Without further delay I reintroduce to you, KALE! Since moving back to Arizona and in a life transition, I have been frequenting more restaurants. Restaurants can be tricky in that you really don’t know the nutritional content of your food. Not wanting to sacrifice all of this hard work I’ve put into transforming my body to its current state, I chose kale. Just about every lunch outing at work I choose kale. Eating at a brew pub, I choose kale. Salad bar at Whole Foods, I choose kale. Choosing kale wasn’t always easy. I didn’t even know of its existence before going raw vegan overnight and I certainly wasn’t excited about this green stuff in my life. I remember when I first started out buying this weird leafy green vegetable and drinking it for breakfast. It wasn’t bad if you threw just a few leaves in…and added fresh lemon juice…and some strawberries. Let’s fast forward to today, 5 years after going raw vegan overnight which I maintained for nearly half a year, transitioning through veganism, ovo-vegetarian and finally…my own educated understanding of food. Now I am blending a liter of smoothies every other day that contains 1.5 large bunches of kale. I limit my processed foods to as few as possible, I am conscious of my sugar intake, I don’t crave or eat meat very often and I cram as many leafy greens into my day as possible. I didn’t believe it when the raw vegan/green smoothie proponents said you’d get used to the taste of all the greens, yet here we are, talking about KALE. I’ll save the ridiculous list of health benefits for future posts, but here’s the hizzap for the readers:
- What’s Happening? I’m going to start sharing my Kale Salad experiences in the Phoenix area until I find the absolute best one ever. I’m not talking about kale doused in Caesar dressing, I’m talking fresh, cool, unique, healthy and insanely delicious. Something even non-kale eaters will love.
- Why? Why not? I’m not quite in the groove with my own kitchen and recipes, yet I’d love to get this blog back to the interwebs. I married my quirkiness with kale salad and Kale Yeah was born.
- Seriously, why? Kale is an insane superfood, we all know that. We’ve all been exposed to boxes of kale chips, Costco kale salad in a bag, kale at McDonald’s, etc. The Valley is an amazing food mecca and if kale is going to be on the menu, then I’m going to order the crap out of it and tell you all about it.
- Inception. After nearly a dozen unique kale salads I decided to start this journey with the one that I thought was the best so far. I’ll revisit all of the old places – but I wanted to start with a bang! I’ll go over the good and the ‘iffy’ of the salad and in due time the clear winner will emerge.
FOUR PEAKS BREWING COMPANY | Tempe, AZ
- The Good
- Their Kale Salad is fantastic! It has bacon, sweet corn, bing cherries, gorgonzola and balsamic dressing. The crunchiness of the kale and corn marries the chewy cherries and bacon so nicely. The tangy sweetness of the balsamic and the saltiness of the cheese tops off this bad boy and leaves your mouth so happy. It’s huge to boot! If I can enjoy a nice pint of Odelay AND get some greens in, I call this a major win.
- The Iffy
- There’s a lot of dressing, cheese and cherries. While delicious, it does add a potentially large amount of fat and sugar.
- 9/10 – the ratio of kale to fat/sugar in this salad could be better while maintaining fabulous flavor. So far though, it’s my top choice.
I’d really like to thank Bad Pickle Tees for my new ‘uniform.’ I saw this shirt and knew it had to go on this journey with me. I hope dear reader you stick around too!
If you are someone who has to, or chooses to, avoid wheat gluten, then you might think corn and rice products would be natural go-tos for things like tortillas, chips and crackers. I choose to ingest as little wheat gluten as possible, so for awesome taco night we snagged these corn taco tortillas by Sonoma. They went perfectly with Jon’s homemade ‘refried’ black beans, sautéed vegetables and cilantro. Until I grabbed the package out of curiosity and noticed the ingredients.
Sonoma Handmade Organic Corn Tortilla Ingredients: water, stone ground yellow corn masa flour, wheat gluten…
The strange thing is the website makes it clear that it’s a wheat/corn blend, but my packaging was totally different and just said “Corn Tortillas.” It has made me understand that while the wonderful world of healthy food is growing and embracing the best our world has to offer, I also need to remain vigilant when choosing packaged products. I wouldn’t say that trust was lost, but it was a nice reminder to take the time and read the ingredients carefully. A few extra seconds could save you some agony later. With that said, the tortillas themselves were delicious and pliable, and the corn/wheat blend is great if you can still manage small amount of gluten in your diet in your efforts to reduce consumption. Trust is pretty powerful, especially when it comes to food. I remember looking at a bag of beef jerky while at a small ‘fresh & local’ market a while back thinking about the great snack this would be (and it said nitrate/nitrite free). A read through the ingredients made me set that bag down and never look back. It made no attempt to hide the ‘Monosodium Glutamate‘ listed. Yikes.
Name this product (and NO googling) – the answer will be posted Thursday afternoon.
Ingredients: Whole Grain Wheat Flour, Soybean Oil, Sugar, Cornstarch, Maltodextrin, Malt Syrup(from Corn And Barley), Salt, Invert Sugar, Cayenne Pepper Sauce (Cayenne Peppers, Vinegar, Salt, Garlic), Leavening (Calcium Phosphate And/Or Baking Soda), Tomato Powder, Garlic Powder, Citric Acid, Natural Flavor, Yeast Extract, Vegetable Color (Paprika Extract, Annatto Extract, Turmeric Oleoresin), Spice. BHT Added to Packaging Material to Preserve Freshness.
Those beauties are halibut, and it’s the weirdest-looking-most-delicious-tasting fish. Living in Alaska at the time I got to take home around 20 pounds of the freshly frozen fish and I learned to cook it every which way. After moving away halibut wasn’t on the menu but once or twice a year. The costs of animal and fish meats have noticeably risen, particularly when you’re making local, antibiotic/hormone-free, organically fed, and biodynamic meat purchases a priority. If you’re considering the insanity behind the uppity choice in meat and fish labels, I can shed some light.
You’ve possibly heard about the horse meat scandal across Europe; beef containing horse DNA that got as far as European Ikea’s meatballs. The issue is not wholly about the fact that it was horse meat, but rather that people didn’t know as the meat wasn’t labeled as such. Debating the consumer demand for horse/beef meat isn’t my intention, but rather to address the origination issue. What came first (think chicken and egg); The mislabeled food we knew about – or the mislabeled food we didn’t know about? The latest round of sandal around our fishy friends comes from a 2 year test by Oceana, a conservation group, showing 33% of the fish tested was not what it claimed to be; snapper and tuna being the worst offenders.
I love fish and wholeheartedly agree with The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth when it states,
“…it’s refreshing to find a principle upon which everyone absolutely agrees. One such principle is to eat more vegetables and fruit. Another is that seafood is one of the healthiest foods on the planet.”
Salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, sablefish, anchovies and farmed oysters are particular health superstars. White fleshed fish are high in vitamins and minerals, and low in fat, calories and proinflammatory omega-6 fats. Fish like halibut, flounder, cod and orange roughy are lower in fat than any animal protein. You could say white fish are a nice all-around fish. Orange roughy and cod also contain selenium (in Brazil nuts too) which has been linked to lower cancer rates.
Fish is food AND friend, so procure as thoughtfully as you can to the best of your ability.