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Trying to love kale

Lessons From a Bowl of Kale

Most cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, radishes, arugula, Brussels sprouts, collards) are delicious and nutritious. Nutrient-wise, kale has been crowned king of the cruciferous heap. When I had a garden I grew it.

These days I dutifully buy a bunch about once a month, and place it in the fridge, where it waits and waits. And waits. When I've run out of every other vegetable alternative I haul out the kale. How can I make it palatable this time? (And don't tell me to massage it for five minutes. Not happening. I am the one who needs a massage.)

Yesterday I sautéed/steamed it in olive oil with shallots, and tossed in some garbanzos and vinegar at the end. I dove in with my fork, full of virtuous thoughts...

I didn't like how the kale felt as I chewed. I didn't like the flavor or its slight bitterness. Still I ate on.

Then I woke up. Wait! Why are you not practicing what you preach?If you don't like it, don't eat it!

That is one of the basic eating guidelines of Thin Within, the diet-free, mindfulness-based weight loss seminars I created in 1975 to resolve my own weight problem. It's discussed in detail in my upcoming book, The Cherry Pie Paradox.

I should know better; my book is all about waking up--to what, why and how you're eating.

I had been asleep, again.

One particular category of food that challenges our best intentions to eat mindfully is what at we called theTeaser. It is a food that beckons you to eat it because it's right in front of you (popcorn at the movies, the chips in the vending machine next to your office, the last bites on your plate after you're already full).

Looking at my kale, I realized there is a sub-category of Beckoner that involves eating for Shoulds:

  • I should eat it because it's good for me.

  • I should eat it because my hostess will be offended if I don't.

  • I should eat it because it is low in calories/carbs/points (whatever you're counting).

What is common for all these Teasers is that we eat them without thinking or intention (i.e. mindlessly) and they do not satisfy -- so we go looking for something else to eat that will. How many times have you filled up on some diet food, only to dive back into the fridge to locate that food you really wanted?

It will be a long time before I buy more kale. (I know, you love it. Well, all the more for you.)

Once you understand the basic concept you'll realize that Teasers are everywhere in our daily lives, having nothing to do with food. Examples: stuff that's on sale, tempting ads in your Instagram feed, certain invitations, some people. Anything that arouses FOMO in you (fear of missing out).

What are the Teasers in your life?


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