Kale. A life giving vegetable that has often been associated with hipsters and yogis  is now dominating the aisles of most supermarkets around the world.

151202_TSF_FbPost_08We’re always talking about it. We’re juicing it. We’re sprinkling it over our salads. We’re even crisping it up in the oven and making chips out of it. So what’s the fuss about? Why are we all jumping on the kale-wagon? Kale is a cruciferous green vegetable that belongs to the same family as cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli and brussel sprouts. It is considered one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. This versatile leafy green can be chopped into salads, steamed, baked, sautéed and it happens to be loaded with vitamins and minerals which means that eating a few servings a week can help you stay healthy. The powerful antioxidants found in kale, like the fancy sounding ‘quercetin’ and ‘kaempferol’, protect the body against damage by free radicals and can assist in preventing diseases like cancer.

Trivia night help: Did you know that kale has more calcium per serving than milk? 5 points.

Kale is also one of the best leafy vegetables you can eat if you want to get healthy. Kale can help flush away all sorts of toxins from the body, leaving your liver, kidneys, lungs, colon and skin bright and shiny! And while we’re on the topic of body parts, your eyes will also benefit from regular kale consumption. The high amount of lutein and zeaxanthin found in the leaves helps lower the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. This is why we must sometimes listen to the yogis and the bike riding bearded ones.

One cup of raw kale has:151202_TSF_FbPost_06.
2.5 grams of fiber.
Almost 3 grams of protein.
Vitamins A, C, and K.
Folate.
Alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid).
Lutein and zeaxanthin.
Minerals including phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and zinc.

Green fingers
Lots of people grow kale in their garden as it is relatively easy to care for (although you might find that you’ll have a few new caterpillar friends hanging out in your backyard when word gets out that you’ve got a stash of the green stuff).

Growing your own kale means that you will have peace of mind when it comes to nasty things like pesticides, which can counteract the nutritional goodness of veggies by polluting them with toxic chemicals. You can buy a few baby plants and add them to your veggie patch or try your luck at sowing some seeds. Find a few more tips on growing kale here.

We think it is unfair that Kale has solely been attributed to hipsters and so we thought we would share a list of the top 9 alternative uses for Kale that you may not be aware of yet:151202_TSF_FbPost_03

  1. Facial kale – Struggling with volume and length when it comes to your beard? Have you thought about some hipster inspired detachable green facial hair?
  2. Birkalestocks – Who knew that kale could be flattened, dehydrated, coated with something sturdy and then turned into uber-supportive footwear?
  3. Man bun – Pretty up your top knot with a few leaves tucked into your hair band.
  4. Roses are red, kale is green – Buying flowers for your girlfriend is so 2013. Nothing says ‘I love you’ more than rocking up to her doorstep with a bunch of kale.
  5. Kale me – So you’ve been eye-flirting with someone cute on the other side of your local organic café and you really want to give him/her your number when you finish drinking your dandelion tea…just pull out a flat kale leaf from your waxed canvas hip bag and write your number on it with a little message to ‘Kale me’ and possibly some sort of hand drawn emoticon (otherwise known, for the oldies, as a doodle).151202_TSF_FbPost_04
  6. Energise your space – Forget the sage, smoke-out the bad energy in your home by drying some kale leaves and setting them on fire (this is not advised without adult supervision).
  7. Kale quill – Take a pot of ink, a kale stem that has been whittled to a fine point, dip…and then scribe.
  8. Exfoliate – Need to get rid of some dead skin? Try a handful of curly kale rubbed over the body in the shower.
  9. Handkalechief – It might not be the most absorbent of leafy vegetables but its curly leaves would look rather dazzling poking out of a hipster shirt pocket, don’t you think?

If you’re searching for a few other uses for kale, take a look at The Salad Jar recipe on our website and check out That Sugar Book where you’ll find recipes for Comforting Kale and Cashew Soup, Naked Nuggets with Fancy Fries and our Clean and Green juice.