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

Sea Moss: Amazing Health Benefits!

Hello plant lovers! I know I’ve been MIA for a bit, but it’s all been for a great cause.  So many amazing things are being planned (I’m so EXCITED) and I promise to keep you all in “the loop.”  I wanted to write to you all today because I recently had a terrible experience with headaches.  Many of you that know me, know that I DON’T GET SICK and I don’t have headaches.  This “experience” happened shortly after two vaccinations I received to travel abroad (more details coming soon on my exciting trip).  Side note, after all of the inoculations I have had (especially while being in the Marine Corps), I still had to get two more (even though one has a life time immunity…I’ve had it THREE times already)… Money making entity at its best! (Oh, there will be another blog about this!)  I am not a fan of vaccines and I’d be happy to share in another blog, but FYI… The struggle is real when it comes to vaccinations and being plant-based.  There are so many “animal” and chemical ingredients in a number of vaccines.  For more information on vaccinations and their ingredients, venture over to the CDC website.

Where was I?  Right!  I reached out to a friend about natural cures for headaches and he mentioned Sea Moss!  (I also gave him the back story about those vaccinations too).  I’ve know about sea moss for a number of years now, but I’ve always hesitated to prepare it.  Can you imagine?  It’s a sea vegetable that if not rinsed and soaked well, can taste like the ocean and just be a bad experience overall. Well, I realized that I completely over thought the process and at the end of the day, it was a really cool experience… Preparing and using the sea moss.

So, what’s the scoop?

Seaweeds are recognized as a rich source of diverse bioactive compounds such as “sulfated polysaccharides.”  What the what?!?!  Basically these compounds have been reported to induce many health enhancing biological activities and are considered to be: antioxidant, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral.  This sea vegetable is a power house of nutrients and minerals.

Health Benefits of Sea Moss (Irish Moss)

Immune Support

This powerful sea vegetable helps relieve and prevent symptoms of colds and flu.  Now is the time to get some sea moss for these long winter months ahead.  It’s a great source of potassium chloride which helps reduce mucous and phlegm.  Remember those “health enhancing biological activities” I mentioned before?  Sea moss acts as a natural antimicrobial and antiviral agent which helps rid the body of infections. Other benefits include (but not limited to):

  • Thyroid Support
  • Mental Health
  • Heavy Metal Detoxifying Agent
  • Skin Health
  • Digestive Support

After making Sea Moss gel today and adding it to my smoothie, I have to admit that my headache has been minimized.  I made enough to last me for the week.  I will be adding it to my smoothies, blending it with almond pulp, and whatever else I can think of.  I really want my body to go back to being happy and flushing out the effects from those vaccines (ugh).

I hope you’ll check out sea moss too! I can’t believe I’ve been missing out! Have a happy and healthy week!