Margarita's Kale and Maitake Frondosa Mushroom, cooking in a cast iron skillet.

Kale and Maitake Mushrooms: A Recipe for Detoxing and Immune Building

I’ve always loved kale.  So green, hearty, and earthy, and my body always feels great afterwards.  Turns out that there are so many properties in kale that has made it a sort of rock star amongst health food enthusiasts.

Like, what, you may ask?

  1. It has so many incredible antioxidant properties (namely that of carotenoids and flavonoids), that it’s been studied for its effects on cancer more than any other health condition.
  2. It is a top food source for at least four glucosinates, and have helped it become a food supplying cancer preventative properties, as well as helping during cancer treatment, itself.
  3. Kale is also high in Omega 3’s, Vitamin K, chlorophyll, calcium iron, and Vitamin A.
  4. It provides cardiovascular support by helping to lower cholesterol levels.
  5. It supports the body’s detoxification process, involving mainly kale’s glucosinates and sulfur content.

According to Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition by Paul Pitchford (excellent book on nutrition, by the way!), kale eases lung congestion, benefits the stomach, and its juice can be used to treat stomach and duodenal ulcers.

Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil, sitting in my pantry, among the steel cut oats and Chinese herbs.

I have steamed it most often in the past, but, nowadays, find that I love to cook it (for only a few minutes) with coconut oil, particularly Tropical Traditions Gold Label Coconut Oil.  I have memories of visiting family in the Philippines, with them cooking, using coconut oil.  It has a particularly comforting smell, and gives the food a wonderful taste that is not heavy.  It’s a “healthy” oil (even Dr. Oz recommended it on a recent show as one of the “healthy” oils to use!), that doesn’t include trans fats, is excellent for high temperature cooking, and is often used when trying to increase metabolism.  It just doesn’t sit in your stomach, like others oils might.

It’s also used outside of cooking, as a skin and hair conditioner, among many other uses.  In fact, my father would tell me how women in his village in the Philippines would condition their thick hair with coconut oil, and would recall how much he loved the smell wafting in their air!

Maitake Frondosa “Dancing” mushrooms fresh out of the box. Photo taken on my countertop right before cutting them up and plopping them in the skillet.

So, tonight, I cooked some kale with Maitake Frondosa mushrooms.  What the heck kind of mushroom is that?  It’s not an often talked about mushroom. “Maitake” means “Dancing Mushroom” in Japanese.  Don’t they look like they’re dancing?  I just saw them in the grocery, thought they were a gorgeous variety I’ve never eaten before, and that’s how they mainly ended up on my table.  Nope, no purposeful epiphany on its nutritional value based on its great meaning in life.

But, then I found out, that Maitake Frondosa mushrooms:

  1. Have often been used in Chinese Medicine to enhance the immune system.
  2. Researchers have found that it helps regulate blood pressure, glucose, insulin, both serum and liver lipids (such as cholesterol, triglycerides, and phospholipids), and may also be useful for weight loss.
  3. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center even conducted a study that showed this particular mushroom could stimulate the immune system of breast cancer patients.

Well, then!  I could always use some immune building and detoxification.  That all said, I cooked the kale and mushrooms together for a brief time, with some coconut oil and garlic, until the kale got that lovely deep green.  I used my cast iron skillet to get more iron into my diet.

Margarita’s Kale and Maitake Frondosa Mushroom dish, almost ready to go!

I am not one to often create any culinary creations with a complex ingredient list, though I thoroughly enjoy dishes like that!  Bobby Flay, I am not.  But dishes don’t need to have a long ingredient list in order to make an impact on your health, or be delicious.

How can you include kale or mushrooms in your diet this week?  Even if you don’t have Maitake Frondosa mushrooms readily available, regular white button, or shiitake, have similar immune building properties.

And don’t feel sheepish if you don’t have a complex cooking style.  I certainly don’t!

Enjoy getting your detox on!


As An Aside…

Remember my previous post, “Springing Forward, Bamboo Style”, in which I invoked the bamboo imagery my father gave me, during one of his Yoda-like moments?  Well, I told him about my post, and he decided to clarify his words.  He emailed me soonafter (this is cut and pasted from his original email to me, and in case you’re wondering, “Mita” is my family’s nickname for me):

Dear Mita –

I am glad
you are trying to be like
the bamboo
that moves, trembles, sways
with the pains and tribulations of ever-changing winds
and yet
stays rooted to the ground.
Better that
than an oak tree
that takes pride in its strength and yet
is brought to the ground by the whirlwind.


I told him that it was incredibly poetic, and that he’s really like Bruce Lee!  He then divulged that he really liked poetry in college, and that the writing probably came from some Zen books he’d read, but that the words were his own.  Being a spoken word artist, writer, and performer, myself (in addition to being an acupuncturist), I thought, “Wow, the apple did not fall far from the tree on this one!”
 Copyright © 2011 by Alcantara Acupuncture & Healing Arts. All rights reserved. You may quote, copy, translate and link to this article, in its entirety, on free, non-donation based websites only, as long as you include the author name and a working link back to this website. All other uses are strictly prohibited.

All information on this website is my own opinion, and not to be taken as medical advice. Reliance on any information provided on this website is solely at your own risk. Please refer to your medical practitioner before making any medical decisions.


    March 27, 2011

    YUMMY! I love kale soooo much! Here is my favorite way to eat it (which my sister Sarah taught me, and her friend Erin taught her). Clean your kale, pat dry; lay it out on a cookie sheet, and drizzle olive oil over it. Turn the kale over so every piece is coated- you don’t want it drenched, but you don’t want it dry either. Toss it with rock salt, and then toss it in the oven on broil- and keep an eye on it. Cook it till it’s crispy- the edges of the pieces will start to brown (and if you cook like me, they’ll turn black because you weren’t watching). Crunchy yummy kale chips!

    I love the words from your Dad, I wrote them in my journal. I think he should start a blog!

  2. Alcantara Acupuncture
    March 27, 2011

    A fellow kale lover! Yes, I love kale chips, as well. But never knew how to make them. So, thanks for the recipe! How many minutes do you think that would be until it’s crispy?

    I told my dad that people liked my previous blog post where he gave advice. He said, “Oh really?” (That means he was tickled pink.) LOL, I’ll suggest he should start a blog. I can already hear him say, “Mmm. I don’t think so.”

  3. Nicole
    March 27, 2011

    Love your post, and I can’t wait to make kale like that! It looks delicious. I’ve never heard of those mushrooms, though. I wonder if I can get them in the burgh? I am totally amazed at what your dad wrote. It’s SO beautiful. Please tell him I said so. It’s so Grizzly Alcantara of him. I am going to write it down and put it on my facebook.

    Love you!

    • Alcantara Acupuncture
      March 28, 2011

      Considering your culinary masterpieces, I’m sure the kale dish will be a snap for you! I think you can find these mushrooms at a Whole Foods near you, or a health food store. But more likely at Whole Foods. I’ll tell my dad about you digging his “poem”. Looks like Dad’s getting a lot of admirers! He’d love to hear this. I still don’t know how he earned the “Grizzly Alcantara” monniker, as if he hunts, hurls slabs of meat onto a spit, and creates pelts to warm himself during winter.

      So glad your blog is doing so well! To folks reading, Nicole writes a blog called, “Raising An Only”, about raising an only child. Her writing is snappy and touching.

      Love you, too!

  4. Techniques To Digesting Food, And Life, More Fully | Alcantara Acupuncture
    November 5, 2011

    […] familiar with my blog, I’m all about the coconut oil (check out my previous blog post, “Kale and Maitake Mushrooms: A Recipe for Detoxing and Immune Building”.)  I use it when cooking, baking, over popcorn, in the hair, it’s multiuse!  Lard, ghee, […]


Leave a Reply