Building my gut biome one leafy green at a time

Cooked kale is an excellent gut health food and a great partner in detox plans.

Kale is one of those greens that people pretend to love because it’s good for you.  And it is.  But not many preparations make it taste so great.  I have found two that do, this being one, the other being in a soup—for another time.

You may know that I am on a gut health kick.  That means feeing my gut foods that make my gut bacteria happy.  I am doing a detox with intermittent fasting, and then breaking the fast in the morning with kombucha or kefir (alternate days) and then eating a late lunch of prebiotic rich foods.  Gut-feeding bacteria in the morning, gut food in the afternoon.  

And after intense exercise, I will eat something straight away, as if you don’t, you are likely to get cravings later, and then sock whatever you eat away instead of getting the calorie burn you asked for.

Kale is a pre-biotic, so gives your gut bacteria something to “chew” on.  It is also a rich source of Vitamins A, K, C, B1, B2, B3, and B6, as well as minerals manganese, calcium, copper, potassium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus.  It also contains alpha linolenic acid.  It also contains anti-oxidants beta-carotene, quercetin and kaempferol.  Kale is thought to help with weight loss, fight inflammation, and fight cancer.  It also contains Lutein and Zeaxanthin,  nutrients which protect the eyes.

Here is the preparation from today.  Simple, quick, delicious.

Sautéed Kale with Garlic

You should remove the central stem from the leaves, and wash the leaves thoroughly in plenty of water.  I cook kale as I do a great many things using cast-iron pans.  This greatly increases the iron content of the food we eat, especially when cooking acidic foods.  This is a good thing.

  • 200 g kale (about 4 cups raw) chopped
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 hot pepper such as a pepperoncino, chopped fine
  • 2 cups of rich bone broth, beef or chicken
  • 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Saute the garlic and hot pepper in the pan with the olive oil over medium heat until translucent, about 2 minutes.  Add the kale, stock, and cover.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook thus for about 5 minutes.

Remove the cover, stir, and increase the heat to medium, cooking to reduce the juices.  Do so for about 2 minutes more.  Add the vinegar, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve it forth.

Variations and Accompaniments

This is very good with a little bacon, which can be cooked at the beginning, and any excess fat poured off, before starting with the garlic.  It is also delicious served with eggs…hard-boiled or fried are my favourites.  It also complements sliced avocado drizzled in lemon quite nicely.

A word on cooking fats.  Olive oil works for its flavour, health properties, and low cooking temperature.  Cooking with coconut oil or ghee are also excellent choices as they stand up to heat, and are also healthy alternatives.

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