The Kale Smoothie Effect

In an effort to improve my health, I jumped on the kale bandwagon today. I added a large handful to my usual morning smoothie, and omg, it is amazing! When the kale kicked in I was flooded with happiness and energy the likes of which I haven’t felt in ages. I know, I know, the benefits of kale are nothing new. Everyone from chefs to nutritionists are singing it's praises and for good reason. Kale is said to be the healthiest of the amazingly healthy dark leafy greens. 

Let me take a step back, I’m not a morning person.  I mean, I’m really not a morning person.  I’m not just grumpy or groggy in the morning.  When that alarm (or in recent years that child) sounds I’m getting out of bed planning on when I can get back in.  That’s right, I’m making plans to go back to bed first thing in the morning.  It’s part early parenthood chronic sleep deprivation, part coping mechanism and part really bad habit.

This morning was no exception.  I felt sleepy and annoyed that I had to get up, and I was planning to take a long leisurely rest during my toddler's nap-time. The problem with doing that is I have no time to do anything that needs to get done around the house.

Then, I had my smoothie, and within an hour I started to feel amazing. Not only was I no longer interested in napping, I was getting things done. I did 2 loads of laundry, made cookies with my son and cleaned the kitchen afterward. It’s now 2pm, the little guy has been sleeping for an hour.  Instead of crawling back under the covers, I did some yoga and now I'm blogging for the first time in forever. This may not sounds like a big deal, but for me it’s huge. Like many people who struggle with depression, I’ve lost tons of time to daytime sleeping.  I’ve cancelled plans with friends, skipped class, skipped work, let my house go, let my kids watch TV, etc. just so I could go back to bed.

Tara Brach, renowned therapist and meditation teacher would call my sleeping habit a false refuge. A false refuge lures you in and feels so good, but leaves you feeling empty and ashamed. It’s something I’ve wanted to change for years.

Now, I don’t think the kale smoothie is a miracle potion that has ended my habit of daytime sleeping, but I do think it helped today. The boost I got lead me to really engage rather than just muddle through until I could get back into bed. I plan to make kale smoothies a regular part of my diet from now on.

A kale smoothie may work for you or you may need something else to change a habit that has been holding you back.  Maybe for you it will be finally trying meditation or taking that class or calling that therapist.  If your life is going in a direction you don’t like, take a small step toward change.

Don’t wait for the motivation to hit because it probably won’t. Change does not usually start with an earth-shattering epiphany. Instead it happens with adjustments that spur you on to take the next step. Little successes will motivate you to keep going. For me it was drinking a kale smoothie. Maybe for you it will be reading this post. I challenge everyone to do something today that will move you toward the change you want in your life.