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Shannon Casas: Kale is good — seriously

People in the office often ask me if I’m a vegetarian. It seems that because I eat vegetables, they assume I don’t eat meat.

If you’re a vegetarian, that’s fine by me, but I am not one. I do however like this rule from food writer Michael Pollan: Eat mostly plants.

Plants are good for you. And I don’t just mean spinach or kale. I’m sometimes teased in the office for eating kale. Listening to some, you’d think I start my day drinking a kale smoothie, walk around eating a bag of kale of chips and then have a kale salad for lunch.

I do have a great kale salad recipe I made over the weekend, by the way, but kale is not an everyday food for me.

Variety is another good food rule. Kale one day, roasted carrots another, a banana with breakfast, avocado any time of day — but yes, like any good millennial, I do like avocado toast.

I want my plants to taste good, though. I like to eat healthy, but that doesn’t mean I eat food that tastes bad.

I don’t like raw cauliflower. I don’t eat raw cauliflower. Roast it with a little olive oil, though, and it’s delicious. In fact, for me, roast just about any vegetable with some olive oil and it will be good.

I also don’t like raw carrots. Or raw broccoli. In fact, those party trays people buy to be healthy, where you dip fresh vegetables in ranch dressing — I hate them.

As much as I value eating healthy, when there’s a spread of food at some gathering, I will pick up the chips and skip these raw veggies every time.

I do, however, like raw carrots if they’re shredded into a carrot salad with a little lemon juice and oil, and some fresh herbs if I’m feeling fancy.

The key is to figure out what you like and try to expand what you like.

But this isn’t a column to tell you to eat healthier. You know you should eat healthier.

This is a column to tell you I like eating healthy. Healthy food can taste great. And this time of year, I eagerly await the fresh produce that will be available at local farmers markets. I love looking at the variety available — the tomatoes that come in yellow or purplish red, the mushrooms I’ve never seen at the grocery store or the squash in all kinds of shapes.

Cooking fresh at home takes work, planning and time, but cooking something I picked up at the farmers market is way more exciting to me than hitting a drive-thru to pick up something that only tastes good because I like salt.

Salt is a weakness of mine, though. So is sugar. I can do some serious damage on a bag of tortilla chips. And when sweets appear on the food desk here at the office, I will eat them. I like brownies. And cookies. And ice cream.

But I also like kale.

Shannon Casas is editor in chief of The Times and a foster parent. You can hear her most weeks on the Inside The Times podcast on iTunes or Google Play.

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