By Anna Maria Giambanco DiPietro, Contributing Editor
“Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.”
— Alfred, Lord Tennyson
As we make an effort to gracefully transition into a new year, social media inundates with New Year’s resolutions, goading us with memes proclaiming “New Year, New You!”, and the like. In the face of what may feel a bit overwhelming, might I suggest that we start small?
This month, I humbly offer the opportunity to explore greener self-care products, to sample a nourishing juice, and whip up our new DIY brightening mask, featuring…kale!
Let’s discuss this power-house plant, shall we? Kale is a cruciferous veggie in the cabbage family, sharing this designation with the likes of broccoli, collard greens and Brussels sprouts. It’s been cultivated in one shape or form for thousands of years, according to numerous sources, including The Kale Project and GrowJourney.com.
Studies have shown that consuming high amounts of dietary fiber from foods such as kale decreases the risk for type 2 diabetes, lowers blood glucose levels and supports heart health. It’s also chock-full of chlorophyll, which helps stop our bodies from absorbing cancer-causing carcinogens. Additionally, it’s an excellent source of zinc, lutein and betacarotene, which prevent macular degeneration and promote overall skin and hair health. Vice even published an article detailing how vitamin E rich kale helps us rebound after overindulging in alcohol.
Ancient Greek and Roman civilizations used kale to remedy digestive ailments, gout, and even as a topical poultice mixed with salt, to stimulate the scalp. Coincidentally, The New York Times ran an entire article explaining the history of kale, if you’re interested in learning more.
Loaded with calcium, iron, antioxidants, Vitamins A, B, C, K, and phytonutrients, it’s certainly on our dietary radar. We dehydrate, blanch and blend it in abundance. We bake it into chips, add it to smoothies, sip it in bright green nutrient-laden-juices; Kale dwells primarily in the kitchen. Let’s set it free from the confines of the crisper and bring it into the at-home spa experience!
Recently, our dark leafy green pal has migrated onto the shelves of high-end beauty shops and trendy retail therapy meccas across the globe in jars, tubes and sachets. Kale has made its way into skincare product formulations by companies such as Pacifica, Éminence, and Youth to the People. It has a seemingly endless list of beauty benefits, including: minimizing dark under-eye circles, stimulating cell regeneration, and boosting collagen production, to name a few.
A quick Google search will certainly yield oodles of kale-infused recipes. One of my faves is Harper’s Bazaar’s “Love Your Liver” green smoothie; check it out, and while you’re at it, give our Coco Eco Hydrating Green Juice recipe a try:
8 Stalks Celery
2 Cups Kale
1 Cup Parsley
Try to source your celery, kale and parsley locally, from organic suppliers. (At our test kitchen in Santa Barbara County, our produce is furnished by Dare to Dream Farms.)
Rinse and trim any damaged leaves, then chop all of your greens into 2” pieces. (Depending on the juicer you’re working with, you may need to cut into smaller bits.) We used a masticating juicer by Orfeld to prepare this recipe; it has a generous 3” wide chute, allowing us to add larger portions as we worked. Add to the juicer in small batches, and serve immediately, if possible. Juice may be refrigerated in an airtight, sealed container for up to 24 hours.
And now, for a few of our favorite beauty products featuring kale: