It is no secret I am a kale lover.
So when I saw the New York Times article (http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/01/kale-juicing-trouble-ahead/?_r=0) and everyone posting about it on Facebook about the dark side of kale, was I surprised? No. Cruciferous vegetables (collards, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, etc.) provide HUGE health benefits, but also can take a toll on our thyroid if not consumed properly due to goitergenic properties.
Should you stop eating kale? Absolutely not. These articles are good to educate on the possible detrimental consequences of too much kale, but the last thing we want is to send people into a frenzy over eating a good thing. We have much bigger fish to fry on the nutrition scene than eating too much kale.
However, I love when articles start nutrition conversations. In a time of nutrition information overload especially focused on cleanses, detoxing, juicing, weight loss and diets as we enter into 2014 and set New Year's resolutions, it can be confusing as to what do listen to and what to do. The last article most of us expected to read was that Kale the "Breakout vegetable of 2013" was dangerous.
Here are my 3 tips when consuming cruciferous vegetables:
1. Be curious when you food shop. Variety is the Key.
Go to the grocery store or farmers' market and take a minute to look at vegetables that you have never tried before rather than going straight to your staple vegetable. Look at what is in season, look at what has the most vibrant energy. Instead of always reaching for the kale, put dandelion greens (they are bitter, so maybe mix with a more mild green like romaine) red lettuce or swiss chard in your cart. But keep rotating these foods. Because the next article you read will be about the dangers of oxalates in your beloved swiss chard. The key here is variety. Mix it up. Don't be a creature of habit.
Eating with the seasons is a great way to mix up what you eat. You get the most bang for your nutrition buck when you eat the foods that are in season. You will live more in sync with nature's and your body's natural cycles. Your body will thank you.
2. Cook your Cruciferous Vegetables
The raw food movement instilled the thought that raw is better. To keep all of the vitamins and minerals in tact, yes raw is better. However, f you are eating a lot of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, collards, mustard greens, bok choy, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, arugula), don't eat them all raw. Sure, you can still eat some raw, but mix it up and steam, roast, and sauté some of your servings. This will decrease the goitergenic properties that lead to thyroid issues.
3. Sprinkle with Sea Vegetables
Iodine deficiency can be problematic for the thyroid. Solution: eat more sea vegetables. Like seaweed? Yeah, like seaweed. The next question: how the heck am I going to eat seaweed with my meals without eating sushi everyday? My favorite way is sprinkling a dash of kelp or sea vegetables on my salads or steamed vegetables. My favorite brand is Maine Coast Sea Vegetables. My clients are all familiar with sprinkling sea vegetables on food, not just to help with the thyroid, but as a good source of iron, and trace minerals. It is good to incorporate a natural source of iodine if you make a shift away from processed food and if you switch to a non-iodized salt like pink himalayan sea salt or celtic sea salt.
So keep eating your kale. Don't get overwhelmed with all the different nutrition information out there. Eat a varied diet and stick to unprocessed food. Over doing kale is a whole heck of a lot better than eating that twinkie.