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The first time I tried kale, I absolutely hated it.

I don’t really remember what prompted me to try kale. I wasn’t really a health food nut at the time, and I didn’t really have any friends who were in to it…except for roommate who was studying to be a nutritionist. All I remember was going to the grocery store, seeing it on the shelf, and grabbing some. Then I brought it home, chopped it up, tossed it in a salad with some dressing, and attempted to eat it…and it was awful. It was tough, chewy, bitter, and overall probably the worst thing I had ever tried.

It wasn’t until 4 or 5 months later that I tried it again. I was working on some videos with a friend of mine for her nutrition practice, and she was doing a kale recipe. I got to watch her prepare it properly, and at the end I got to try the recipe she made, and it was absolutely delicious. I think I ate the entire bowl of salad she prepared. After that, I couldn’t get enough – I was making kale salads, kale chips, kale smoothies…I fell in love. All because I finally learned how to prepare it.

I say all of that to encourage you if you’ve tried any new food and haven’t liked it – sometimes all it takes is someone teaching you the right way to make it.

So let’s start with kale. Here’s what I learned about what you need to do so that your kale isn’t bitter, tough, and completely awful like mine was the first time.

  1. Remove the stalk – I know there are some really hardcore people out there who actually eat the stalk, so kudos to those people – but for most, the stalk is what makes kale taste starchy and tough. To remove it quickly, you can just wrap your fingers around the base of the stem and pull up towards the leaves – the leaves will come right off!
  2. Give it a massage – yep, that’s right. Massaging your kale will make it much softer and easier to swallow, and it will make it taste sweet instead of bitter. Massaging the kale also releases some of the nutrients in the leaves! As you massage your kale, you’ll notice it turns darker and gets smaller in volume.
  3. Try different kinds – Curly kale is a pretty common type of kale, but Lacinato kale (pictured above) has a milder, sweeter taste than the other kinds of kale. So if you’re a beginner with this veggie, start out with this kind and then branch out!

That’s it! Those are the main steps you need to take to make sure your kale experience isn’t terrible.  If you’re looking for more tips, you can check out my Crunchy Kale Salad recipe!

Here’s to your health!

XOXO, Mia

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