9 ways to Enjoy Kale!

Kale is the boss! Hands down out of all of the super healthy greens, kale takes the crown. It’s one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet; it’s loaded with powerful antioxidants; it’s an EXCELLENT source of Vitamin C; it can help lower cholesterol, which may reduce the risk of heart disease; it’s packed with Vitamin K; and it’s full of minerals that MOST people don’t get enough of…

Yeah, Kale is the bomb. Nutrients in green leafy vegetables, like kale, have so many great health benefits yet, nearly 90% of Americans don’t eat the MINIMUM recommended daily amount of ANY vegetables (daily recommended amount is 3 cups of raw, cooked, blended, or juiced vegetables).

So, in case you fall into that 90% (no judgement here), I have included 9 super easy ways you can add (one of MY favorite vegetables) to your daily routine.

  1. Kale Smoothie – Start your day with a green smoothie, blended greens, or a good ol’ green juice. Smoothies and blended greens are loaded with fiber (get’s things moving) and are best for daily intake and long-term health maintenance.

Here’s a kale smoothie that I enjoy:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups lightly packed chopped kale leaves — stems removed
  •  3/4 cup unsweetened plant-based milk — I love oat milk
  • 1 frozen medium banana — cut into chunks
  •  1/4 cup Cocoyo living coconut yogurt — probiotics rock!
  •  1/4 cup frozen pineapple pieces
  •  2 tablespoons peanut butter — creamy or crunchy
  •  1 to 3 teaspoons agave or maple syrup — to taste (feel free to omit because we found that the bananas and pineapple is sweet enough…but do you boo!)

Instructions:

Place all ingredients (kale, almond milk, banana, yogurt, pineapple, peanut butter, and honey) in a blender in the order listed. Blend until smooth. Add more milk as needed to reach desired consistency. Enjoy immediately.

2. Kale Salad – I love a good kale salad with a variety of other dark leafy greens. Make your kale salad with the curly variety (or whatever kale you like), add some avocado (mash it into your greens to replace the dressing or slice it to place on top…MmmmMmmm), quinoa, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, maybe some sun-dried tomato… You’ve got yourself a nutrient packed salad!

3. Snack it Up: Kale Chips! These are my absolute favorite go-to snack. They are super easy to make and you can dress them up or down any way that you like. You can pop them in the oven (not too long or they will burn… no one wants burnt chips do they?!?!?!) or in the dehydrator (my favorite way). You can sprinkle them with a little salt and pepper, do a cashew/tahini sauce then bake/dehydrate, you can even do different flavor profiles (Chipotle, Curry, Greek, so many options)! Click here for a super easy recipe!

4. Sauté it Baby – Chop up some onion and garlic. Cook it up then add that kale (in bit sized pieces) and a little water. Top that pan with a lid and let the kale wilt a little (keep it green, you don’t want to lose too many nutrients). After about 5-7 minutes, you’ve got some sauteed kale. Sprinkle some salt and pepper to taste. BAM! You’ve got a lovely side dish or snack.

5. Soup Time – You can make vegetable soup, but what’s vegetable soup without some greens? Chop up some kale leave and add them to any soup or stew you make. Treat these babies just as you would fresh cilantro, parsley, or basil…Add them near the end of cooking. Increase those nutrients in your dish!

6. Get Saucy – Kale pesto on pasta… or as a spread…or on fresh bread! Kale pesto is truly a treat. It goes a little beyond the traditional pesto recipe by adding in the nutrient dense properties of kale. Click here for a simple kale pesto recipe.

7. Wrap it up – Good ol’ Dino kale (Lacinato Kale…the dark green kind with the “bumps” on the leaves) is a great choice when making wraps. The leaves are flat so you can add other veggies, dips, or sauces to make a delicious snack!

8. Hold the Lettuce Please – No shade against lettuce, but have you ever tried kale on a sandwich? It just slaps a little different. Not to mention the nutritional benefits added to that sammie! Whew!

9. Burger time – Not quite like #8. I mean making a burger using kale as an ingredient. As a plant-based chef, I have gotten pretty inventive/creative in the kitchen. Burgers are always a crowd pleaser and adding kale kicks it up a notch. Check out this link for our Super Garlicky Kale Burger…It’s so delicious, but I’m sure it will keep the vampires away.

There you have it! Nine simple and easy ways to eat one of the most nutrient dense veggies on the planet: KALE (yeah)! Go ahead get more kale in your life. Your body and palate will love you for it!

Have a great week!

~ Chef Kay 🌱😘

The Role of Diet and Essential Nutrients during COVID-19

Hi everyone! There’s been quite the buzz lately about supplements and medications revolving around COVID-19. No one is really publicizing (on main stream media) about the holistic ways we can keep our immune systems boosted during this time. I know what you may be thinking, “Here we go… more herbs, tonics, and tinctures… yadda yadda yadda.” Well, I thought about it, but I wanted to be more practical in my approach and tell you about foods we can keep in our homes to keep ourselves healthy (or at least in better health) during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Disclaimer: I do not have the cure all be all. You cannot change your immune system overnight. Healthy habits are just that…habits! You have to take time to build and practice strengthening/maintaining your immune system on a regular basis. The tips here are a suggestion from an educational standpoint.

You may recall, back in March, that I wrote a nice little blog post mentioning “5 ways to build your immune system.” Here we are in April still running around in utter confusion and more scared than ever (anxiety through the roof) about how to stay healthy during this time. Here’s a question I have for you: What are the three things a human cannot live without?

Any guesses?!

No, it’s not your cell phone or getting your nails done… It’s Air, Water, and Food. A human being cannot survive without those three things for an extended period of time (please do not try to experiment with this concept… do your research). The body begins to break down on a cellular level and can result in death. That’s pretty serious. There is much to talk about regarding air, water, and food. Air and water will be another blog for another day (there’s much to talk about), however, I want to focus on my area of expertise which is food and its health benefits.

So, if food is important, according to a number of scientific studies, then why aren’t people more “concerned” about the foods they consume?

Wait! I know…I know… How dare I come in between you and your food? Know that I would never do that. My job here is to keep you and your families educated and informed with information that will enhance your life, especially when it comes to food. So here’s the latest and greatest in helpful information to keep your bodies’ immune system boosted while staying home in quarantine.

Boost your immunity by choosing:

  • Zinc-rich foods: Helps regulate and improve functioning of the immune system. Foods that are rich in zinc include leafy green vegetables, legumes, sprouted seeds and beans, nuts, seeds, and oats.
  • Iron-rich foods: These are essential for good metabolism, healthy blood flow, and therefore oxygenation of the body. Iron helps improve muscle and brain function. Try eating dark green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, lentils (we love these), artichokes, dark chocolate, sesame seeds, or chickpeas (you can even combine many of these in a well-balanced plant-based dish).
  • Eat probiotic-rich foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, or pickles. These foods help the body’s digestive system and promotes a healthy gut microbiome.
  • Sunshine (when you can) for that Vitamin D!
  • Magnesium-rich foods: These foods are essential for hundred of reactions in your body, such as repairing and regenerating cells and providing energy. Don’t let yourself become deficient! Magnesium is found in chlorophyll (found in green plants), so eat LOTS OF GREENS!!! Avocados, chard, spinach, figs, bananas, black beans, and pumpkin seeds are some of the foods you can keep in your pantry.

Staying at home and keeping your sanity during the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging for everyone. This stress and increased anxiety can cause people to abandon their healthy eating intentions and go into binge snacking. I’m here to let you know that you CAN continue to make good food choices and boost your immunity in the process. Remember that here at Plant-Based Eatz, we love each and every one of you. Here’s to your health.

Healthy Inside. Healthy Outside.

-Chef Kay

Coping with Disruption

Handling stressors and anxiety during COVID-19 quarantine.

How’s everyone doing out there? I’m sure watching the news and scanning social media posts isn’t making it any “easier” to deal with being quarantined. COVID-19 is creating anxiety almost everywhere you look. I’ve noticed that amidst all of the reports that we are being fed (whether traditional or social media) levels of anxiety and panic are at a high.

Stress and anxiety can have an overwhelming effect on the body. It can cause panic attacks, headaches, irritability, depression, increased blood pressure, upset stomach, loss of libido, muscle aches and other pains. How can we cope? Imagine what your life would be like if you could reduce your anxiety… Imagine cultivating an environment where “calm” is the norm while being mindful of the events happening around you. It can be done. This week on PB Eatz’s Medicinal Monday post, we will talk about coping with uncertainty during a time of high stress and anxiety.

**Disclaimer: No one here at Plant-Based Eatz is denying nor avoiding the issues. We understand that they are very real and should be taken seriously.**

COVID-19: The reality is unavoidable

People are losing their s***. Folks are irritable, schools and businesses are closed until further notice, grocery stores are limiting the number of customers shopping, many people are in complete isolation, and no one has a clue about what will happen next. Yeah, it’s some scary stuff. Not only is health a concern for the physical body, but the health of our economy.

Now, it is TOTALLY understandable to experience heightened anxiety during a time uncertainty. Depending on where you are geographically, it can be complete chaos for you. As I mentioned last week, you could use this opportunity to improve your physical health (eating well, getting sunlight, washing your hands, practicing social distancing), but you can also use this time as a chance to improve your mental health and anxiety.

Let’s Calm Down Together

Acceptance: We can only control what is in our control

This is a complete state of mind. The sooner we accept what we can and cannot control, we will see the anxiety dissipate. Has worrying ever changed anything? Accepting change (and how you deal with it) can improve your mental health.

Being Mindful: Choosing our focus and actions

Actively choose what you do and what you pay attention to. Instead of sitting in front of your television or staring at your mobile device all day, be active at home. Try meditation. Maybe some yoga. Doing more positive activities with loved ones or actively engaging in a new found hobby while focusing on the POSITIVE aspects, can help minimize worries about the unknown (the what-ifs/worst case scenarios). Be mindful even when you decide to make that run to the grocery store. The long lines and paranoia can cause high levels of stress… Don’t worry. Take a moment and breath deeply and be mindful that we are ALL in this together. It will take time.

Maintain a Well-Balanced Diet: Healthy Inside. Healthy Outside.

Eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Drink plenty of water. Move more. Don’t stay sedentary getting your anxiety levels up. Stressing can do a number on your immune system. We want you healthy. That means your physical and mental health.

The truth is that we only have this moment to live in… Just this moment! We don’t know what will happen next or what lies ahead for the “coronavirus,” however, it is how we handle ourselves in this “unprecedented” time that will surely make or break us. I believe in you… I believe in us as a people on this planet. Keep believing and take time each day to enjoy it. WOOSAH!

I love each and every one of you. We here at Plant-Based Eatz want all of you to live your best life and stay healthy. -Kay

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Staying Strong: 5 Tips to Build Your Immunity

We are in a very interesting time where we are more connected than ever as a people — we are all going through this pandemic together.

I want all of you to stay safe and (most importantly) healthy. The time to take care of yourself is more important than ever. For those that are not doing so well right now, I hope that there are systems and support in place to help you heal and recover. We will all get through this together.

Disclaimer: I do not have the cure all be all. You cannot change your immune system overnight. Healthy habits are just that…habits! You have to take time to build and practice strengthening/maintaining your immune system on a regular basis. The tips here are a suggestion from an educational standpoint.

Here are the 5 tips to build your immunity:

Consume a whole food, plant-based diet.

Many feel that eating a more plant-based diet is trendy, but in reality, these foods are the healthiest we can consume. Do you like fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains? Then you’re on the right track. They are the building blocks for a STRONG immune system. Here’s a pro tip: Eat your dark leafy greens. Dark leafy greens like kale, collards, spinach Swiss Chard, Bok Choy, mustard greens, turnip greens (Oh my Goodness 🤤). All of these greens (there are so many more) are nutrient dense and have an abundance of health benefits. Make sure you’re also drinking 6-8 cups of water every single day (for all of you gallon drinkers, way to go)!

Get Moving.

I understand that we have been told to “stay inside,” but that doesn’t mean you can exercise/be active at home. Now is the time to be super creative. There are many apps and videos online that will help you stay (or get) on track with your fitness journey. Some of our favorites are yoga, dancing, body-weight exercises, and strength training (if you have weights or canned goods then you can do some strengthening exercises…stay tuned for another post on in-home workouts).

Sunshine = Vitamin D.

Social distancing is a must just as much as washing your hands; however, try to make it a point of going outside for at least 15/20 minutes a day. You can step out on your porch, balcony, rooftop, out in your yard to do some grounding! Fresh air and the warm sunlight on your face (arms, hands, legs) can work wonders on your immune system. You can also download the D Minder app to find ideal times to bask in the sunlight.

Laugh a little… or a lot.

One thing we always make sure we do in our home is laugh… I mean we laugh A LOT! Laughter and a positive mindset has a powerful effect on your immune system (just as negative thoughts and stress have on breaking down your immune system). Don’t worry…Be happy! Engage in activities or hobbies that you enjoy (let’s face it, now is the time to maybe pick up that book you’ve been wanting to read or take on a new hobby). Live and laugh with loved ones. Your immune system will thank you.

Find some quiet time…Try meditation.

We have literally gone from zero to one hundred in a matter of weeks when it comes to stress, anxiety, and flat out worry. This much emotional/physical “trauma” takes a major toll on your immune system and its defenses. Now is the best time to make a conscious decision to just…Breathe and relax. You can start by doing guided meditations for at least 10 minutes a day. Calm, Headspace, and Insight Timer are great apps I have used and recommend ( I rotate through these regularly). Be sure to also get enough sleep… A well-rested body helps keep the immune system healthy.

If you’re already doing some of these tips, you are on top of it. Way to go and keep doing what you are doing. You’re facing this pandemic with an already strong immune system. For those that are just seeing this for the first time, it’s ok, now is the BEST time to start some of these practices to promote long-term health. Remember, this is a first for many of us. We are all taken aback and have had to make some heavy changes, but we are all in this together.

I love each and every one of you. We here at Plant-Based Eatz want all of you to live your best life and stay healthy. -Kay🥰