It's a sad day for superfoods

Image: Ornamental kale blooms (via Wikimedia)

Hold onto your green smoothies – the superfood world has been rocked by not one, but two pieces of Very Bad News this week.

Kale shortage imminent

Kale seems to have infiltrated every cafe kitchen, grocery store and household juicer in the country, so it’s hardly surprising the demand for the leafy green veggie is reaching new heights. Problem is, our voracious consumption of kale has created… an imminent worldwide shortage of it. Yeah, oops.

Lateline’s Kerry Staight reports one of the world’s leading seed suppliers has run out of almost every variety of kale, which is a member of the cabbage family.

“You could describe it as embarrassing to us, but it’s just one of those things that’s happened on a global basis,” says Tony Hubbard, who runs the Australian office of Netherlands-based Bejo Seeds and has been in the seed business for 44 years. He admits the company has been “well and truly” caught out and hopes more seeds will be available by September or October.

Unofficial anthem of the Kale Shortage of 2014.

Local growers have also been surprised by the off the charts popularity of kale. Victorian growers Deborah and Darren Corrigan tell the ABC they planted 1500 kale seedlings at their property as a trial a couple of years ago- now they're planting 150,000 every week.

Demand isn't the only thing devouring the world's kale supplies. Bon Appetit magazine reported earlier this year that kale crops in the US had been ravaged by a spray-resistant superbug, which growers feared could wipe out entire crops.

Stay tuned for mass hysteria and panic buying. Remember guys - it works just as well in a smoothie if you freeze it first.

Is almond milk a scam?

'Well, the world might run out of kale, but at least my almond milk is safe,' you're probably telling yourself right now, as you protectively clutch a glass of it to your heart.


Well, the good news is you're right for now - there are no reports of the risk of an almond milk shortage. The bad news is, almond milk mightn't be quite as nutritionally dense as you think it is.

In a fascinating report for Mother Jones, Tom Philpott compared a 1.5 litre bottle of Califia-brand almond milk to a standard serving - roughly a handful - of plain almonds.

Philpott's findings kind of support his hypothesis that almond milk is "an abuse of a great foodstuff" and, effectively, "filtered water clouded by a handful of ground almonds":

A single ounce (28 grams) of almonds ... contains six grams of protein (about an egg's worth), along with three grams of fiber (a medium banana) and 12 grams of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (half an avocado). According to its label, an eight-ounce serving of Califia almond milk offers just one gram each of protein and fiber, and five grams of fat. A bottle of Califia delivers six eight-ounce servings, meaning that a handful of almonds contains as much protein as the mighty jug of this hot-selling beverage.

For the price you pay and the nutrients you get, it's probably best to stick to munching on a handful of almonds. For a healthy milk alternative, Philpott suggests organic kefir.

What's your favourite superfood?

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