Author Denise DeSio asked about kale shakes. (My buddy and graphic artist, Kit Foster, thinks I’m insane for drinking them and sent me the above graphic for a laugh.) I started a reply to Denise on ChazzWrites, but then my short answer got away from me. Here’s how I make my kale shakes for weight loss, mental acuity, health and a general feeling of awesomeness. (I’m not a doctor. I just remember what smart people say.)
First, the kale shakes: There are a lot of recipes out there, but I add at least a fistful of kale to a blender with a cup of water; add a small pear or two and a little coconut oil to a food processor or blender and set the speed to “liquefy to death”. The coconut oil adds healthy fat, is filling and sweet and increases absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Put the kale and water in first for easier blending. If your blender sucks, get straws with an extra-large circumference intended for thick milkshakes.
My drinks vary. I add protein powder and a carrot (for colour and beta carotene) or an avocado (for texture). Some people call it juice fasting. I call my shakes “liquified salads” that allow me to eat more vegetables than I otherwise would. It’s much more convenient, filling and pleasant than doing my rabbit impression.
Some kale shakes are more aggressive in their nutritional payload and punch, and include cayenne pepper, ginger or garlic. Experiment to find the right mix of fruits and vegetables. Strawberries are sweet but don’t have too many calories if you don’t go too crazy. Bananas are sweet, but they add too much sugar to be helpful (high glycemic index). The more cruciferous vegetables, the better.
For variety, I’ll have almond milk as a coffee with a bit of baking cocoa. I start each day with coffee with ghee (or grass-fed butter) so I feel full longer and eat much less than I used to. All those healthy fats increase satiety so the number of calories consumed goes way down and, contrary to the low-fat diet mantra that’s failed us miserably, the right kinds of fats actually combat cardiovascular disease. Fat and portion control is the answer to what cardiologists refer to as the French Paradox (i.e. The French are healthier than North Americans yet consume more fat.) We aren’t what we eat. We are the lies we swallow.
For more on the joys of almond milk, veganism and the struggle to eat better, listen to my podcast discussion with Mark Young, the smartest and tallest vegan I know. Mark’s blog is MondaysAreMeatless.
I still eat meat, but less so. I’m more Paleo diet than vegan, though I’m eating less of everything and vegetables are the main focus. For instance, I used to eat more luggage when forced to wait in airport lounges. Small children weren’t safe.
For years people have been running away from coconut oil and avocado, but they’re full of good fats (omega 3s and 6s.) If coconut isn’t for you, consider neutral-tasting MCT oil for the healthy, medium-chain fatty acids. I avoid sugar whenever possible. I’ve begun to get away from Aspartame because, now that I’m not anaesthetizing myself to my psychic pain with simple carbs, I feel more sensitive to my reactions to foods and chemicals. I opt more for xylitol or stevia as sweeteners. (Too much xylitol and you’re in the bathroom, jetting for lift-off.)
I also feel much sharper mentally now that I’m riding the green train. White bread, white rice, simple carbs and processed foods make me sleepy (when they don’t leave me hungrier.) You know you’re getting older when a couple of slices of Wonder Bread put you in a coma. I’ve eliminated pop. I exercise more and I’m sleeping better. Though I use a treadmill desk, writers are still so damn sedentary there’s really no choice but to move more if we hope to live long enough to see our books published. We have to take care of ourselves. I’m thinking of hiring a big guy to chase me.
The diet alterations are working for me. I started out with a kale shake a day and have graduated to two or even three instead of canned and processed crap. Grocery shopping is cheaper and takes much less time now because I buy leaves at farmers’ markets. (“Ooh, kale!” I say. “That would taste good chopped into a molecular paste with garlic and a half a cup of blueberries!”
For more on Upgraded Coffee and surprising brain and body hacks, check out BulletproofExec.com.