Sometimes the Internet throws you amaziness, like bringing new people into your life. A silly little post about finding a blogger bestie gave me Kristen, the madame behind The Kale Project. Kristen is an expat living in Paris with a keen eye for fabulous fashion and a love of kale. For those of you not living in Paris, to find kale in the land of wine and cheese is, well, it is impossible! Armed with a passion for leafy greens, Kristen is on a mission to bring kale to France, and has made tremendous strides in the kale effort.
Kristen has been supporting my juicing efforts and I thought it would be perfect to share her perspective on our mutual love of kale and wellness through foods. Without further adieu, Kristen of The Kale Project.
” Kale expert; especially one who understands the details, technique or principles of preparing kale and is competent to act as a critical judge,” fun shirts available through Lady Moon Farms.
What brought you to Paris and how long do you intend to stay?
The main reason I live in Paris is for my husband’s job. He runs a large, global piece of business for Ogilvy & Mather (which is actually the agency where we met in New York!) and was spending more time at the Paris office than New York when the opportunity arose. But we came here for other reasons too. My husband is not American, so his family and friends are scattered throughout England, France and Switzerland, so we felt it would be nice to be close to his side for a while. Also, we knew we were about to be married and do not have children and wanted living abroad to be something we experienced as a couple. We’re definitely here for three years and could be up to five.
Clearly wellness is important to you, especially since you’ve been a big supporter of my juicing endeavors! What do you do to maintain your health and wellness, and do you juice?
If only I practiced as much as I preach. But yes, health and wellness is very important to me and that’s mainly because of how I was raised. My mother raised me macrobiotic until I was five and I was mostly vegetarian before college, so the idea of health and wellness was ingrained in me at a very young age. At this point, I do my best to eat as many fresh vegetables and fruits as possible and stay away from processed food. But I also think that it’s alright to enjoy meat and dairy in moderation. And now living in France, I believe I have access to better meat and clearly better cheese. The biggest thing is veggies, veggies, veggies. When I go a day without eating good veggies, I can feel it.
As for juicing, I do not juice – but that’s mainly because I do not own a juicer. I think my kitchen will explode if I add another appliance. And when deciding between a mixer and juicer, I chose mixer because I wanted to keep the fiber from the produce I was using for smoothies. We make green smoothies every morning. It’s such a great way to start the day.
When did you realize that kale wasn’t available in Paris?
Hah! Like the first weekend we arrived. Initially I thought it was because our local outdoor market just didn’t carry it or that it was late August and sometimes kale is not as frequently grown then. Then we went to explore the bio markets for the first time and asked people around if they had “chou frisé” (the Google translation) and showed a photo and got a shrug and shake of the head. We asked owners and chefs in restaurants we ate at. They called other restaurants. No one knew.
Then I started doing more research online and when I saw there was chatter about there not being kale in France, that’s when I knew. And my heart sank.
Why kale? What strides have you made in your endeavors to bring kale to Paris?
Kale because it’s fantastic for you in every way possible. It ranks at the top of densest vegetables, which means it is chock full of fiber. It has more calcium than a glass of milk. It is full of antioxidants and amino acids, which are known to be cancer fighting properties. As for vitamins? You need two hands to count how many are in kale.
But it’s also because that there is no reason kale shouldn’t be available. The French eat spinach (epinard) and swiss chard (blette) and clearly cabbages are part of cuisine since the savoy cabbage is available from every to market to supermarché. Kale is indigenous to Europe and I’m just bringing it back.
You feature amazing kale recipes on “Kale Recipe Monday.” What’s your favorite kale recipe and why?
I love kale raw in a salad massaged with olive oil and lemon juice. Then I top it with various things depending on the season. You can just do so much with it! But I grew up eating kale steamed with Umeboshi vinegar (a vinegar from a Japanese plum) and I also enjoy it steamed and plain if I just want a healthy side dish.
Where’s the best place in your opinion to get a healthy meal in Paris, and why?
The thing about Paris is there aren’t that many places to choose from. I have three and they’re all different depending on what you’re looking for.
Gentle Gourmet Café: This restaurant just opened in the 12ème and they serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch on the weekends. What I like about this place is they are trying to do French food in a vegan way and they succeed. They are very innovative about their dishes to the point where a lot of their patrons aren’t even vegetarian and leave very satisfied. It’s a cute space and a nice place for a dinner date.
Voy Alimento/Sol Semilla Café: This is a tiny spot in the 10ème that serves unique, vegan food with a South American flair. It’s a good spot for a weekend lunch and you leave full and feeling really healthy. They also sell powders/superfood supplements that add a kick to smoothies and juices.
Bob’s Kitchen/Juice Bar: Located in the 10ème and the 3ème, this a great go-to for a big bowl of brown rice and steamed vegetables, a veggie nori roll or a green juice. Again a spot for lunch that is casual and can be a good meal if you’ve had a bit too much French food for the past few days.
Merci to Kristen, and bon anniversaire (Happy Birthday in French!) Please take a moment to check out The Kale Project website for more information about Kristen’s efforts as well as so many fun, yummy kale-friendly recipes.