7/21/2015 – War on Kale?


caryn-in-caliIn the second part of this IT’S ALL ABOUT FOOD show, Caryn discusses a recent article in Mother Jones by Tom Philpott: Sorry, Foodies: We’re About to Ruin Kale.

She recommended reading an excellent retort from Julia Belluz at Vox News, entitled The viral idea that kale is bad for you is based on incredibly bad science, and recommends reading it especially if you need talking points in this kale conversation.

She reminded people to buy organic kale, citing EWG dirty dozen Dirty Dozen PLUS™ and Consumer Reports’ From Crop to Table which says kale from the US is a medium risk for toxins if not organic and a low risk from Mexico.

Also check out the Union Of Concerned Scientists blog posts from July 9-16, on the excuses the School Nutrition Association‘s excuses to keep unhealthy food in the School Lunch Program.


Caryn Hartglass: Hey everybody. I’m Caryn Hartglass and you’re listening to part 2 of It’s All About Food. Okay before I get to some of the things I wanted to cover, I want… wanted to bring you to my website Responsibleeatingandliving.com, on the right hand side, I want you to take a look at what’s at the top there. I wanted to let you know about a free webinar, I think it’s an hour long webinar, called The Secrets of Effortless Mind Meditation: How to Eliminate Anxiety and Gain Deep Peace with Ease. Now this is a free program. It’s going to take place on July 30th, in nine days, and its with the founder of Effortless Mind, Ajayan Borys. You may remember him. I interviewed him maybe a year ago. He has a book out called Effortless Mind: Meditate with Ease. I really enjoyed speaking with him, loved his book, and I can’t say enough about meditation, and I don’t say enough about it because most of the time I’m talking about food on this program Its All About Food. But I think that the mind is an important piece, not only to how we digest our food, it is connected to that too, but a lot of our health and well being has to do with what we’re saying to ourselves and all kinds of things that are going in our mind that we think we don’t have control of but we do have control of, and in meditation we learn how to think the way we want to think, and focus on the feelings we want to have, joy and happiness and peacefulness, rather than anxiety and fear, things like that. So I just wanted to bring your attention to this free seminar; now I believe there will probably be some solicitation at the end of the seminar for a longer workshop but I’m sure there’ll be lots of wonderful information in this free webinar on July 30th. I’m going to be tuning in and I hope you do too. To find out more about it go to Responsibleeatingandliving.com and just scroll down to the right where it says “Free 1 hour Webinar”. Okay. Great. Now I can cross that off my list. If you want to know more about Ajayan Borys, the person who is leading this program, there is an interview that I had with him on ResponsibleEatingAndLiving.com so you could put his name in the search bar on my website, and listen to that interview. Fabulous. Now we’ll all be anxiety free, we’ll have nothing to worry about, with regards to all the crazy things that are going on in our food system, like, for example, some crazy stuff that’s going on about kale. Have you heard the rumors about kale? That there’s a chemical called, are you ready for this, thallium, in kale? I just heard this and I have been reading a number of different articles about it. I have to say that I’m rather disappointed because Mother Jones magazine, the author, Tom, the writer, journalist, Tom Phillpot, is somebody that I normally respect and I love some of the articles he’s put out in that magazine. This one I’m not so sure, I don’t think he dug deep enough. But basically in the article in Mother Jones, he’s talking about, well the title of the article is “Sorry, Foodies: We’re About to Ruin Kale”, and he’s talking about a person Ernie Hubbard who has been noticing some odd trends among some of his clients in Marin County and he’s been linking some of their… some of their health issues with the fact that they are consuming kale, and he found thallium in blood samples and he’s now saying that “kale is bad, kale contains thallium”, and its really not a fair conclusion. You know, you could have a bunch of clients, and they all come in and say they’re feeling one way or another, and you could ask them a variety of questions and you can say, “Are you breathing?” and they could say, “Yes I breathe,” and then, you know, you can correlate that all the people that had a particular issue are also breathing. That doesn’t mean that breathing causes that issue. Are you following me? There’s been no clinical studies, there’s been no science behind this, just some guy saying a few people have thallium in their blood and he’s linking it to kale. I don’t think this is a reason for any kind of scare, and there’s nothing that’s been proven. And I’m just sorry that it made it all the way to Mother Jones, and scaring people about this wonderful, wonderful food. There’s a great article, and I’ll have links to all of these different articles on this program when it’s in the archives, but on “vox.com”. They kind of go over all the things that are wrong in this claim about kale being bad for you. The article is called “The viral idea that kale is bad for you is based on incredibly bad science”, and the one thing that I really appreciated about that they highlighted in this article is this: “Blaming a single food item for a vast array of health problems is one of the hallmarks of a crackpot health theory.” And I want to say that not only is blaming a single food for a vast array of health problems a hallmark of a crackpot health theory. Also promoting a single food item, saying that it’s going to take care of all health problems is also a hallmark of a crackpot health theory. Now I love kale, and I know that I like to say there’s nothing kale can’t do, but I don’t really mean that. I don’t think it can cure all ills, it just can support a healthy immune system. There are more things that are involved with each and every one of us in our health. I encourage the consumption highly of dark leafy green vegetables, not just kale, collards, chard, spinach, bok choy, watercress, parsley, basil, anything that’s dark and green, arugula, lovely, flavorful, and of course make it organic. Now, it is true that if a plant is grown in soil that is contaminated with toxic metals, with toxins, the plant may be able to pull that up through its root system, and contain it within its own cells. For example, at Responsible Eating and Living, we did the REAL Good New in Review report on chocolate, and there are places unfortunately where chocolate, cocoa, contains a high degree of cadmium and/or lead, and there’s been more focus on this these days and it’s because the soil, where those particular cocoa beans are grown, is contaminated. We’ve also heard stories about rice unfortunately, rice containing arsenic, and this is something to be aware of. It’s not something to get all crazy about though. And the reports that have come out with Consumer Reports as an example, tell us there some brands of rice and some varieties of rice that are better than others, and I recommend checking that out. If you want you can email me at info@realmeals.org, and I’ll send you a link to those articles that tell you which kinds of rice are better to eat than others. I personally stick to the California varieties, basmati rice, those that are lower on the… on the arsenic scale than the Texas and Arkansas varieties and the other point is eating a very varied diet. We want to eat lots of different foods and its important for lots of reasons. Now too much of anything, too much of anything, is not good. Too much water, we can drown, by drinking too much water. So we have to be really careful about the stuff that’s in the news and I just wanted to point out that this thing is going viral about kale. So if you hear somebody complaining about kale because of this reason, or you’ve read this guy Hubbard’s article, and you’re concerned about it, I recommend going to the “vox.com” site, and reading the article, “The viral idea that kale is bad for you is based on incredibly bad science”. This will give you all the talking points you need to put your mind at ease about kale. Okay? We love kale. I love kale. I personally believed kale saved my life and I’m sticking to it. I’m continuing to consume a bit of kale almost everyday in my green juices, in salads. Kale is a lovely, lovely, food. Do I have anything more to say about that? Let me look in my notes. Yeah, I just wanted to underline, organic is better, but this particular issue isn’t really about whether the plant is grown organically, its about whether the soil, or the fertilizer that’s put on the soil is contaminated with thallium. I hope we don’t hear any more on this. Okay. That’s my kale for you. And you may also… this is not exactly the same subject but, you may want to refer to if you haven’t seen these two different articles already, there’s the “Environmental Working Group: Dirty Dozen Plus” where they list 12 ingredients that are highly contaminated with hazardous pesticides and they recently added the “plus” to the “Dirty Dozen” adding two more, leafy greens, kale and collard greens because they found that they’re also contaminated with insecticides toxic to be in the nervous system. This is when they are industrially-grown, conventional kale, and the recommendation is to buy organic. Now Consumer Reports also came out with a great report called “Crop to Table”, back in May, and they say in their report that in the U.S., conventional kale, industrial-grown kale is a medium risk for toxins if not organic and… if grown in the United States, medium risk, and low, a low risk from Mexico if its conventional, not organic. So there’s that. Phew. Oh kale. My friend kale. I wanted to move over to, just briefly while I’m still on the kale subject, all the wonderful things that you can do with kale. When I’m doing my private health coaching, so often I find that the solution to many people’s issues, and there are so many of them, are resolved when they include more dark leafy green vegetables in their diet. It’s really that simple. For some people it’s hard because they don’t like the bitter flavor of greens. The best way to ease into eating dark leafy greens is with smoothies. I like to, with my smoothies, use three ingredients, a green, some kind of fat, like coconut, avocados, walnuts, and seeds, and a fruit, like berries. Now you can add a lot more ingredients to that, but that’s like the secret formula because the fruit, preferably berries, which are high in antioxidants and lower in sugar than other really sweet fruits, help to make that kale go down, help to make the medicine go down, help to make the good bitter greens go down, in the most delightful way. And the fat is important, whole fat, whole fat from plant foods is important because the vitamins in dark leafy greens are fat-soluble and they need a little fat to help them get absorbed into the system. So you combine these three wonderful ingredients, fruits, fats, and greens, blend it up with water or your favorite non-dairy milk, and you have a delicious and nutritious way to get your greens and then as you get used to the flavor, the more leaves of greens that you can add to your smoothie, the better. And then, there’s sautéed greens. I think that for those that are easing into the world of dark leafy greens, smoothies for raw greens and sautéed greens for cooked greens, are the way to enter into this world. It’s important to eat them both raw and cooked because cooking the greens makes the nutrients more absorbable and yet when we eat foods raw we’re getting all kinds of wonderful nutrition so it’s good to do it both ways. And I recommend easing into eating greens, sautéing them. Now you can use a tiny little bit of oil if you need to, it’s not necessary, but if it helps you eat the greens then use a little. And you can sauté onions, a little garlic, add in your greens, sauté them around. It’s delicious! If you don’t like onions or garlic, or if you’re looking for a little different taste, you might sauté ginger and then add your greens. That’s a really fabulous combination. You can always squeeze a little lemon juice on top, and you have some wonderful food. If you need a… specifics on how to do these things, you can go to, everyone together, Responsibleeatingandliving.com, go to the recipe tab, scroll down to “Sides and Greens” and you’ll see some really specific recipes on how to cook greens. Another great way is to just throw some greens into any kind of soup just before you are about to eat it, just let them cook quickly and soften. You can blend them all together so that you don’t even see them, if you don’t think you’re going to like them. But I encourage you to get your greens, and I do have a four-part food show on greens, called It’s All About Greens, at Responsible Eating and Living. I show you how to do a smoothie, I show you how to juice, and why you want to and what’s the difference between juicing and blending; people always get confused about the two and want to know what the benefit is of one versus the other. I think it’s a very individual thing. Sometimes both are fine. Sometimes one is better than the other. It really depends on who you are and what your objectives are. And then cooking greens, and then making, using greens in salads, and in the summertime especially… well I love kale salads and dark greens salads all year long, but they stay a long time, they travel really well, they don’t wilt, so if you are going to a potluck or a picnic or something you can prepare your kale salad and it won’t be all soggy and limp when you get to the event, even in warm weather. But the key is… I believe, is massaging, massaging your kale with whatever dressing you are going to use. This will help get the leaves nice and soft and tender, and making you want to gobble it up right away.  Mmmmm, mmmm, mmmm, mmm, good. Okay. Another article I wanted to bring to your attention… You know they’re just like this kale story. There’s somebody out there who says something and he’s got some credible education behind him and has this like little website and sounds convincing and intelligent and says something that’s just totally wrong! Well there’s a lot of groups out there that are putting out a lot of information that really isn’t credible. Often times some of these seemingly knowledgeable organizations are funded by companies that are out there to make money and one of these groups, maybe you’ve heard about them, is the… it’s called the School Nutrition Association. Their website is SchoolNutrition.org and they’ve been putting out a lot of crazy stuff. So a great article, or a great few articles that have been coming out, I think are worth reading, is from the Union of Concerned Scientists. Their website is ucsusa.org, and they have a blog which is at blog.ucsusa.org.  Union of Concerned Scientists. They’ve been doing phenomenal work for decades, I really love their information, and they’ve been posting a lot of different excuses, that’s what they’re calling them, excuses, from the School Nutrition Association. And the School Nutrition Association is actually for rolling back school food standards. Now our government in its very slow and painful way has been working towards improving the school lunch program, improving the recommendations for kids, and there has been a lot of pushback, and a lot of the pushback is because of the food manufacturing organizations that don’t want to make changes. It’s hard to make changes and they don’t want to make the changes; they may be costly, and you know, as Emilia was talking about earlier in the program, maybe when they make the changes, the food doesn’t taste the same, and the kids won’t eat them. So there’s a lot of interesting points that have been brought up, and they’re really silly, by the School Nutrition Association, and I recommend that you check out some of them, just kind of… one of the popular ones is they say lowering sodium levels at schools may harm kids. Lowering sodium levels at schools may harm kids, now that’s kind of ridiculous I think. We know that it’s the higher side, higher sodium levels are really what the problem is. You could always add more sodium and salt to food if you don’t think you have enough. Well there’s a lot more and I recommend that you check out Union of Concerned Scientists and their blog post on the School Nutrition Association. And that’s about it for today’s It’s All About Food. Thank you for listening and I hope you are surviving this hot humid heat if you’re in the east coast like I am. Otherwise, enjoy and have a very delicious week.

Transcribed by Zia Kara, 10/10/2015

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