Okay, maybe not, but still.
A couple of days ago, I was eating a salad. It was a pretty good one, too -- kale, baby spinach, tomato, hemp seeds, avocado, all kinds of stuff. Unfortunately, this green action was so good my lungs decided they wanted in on some of it.
After spasmodically coughing for interminable minutes (in front of my significant other, no less, because there's nothing sexier than someone who looks like a dog choking on a chicken bone), I began to worry. I thought to myself, "Self," I thinks, "is kale the kind of thing that will just kind of work itself out? Because we've been at this for awhile, and I am noticing a distressing lack of kale bits being shifted by it."
This isn't the first time I've choked on a thing. Maybe I don't meet the level requirement for an epiglottis. Maybe my body periodically vastly overestimates its expertise at inhalation and swallowing, I don't know. I do know that I have it on good authority that:
- You can definitely tell if you have aspiration pneumonia
- Having a scope jammed all up ins to see if you've got some crap stuck in your lungs kind of sucks, and
- Most things will just break down on their own (if you can avoid the whole pneumonia thing in the process).
Is kale one of those things? Will it just go away? It seems a bit tough and fibrous for a squishy bag of air with no enzymes to speak of to handle on its own, but my idiot body also thought it was capable of eating and breathing at the same time so who even knows what it's going to try to do next.
Long story short, after three days of a just-kind-of-uncomfortable foreign body feeling in the left side of my chest, I was awakened by the sudden realization that I wasn't breathing so great. My S.O. and I go to the ER, I get whisked away for x-rays, breathe into a little tube for a bit, get some blood drawn, and find out my bicarbonate's a little low and I don't have pneumonia.
So, for now, I am basically on Pneumonia Watch while my body tries to figure out what the hell to do about this rogue salad interloper. Sometimes I feel it kind of move if I change how I'm sitting or laying, and it sends me into fresh bouts of pointless coughing. I am not a fan.
Sorry if anyone came here hoping for an authoritative takedown of this crappity-ass hipster lettuce. Here are some links that are maybe relevant to that:
Sorry, Foodies: We're About to Ruin Kale Is kale a silent killer whose weapon-of-choice is a completely ridicubutts level of thallium? Eh, maybe not. Still, if you're looking for a reason to excuse your dislike of kale (other than the fact that it tastes bitter and has all the pleasing mouthfeel of socks), "toxic heavy metal scare" might be a good one.
News Update: Can Kale Cause Hypothyroidism? Kale contains goitrogenic compounds -- things that can worsen a pre-existing thyroid condition. While it's probably okay in regular amounts, people with thyroid problems may not want to jump on the "omg kale green juice superfood yes" bandwagon.