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Professor Kale

How did kale go from being not to hot? Your self care journey could take a lesson or two from this story.

Updated 11/2020

We all had that one teacher we didn’t like but begrudgingly, we admit they probably taught us a thing or two. Consider kale your teacher in this “food for thought” perspective. Lessons from the story of kale’s rise to glory. Whether you like it or not. 😉

With the right support, almost anything is achievable. In school or business, we call this mentoring. When someone believes in you, they see things in you that perhaps you often didn’t even dream were possible. Have you ever had someone say they saw a talent in you that you previously hadn’t thought about or considered? It’s like that. Find someone who can help pull the best out of you and help you get better at it.

Marketing matters. If you read the story of kale’s climb to popularity, PR and marketing were the engines (kale’s mentor, in a way) propelling it forward. Whether talking about food, fashion, or people, perception must be considered. Science could take a lesson from this and actually even some of the reality stars – definitely not in what they do, but how they garner attention.

We can be true to ourselves, not embarrassing, and still utilize this technique. Kale did it, and if a vegetable like this can go from wallflower to pop star level, so can we. Without compromising our ethics.

There used to be a saying “fake it ‘til you make it”.  Kale did.

Words matter. Yes, how we present ourselves visually matters. Verbal presentation also matters. Ever notice how some speakers have you on the edge of your seat while others have you squirming in it, waiting for the presentation to end? Kale didn’t say, “hey, I’m good for you”, or “you need greens weekly because of all our nutrition”.  Nope. Kale said “Check me out, I’m awesome. You need me.”

It’s essential to remember we need to NOT overpromise or make up attributes. Kale was able to back up its story because it is packed with nutrition. You start with the excitement to get people interested in learning the science and substance.

kale garden
Image by Javier Robles from Pixabay

Take time to choose the words you use purposefully.   Ask how it’s going to feel to the end audience. It’s not about you. It’s about them.  People who know stuff often get exasperated because they know they are right.  Have you ever talked to a know-it-all? SO NOT FUN.  Kale knew it all, but made it fun to find out about. This is important when you are talking to yourself OR presenting to hundreds of people live or online.

Things that are good for us can also be popular. How many times have those of us who exercise or choose to eat relatively healthfully on a regular basis hear comments about it? “You don’t need to exercise or watch what you eat, you look great”. Sigh. How about we remember it feels good to exercise and actually helps take care of our bodies inside and out? Yay!

You don’t need to wait ‘til you are sick or feeling terrible to start taking care of yourself.

I had a conversation with someone who told me he caught flack at a barbeque with friends because he was the only one not overeating the party food and overloading his plate. It’s not our place to judge others or tell people what to eat/how to eat. Even as a dietitian, my job is to inform your thinking to support your well-being goals and manage your health, not tell you what to do.

We’re not talking about giving up party foods.

I’m talking about eating them At. The. Party.

Not every day, three times a day. #moderation

Change is possible. Deciding to change how you spend your time and what you choose to eat takes commitment, especially if people around you give you a hard time about it.

Be like kale. Ignore the negativity and believe in yourself and your vision for what’s next. Given the right time, some new information, and a few supportive friends and coaches, you can be the super version of you, too.

By Kim Kirchherr

Global food and nutrition professional focused on health from the farm to the store to the table