Recipe: Kale Shake & the Sunshine Band

Being able to manage means having enough brain and energy to work with. In recovery from a major setback, that means getting down enough kale and berries to choke a couple of horses.

The most manageable way for me to get them in is via my handy little one-person blender. It keeps them raw (maximum nutritional value) and prechews the kale, which can really be troublesome after the 3,000th bite.

Here’s my basic recipe. Options and rationales are below.

– handful of berries (I prefer blueberries and cane berries), or 1/3-1/2 a half-pint container.
– about 1/2 cup water (helps soften berries)
– 3-4 medium to large stalks of the fluffy kind of kale, called “lacinato kale.” 7 or 8 stalks of the smooth variety. Chop in strips ~1″ wide, depending on blender strength.
– about 1/2-3/4 cup apple juice or cider.
– 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.

– Options:
   = Dessertspoon of nut butter or a slosh of yogurt, for protein and a bit of oil/fat to help me absorb all the nutrients.
   = Pinch of stevia powder: adds sweetness, further aids with blood sugar stabilization.

Kale: given the quantities I eat this in, it has to be organic or I’m in strife.

Berries: I use either fresh or frozen, whatever is available and affordable. Always organic or close to it, because industrial growers use lots of pesticides on most berries and they’re hormone-based (estrogenic) – I used to live near strawberry country and the spraying was really obnoxious. I tried using berries grown by industrial methods, to save money, but it put me on a horrible hormonal roller-coaster… 2 solid weeks of PMS? Not so good.

Cider/apple juice: provides malic acid, which helps clear garbage out of the cells. Also helps cut the bitterness and predigests the burpy stuff out of the kale. Use a splash of raw cider vinegar if you have to use another juice.

Cinnamon: It cuts the bitterness the rest of the way, and helps stabilize blood sugar. There’s a lot of sugar in this, for me. You wind up not tasting it, but the shake goes down better.

Options: I often add the nut butter. The resulting texture is creamier. The yogurt, even a little bit, makes the shake more filling, so it’s good for making it feel like a meal.

I recommend adding a bit of oil/fat, because it’s so important to squeeze all the nutrition I can out of each bite (especially when nausea makes eating unpleasant) and oil or fat helps with the absorption of key nutrients in this shake.

I also find that pain is less and thinking is better if I get adequate fat in my diet, meaning, a moderate amount more than I need to absorb this nutrition; one day I’ll remember why.  It rings a bell from my nursing school classes. Might relate to the demyelination issue in chronic CRPS.

If I don’t add a bit of something oily to the shake, I have a slice of aged cheese or meat, which provides brain-friendly fat and also gives my body neurotransmitter precursors — adding more oomph to the brain-value of what I’m eating.

It’s an uphill slog but I’m determined to get better again. These shakes really help. Trouble is, there’s only so much room in an individual tummy, and I do need to stay under a bearable weight and eat other things to stay in balance.

Sigh… It’ll work out. It’s hard to be patient enough, but healing in the face of profound illness does take time. If there’s one thing I’m learning, it’s patience.

Time for another shake…

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