Friday, April 10, 2015

Kale - how to eat it before it turns yellow in your fridge + ITP

Before saying anything of use, I'll explain why I'm a half-asleep zombie person today.

This... little....

What you see above is the naughtiest feline in the world.  He's completely nocturnal, and absolutely fascinated with making noise. 

Last night he had a particular fascination with the cat inside the bedroom mirror. Our mirror is large and hangs from a picture rail. When he attacks the mirror cat, the mirror collides with the wall, waking all humans. Jase then throws a pillow, Mog zooms away and starts.. oh, I don't know, tearing up the garbage bag, or jumping around in the recycling until an irate human gets up to play. 

Then morning comes, the humans stagger along to their jobs and Mog settles down to replenish his energy. 

Having explained the baggy eyes, which you'll have to just imagine, I'll get on with explaining how I fulfill my weekly kale eating quota. I eat a lot of kale. Or, I try to, because I notice a firm difference in my ITP bruising symptoms depending on how much of it I manage to get inside me, vs. how much slowly wilts and bleaches in the fridge. 

A couple of weeks without slamming the greens and I begin to look bruisy, especially if I've had a few glasses of wine. I don't want to gross you out, but for your education, here is what I mean. These are ITP bruises. They just happen. No impact, no pain, just random bleeding under the skin for no good reason. When I eat enough kale, spinach or broccoli, I just do not get these large bruises, although I might get little ones that nobody notices. Here are an arm and a leg. Don't panic, these are gone  now. This happened after I'd been away at uni and missed my big weekend shops.

It seems reasonable to assume the bruise fluctuations are related to vitamin K intake, although I may well be changing something else when I eat more kale. Vitamin K, which is abundant in kale and other greens, does not seem to increase platelet numbers (although some on the ITP Facebook page say that it does for them), but it does increase blood clotting effectiveness through its pro-coagulant activity. The anti-coagulant Warfarin works by lowering the levels of active vitamin K, and this is why people taking it have to keep their vit K intake consistent. 

Vit K also has a number of other beneficial effects on bone, vascular health and brain health. As the vitamin K in veges is primarily K1, I also take a K2 liquid supplement.

I eat two or three large bunches of kale a week. Here's how I do it.

Get kale at the market. It's also very hardy and easy to grow but my garden is currently 'going wild'. I devote about 1 hour on a Sunday to kale prep. I wash it. remove the tough stalky bit, chop it and boil it until soft.

Then I pack it into the cups of a silcone muffin tin, water and all. To about half the cups I add some olive oil. Fats increase the absorption of vitamin K because it's a fat soluble vitamin.

Then I freeze it.

Once frozen, the kale pucks are easily popped out of the tray for storage in the freezer.

Then, before use, they can be defrosted just by leaving on the bench.

Edit... I have recently found that this is not always safe for the kale.

Do cats eat kale?  It must have been a cat....

The defrosted kale pucks are good for omelettes, added to patties, or anything where you'd use cooked kale or spinach, for example.. a pasta. Sometimes I just heat and eat.  The pucks without olive oil can be thrown in a smoothie.

Even if you don't have medical motivation to eat all your kale, I think this is a handy way to cut back on spoilage and fridge space. Easy peasy.

I hope that's a helpful tip for you. I'm also very interested to hear from any ITP'ers that have discovered any nutrition changes that affect either your platelet count or your symptoms.

And, with that, I'm off to bed. I'm going to try locking Mog in the lounge.  It's tough because he's a master of persistence and I fear he may spend all night tearing up the carpet trying to get under the door.

... earplugs.  ;)


  1. Timely post. I have had challenges tackling the kale and a bit every day pre-frozen is a good idea. Especially regarding the creation of picks using the muffin tin. Thanks for that. I also grow a heap of spinach and that gets away on me at times, going to seed as I can't keep up.

    I'm not impressed with warfarin due to its interfering with Vit K (preventing calcium from being directed to the bones and teeth, away from the arterial linings and heart valves where it shouldn't be). I often mention that it's worth raising the alternative of Predaxa (Dabigatrin) with doctors. Unfortunately it's not suitable for valve replacement patients, some of the elderly and people with poor kidney function so they have to stick with warfarin. I think in that case I'd be trying the fish oils, garlic and ginseng to help keep the platelets nice and slippery...

  2. Oops - pucks not picks. Must be my Kiwi accent doing that. And it's Pradaxa I think.

  3. Anonymous4:59 pm

    I am now attempting to eat more Kale and see if it helps.I avoid garlic and take 2g of vitc per day.


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