I have been avoiding kale since the beginning of the year. Not because I think it's not good for me, but because in the health industry everything good goes overboard. Oh, kale is good for us? Let's throw it into EVERYTHING! Juices, smoothies, salads, stews, stir fries, chips, granola bars, everything has kale in it at the moment. I felt like I was having kale numerous times a day when I was eating out, and with everything that is good for us, it can also harm us, if we overdo it.
The best example is soy earlier this century. After studies came out saying Japanese women had less breast cancer because of the soy they were consuming, everyone went overboard with soy in tofu, tempeh, soy milk, soy yogurt, soy cheese, soy meat, soy protein bars and powders, etc. And suddenly we were seeing an alarming rate of thyroid issues, rising cancer diagnosis, and infertility, all linked to too much soy consumption. Does that mean I avoid soy at all costs. Not at all. Read more about my take on soy here.
And the same goes for kale. Kale can be great for us as a dark leafy green with an abundance of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, making us healthy, and feeling vibrant and alive. But let's be realistic here. Kale is a goitrogenic vegetable. This means it has compounds which can interfere with the uptake of iodine in the thyroid gland. This iodine is crucial to make thyroid hormones, which are responsible for keeping your body temperature stable, keeping your metabolism going to keep your body weight in check, regulating your heart rate, and so much more. If you are already suffering from thyroid issues - which the majority of us are, even if we don't know it - then eating raw kale three times a day may not be your best bet. This problem doesn't just exist for kale, but for all vegetables from the brassica family like broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, watercress, and so many more. I am not saying to stop eating these. They are all part of a super healthy diet, and the majority of us are not getting enough of them.
Here are some tips to keeping your thyroid happy while consuming these delicious veggies:
Alternate between eating your brassica veggies raw and cooking them. Cooking them helps to break down the goitrogenic qualities.
When possible, try to buy organic! It limits the amount of thallium, which is another huge controversy around kale. Thallium is a metal, which bioaccumulates in goitrogenic veggies, making it a big source of exposure. The amount of thallium in the soil of organic farms is less than conventional ones.
Rotate, rotate, rotate. I say this all the time about all veggies, grains, beans, and nuts. Rotate all of them to make sure you get the best of all worlds.
And don't drive yourself crazy :-) Eat your kale, eat your other goitrogenic veggies, just be mindful and aware.
I hope you understand that I didn't set out to stop eating kale because it was bad for me. I was just feeling like I was getting too much of the good stuff. :-) Recently my local market had an amazing selection of organic baby kale, and since then I have fallen in love with this super simple leafy green salad. You can totally substitute the baby kale for another dark baby leaf, but I am telling you, the lemon, garlic, and cumin are meant to be married to kale!
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Makes 1 serving:
2 handful baby kale leaves, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1.5 Tbsp lemon juice
1.5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp ground cumin
big pinch of sea salt
Whisk together the minced garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, and salt to make the dressing.
Toss the leaves, and done. Super easy peasy!