The Number One Reason You Shouldn’t Eat Kale

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First, let me just say thank you guys so much for all of your comments and feedback on my Just Eat the Fries post from last week.  I’m usually pretty conservative here on the blog, almost afraid of voicing my opinion on certain things, but I’m starting to let go of that fear.  I really enjoyed starting that conversation and hearing so many of your thoughts on it made me want to put myself out there a little bit more, so watch out blog world! 😉

Dovetailing off of last week’s post, I’m here to share the one reason I feel you shouldn’t eat kale.  Yep, this dietitian just told you NOT to eat kale, the “superfood” of the century.  Why would I ever do that?  Well maybe you don’t like kale!

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Here’s the deal.  I’m only telling you not to eat kale if you don’t actually enjoy it.  I firmly believe you shouldn’t force yourself to eat a nutritious food if you absolutely hate it.  Where is the fun in that?  And by the way, you could easily swap kale out in this scenario for any other nutrient-dense food: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, beets, avocados, Greek yogurt…whatever.  The point is don’t eat things you hate, because food shouldn’t be a punishment.  In that Just Eat the Fries rant, I touched a little bit on how eating absolutely should be an enjoyable process.  Forcing yourself to eat foods that you don’t enjoy will only harbor negative feelings and make you resent the food, rather than appreciate it’s nourishing qualities.

All that being said, you probably should give kale (or whatever your nutritional nemesis food is) a shot.  It does happen to be chock full of vitamins, minerals and fiber and offers lots of health benefits.  Before you swear off kale forever, try my tips for learning to enjoy foods you think you hate.  

Let go of the past.  A lot of times we think we don’t like foods because we first tried them as kids and didn’t like them then.  Our taste buds change dramatically as we get older and you may be missing out on foods you don’t even know you enjoy!  Plus, maybe you grew up eating only canned or frozen veggies, which can taste completely different than in-season, fresh from the farm produce!  Or, maybe someone you know is always talking about how gross/nasty/inedible some food is and you just assume you’ll feel the same about it.  Drop those notions and start with a clean slate.  It could open up a whole world of new and flavorful foods!

Identify the problem.  Figure out what it is that you think you don’t like about the food.  Flavor? Consistency?  Those are modifiable.  If you find greens like kale too bitter, you can play up the other tastes (sweet, salty, savory, etc..) in a recipe.  Are raw onions not your thing?  Try caramelizing them to soften and sweeten them!

Give it a few (or ten) chances. Research shows it can take up to 10 trials for our taste buds to determine whether or not we like the taste of something.  Make sure you try a food a few times and prepare it a few different ways before deciding if it’s in or out.  

Play with flavors and recipes. Kale can actually be pretty bitter and tough on the palate if you don’t show it some love first.  If you’re eating it raw and plain, it might make sense that you hate it!  Try learning how to massage it or sautee it with garlic and oil.  Search for and experiment with different recipes, like this Raw Kale Salad with Pistachios from Deanna at Teaspoon of Spice!

If you try these tips and still find you’re not a fan, that’s just fine too.  I won’t force you or judge you for not eating certain nutritious foods.  But I will encourage you to make sure you are eating other foods that nourish you, both body and soul.  Happy eating!

What’s your food nemesis?  As an adult, have you ever tried something you hated as a kid and found you actually enjoy it?  Share with me in the comments below!

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2 comments on “The Number One Reason You Shouldn’t Eat Kale

  1. I love this post so much! I am not a huge fan of kale and some people just can’t believe it because they think as an RD I should like all the healthiest foods. Well news flash to them! That said, I totally agree with your tips for learning to enjoy foods you previously didn’t like. Our tastes change and it’s important for people to give new foods – and old foods they previously didn’t like – a try once in a while!

  2. So true. When we learn how to individualize our preferences based on what we like (not what society says we ‘should’ like), its easier for us to develop a better relationship with food. Of course, you should try new foods if you haven’t tried them, or like you said, try them in a different way, but we are all different. RD Power!

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