What do nuclear radiation, getting x-rays like they’re going out of style or not eating your vegetables all have in common?
They’re not good for you? They’re bad for your health?
Yes, but not just your health as in “I need to lose weight, so I’m going to eat iceberg lettuce” or “I need to cut down on red meat because my cholesterol is high.” I’m talking your about your health on a chromosomal level, those little guys that hold your DNA and basically dictate the function (or lack thereof) of every cell in your body. And when those guys aren’t functioning properly a whole host of problems can occur from cancer to loss of bone density to cardiovascular disease to premature aging. I don’t want to get too deep into the science of it all (but I’ll provide links to articles for those of you who do), but basically research suggests that micronutrient deficiencies (aka vitamin and mineral) cause tiny chromosomal breaks (micronuclei), and as Bruce Ames, Ph.D. pointed out during a presentation (specifically on Vitamin K deficiency) this is kinda like being exposed to significant amounts of radiation…day in and day out. A scary thought, but an even scarier one when you consider the number of people with Vitamin K deficiencies just in the US.
“In the United States, average intake of vitamin K1 is 70–80 μg/d (314), which is below the currently recommended Adequate Intake of 90–120 μg/d (25). Generally low intakes are also reported in Ireland (315, 316) and the United Kingdom (317–319), where the general guideline for vitamin K1 intake is ≈70 μg/d (1 μg · kg−1 · d−1) (320).” (McCann and Ames. “Vitamin K, an example of triage theory: is micronutrient inadequacy linked to diseases of aging?” Am J Clin Nutr. October 2009. vol. 90 no. 4 889-907.)
For me, hearing that not getting enough vitamins and minerals was like radiating myself every day, was pretty horrifying. I immediately started making a conscious effort to include A LOT of vegetables into my diet.
Among those vegetables, Kale has become one of my go to leafy greens (but there are lots of other options to get that Vitamin K too!) and I love discovering new ways to sneak it into my daily routine. Enter homemade kale chips. I emphasize homemade because the store-bought ones taste terrible in comparison, actually not even in comparison. They just taste terrible.
Last night I used this recipe for some Coconut Garlic Kale Chips, with a few tweaks. Unfortunately, I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand (i.e. coconut milk or flakes) to follow Gina’s recipe exactly. Maybe this weekend I’ll give it another go.
Coconut Garlic Kale Chips
Adapted from Running to the Kitchen by Gina Matsoukas
2 tablespoons coconut oil (roughly)
1 garlic clove, smashed
2. Wash kale and cut out stems. Tear into about 2 inch pieces and dry. Place into large bowl.
3. Combine coconut oil and garlic in a small bowl and microwave until melted (30 seconds?). Stir to combine.
4. Pour coconut and garlic mixture over kale in the large bowl and toss very well so that each piece of kale is coated with the mixture.
5. Spread kale out on baking sheet in one layer so that the pieces are not overlapping. Sprinkle with salt to taste.
6. Bake for about 15 minutes or to desired crispness, but not too long or it will burn!
7. Repeat with remaining kale if not all cooked at one time.
PS Please note I am not a doctor or an expert, just someone who enjoys science, learning and health. So please don’t mistake any of this for real medical advice, and always talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet.