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Guacamole gets all the love on September 16. Even coffee has its own day. Throw in pie, doughnuts, and pasta, and there’s not a day we haven’t designated on the calendar to honor food and drinks. So it’s only fair the queen of greens gets its own day, right? Every year on the first Wednesday in October we pay homage to the superstar among the dark, leafy vegetable clan: kale. That’s right, it’s kale-bration time.

If you’re anything like myself, you've probably had a moment or two in the past few years when you dismissed kale as yet another superfood fad that would fall by the wayside along with goji berries and seaweed. Yeah, remember when seaweed was actually "a thing?" Can’t say I’m super bummed to see that one go out of the trend spotlight, but kale... kale is something I desperately wanted to like because everyone else did. And by everyone, I mean one of my favorite people on this entire planet, Beyoncé. No matter how many times she wore sweatshirts celebrating it, my palate refused to be swayed by the hype.

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But after learning more about the vast array of proven health benefits kale has to offer and, more importantly, about some of the different ways to eat it other than raw in a salad, I can officially say it’s a grown on me. Well, in all honesty, I think a more accurate assessment would be that I tolerate kale a lot more than I did in the past. But I do actually understand the appeal now.

To celebrate National Kale Day, we're breaking down everything you need to know about its leafy green goodness and vibrant ways to enjoy kale beyond the same old "gently massage" kale Caesars. From smoothies and soups to sandwiches and pesto, the possibilities are endless. Need more convincing before hopping aboard the kale bandwagon? Done, son.

Did You Know?

  • Kale is a member of the cabbage family and per cup, offers significantly more vitamin C than orange juice and more vitamin D than milk. Its high-vitamin, protein, and fiber content more than pays for itself in improving your health.
  • If I told you to think back to a time when you didn’t eat kale, you should be able to. Which means you probably don't have too many traumatic childhood food memories surrounding kale to ruin it for you. Unlike broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower, this low-calorie vegetable has only been a pop-culture and food enthusiast phenomenon for the past five years or so, despite being cultivated for more than 2,000 years. But that doesn't mean you hadn't seen it around before...
  • In fact, before kale became a “thing,” some of the only folks who really took notice of it (in a mainstream sort of way) were the masterminds at Pizza Hut, but not because they wanted it as an ingredient on their cheesy pies. Before 2012, apparently the largest consumer of kale was Pizza Hut, who used the leaves primarily as lining decoration on the salad bar next to the other edible fixings. Yeah, kale’s come a long way.
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What are some of your favorite ways to eat this mean green? Let us know in the comments below.

By Michelle Darrisaw and Michelle Darrisaw