Strictly Speaking About Kale

imagesDoes it matter if I say my kale is healthy? Or my broccoli? Or my shot of wheatgrass juice?

Michael Ruhlman thinks it does. “No food is healthy,” Ruhlman reminds us. “Not even kale.”

In an article in Sunday’s Washington Post, Ruhlman asserts that one reason most of us eat poorly is that we think poorly.

He acknowledges that we may in fact have a healthy crop of kale flourishing under cover in the field beside the new strawberries, which may also be healthy, and that it may be worth remarking on the health of our kale, a winter-hardy plant that actually sweetens in the cold. But most of us don’t mean that when we say our kale is healthy.


We mean that it’s nutritious. But that’s not what we say.

“I’m all about the words,” says Roxanne Sukol, preventive medicine specialist at the Cleveland Clinic. “Words are the key to giving people the tools they need to figure out what to eat. Everyone’s so confused.”


Michael Ruhlman blogs at

Even if you’re not confused, Ruhlman’s thoughts about the words that get attached to food and how those words can make us sick are an interesting read, and one of conclusions they produce is that eating close to the earth is a reliable stay against food confusion.


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