Why You Should Care About Kales Glycemic Index

Why You Should Care About Kales Glycemic Index

Kale Nutrition Facts and How to Incorporate This Powerhouse Food into Your Diet

What is the glycemic index?

I’ve heard glycemic index before, and haven’t spent the time looking into it because it sounded complicated, and frankly irrelevant to me as someone who just eats with balance in mind. But, it is actually a very helpful tool for people without dietary restrictions or disease to understand how our body processes food.

The glycemic index (GI) helps you compare how quickly your body digests different kinds of carbohydrates. The GI index was invented by Dr. Thomas Wolever and Dr. David Jenkins at the University of Toronto to help people with type 1 diabetes manage their blood sugar.

The GI index works by ranking foods on a scale from 0 to 100. The faster that food item raises your blood glucose levels, the higher the GI number will be.

Why is it important to watch your blood glucose levels? Your body needs glucose in order to function every day! High glucose levels are a tell-tale sign that your body isn’t producing enough insulin, which can lead to diabetes. Insulin is key for ensuring that glucose can get into your muscle, fat, and liver cells. When left unchecked, high blood glucose levels can lead to a whole range of complications, including eye, kidney, or nerve damage.

High glycemic foods have a score of 70 or higher, and include white bread, baked potatoes, and doughnuts (really yummy comfort foods). Foods with a GI score of 55-69 are considered medium glycemic, and include bananas, pineapple, and certain kinds of ice cream. Low glycemic foods have a GI of less than 55, and examples include skim milk, kidney beans, and raw carrots.

Fruits and vegetables are both necessary for a well-rounded diet. Vegetables tend to have low GI values, and should feature prominently in your diet! Great GI conscious vegetables to include in your grocery planning include carrots, green peas, yams, parsnips, and kale!

Fruits generally have higher GIs than vegetables, but they also are high in fiber which helps slow down digestion. Eating fruit can help with appetite control, delay hunger cues, and help with weight management. Low GI fruits include apples, prunes, grapefruits, pears, and oranges.

Don’t confuse the glycemic index with the glycemic load! Glycemic load looks at the quantity and quality of carbohydrates in foods, with the ultimate goal of comparing blood glucose values.

GL can be calculated by multiplying the glycemic index by the amount of carbohydrate per potion and dividing by 100. But don’t put too much weight on the glycemic load! While it’s very helpful for scientific research, the glycemic index is more helpful for the average person.


Why should I follow a GI diet?

You might want to follow a GI diet if you’d like help with the following:

  • Wanting to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight
  • Planning and eating healthier meals
  • Maintaining blood sugar levels as part of a diabetes treatment plan

But, as every diet does, the glycemic value does have some limitations. Single food items can impact blood sugar differently than combinations of foods (like 99% of all meals). The glycemic index also doesn’t consider all variables that can impact blood sugar, like how food is prepared or how much you eat. It only contains foods that contain carbohydrates (ignoring most meat and seafood, for example), and doesn’t rank foods based on nutrient content. Foods with a low GI ranking may be high in calories, sugar, or saturated fat.


Does the GI value ever change?

Absolutely! Fat, fiber, and acid (like lemon juice or vinegar) lower the glycemic index. And the longer you cook starches, like pasta, the higher their glycemic index will be. If you want to enjoy a high-glycemic index food like a baked potato, combine with a lower GI food like salsa, or a kale salad, to bring down the meal’s overall GI score.


Wait, kale? Why is kale a great GI food?

Kale is trendy for a reason, it is the king of super healthy greens!

Kale is the ultimate multi-tasker for your overall health.  It provides more than 100% of the recommended daily intake of vitamins A and K. Kale also contains chemicals called glucosinolates, which help neutralize cancer-causing substances. Kale is also a good source of potassium, and has even been shown to help manage blood pressure!

Kale is a low-calorie food; rich in vitamins and minerals like fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, lutein (commonly referred to as “the eye vitamin”), and important antioxidants like beta carotene (which is converted to vitamin A), zeaxanthin (helps your vision), and manganese (which helps bone health). Studies have shown that diets rich in lutein and beta carotene may help support eye health, and people who have diabetes may be more susceptible to certain eye conditions).

Kale is a member of the cruciferous (that’s a good one for Scrabble!) vegetable family, along with broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, arugula, Brussels sprouts, collards, watercress, and radishes. These vegetables are also rich in vitamins A, C, and K; and phytonutrients which may help to lower inflammation and reduce the risk of developing cancer. Adults should aim for at least 2 ½ cups of these vegetables per day.

There are 4 main types of kale: curly, lacinto, redbor, and Russian (Siberian). Curly kale is definitely the most common, but each variety is appealing to the eye and stomach!


Kale and Oxidative Stress

Kale is also great at relieving oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals (molecules with oxygen and an uneven number of electrons) and antioxidants (molecules that can donate an electron to a free radical without making themselves unstable) in your body.

Under oxidative stress, free radicals can begin damaging fatty tissue, DNA, and proteins in your body. This damage can lead to a vast number of diseases over time, including: diabetes, atherosclerosis (hardening of the blood vessels), inflammatory conditions, high blood pressure/hypertension, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, and cancer. Oxidative stress can also contribute to aging!

Free radicals are naturally produced in your body through exercise or inflammation. This is completely normal! You are also exposed to free radicals in the environment, through sources like: ozone, certain pesticides and cleaners, cigarette smoke, radiation, and pollution. Free radical production is also influenced by consuming too much sugar, fat, or alcohol.


Kale and Weight Loss

Kale is an incredibly nutrient-dense vegetable, and can be a great component of any healthy lifestyle. Instead of potato chips or other fried snacks, try kale chips baked with garlic. Kale is also a great addition to many soups, stews, or sauces to make them more filling, while keeping the calorie count low. Did you know that kale contains tons of dietary fiber--about 10% of the average daily value?


How can I eat kale?

I get it, kale is good for me.  But it taste's, you know, good for me.

Kale’s unique taste and texture surprises even the most seasoned food veterans. But, kale makes a delicious backdrop in many recipes; so don’t worry if you’re a little bit intimidated by raw kale.

Many of kale’s top health-promoting compounds are even more effective when combined with other food. Kale goes great paired with healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, or Parmesan cheese to make carotenoids--which help deactivate free radicals!

Cooked kale, in particular, has been misunderstood for many years! For better-cooked kale, remember to use plenty of seasonings (garlic, for example, has lots of health benefits!) or try sauteing with plenty of olive oil.  

A leafy green salad can be taken to new heights by adding kale (make sure to remove the stem!) and a lemon based dressing, like this one from The Garlic Diaries. Kale chips are an easy snack to bring on road trips or to work, and are still packed with great health benefits. You can even add kale to smoothies! I’m partial to our Mountain Beef Stew or our BBQ Beef bars.

 mountain beef stew in the wilderness


But I thought Mountain Beef Stew had sweet potatoes?!

If you’re a longtime Mountain Beef Stew fan, welcome to the club! And also, you might have noticed that this meal used to include sweet potatoes, but now includes kale. With our Paleo Meals to Go, we’re focused on jam-packing as many nutrients as possible. Adding kale allows us to accomplish this goal! This change also helps lower the sodium for others who are salt-conscious.

We're Ready To Kill Him!

We're Ready To Kill Him!-Wild Zora
Hear Christmas tales from the Wild Zora family! Zora's fishy Christmas in Czech, Lorenzo's all-night Mexican Christmas in California and Lalita's childhood Thai Christmas will give you an insight into our team as well as traditions from around the world.  Cheers to a great 2018 and on to an even better 2019!

Read more

Four Tips For a Truly Jolly Season

Four Tips For a Truly Jolly Season-Wild Zora

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire... and you are trying very hard not to think about all the foods that are a part of the holidays but not a part of a healthy diet. 

Don't despair.  We bring you news of great joy: you can have a healthier, happier holiday season.  Here are four ways you can improve your holiday season:


1. Put a Spin on Holiday Classics

You can still have most of your favorites, only slightly improved.  It's OK to tweak Mom's recipe, especially if it calls for a can or two of Cream of Whatever Soup.  Go for the real food version.  Season your food with spices and herbs.  Replace the canned creaminess with a simple bechamel or veloute sauce, or use cooked blended veggies.


Veloute sauce is basically the same as bechamel; instead of milk, you use a stock of your choice.  The beauty of making your own sauce is that you know exactly what's in it and you can make adjustments for people with food insensitivities and allergies. 

Now, imagine the "traditional" green bean casserole, made with fresh green beans, sauteed mushrooms, a touch of homemade bechamel sauce with nutmeg and fried onions on top.  All the familiar textures and flavors will be there, it will just taste ten times better. 

This article brings few more tips for healthier "swaps".  Do you have a new and improved holiday classic?  Let us know in comments!


2. Knowledge Is Power

First, know your enemies. There are many offenders in the "traditional" holiday fodder.   Number one?  Sugar.  We have been told for decades to avoid fat like plague but it's really sugar that's responsible for a host of health issues. 

Sugar is rather addictive and it can be hard to eat it in moderation.  The Whole30 program talks about a "sugar dragon" inside of us that grows bigger with each sweet bite and as it grows bigger, it demands more sugar. 

To make things more difficult, the cold, short days of the holiday season often bring us emotional discomfort and sugar seems to be the perfect substance to chase away the holiday blues.

Second, know yourself.  It's important to understand why you eat what you eat.  It's twice as important when it comes to sugary food.  If you absolutely have to have your Mom's Christmas cookies because the taste brings back good memories and she would be hurt if you didn't eat any, go ahead.  Eat slowly and mindfully.  Savor every bite.  That way, it will be much easier to really eat just one.

If you know that sugar is your drug of choice to cope with more difficult issues, try to look for alternatives.  If you can, go for a walk or stretch.  Hug someone you love.  Try to do something rewarding - your brain chemistry will provide you with that same "sweet" feeling and your body won't need to cope with all the negative side effects of sugar.

Do you still just want that sweet taste?  Good news: Mother Nature gave you plenty of sweetness in a form that's much healthier than that white stuff (no, I don't mean snow).  Have you guessed yet?  Right!  It's fruit!  To get the most health benefits, choose whole fruit over fruit juices; the fiber in whole fruit will help your body process the naturally occurring sugar more slowly.  Unsweetened dried fruit can be a good choice as well, just keep in mind that the sugars are more concentrated, so you should only eat small amounts.


3. Fill Up on the Good Stuff

Before you head to the next party, eat something healthy.  Go for protein and vegetables, to feel satisfied but not uncomfortably full.  The veggies that are in season during winter months are hearty and many are perfect for roasting.  How is that for comfort food?  Add a quickly seared serving of grass-fed beef and you are ready to face whatever the season throws at you!  Or, whatever is served at the party.

If you like spicy food, 'tis the season to eat some! Especially if you are worried about portion control. That wonderful heat will not only brighten your day, it will also tame your appetite. 

Our holiday to-do lists tend to be too long for comfort.  In order to get everything done, we often put a lot on a back burner, including eating.  Going hungry all day and stuffing yourself at dinner is far from ideal.  Stopping for a quick bite at a fast food place is also a bad idea.  Be prepared: stock up on healthy snacks that are easy to carry around. 


4. Relax!

The holidays tend to center around food but it doesn't mean we should focus on it too much.  Remember, stress is not healthy!  So, if you are stressing over eating too many cookies, take a deep breath and give yourself a break.  That extra adrenaline is worse than the extra sugar. 

Managing stress during the holidays will help you manage what you eat.  Here are a few tips:



The most important thing to remember about the holiday season: all of it is supposed to be fun and bring you joy. 


Thanks for reading! We would like to wish you and your family a peaceful and healthy holiday season.



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Why We Love Meat

Why We Love Meat-Wild Zora

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when somebody says “healthy food”? Let me guess: it’s not meat.

Meat consumption has been blamed for a slew of health problems.  But high-quality meat is really a superfood!  

Here is why:

Meat is a great source of protein

Meat is an excellent source of complete, easily digestible protein.  There are many plants that contain protein as well, but only a few have the complete protein that your body needs.  So if you are on a vegan diet, you need to make sure you understand your protein sources and plan your meals carefully.  If you just want to eat well without too much fuss, add meat to your diet.  Stick to healthy meats that were raised naturally.  Or, grab one of our bars.

What’s the big deal with protein?

Simply put, we would fall apart without protein. Proteins are often referred to as “building blocks” of all lifeforms and we humans are no exception. Our body tissues are made of protein.

Protein is also a source of energy, along with fats and carbohydrates. Unlike carbohydrates, protein helps you feel full longer and it doesn’t cause energy spikes and crashes. If you feel hungry often, consider a protein-rich snack. If you are trying to lose weight, a diet high in protein and low in carbs will help you lose body fat and keep the muscle.

What’s a complete protein?

Protein is a type of chemical compound with large, chain-like molecules consisting of smaller units known as amino acids. We need them to digest food, repair body tissue, grow and much more.  Our bodies are capable of creating some of the amino acids, while others, called the essential amino acids, need to come from food.   

The complete protein contains all nine essential acids. Essential acids are, surprisingly, essential for our well-being. Our bodies cannot make them and also they are unable to store them.  If your diet doesn’t provide enough essential amino acids, your body will extrude them from your muscle. People who lack essential amino acids in their diet can also experience weakness, fatigue and increased anxiety levels, among other symptoms. This means essential amino acids should be a part of our daily food intake in a form of protein, preferably complete protein.  

Meat Gives your immunity a boost

With cold season creeping upon us, we would love to boost our immunity, right?  Let’s eat some meat, then! As we mentioned earlier, a healthy amount of complete protein you get from meat helps your body to perform its best, but that’s not all. Meat is an excellent source of zinc. Zinc is crucial for a proper function of your immune system. Zinc deficiency is on the main causes of weakened immunity. Many doctors recommend taking a zinc supplement to help you battle common cold.  Here is an idea: how about a diet rich in zinc? Try grass-fed beef or lamb; they are both rich in zinc and quite tasty!

Meat Contains Iron

Iron is a mineral essential to our survival. It’s a major component of hemoglobin, a protein in our blood cells that is responsible for oxygen distribution.   Iron deficiency results in anemia, or low red blood cell count.  Anemia causes fatigue, pale skin and you can also experience shortness of breath.  While there are plants that contain iron, your body doesn’t absorb it as well as the iron from meat.  The best sources of iron include liver, sardines, oysters, clams, and beef (100%grass-fed is the best).

Yes, Meat Is Full of Vitamins!

Meat is well known for high levels of B vitamin complex (B1, B2, niacin, B6, and B12), as well as vitamin D.  Vitamin B12 can only be found in animal-based foods.

Vitamin D helps calcium absorption, among other things, so it is important to your bone health.


It's Easy To Eat

Let's face it, there are numerous foods that you know you should eat but you don't exactly enjoy them.  Meat is tasty and a little bit goes a long way.  A 3oz steak will give you 22g of complete protein, whereas a cup of cooked beans will get you about 15g.  Unlike beans, meat, when consumed in moderation, won't give you any unpleasant digestive issues.


Hungry for meat? How about a tasty meat snack?



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