To those who say “I don’t like kale,” I ask “What do you have against butter and salt?” Eating kale need not be an exercise in self-restraint. It can be an amazing delivery system for these crave-worthy tastes. But what’s even better? Cooking your greens in butter actually makes them healthier. Here are 3 reasons to stop punishing yourself with steamed (or worse — raw!) greens and slather them in butter instead:
Kale, like its second-fiddle-but-just-as-awesome sidekicks collard greens and swiss chard, is rich in vitamin K and A. These vitamins — which we need to build our blood, immunity, skin health, tissue growth, and vision – are fat-soluble. By cooking your kale in some fat (I suggest butter, ghee, or olive oil for you vegans), you help draw these vitamins out of the kale and into your body, maximizing the super-food potential of the greens. Cool, right?
But wait, there’s more. Butter helps you detox. When you eat (grass-fed) butter, you signal to your liver and gallbladder to release bile necessary for digestion, and cue the liver to get rid of fat-soluble toxins: things like lead, mercury, pesticides, and extra estrogens you get from plastics; all of which can cause all kinds of health problems, from headaches and mood swings to cancer, if they’re allowed to stick around. The fiber from the kale helps to usher the fat-soluble toxins through the intestines and out of your body. Not-so-fun fact: without enough fiber, most bile, along with the toxins that were earmarked for elimination, is recycled back to the liver where it is used again. But this time it’s thicker and can’t do its job very well, so your digestion suffers, and instead of being eliminated, the toxins escape to the blood stream and linger in your fat cells. Not a great long-term solution – we want to kick the bad guys out, not put them under house arrest. Eating your butter-and-kale combo delivers a one-two punch to fat-soluble toxins.
Lastly, both the fiber in the kale and the fat in the butter help you feel satisfied and full longer, allowing you to eat less – clearly an excellent thing for maintaining a healthy weight, or weight loss.
Now if some part of you that was alive in the ‘80s is recoiling at the notion that butter is good for you: the experts got it wrong. The low-fat dogma that we were taught helped to create the dia-besity epidemic we’re currently facing, while depriving us of the yumminess that fat provides. The theory that saturated fat is bad for the heart has been shot down (check out this meta-study for details). Just as out-dated is the classification of LDL and HDL as “bad” and “good” cholesterol. The really scary cholesterol is the VLDL kind, which is related to the consumption of sugar and oils used in processed foods.
So stop unnecessarily punishing yourself by steaming your kale, or God forbid, eating it raw. Here’s how to enjoy Buttery Kale Superfood Goodness in under 10 minutes:
- Grab a bunch of kale. Strip the stems off. Rip it to shreds.
- Smash two cloves of garlic. Throw them into a medium saucepan along with 2 TB butter (or ghee, or olive oil) and 2 TB water. Smoosh it around.
- Cover and cook on medium-low until the kale surrenders its toughness.
- Sprinkle liberally with salt or gomasio (a tasty sesame seed and salt mixture).
- Savor the deliciousness.