An Elixir for Retirement

Many people take it upon themselves to offer advice to those of us entering into retirement. Advice flows, telling us to keep busy and don’t sit on the couch all day watching Judge Judy. My eighty-eight year old mother is no exception. I call her every day and she recently said to me, “Now that you’re retired you need to set aside your bad habits and eat better.”

I knew where this was going but when she gets a full head of steam there’s no stopping her. I waited for the inevitable. “You need to eat kale. Kale will keep you healthy so you can live long enough to enjoy your retirement.” Kale is to Mom what spinach is to Popeye. She even blanches leaves and freezes them so she can have kale on hand all year long. As far as I’m concerned kale is a vile weed and should be fed to cattle or used as a garnish.

“I hate kale,” I said for the umpteenth time.

Kale soup

As if talking to a five year old she replied, “It’s high time you learned to like it. It’s
good for you.”

My mother has more reason to hate kale than I do. My grandparents grew it in the backyard during the Depression and fed kale soup to my mother at least five days a week. Instead of hating it, she’s been campaigning for years to get me to eat it. As a child I refused; even a chubby kid has limits to what he’ll eat.

Mom pressed on. “Yesterday I was watching the Food Channel and this famous chef was explaining how nutritious kale is.”

I’ve watched enough cooking shows to know it’s true that “foodies” are now embracing kale in a big way, touting it for being high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, as well as being rich in calcium. Kale is a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.

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  1. My husband makes a “smoothie” every morning for our breakfast. It has kale, celery, red peppers, banana,apple & whatever else we have on hand. No fat–& it’s REALLY good!!

  2. I have to admit I side with your mom on this one- kale is one healthy food. I even make it into baked chip type things. Good for you for trying it and liking it!

  3. Tom Sightings

    July 25, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Kale is a fantastic leafy vegetable, and provides the perfect excuse for … dessert.

  4. Daniel LaFrance

    July 25, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Mother knows best. 🙂

    Wonderful story, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  5. Don’t worry, my lips are sealed. And kale leaves, lightly seasoned and dried at a very low temperature are better than potato chips!

  6. Don’t you hate it when they’re right??? I’ve never tried kale but I saw a recipe in the paper for a kale “smoothie” yesterday. I might have to revisit it! Great post!

  7. At the risk of showing my ignorance, I’d never heard of kale. As someone taking early retirement in September, and after hearing the raft of nutrients it contains, I will have to start eating it.

  8. I’ve never had kale, but that picture makes it look palatable. Perhaps it could be slipped into hot & sour soup, or chopped and added to spaghetti sauce, or meat loaf. Then nobody would know how healthy they’re getting.

  9. I’m not sure what kale is, but if it’s good for me, chances are I’ll hate it, too! 🙂

  10. I can’t say that I’ve ever tried kale.. but now I just might.

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