Kale: a taste I have yet to acquire

April 21, 2013

I blogged on January 1 that one of the ways I would manage my MS symptoms this year would be to eat according to Dr. Wahls’ dietary protocol — it’s dairy free and gluten-free and involves eating lots and lots of dark green leafy vegetables.

I have kept that resolution for more than 90 days … well, for the most part. Let’s just say I continue to ease into my new eating habits.

Dairy free: No milk — I can do that. No yogurt — okay. But no cheese? No way, at least for now, because cheese is just too tasty. I sneak a little cheese into the occasional omelet, and I sometimes nibble on cheese while cooking those oh-so-healthy meals. I have yet to ban it from the refrigerator.

Gluten free: The sad truth is that I crave carbs — especially bread, from whole wheat loaf bread to Southern biscuits to Yankee bagels. And dinner rolls, pita bread, English muffins and banana bread. The list goes on. Staying away from bread products for the past three and a half months hasn’t been easy, and I’ll admit that I have cheated from time to time. I have been known to reward myself with one plain croissant (or a chocolate croissant if they are out of plain) after I finish my weekly grocery shopping. But when that croissant doesn’t keep the gluten monkey off my back, I would gladly serve hard time in healthy-diet jail just to get my hands on one Panera Bread cinnamon-crunch bagel, toasted, with butter.

Lots and lots of dark green leafy vegetables: That means greens — as in those Southern delicacies, turnip greens and collard greens. Who knew they would be good for you. And don’t forget kale. Dr. Wahls recommends the dreaded kale because it provides so many of the nutrients that I need. But to tell you the truth, I find it difficult to eat turnip greens or collard greens, much less kale. When I complained about the taste to my doctor, she suggested I put the kale in a juicer and make a smoothie. I told her I would try it. And just like that, an image of Yoda popped into my mind, as he told Luke Skywalker, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” I don’t think Yoda ever tasted a kale smoothie.

I went to the grocery store and bought a bunch of organic kale. When I got home, I opened Dr. Wahl’s book to the recipe section and made a Kale and Pear Smoothie. At least the pear part sounded good. As I tasted my green drink, which also included grapes, lemon juice and a banana, I remembered an episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show in which Dr. Mehmet Oz made one of his famous green drinks for her. As I recall, she took a sip and said, “It’s a glass of fresh.”

Oprah, I hate to disagree with you, but my green smoothie did not taste like a glass of fresh. It tasted like I had opened my back door, walked into the yard, gotten down on my hands and knees, and grazed on zoysia grass.

I have developed a theory as to why Oprah would think that Dr. Oz’s green drink is “a glass of fresh.” Oprah was born in Kosciusko, Miss., and lived there until age 6, so she had the opportunity to acquire a taste for greens at a young age. And that’s why the green smoothie tasted like a glass of fresh to her. I, on the other hand, grew up in  northeast Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain. We ate the turnips and fed the greens to the hogs. Not that we ever raised hogs, but if we had … .

I understand that Dr. Wahl lives in Iowa now; however, I can’t help but wonder if she grew up in the South.

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8 Responses to “Kale: a taste I have yet to acquire”

  1. Betsy Saab Says:

    I too have been experimenting with healthier diets, and there is no way I am going to juice kale or anything else. Argh. And I am not a “greens” lover, but have found in you saute them in a touch of oil, seasonings of choice, and preserved lemon, dress them with a vinigarette, they taste better than the usual versions. Am steaming stuffed Swiss Chard for dinner, and topping with a home made tomato sauce.

  2. Char Says:

    This is wonderful!

  3. Dale Short Says:

    Beautiful column! Gave me my LOLs for the day. I’m still picturing Yoda and the kale smoothie. “Hard time in healthy-diet jail” is a phrase for the ages, too. Write on…

  4. Leigh Says:

    Clearly you have not had the kale salad at Bettola! Do it! :-)


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