On Honoring and Liberation: Sweet, Tangy Kale Salad

“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” ~ John F. Kennedy

As we spend our Memorial Day weekend reflecting on our past wars and lost servicemen, spending time with our families and friends, enjoying the freedoms that are so hard-fought for us to keep here in America, or perhaps keeping abreast of the latest political games being played in cities, states, and at The Capitol, the last thing I want to do is intentionally make life hard for someone else.

In truth, we should be doing everything we can to help those families who made the ultimate sacrifice, families who are left to make do without the loved ones they lost, particularly those who perished at work so that we can relax and enjoy our work days without fear.

Actions have consequences, many of which directly affect others whether or not we care to accept the responsibility. Just because we choose to believe some atrocity isn’t happening doesn’t somehow magically wish it away. Things are as they are, and facts are facts. What some are calling alternative facts is really only a differing perspective surrounding certain uncomfortable — or unwanted — pieces of information.

Service members consent to serve their country in whatever capacity the government chooses for them to. They agree to their duties as employees of our  government, going into contract fully aware they may have to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country,  for us. We take those individual contracts very seriously; it’s what keeps our freedoms tangible. No service member should be expected to lose his life on the job, and certainly not in a time of peace. We honor these veterans on special days like Memorial Day, so we don’t forget or somehow devalue their service.

It is a reminder to never forget them and what they do for us.

Flags Fly in Frankfort, MI
Slice of Americana

In this same peacetime stability, however, is where we ramp it up for trillions of others. For these beings, there is no consent to contract: their lives and deaths are taken from them, by us, against their will. No animal is hard-wired to give its life willingly, to sacrifice. Even people who get to choose, as animals, we are all wired to survive.

It’s been made easy for us to take it all for granted. We really shouldn’t.

This weekend, extend your baseline of compassion outward, past the male versus female serviceman, past petty differences in skin tone and countries of origin, ignoring differences in faith and beliefs, even discounting the number of feet that touch the ground.

In particular, honor those beings who have never been given choice or consent to their very lives. Consider the facts as they are and reach for alternative solutions: plants are food, always have been.

Eat something else and let the bovine keep his rib-eye steaks and brisket intact and on his body where he most assuredly wants it. The pig’s ribs are necessary right where they are — on the living pig. Allow the chicken’s egg to become the poult it’s naturally intended be. And for Pete’s sake, stop stealing the calf’s milk for your iced cream. He needs it way more than you do.

None of what we do to these beings is even necessary for our survival. Like many of our daily actions, we are just doing what we do out of habit and convenience.

So yes, let’s honor our servicemen, remember their sacrifices. While you’re at it, free those who have never enjoyed our freedoms. Free them from your stomachs and — especially — from the mere seconds of pleasure upon your tongue.

Easy Fresh Kale Salad

  • Servings: 2 (or just me in one sitting!)
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

This salad is a regular staple ‘bowl meal’ in our home. We pick kale straight from the garden, but we recommend organic bunches from the grocery in absence. Kale is a wonder-leaf and chock full of nutrients, but with it comes bitterness. The sweet-and-sour combo will help.


  • 5-6 medium leaves Fresh Kale, de-stemmed, rough chopped or torn
  • 2 tbsp Sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp Rice wine vinegar (or sub apple cider)
  • 1 tbsp Tahini (peanut butter works well too!)
  • 1 tbsp Maple syrup (or agave nectar)
  • 1 tsp Liquid Aminos (or regular soy sauce)
  • Sesame seed, Craisins® (optional)


  1. Massage kale in a medium bowl with finger tips until the leaves are softened and dark green with all that lovely chlorophyll.
  2. In a small bowl, add the oil, vinegar, seed/nut butter, syrup, and (salty) sauce and whip together with a fork until blended. This is a sweet/sour version of vinaigrette and the seed butter will hold it together into a creamy concoction.
  3. Toss the vinaigrette with the leaves and sprinkle with sesame seeds and/or Craisins® (not required).
  4. Enjoy! No animals were exploited for your pleasure.

Shannon @ DirtNKids Blog

Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend.
And please, do it without cruelty.

9 thoughts on “On Honoring and Liberation: Sweet, Tangy Kale Salad

  1. I’m one of those who traveled over the holiday, and now I have a journey home to complete. One of our “missing” family members is active military, and I know he would have appreciated the words you shared here. It’s good to remember those who gave their lives in service, but those who continue to serve often have issues to deal with. that don’t make the news. Some are personal, but some are institutional or related to governmental policies. It’s not always easy.

    As for the kale — kale recipes always sound good, but try as I might, I can’t get into it. No matter. A nice spinach or mixed green salad’s just as good in my book!


    1. And my nephew arrived in Iraq for his service just this weekend. But even as we fight for our own freedoms here in America, we continue to enslave billions of others — for our PLEASURE. It kind of makes freedom less of a God-given right and more something like a privilege for some only. Oppression wears many hats, Linda. And some of those hats even look nice.

      PS – kale is a brassica, and that family of veggies (that includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collards) isn’t for everyone. For what it’s worth, I have one of those in my family. She LOVES this recipe, and she’s now 11. If she can adjust her finicky taste bud, perhaps you can too!


      1. I’ve tried, but just can’t. On the other hand, I enjoy cauliflower, broccoli, and collards — but have abhored Brussels sprouts since childhood. Isn’t that strange?


      2. Strange? Not at all. Broccoli and Cauliflower are both the flowering stalks and taste milder. Sprouts are pungent most likely nutritional content. But collards and kale are very similar. I’m guessing you eat collards cooked (even over-cooked); could substitute kale in much the same way. As for raw, kale’s bitterness is tempered with the salty-sweet-tangy vinaigrette, its toughness tamed with a nice massage. Again, if you haven’t tried it this way ..


    1. Hi Bill. Thank you for the link. The quote comes just three minutes from the end of his speech, in what no doubt was trying times for humanity. It resonates with what I believe is the war of our day. We wage on (mostly) unaware.

      Peace can be achieved, but first we must free those created and destroyed unnecessarily, those meant to satisfy our ‘tastes.’ As long as we enslave others en masse — and we DO — freedom will only be a construct to be given to others by their oppressor; it is not a right, as we like to proclaim.


  2. Powerful words eloquently stated, giving everyone who reads something serious to ponder and a cruelty-free dish to enjoy as they do. Thank you.


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