Just Taste It! Kale Chips for Chronic Pain Posted February 7, 2013 by Jen

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When I was first diagnosed with Chronic Pain, my diet consisted of white rice, white bread, turkey, chicken, romaine lettuce (I’d moved up from the iceberg), chips, carrots, cucumbers and ice cream. Since then I’ve learned that creating an alkaline environment in the body can help to reduce inflammation. Inflammation in the body can increase pain. Eating healthy food is one way to decrease inflammation. That is why we created the “Just Taste It!” series. Our first feature? Kale Chips!

I’m quite possibly the world’s pickiest eater. Picky…as in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder picky. I was born declaring that I am one of those “super-tasters”. With my Central Nervous System usually on overload, I’m even more sensitive to taste, texture, smell etc (as if I needed that!). I continue to use my many food allergies and intolerance (that I’ve known about since childhood) as an excuse to not try new foods. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone tell me to “Just taste it!“.

I am determined to continue to improve my diet to also improve my health! I know that in the past year, just going off of gluten, dairy, soy and nuts has helped with my symptom management.

But I’m overwhelmed when I look at recipes and ideas for “healthy” and “clean” eating. So, I’ve decided to start with easy recipes and report back to you what this Pain Camper’s experience has been.

What is a “kale”?
Kale 1
Kale is a leafy green veggie. It is a member of those stinky brassicas. You know the ones…broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts. It’s packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber.
This is a leaf
Kale 2
To make the kale chips, first you will want to take that big stubby thing out of the middle (aka stem). You can do this simply by ripping off the leaves.
Rinse and dry
Kale 3
Now you want to rinse and dry the kale. I’ve read several recipes out there that say you must dry completely. I got tired of patting it and wasn’t patient enough so mine was still a bit damp before the next step.
Cut or rip
kale 5
Cut or rip the leaves. Due to my Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, I can only do a small amount of veggie cutting before my hands go numb. I cut half and didn’t do anything with the other pieces as they were already ripped off the stem.
Give it a massage
kale 6
From what my friends have told me, “massaging the kale will make it taste less bitter”. Why not. I added 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil (cold expeller pressed) and went to work.
Place on baking sheet and season
kale 7
One head of kale gave me 2 cookie sheets (I lined them with foil as I didn’t have parchment paper). One was more full than the other. I tried 4 different seasonings: salt & pepper, salt & flower pepper (from Trader Joe’s), garlic powder, cayenne pepper.
Bake at 350 for 10 mins
kale 9
I’ve seen all different recipes on the internet stating various temperatures. I really think it depends on your oven. I pulled the 350 out of a hat and the 10 minutes was when some of the smaller pieces of kale started to get brown and sad.
Just taste it!
kale 8
Supportive Spouse is always the guinea pig (lucky him!). He made a face. Unfortunately it wasn’t the “Oh my gosh these are awesome!” face. It was the “WTH is this?” face. I went back into the kitchen disappointed and fearing the worst. That after all of my hard work, I too was going to make that same face. I did.

We have so many kale chips left that I can continue to try them over the next few days.

Secretly, I’m hoping that I will “get used to them”. Maybe even start to like them.

If not, at least I tried and hey…I still like kale! Just fresh. In my salad.

My naturopath told me once that it takes 30 tries of something before your taste buds can get used to it. I think she was generous on the “tries” estimate with me due to my history.

Pain Camp is a safe place to share your thoughts, experience, strength and hope. Are trying new foods a challenge for you? Have you tried to make kale chips before? Did I do something wrong in the recipe? 🙂

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