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Kale – A winter green full of potential health benefits


Kale is considered to be a sweet and pungent green in TCVM (Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine). Pungent is just another word for strong so keep in mind only small amounts are needed to be beneficial. Even if your pet is not eating grass, they can benefit from the chlorophyll, calcium, iron, and Vitamin A found in this leafy green. Chlorophyll has been gaining momentum in the nutrition world for several years due to its properties and actions including reducing inflammation, promoting a healthy intestinal flora as well as being a detoxifying agent – it can help remove drug deposits and counteract toxins.

What does Kale do in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine?
Kale’s TCVM actions are on the Lung and the Stomach. Winter time is the season of the lung (Metal season) so this is a good time to support the lungs. Kale’s TCVM functions are to tonify blood and move stagnation (which is to stop pain). It can be good for anemia, stagnation like arthritis, and even stomach/ duodenal ulcers (I prefer giving it  juiced in these cases).

What could go wrong?
Leafy greens have the ability to “moisten the intestines” in TCVM. In case that’s not clear enough, overuse of this when a body is not used to greens can cause diarrhea. So we say to start with 1 tsp of greens per 20# of body weight. Cat dose, 1/4 tsp per 10 pounds.

Tips for cooking:
One of the things that can help a pet digest and use the qualities found in kale is to offer it lightly cooked. (ex. Blanched in water – just until it turns bright green or lightly steamed)

Example Recipe: 

For a 20 # dog
Remove leafy part of kale from the stem, cut/chop finely.
Add one egg to the skillet.
Add 2 tsp of this finely chopped kale to the 1 egg in the skillet.
Scramble the egg on low to low medium heat.Then divide this into 4 portions (this is a low dose to see how the pet does with adding greens).
Add 1/4 of this to the regular food. Watch bowel movements for the next 24 hours if there are no problems the pet can go to a full dose of kale next offering ( 1 tsp per 20# of dog).

Tricks to make this easier:
cook a few portions and store this in a glass container in the fridge – this way you don’t have to cook when mealtime rolls around, you did that already!

My typical recommendation around adding in some greens; a few days a week is a good dose. Too much or daily doses can upset their tummy.