I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
My new favorite excuse for everything is simply “Because Beyoncé.”
I just convinced my husband to ditch animal products temporarily because Beyoncé (and Jay-Z) did it for 22 days. It was in that moment that I was completely convinced of Beyoncé’s supreme power over the world. More impressive than being the most popular performer of a generation, she convinced a Spanish man to give up meat.
When I saw this photo of Queen B rocking a "KALE" sweatshirt, I knew inquiring minds would want to know if eating this bitter, leafy green would make them wake up like this or not. Lucky for you, I have an odd job that involves talking about kale every single day, so I know a thing or two about reaping the benefits that will help you get your kale glow on.
Kale is a dark, leafy, cruciferous vegetable that is high in a bevy of beautifying vitamins and nutrients. When people talk about detoxing, it’s hard not to roll my eyes because the term is so misused these days, but kale actually does contain heptoprotective agents (liver protectors), and consumption of kale can help remove carcinogens from the body.
Additionally, kale is chock full of antioxidants, which protect against free-radical damage that can happen during sun exposure or exposure toxins from smoke and other pollution.
It may sound hokey, but the first step to a beautiful body is always a healthy body; not only will your system function better, when you feel healthy you are able to exude more confidence and all that "inner beauty" stuff.
Ever since I started eating kale (and drinking excessive amounts of green juice every day) I noticed that my skin went from pale and slightly rosy in my youth to a very light olive tone. It is especially noticeable when someone takes a camera phone photo of me with a flash.
Lutein, one of the carotenoids (pigments) found in kale, is normally associated with eye health. You cannot overdose on lutein, but one of the safe side-effects of consuming too much lutein is bronzing of the skin.
The Magic School Bus taught me that the high amounts of beta-carotene found in "Seaweedies," carrots and especially in kale can cause the skin to yellow, too.
Our bodies convert beta-carotene into vitamin A, a form of retinol. Many of you are familiar with retinoids in cosmetics that can be used to treat acne, keratosis pilaris, and the appearance of wrinkles. The vitamin A in kale helps increase the rate of cell turnover and reduces dryness.
Because vitamin A is fat-soluble, excess can be stored in fat and in the liver; therefore, it is preferable and safer to get beta-carotene and vitamin A from a food source like kale as opposed to a supplement (or polar bear liver).
Kale contains a good amount of vitamin K, too, which is great for increasing skin elasticity and reducing the appearance of dark circles under the eyes; but vitamin K can be dangerous if you're on anticoagulants, so be sure to check with your doctor before adding it into your diet.
Too much kale can also prevent proper calcium and iodine absorption. It may seem like the healthiest thing in the world to be chugging green juices all day, but everything in moderation--even the healthy stuff. The few times I've done juice cleanses, I've been sure to supplement with calcium and iodine-rich foods simultaneously.
Aside from the amazing skin benefits, consuming kale is great for beautiful hair. Vitamin C in kale can increase circulation on the scalp while essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids found in kale improve hair elasticity. The high amount of iron in kale is also essential to healthy hair.
I started eating kale the same time I started growing out my bleach blonde pixie and was constantly asked by friends how my hair grew so fast. I have to give credit to my hairy genes, but a healthy diet rich in nutrient dense foods like kale definitely did not hurt.
The most common forms of kale you find here in the US are curly leaf kale and lacinato, AKA dinosaur kale.
Kale can be hard to digest in its natural raw state, which is why I prefer breaking it down in some way either by juicing, blending, steaming, or massaging it.
Yes, you can get all romantic and massage your raw kale with some high-quality extra virgin olive oil, just be sure to strip the leaves off of the hard stalks first. After a nice relaxing kale massage, these leafs will be softer and easier to chew and digest.
Dinosaur kale not only has a more adorable name, it’s also slightly less bitter than regular kale, which makes it a great addition to juices or smoothies.
My favorite way to eat kale is blended in a green smoothie--this way, it's easy to digest, and I get all of the benefits, including the fiber to help fill me up.
Green Beauty Smoothie
• 4 stalks of dino kale
• 1 pear
• 1 banana
• juice of half a lemon
• half an avocado
• 3 celery stalks
• 1 cup of coconut water
This is truly a beautifying recipe because along with all that gorgeous kale, you're getting lots of hydration, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats all in an easy to assimilate smoothie.
When I started blending greens in smoothies or raw soups regularly, I definitely noticed a big difference in the texture and quality of my skin. It was the first time in my adult life that I had women (friends and strangers) complimenting me on my skin at random.
I may not be Beyoncé-level flawless (who could ever?), but aside from finding a miracle beauty potion or drinking more water, consuming kale and other leafy greens is the most effective natural beauty treatment I've discovered so far.