Once, I revered kale. I made homemade kale chips, replaced the lettuce in my salad with this devil vegetable and worshipped at the altar of kale-chocolate smoothies. But I didn't actually enjoy any of these things. I was forcing kale down my throat because all my favorite bloggers were eating it, it was a cool vegetable and I'd read countless articles about how all my problems could be solved if I just ate enough of it. Here's my journey of escaping from the church of kale. If you're thinking of reversing my resolve with a kale-revering lecture, save your breath. You won't convince me to eat it again.
Top image: Well and Full
It's Stringy And Makes You Feel Bloated
Here's the thing about kale: It's kind of gross. It's stringy and fibrous and unless you have a $500 blender, good luck getting your kale-infused smoothies not to be chunky. If you eat it raw, it makes you feel bloated thanks to its cruciferous nature. It's also really chewy. I swear I burn more calories trying to chew and digest a kale salad than I do in my CrossFit workout.
And don't get me started on sautéed kale. First you have to rinse it, which inevitably causes a giant mess because the water just slides right off kale's waxy, dinosaur-skin leaves. Then there's the painstaking process of removing the leaves from the stem. You either have to cut them, tear them or use some sort of weird kale-deforesting device—regardless, it takes forever. Once you've finally got the leaves on their own, you have to cook them, but because kale is so high-maintenance you can't just sauté it—no, you have to sauté it and then steam it so the leaves aren't tough and chewy. The resulting fibrous mass is chewy, soggy and slimy all at once.
And no matter how much raw kale you cook, you always end up with a measly three bites (which, TBH, is more than enough).
And good luck making kale chips that aren't soggy, burned or an inexplicable combination of the two.
It's Good For You, But So Are Other (Less Disgusting) Things
Kale gets all the hype for being a superfood, but guess what—so is spinach (it actually contains more iron, potassium and magnesium). Yet spinach doesn't have the trendy appeal and PR team of kale. One study ranked 47 powerhouse fruits and veggies, and kale came in 15th. So, yeah, it's good for you but not so good for you that you should expend energy convincing yourself you like it. You know what veggie came in first place (with a perfect score)? Watercress. Even regular old lettuce beat kale.
I've now accepted I was eating kale because I thought I had to in order to be healthy—not because I enjoyed it. I'm happy to report I've liberated myself from its stringy clutches, and have taken to bok choy, spinach and romaine lettuce instead. Yes, the key to eating healthy is eating things you actually like. So while kale is good for you, there are plenty of other veggies that are also good for you. And if you like them more than kale, you should eat them instead.
In other words, get over yourself kale. In the immortal words of our Queen Beyoncé, don't you ever for a second get to thinking you're irreplaceable.