Why Dandelions Are the New Kale

Written by Cate Stillman

Kale has received plenty of press in the last decade. Good for kale. Good for our bodies. Kale is actually a “gateway” leaf into the world of green. Green your diet, and you will naturally start to pay more attention to plants with leaves. Leaves transfer life force energy by infusing chlorophyll into your red blood cells. It’s simple -- eat green, and you become more alive.

Humans Used to Eat Green

As a species we’re in a “remembering” phase of our health evolution. Homo sapiens historically ate leaves from hundreds of species of plants. Today, typical primates in the wild eat 150 to 300 green species. When we eat a diversity of plants, our cells receive a diversity and complexity of nutrients. If you count the diversity in a typical green diet (your microgreens salad, your kale, your sprouts and don’t forget your beet greens), I’d be impressed if you hit 40 species.

Inner & Outer Ecosystem Theory

There is a holistic gorgeousness to the situation here: as we green our diet with growing complexity, we evacuate the toxic rubbish from our cells. In Ayurveda we call this rubbish “ama,” which is a sticky sludge that inhibits the body’s integrity and blocks the flow of consciousness. As we detox the Standard American Diet out of our cells, these cells wake up to life force intelligence and start to be heard by your tongue. Your tongue starts to crave a greater diversity of intelligent taste, and your diet becomes more alive and green.

Externally, we begin to notice more variety in the plants in the supermarket, our yard and our ecosystem. As this happens, our bodies become more integrated with our larger ecosystem. What I refer to as synergy between the inner and outer ecosystem naturally arises.

The Dandelion Effect

I’ve seen the dandelion effect emerge like this: you do your first body cleanse and start drinking green juice or green smoothies. You buy kale in greater quantity than ever before. Your body gets hooked on living green energy. Soon, you stop ignoring the beet greens and radish greens. You start juicing your carrot tops, because why throw them away? Next, you notice the long stemmed dandelion greens at Whole Foods Market, which are on sale this week. You experiment with the dandelions in your morning green nectar. A little bitter, but not bad. Soon, you crave the more bitter taste, and dandelion greens show up on your shopping list.

The light bulb goes off.

Wait, you think. These grow in my yard. You start seeing them in the neighborhood on your morning jog. You have a hard time spraying chemicals on them to make them die. The leafy greens that became the blood in your body are now connecting with the greens in your ecosystem.

Greens Are Free

Now, it really clicks and you see that all plants, not just the ones in the grocery store, have green leaves. The percentage of plants with edible leaves is much higher than those that are toxic. Many of the invasive species we spray around the world have more nutrients than the kale grown in mono-crops to supply our grocery stores. I get more nutrients from weeds in my yard than the crops I plant in my garden and greenhouse. My yard in Idaho is less than an acre of highly disturbed soil. The “free” volunteer greens this season include a few varieties of dandelion, thistle, chickweed, and lambs quarter. This morning, I weeded purslane out of the cracks in my patio. I’ll dehydrate it and add it to my winter soup mix. Purslane has more omega 3s than any other leafy green, and doesn’t have the mercury toxicity or karma issues of omega 3s derived from fish.

If we as a human species wake up to eating green and living green, our ecosystems become our bodies. We become ambassadors of our ecosystems. You get healthier, and your ecosystem gets the protection it needs to thrive.

I’m glad you’ve started eating green. Now, it’s time to take the next step and take care of the dandelions in your yard. Then, they’ll take care of you.

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