All Hail, Kale! Growing Kale at Home (With Recipe)

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I have to confess … despite all the hype over kale, I didn’t really think it was a superfood until I started growing kale in my own garden. The stuff at the grocery store just kind of tasted like old collards. Even bacon grease and balsamic glaze couldn’t turn curly kale into something I would eat voluntarily.

Then, a couple years ago, I bought a collection of seeds that were supposed to grow well in early spring. Vates Blue Kale seeds were in the mix. Even though I doubted I’d eat them, I was curious to see how they would do in our garden and figured I could feed the leaves to the chickens, if nothing else.

When those first tender baby greens sprouted from the start of my kale stalk, I tore one off and tasted it. Fireworks exploded and TGN blogger Scott Sexton began singing songs that sounded somewhat reminiscent of fairy tale cartoon movies from my childhood.

(By the way, if you haven’t already heard Scott’s song—you must! Seriously, it will make your day: “Gardening Humor: Need a Laugh? Watch This Now!”)

The Goods on Growing Kale

Super Nutritious

Kale is the ultimate superfood. You want vitamins A, C, and K—it’s got plenty. And those thingamabobs—oh yeah, antioxidants—it’s got twenty (at least). If you want to be where the calcium, iron, manganese, and fiber are—plant some kale and have some for salads. (Yes, this is a play on Scott’s song. So, if you haven’t already listened to it, please check it out so I don’t sound like a total idiot!)

Seriously though, kale is loaded with nutrients and light on calories. It’s even got OMEGAs![note][/note]


Well, not so delicious if you get it at the grocery store. But, if you grow it at home, it’s a whole new world! Cooked in bacon grease or butter, raw, juiced, smoothied (that’s a verb, isn’t it?), rubbed with vinegar and tossed with olive oil, made into kale chips, chopped up, fermented, and used a relish … this green’s got it all. And it’s …

Easy to Grow

Yes!! Growing kale is easy. In fact, in temperate climates it can even grow through winter and into the next spring. Of course, like most cole crops, it grows best in cooler weather. But used in an edible landscape with a bit of heat and sun protection, it can keep producing even in warmer weather.

Edible Landscape Favorite

I love to grow greens under my fruit trees to increase my food production and add seasonal, edible interest. Kale is one of the most beautiful and longest-lasting seasonal greens I grow decoratively. Those giant Lacinato dinosaur leaves hearken back to prehistoric times. The stunning Red Russian fan-like displays call to mind Caribbean coral reefs and add flare and flavor to your edible landscape areas. And the pale, blue-green Vates leaves add amazing contrast and interest.


If you can manage not to eat all your baby kale straight from the garden, then taking those larger leaves and coating them with olive oil, salt, and some red pepper flakes and toasting them on a sheet pan in your oven is a real treat.

We call these kale chips. But with half the calories and 10 million times the goodness of potato chips, you don’t even have to feel guilty eating these. If red pepper flakes aren’t your thing, add your favorite herb or a handful of Parmesan instead.

I’d give you a formal recipe, but kale chips are so easy that all you need to know (besides what I just told you) is to cook them on about 350°F or 177°C for about 10-15 minutes until the edges just start to brown and curl.

Some people remove the stems before baking. Personally, I find this to be too much work. I leave them in, and if they aren’t tender enough to eat, I just nibble the leaf parts and take the leftover stems to my chickens.

Kale chips taste best when leaves are mid-sized. I’d keep the baby leaves for salad and the jumbo leaves for soups.

A Few Cautionary Things to Know About Growing Kale

Now, there are also a couple of things to be aware of before you make kale part of your garden and your diet.

It’s a Cole Crop

Yes, another cole crop, like mustard and arugula—our two most recent greens of the month. In case you missed those greens, you can check them out here.

Read More: “Mustard Greens: What you Need to Know Before You Grow (With Recipe)”

Read More: “Growing Arugula: The Rocket in Your Salad Bowl and Garden (With Recipe)”

However, since you can absolutely grow kale with your mustard and arugula and create waves of delicious color and interest in your garden bed, this doesn’t need to be a downside.

Just remember to only plant cole crops in the same beds once every 3-4 years to minimize pests like cabbage moths and cabbage aphids.

Health Concerns

A single serving of kale has almost 700% of your daily dose of vitamin K. This isn’t an issue for everyone. But it can be a serious concern for people on blood thinners. Kale also packs a fiber wallop, so you might want to add it to your diet slowly and give your gut time to adjust.

Growing Kale

Soil Preparation

Kale can tolerate a wider variety of soils than most other cole crops, which is why it works great in edible landscapes as well as in prepared vegetable garden beds. As long as your soil is the 6.0–7.5 pH range, kale will grow well with a little prep work.

Here’s the big secret to growing kale at home. Ready?

Kale absolutely loves compost.

I mean, loves it! I usually apply at least 3-4 inches of well-aged compost to my kale beds before planting. I also top dress with a sprinkling of worm castings across the entire bed for some bonus fertility. If we get runs of hot weather in spring, I’ll even top dress with another inch or two of compost to keep kale from becoming woody and bitter.

Compost is so important because kale is a nutrient hog. And in good soil, it will set a deep, central tap root, as well as lots of smaller side roots that can sometimes run out and down over several feet in their quest for nutrients. Heavy compost keeps the soil moist so that these nutrient-seeking roots can dig deep to get what they need.

If your soil is mineral light, then you also want to amend with some rock dust.

Seed Starting

Kale seeds can germinate in temperatures ranging from 40-80°F or 5-26°C, which is pretty astonishing for a crop that prefers to grow in cool weather. This makes it a great option for both early spring and late summer planting so that you can eat it for the better part of the year.

You can also start seeds indoors and transplant into the garden. However, in my experience, it’s better to transplant when the plants are only about an inch or so tall. Larger plants tend to get stunted after transplanting and take longer to mature than smaller transplants. Though, if you are super careful not to damage the roots, you can get away with transplanting larger plants, too.

Direct-seeding is my favorite method, though. With daily to twice daily watering (to keep the top layer of soil moist), you can get in-ground germination in 4 days.

A healthy kale plant can grow pretty vigorously. Space plants a foot apart for dwarf varieties and more like 14-16 inches apart for larger varieties.

Young Plant Care

Since kale can often be direct-planted weeks before your last frost, if the weather takes a turn for the worse while the plants are still young, you can protect them with cloches. Fancy cloches are made of glass, look like bells, and come equipped with knobs for easy carrying. But you can make your own with plastic bottles by cutting the bottom off.

For best yields and the sweetest-tasting kale, make sure to keep the soil consistently moist. If we don’t get rain, I’ll water the top few inches of soil every other day as necessary.

Some people start kale every few weeks to keep a good supply. I usually start an early round (like now), then one about a month from now. I eat baby leaves from my early round until my second round matures. Then I let my older plants get larger leaves to use for kale chips, soups, and sautéed greens.

Mature Plant Care and Harvesting

The key to mature plant care for kale is to harvest regularly. Harvest leaves from the base toward the top. Leave the top intact since that’s where new growth will come from. Yes, this means your kale will end up looking like a palm tree. But palm trees are beautiful.

If my kale starts to tower too tall in my garden, I will chop off its head at about 4-5 inches from the ground. So long as the stalk is still in great condition (e.g., not already on the way out), I’ll get some side shoots and more production.

This is a gamble, though, because those cut stalks often start to rot and the plants seem more prone to insect infestation. Still, I have actually kept several plants alive for over three years by doing this. However, new plants are more productive, taste better, and take less work.

Kale is also more susceptible to aphid infestations as weather warms. So be ready to scrub your leaves with soapy water at the first signs of aphid invasions.

Varieties of Kale

Hands down, the easiest kinds of kale to grow in my area (zone 7a—hot early springs, hot fall, late winter) are Vates and Red Russian kale. Lacinato is also pretty easy, but in our heat and humidity, it doesn’t seem to hold up as long as I imagine it would in more Northern climates. Siberian kales tend to bolt in our hot, humid conditions. However, there are lots more kale varieties than these.

Cornell University has a page you can link to that has a long list of cultivated kales:

Read More: Cornell Kale Varieties List 

Unconventional Growing Tips for Adventure Gardeners

Have you heard of perennial kale that will even grow well in sand? Yes, I am serious. It’s called Lily White Kale or Sea Kale.

The seeds are a bit tricky to germinate. You need to remove the outer corky layer and then nurture your seeds in the ground for 21 days or longer. You may also need to give them a bit of shade protection if you are trying to direct-start outdoors.

Like rhubarb and asparagus, it’s better if you give your sea kale a year or two to establish before you start harvesting. But, it can produce for 10 years on average. With a little work up front and some patience, you can grow a come-and-cut kale that will thrive for a decade.

If you are a kale fan like I am (now that I grow my own), we’d love to hear about any trick you have for growing, your favorite varieties, or recipes. Just use the comments section below to share with our reading community! All hail, kale—the superfood that really is super tasting!


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Cancer-Fighting Superfoods You Should Eat EVERY DAY

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Cancer-Fighting Superfoods You Should Eat EVERY DAY

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Not all health conditions are avoidable, but certain lifestyle choices can increase your risk of illness, including diseases such as cancer. These lifestyle choices include smoking, lack of exercise, drinking too much alcohol, and eating an unhealthy diet.

Certain foods, often called “superfoods,” have cancer-fighting properties. These superfoods are comprised of antioxidants, healthy fats, a high content of vitamins and minerals, and fiber – elements that are known to have cancer-fighting properties:

There is no single food that will fight cancer alone. The key is to eat a healthy, balanced diet.

So, are you ready to discover foods that can help prevent cancer? Here is what your doctor would tell you:

1. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables

Consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables can help lower your risk for many types of cancer. This is true because plant-based foods are rich in nutrients which boost your immune system.

  • Fruits and veggies are high in antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and beta-carotene. These powerful vitamins can defend against cancer and aid the cells in your body with functioning optimally.
  • Diets high in fruit may lessen the risk of lung cancer and stomach cancer, among others.
  • Veggies high in carotenoids, such as Brussels sprouts, carrots and squash, may decrease the risk of mouth, lung, larynx and pharynx cancers.
  • Berries, oranges, bell peppers, dark leafy greens and peas — along with other foods high in vitamin C, such as broccoli and papaya — can fight cancer cells due to their high level of antioxidants.
  • Foods high in lycopene, such as guava, watermelon and tomatoes can lessen the risk of prostate cancer.

2. Eat foods high in fiber

Foods high in fiber keep your digestive tract clean and healthy.

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Cancer-Fighting Superfoods You Should Eat EVERY DAY

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Fiber aids in keeping foods moving through your digestive tract, and clears out cancer-causing toxins before they can cause much harm. Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

  • There is no fiber in dairy, sugar, meat or “white” foods such as pastries, white rice and white bread.
  • As you eat more fiber, drink plenty of water because fiber absorbs water.
  • Eat whole grains such as whole wheat bread and brown rice, instead of white breads and rice.
  • If you need a snack, popcorn has more fiber and is healthier than chips.
  • Bananas, pears and apples are high in fiber, as well as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
  • Baked potatoes, including the skin, are high in fiber.
  • Substitute beans, soy and legumes for meat, which are high in fiber.

3. Eat foods with cancer-fighting fats

Eating a diet high in “bad fats” can increase your risk of cancer. However, there are healthy fats that can fight cancer cells. The trick is to choose foods with the healthy fats.

Healthy fats that can help fight cancer

Healthy fats are unsaturated fats that are found naturally from sources such as fish, olive oil, avocados and nuts. Furthermore, focus on omega-3 fatty acids that support brain health and heart health, and that battle inflammation. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include tuna, flaxseeds and salmon.

  • Eat fish at least two times per week. Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids include black cod, herring, sardines and salmon.
  • Cook with high-quality olive oil (but don’t let it smoke, which can decrease its nutritional value).
  • Add nuts, seeds and avocados to your meals as much as possible.
  • Eat more flaxseed, or try flaxseed oil, as well.

Unhealthy fats that can raise cancer risk

The most destructive type of fats are saturated fat and trans fat. While some saturated fats — from eggs and dairy — may have health benefits, unhealthy saturated fats from processed foods, fried foods and fast foods might escalate cancer risk.

  • Avoid fast foods that are high in trans fats and saturated fats.
  • Limit consumption of packaged and processed foods.
  • Avoid vegetable oils that are made with the use of high heat and toxins.
  • Watch sweets. Not only can they contain unhealthy fats, but are mostly full of empty calories with no nutritional value.

Final Thoughts

Remember to exercise to keep your body and mind healthy! A healthier body is a natural immune system boost, and can fight off illnesses and diseases much better than a fatigued, out-of-shape body. A healthy mind supports good mental health and a positive outlook that also can aid in fighting off illnesses and diseases.

What foods would you add to our list? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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Turmeric: The Colorful Superfood That Fights Arthritis, Cholesterol And Cancer, Too

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Turmeric: The Colorful Superfood That Fights Arthritis, Cholesterol And Cancer, Too

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Did you know that foods with deep colors usually have the most nutritional benefits? Dark berries, such as blueberries, raspberries and cherries, have powerful antioxidants, for example. Another example of a powerful, colorful superfood is turmeric.

Turmeric is a rhizome, similar to ginger, that grows wild in Southeast Asia, and it is what provides curry dishes with their deep golden color. Turmeric contains curcumin, an amazing compound that can protect and repair cells and can promote healing in the human body.

According to the Journal of the American Chemical Society, turmeric has antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-mutagenic, anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties.

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The flavorful spice, which is a mainstay in many Asian dishes, also is a good source of protein, dietary fiber, niacin, calcium, potassium, copper, magnesium, zinc, iron and Vitamins C, E and K.

As you might expect, turmeric has been used for centuries to treat a variety of health problems. Here are eight ways turmeric can heal:

1. Arthritis – A study published in 2012 in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that patients with rheumatoid arthritis reported an increase in flexibility and a decrease in pain after taking curcumin. Furthermore, these patients did not suffer the same side-effects as did patients taking other arthritis drugs.

2. Cancer – According to the American Cancer Society, laboratory studies have demonstrated that curcumin blocked the formation of cancer-causing enzymes in rodents.

A study conducted by the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2011 found that the curcumin “effectively differentiates between cancer cells and normal cells while activating cancer cell death (apoptosis).”

More studies are needed, but turmeric is being used to treat breast cancer, colon cancer and skin cancer.

3. Diabetes – A diet including turmeric may help in diabetes management.

In 2009, the journal Biochemistry and Biophysical Research Communications published an Auburn University study that showed that curcumin in turmeric is 400 times more powerful than Metformin (a common drug used to treat diabetes) in improving insulin sensitivity.

turmeric-943629_640 (1)4. Digestive ailments – Many patients with gastrointestinal problems, such as IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), experience inflammation of the intestinal lining as a side-effect of their medication.

Studies show that patients who take curcumin, however, do not complain of these side-effects.  Additionally, curcumin works to heal the gut and support the growth of beneficial bacteria.

5. Cholesterol — A study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research showed that curcumin lowered the high LDL cholesterol in mice. The compound also lowered C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of systemic inflammation, and triglycerides in the laboratory animals.

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6. Burns – Curcumin has pain-relieving properties and has been shown to be effective in treating and managing the pain of severe burns.

A study by the Army Institute of Surgical Research recommended that curcumin should be used to treat burn patients because of its anti-inflammatory benefits and because it has fewer side-effects than conventional burn treatments.

7. Congestion – Consuming turmeric helps unclog sinus passages and promote better breathing when you have a cold.

Try stirring a half teaspoon into a glass of water and sipping it twice a day when you catch a cold. As an antibacterial and an anti-viral compound, the turmeric solution also will help ease a sore throat.

8. Aches and pain – If you experience shoulder or back pain or the pain from sciatica, turmeric may provide natural relief. Eating foods rich in turmeric may help somewhat, but you may want to check with your doctor about taking a turmeric supplement.

Although side-effects are minimal if you consume turmeric in normal household recipes, it can produce side-effects when consumed in large quantities. These side-effects may include indigestion, nausea and diarrhea. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, large doses of turmeric may cause a worsening of symptoms for people with gallbladder trouble.

If you take regular medication, check with your doctor before adding large amounts of turmeric to your diet. Curcumin may interfere with anti-coagulants such as warfarin and clopidogrel. It also may interfere with certain non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or cure any particular health condition. Please consult with a qualified health professional first.

What advice would you add about Turmeric? How have you used it? Share your tips in the section below:

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Chickweed: The Edible, Tasty ‘Superfood’ You Mow Over Every Week

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What the heck is chickweed and why would I want it in my salad? If you’re like many gardeners, you yank this common weed out of your carefully tended vegetable garden and toss it into your compost bin. Using chickweed as compost isn’t a terrible idea, but you’re missing out on a versatile, flavorful plant. Better yet, you don’t have to plant it, and it’s completely free.

Chickweed is truly worthy of superfood status, rich in vitamins B, C and D, and minerals such as calcium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus and iron. The plant provides anti-inflammatory properties and is believed to be a blood purifier. It has been used through the ages for its many medicinal qualities.

Chances are good that you have easy access to this tasty weed; it grows in nearly every climate across North America.

Dangerous Lookalikes

Before you decide to harvest chickweed for edible purposes, be sure you know exactly what you’re harvesting, because spurge and scarlet pimpernel are chickweed lookalikes. Both are poison and the latter can be deadly, so do your homework. (Although the Internet has a lot of very good information, it’s a good idea to confirm identification in person with two or three experts before eating any wild plant.)

Identifying Chickweed

Chickweed (Stellaria media) tends to grow in thick, intertwined mats, usually no more than four inches in height. Its most important distinguishing characteristic is a single, thin line of white hair that runs up the stems.

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Chickweed produces tiny, tear-shaped leaves and dainty, white, star-shaped flowers. The flowers look like they have 10 petals, but if you look closer you can see they actually consist of five, deeply indented petals. This is an important identifying feature.

The Harvest

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Look for chickweed in spring and cool weather, as this isn’t a heat- or sun-loving plant. You’ll find it growing in woods, meadows, roadsides, lawns or shady garden spots – usually places that have been disturbed. Chickweed may grow in full sunlight, but it flowers and goes to seed quickly. When conditions are just right and temperatures aren’t too warm, you can harvest the plant for up to six weeks.

To harvest chickweed, grab a handful and pull the bunch straight up. Locate the tips of the plants and cut the upper six inches or so with scissors or clippers. Leave the base and lower stems, which tend to be a little on the tough, stringy side. Pick out grass and other less palatable plant matter, and you’re good to go.

Using Chickweed

Have fun and use your imagination, because the sky is the limit when it comes to using chickweed in the kitchen.

The plant is tastiest when used fresh. You may be tempted to dry it like an herb, but it doesn’t last long and loses its nutritional qualities quickly. Instead, store chickweed in the refrigerator as you would spinach or lettuce. If you harvested more than you can possibly use, freeze it and add it to soup stock or other hot dishes.

Salad is the obvious choice for using any type of green, and it’s a good way for beginners to experiment with this tasty wild plant. Snip chickweed into small pieces and add it to a green salad along with grated carrots or beets. Other tasty and nutritious additives include sunflower seeds, nuts, parsley, chives or other wild greens like watercress.

Stir chopped chickweed into omelets or scrambled eggs. Chickweed pairs just fine with mushrooms, onions or other veggies.

Steam chickweed much like spinach or other greens. Make it quick, as overcooking causes loss of valuable nutrients. You can also add chickweed to your favorite stir fry.

Create a chickweed sandwich. For example, pile a handful of chopped chickweed on a slice of tasty bread and sprinkle it with a little sea salt or drizzle lightly with olive oil, balsamic vinegar or fresh lemon juice. You can always add chickweed to a tuna sandwich, or pile on bacon, tomato or avocado.

Blend chickweed into a smoothie. If you want a super-nutritional treat, combine chickweed with other wild plants like nettles, watercress, lamb’s quarters or dandelion leaves. If you aren’t wild about the slightly earthy flavor, try adding fruit. Any type is great, but citrus fruits like pineapple and orange are especially delicious.

Have you eaten chickweed? What advice would you add on picking and eating it? Share your tips in the section below:

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5 Long-Lasting Superfoods To Keep You Healthy All Winter

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5 Long-Lasting Superfoods To Keep You Healthy All Winter

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Consuming seasonal superfoods – that is, foods that are nutrient-rich — strengthens your immune system so you can fight off those nagging colds and be at the top of your game no matter what life throws at you.

Here are five winter superfoods that you should consider adding to your list. Even better, they will store for weeks or months:

1. Root vegetables

Vegetables such as parsnips, celery, carrots, beets and turnips all grow under the ground, where they can take in nutrients from the soil. These high-fiber vegetables are truly versatile and can be added to soups or stews, or stir fried and even made into tasty chips (a great alternative to the potato chips you buy in the store). My whole family enjoys these root chips!

Research has even demonstrated that a compound found in raw carrots may inhibit the formation of breast cancer.

2. Winter squash

Squash and colder weather just sort of go together, don’t they? But rather than just using these beautiful veggies to adorn your front doorstep, why not consider adding them to your diet?

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Antioxidants found in squash can help to reduce inflammation — good news if you suffer from achy joints. Just one serving of butternut squash has 35 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C. The high amount of beta-carotene and omega-3 in squash helps keep your skin looking radiant and young all winter long.

3. Cabbage

Both red and green cabbage are loaded with vitamin K and anthocyanins that improve both mental function and concentration. Also, both of these nutrients help to guard against dementia and Alzheimer’s, and they prevent nerve damage. Cabbage is also high in potassium that regulates blood pressure. The vitamin C and sulfur in cabbage helps to get rid of free radicals and uric acid – the main culprits of gout, arthritis, skin conditions and rheumatism.

Cabbage can be eaten raw, juiced, sauteed, roasted or included in soups, salads or stews.

4. Chia seeds

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While you may know that flaxseed is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds are even better. These tiny black seeds are loaded with vitamins A, B, E and D, along with the minerals calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, niacin, potassium, thiamine, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur and zinc.

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Throw some of these potent little seeds into your salads, smoothies, soups and more to enjoy all they have to offer.

5. Citrus fruits

How could I forget the ever popular winter citrus fruits? Citrus is just one of the things that makes me smile — whether it be grapefruits, oranges, limes, tangerines or lemons. Eating citrus in the winter is a great way to keep your immune system strong and your energy high. Not only are citrus fruits high in vitamin C, but they are also rich in thiamin and folate. Research shows that citrus fruit can help protect against heart disease and cancer. Enjoy citrus fruits fresh, in salads or juiced.

What would you add to this list? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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The Ancient Superfood That Lowers Cholesterol, Sheds Pounds And Improves Digestion

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The Ancient Superfood That Lowers Cholesterol, Sheds Pounds And Improves Digestion

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They may be little but they are quite powerful. Flax seeds have been around for thousands of years and are still topping the charts as a delicious and nutritious superfood. Sometimes referred to as linseeds, these little brown gems contain the richest sources of plant-based Omega-3 fatty acids (sometimes called alpha-linolenic acid – ALA) on the planet.

The nutritional profile of flax seeds is nothing short of amazing. Here is a snapshot of what 1 ounce (3 tablespoons) of flax seeds contains:

  • 3 mg Omega-3
  • 8g fiber
  • 6g protein
  • 31 percent RDA vitamin B1
  • 35 percent RDA manganese
  • 30 percent RDA magnesium
  • 19 percent RDA phosphorus
  • 10 percent RDA selenium

Here are just a few reasons why you should consider consuming flax seeds daily.

1. Promotes weight loss

Flax seeds are in the same camp as walnuts when it comes to containing healthy fats and fiber. This will help you feel full longer and may lead to weight loss. In addition, the ALA fats may also help reduce inflammation. An inflamed body tends to retain excess weight.

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A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that both flax seeds and walnuts help to reduce obesity. Try sprinkling a couple of teaspoons of ground flax seeds in smoothies, yogurt, salad and soups.

2. Improves digestion

flax-seed-983769_640You may have heard it said that health starts in the gut, and it is true. If your digestive system is out of whack, it is likely causing other health issues. Flax promotes healthy digestion and protects the lining of the digestive tract. People who suffer from Crohn’s disease or other digestive disorders will find that flax helps reduce inflammation and reduce symptoms. In addition, flax is rich in magnesium, which is also beneficial for digestive health. The fiber in ground flax seeds will help cleanse waste from your digestive system and provide food for beneficial bacteria in your gut.

3. Reduces menopausal symptoms

Lignans (antioxidants) found in flax have been shown to reduce symptoms that occur with menopause. They have even been used as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy. That’s not all; flax has also been found to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and help women maintain cycle regularity. Include one to two tablespoons of flax meal in a breakfast smoothie for all day relief.

4. Reduces cholesterol

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism found that adding flax seeds to your daily diet can reduce cholesterol levels. This is due to the fact that the soluble fiber in the seeds traps the fat and cholesterol in the digestive system and keeps it from being absorbed.

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The soluble fiber also grabs bile, which is made from cholesterol, in the gallbladder. The bile is excreted through the digestive system, which forces the body to make more of it, using extra cholesterol in the blood – which lowers overall cholesterol.

5. Encourages healthy skin and hair

If you want shiny and healthy hair, try adding some flax seeds to your diet. The ALA fats in flax seeds provide essential fats as well as B-vitamins that help to moisturize your hair and scalp. If you suffer from dry skin, dry eye syndrome, eczema or acne, a daily dose of flax seeds can help. You can also add some flax seed oil to your diet; this gives you an even greater concentration of healthy fats than the ground seeds. Besides sprinkling ground flax on your food, mix a little essential oil with some flax oil and use as a moisturizer for radiant skin.

Don’t Forget to Grind Them

Many people ask if they can use flax seeds in their whole form. The issue with this is that when you consume whole flax, the body can’t digest the hard outer casing and break apart all of the goodness inside. Grind whole flax seeds in your blender or coffee grinder, store them in a cool dark place, and enjoy!

Do you eat flax seeds? Have you discovered other benefits? Share your tips in the section below:

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Liver: The Unappreciated Superfood Of Yesteryear

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Liver: The Unappreciated Superfood Of Yesteryear

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Many people make a face when the subject of eating liver is discussed, convinced that no one should consume it.

But what they don’t know is how easy liver is to make delicious and how nutritious it really is.

Looking back in history, almost all traditional cultures valued organ meats for their ability to build up the body’s vitality. For instance, native African mothers would give their babies raw liver as a first source of solid food. In some traditional cultures, the liver was even considered to be a sacred food.

Why Eat Liver?

Organ meats, including liver, are rich in the fat-soluble vitamins A and D, essential fatty acids, and many macro and trace minerals.

A deficiency of vitamin A in the diet has been linked to multiple health problems, including disturbances in ovulation, infertility, a resorption of the fetus in pregnant women, lack of coordination, spasms and blindness.

A lack of vitamin D also can lead to many health issues, including the development of rickets, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, an impaired immune system, childhood asthma, and an increased risk of cancer.

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Some people have bodies that are unable to make certain essential fatty acids that are needed, and therefore they must consume them in their diets. Organ meats, along with chicken egg yolks, fish eggs, and fish oils are excellent sources of the EPA and DHA that are needed by the body. These foods, such as the nutrient-rich organ meats like liver, contain a number of fat-soluble vitamins that are critical for long-term robust health and fertility.

Liver can be a very important preconception and fertility food for both men and women, and pregnancy food for women. The fat-soluble vitamins A and D and the macro- and trace minerals present in organ meats like liver are important for producing healthy and strong babies.

According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, those planning to conceive should consider eating organic liver and other organ meats, as well as taking a cod liver oil supplement and eating other traditional fertility-supporting foods such as seafood, eggs, butter, cream, bone broth, and fermented milk products for at least six months prior to conception.

The Weston A. Price Foundation guidelines for pregnant women include two eggs, raw milk or bone broth, and cod liver oil every day, and eating liver at least once per week. Nursing women should continue to consume liver, eggs and cod liver oil to provide high quality fat-soluble vitamins in their breast milk.

High vitamin A intake is necessary during childhood, but is also a critical nutrient for supporting ideal health and strength throughout adult life.

Can’t You Get Vitamins Elsewhere?

Liver: The Unappreciated Superfood Of Yesteryear

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It is very difficult to get sufficient Vitamin A by eating plants alone. This is because the vitamin A (such as beta carotene) that is present in plant foods (such as carrots and sweet potatoes), is actually not true vitamin A, but is actually in a form that must first be converted into the version of vitamin A that the human body can use. Yet quite often, the body doesn’t actually covert these carotenes very efficiently. Conversion of these compounds requires bile salts, fats and vitamin E. Children, infants and people with thyroid disorders do not convert carotenes very well in the body.

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Vitamin D can be made in the skin from cholesterol and sunlight, but much of the modern human population receives insufficient sunlight due to our largely indoor lifestyles.

True vitamins A and D in the diet are only present in animal foods such as seafood, liver, butter and eggs.

What About Toxins in Liver?

Many people are concerned about the toxins that might be present in liver. Such a concern embodies the reason why it is important to eat only organic liver from naturally raised animals. While organic liver may still contain some toxic substances, the nutrition that is provided by liver such as copper, zinc, iron and the fat-soluble vitamins A and D far exceed the small amount of toxins that may still exist.

Liver is also a good source of antioxidants that help your own liver to detoxify, so the dangers of any toxins present in organic liver are likely to be minimal.

How Should Liver Be Prepared and Consumed?

Liver should be organic and fresh, or frozen. The surrounding filament should be removed prior to cooking.

To draw out impurities and improve flavor and texture, the liver can be soaked in lemon juice for several hours. Liver can be cut into ¼-inch to 3/8-inch slices and then used to make dishes such as liver and onions, liver and mushrooms, breaded liver, and liver with balsamic vinegar sauce.

If the idea of eating organ meats is challenging for your family, such foods can be “snuck” into a number of dishes to make them palatable and even unnoticeable, while giving them the great nutrition that they need. Grated liver or other organ meats can be added to any ground muscle meat dishes, such as meat loaf or hamburger, and grated liver can be added to brown rice in a casserole.

Do you eat liver? Do you have any preparation tips? Share it in the section below:

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Spirulina to Supercharge Your Diet

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I was contacted by the great folks at to share an infographic on Spirulina. You may have never heard of Spirulina before now. Or you may not be aware of all the health benefits of this superfood.

Spirulina is a blue-green algae packed with vitamins and minerals. I have come across spirulina often for it’s weight loss benefits. As a prep and a weight loss benefit Spirulina is excellent. Check out the infographic below to learn more about it.







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