healthy!” I am baffled because on the contrary I bet if you were to ask these same people how satisfied they are with their bodies- they would probably be on the lower side on the scale from 1-10. I think in any aspect of life, sometimes you have to train your body to learn to love certain things. It’s not like I wake up every single day of my life excited to workout (let’s get real). Sometimes I am so sore or just tired that I would rather not- but I know when I finish a great workout I never wanted to start it is the best feeling in the world. Where am I going with this? If you would have told me 4 years ago I would love Kale I would have told you that you were NUTS! In the last 8 months (hard to believe) I have been a part of a workout community that has changed my body in ways I never knew were possible. With that said, protien is extremely important in the recovery process because it supplies your body with structural components known as amino acids, which are vital to improving your body composition. As a vegetarian people always ask the common question, “How do you get your protein?” I have never once heard of a protein deficiency- but with that said it is important to have a well balanced diet w/ or w/o meat. And don’t be fooled, if you aren’t eating sustainable meat, chances are your source/benefits of protein might be in question as well.

When I find new products I sometimes become obsessed and them stop using them months down the road. I love new (I need to work on this!)  I just bought this protein powder again and am ready to tackle the necessities that go with compeleting a great workout. It’s a new year and I can’t wait to see my body change even more. If you hate kale you can always add to any smoothie. The smoothie can include anything-  I usually add kale, raspberries, strawberries, a banana and a little orange juice. If it’s too tart I will add a drop of agave just for a natural sweet. Don’t knock it before you try it.

Why Kale?

-Most highly nutritious vegetable

– Excellent source of Vitamin C, B6 and Manganese

-Great source of dietary fiber

-Anti Cancer Properties

Any favorite non dairy protein powders you recommend? 

Quinoa w/ Butternut Squash and Kale

During the fall season, squash is everwhere to be seen AND it’s cheap. This recipe was made over Thanksgiving but  it can be used as a main dish (if vegetarian) or a great side dish if not. It’s full of kale, walnuts, quinoa, butternut squash. Kale is not only low calorie, but has zero fat and is rich in fiber (along with quinoa). You will feel full without the bloated feeling that most rice dishes can give you.

Give it a try!

What you’ll need:

1 1/2 cups quinoa (I like a mixture of red and white quinoa for color)
1 bay leaf
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon organic cane sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 ribs celery, diced
2 medium leeks,  washed and chopped 
1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
3 ounces curly kale, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 – 2 teaspoons fresh sage or thyme, finely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Directions:

Prepare the quinoa according to package instructions, substituting chicken or vegetable broth for the liquid called for in the instructions and adding the bay leaf to the pot with the liquid prior to cooking. Discard the bay leaf after cooking.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and adjust rack to middle position.

Toss squash with coconut oil, whole cane sugar, and salt. Spread the pieces evenly in a baking dish and cover with foil. Roast for 15 minutes, remove foil and then roast for an additional 20 minutes, until edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a medium to large cast iron skillet or saute pan add the olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add the celery and saute for 2 – 3 minutes, until slightly tender. Add the leeks and saute an additional 2 – 3 minutes, until the leeks and celery are tender and fragrant. Add the garlic and saute 1 minute more.

Reduce the heat to low. Add the chopped kale and saute over low heat just until the kale has wilted.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, vegetables from the saute pan, cranberries, fresh parsley and your choice of thyme or sage. Stir until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Just before serving, top with 1/3 cup of chopped walnuts, if desired.