For those interested in cultivating a love affair with nutrition, local author and food celebrity Jennifer Iserloh hopes to turn people on to kale with her latest cookbook, “50 Shades of Kale: Delicious & Nutritious Kale Recipes - How To Cook Kale Salad, Kale Chips, Kale Soup.” The cookbook presents the benefits of kale in a tongue-in-cheek introduction that takes a page from the popular erotic novel “50 Shades of Grey” by E.L. James.
Iserloh co-authored the e-cookbook with Dr. Drew Ramsey, who approached her about the collaboration. Coauthor of the “Happiness Diet” with Tyler Graham, Ramsey is a psychiatrist and big proponent of using dietary change to help balance moods, sharpen brain function, and improve mental health.
In addition to kale fundamentals, “50 Shades of Kale” contains a wide variety of easy recipes for every meal of the day, from Huevos Rancheros to Kung Pao Kale. The e-book version has had 25,000 downloads on Amazon, and a new coffee table version published by Harper Collins is due out in January.
Allure of healthy eating
As a trained chef, author, and health cooking celebrity, Iserloh has dedicated years to teaching people how to make comfort foods more nutritious and has sought ways to make healthy food taste better. A resident of Hoboken the past eight years, she has been a private chef to a number of international celebrities.
“Health comes from your own kitchen,” said Iserloh. “It doesn’t have to be complicated.”
She said that the cookbook about kale was informed by her philosophy of knowing exactly what goes into her food, buying quality items, and incorporating ingredients that have incredible healing powers. For her, cooking is a spiritual practice. She described it as “a special nurturing event.”
“Kale is just cool.” – Jennifer Iserloh
She said that when she became a private chef many clients wanted to eat healthy but also wanted to include comfort foods they had grown up eating.
“We want to get kale out there for people used to eating spaghetti and meatballs or tacos,” noted Iserloh. The book is geared toward a mainstream audience because the authors wanted the book to appeal to a wide variety of individuals, from those who are already hooked but seek new ideas to families who want to make healthier meals.
“You want [food] to be as healthy as possible but you want it to taste yummy,” said Iserloh.
Benefits of kale
In “50 Shades of Kale,” Ramsey and Iserloh describe kale as a super food that is nutrient dense and important to brain and bone health with vitamins such as B6 and K. They also describe kale as a vegetable that helps maintain fitness through its unique fibers. They said it helps sustain health with phytonutrients.
“Kale is just cool,” said Iserloh. “Kale is the new hot vegetable out there.”
In addition to kale’s health benefits, the cookbook contains sections on how to prepare and store the vegetable. Iserloh noted that the vegetable is highly accessible, from its low price to availability at local grocers and major super market chains.
The cookbook includes photos of the different varieties of kale such as Curly, Purple, and Lacinato or Dinosaur.
Every meal in the cookbook is under 400 calories. The cookbook covers breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and side dishes and offers recipes for popular dishes such as tacos, grilled cheese, and chicken noodle soup.
For any meat or dairy-based dishes, Iserloh and Ramsey recommend grass-fed dairy, meat and farm-fresh eggs. They also advocate for buying organic vegetables.
Iserloh noted the importance of combining kale with other types of foods in order to reap the greatest health benefits.
“There is no one food that will do everything for you,” said Iserloh. “We need a wide variety.”
One recipe, “Cocoa Delight” calls for the combination of three super foods: coco, kale, and cherries, which are said to contain flavonoids, a plant compound, and antioxidants that will energize your body and boost blood flow to the brain.
Sexy dressing on the side
“It has been such a challenge to get people excited about healthy eating,” said Iserloh.
By dressing up the benefits of kale with a spin on sexy talk, Iserloh said the project is a “playful way of getting people to hook into what we are trying to tell them about healthy eating.”
“Food is extremely sexy,” noted Iserloh. “The recipes are gorgeous to look at – savory and tempting.”
She wants people to “get intoxicated by healthy eating,” and hopes people will foster a love relationship with feeding their body healthy food.
Iserloh left a career in the business world to pursue her culinary interests. She graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education in 2003 and worked in kitchens throughout Manhattan. She worked with Tyler Florence of the Food Network on his cookbook “Eat This Book” and was also a private chef for Annie Leibovitz among others. She is also a certified yoga teacher. She is working on another e-book in collaboration with her husband Ulrich, who has a PhD in organic chemistry on the drug interactions with food.
The kindle version of “50 Shades of Kale” is available for download on Amazon. A new coffee table version of “50 Shades of Kale” published by Harper Collins will hit the bookstands in January. For more information about the author, visit: http://skinnychef.com.
Excerpt From ‘50 Shades of Kale’
“I left her last night after the sun went down – and overnight she has grown, drinking in the water from my soaker hose. She is crispy and succulent in the morning, the dew her only dressing.”
From ‘50 Shades of Kale: Delicious & Nutritious Kale Recipes - How To Cook Kale Salad, Kale Chips, Kale Soup’
Blueberry Kale Smoothie
This potent smoothie isn’t for the weak of heart, or then again maybe it is! It’s packed with two top plant-based health builders, sulforphane and anthocyanins that both latch onto free radicals that can damage your heart. Antioxidant molecules are damaged by heat, but this no-cook smoothie won’t lose any nutrition or break your heart. I guess some like it raw.
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup whole milk (preferably from grass-fed cows)
1/2 cup packed kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon honey or agave
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ice cubes
Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Serve immediately.
Nutritional Stats Per Serving (21/2 cups): 243 calories, 6 g protein, 47 g
carbohydrates, 4 g fat (2 g saturated), 12 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 69 mg sodium
Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at email@example.com.