As Canadians we don't take advantage of our extended benefit plan.
Here is a great article by CBC explaining that people who have extended healthcare plans, are not using them. For example only 17% of Chiropractic is actually being used, so if you have extended health care plans take advantage of them.. These plans can help you live a pain free healthy lifestyle.
The Benefits of Fermented Foods
Some of the best reasons to start making and eating fermented foods are:
Probiotics – Eating fermented foods and drinking fermented drinks like Kefir and Kombucha will introduce beneficial bacteria into your digestive system and help the balance of bacteria in your digestive system. Probiotics have also been shown to help slow or reverse some diseases, improve bowel health, aid digestion, improve immunity and help with weight loss!
Food Absorption – A proper balance of gut bacteria and enough digestive enzymes helps you absorb more of the nutrients in the foods you eat. Pair this with your healthy real food diet, and you will absorb many more nutrients from the foods you eat. You won’t need as many supplements and vitamins, and you’ll be absorbing more of the live nutrients in your foods.
Cost – Incorporating healthy foods into your diet can get expensive, but not so with fermented foods. You can make your own whey at home for a couple of dollars, and using that and sea salt, ferment many foods very inexpensively. Drinks like Water Kefir and Kombucha can be made at home also and cost very little. Adding these things to your diet can also cut down on the number of supplements you need, helping you save even morte money.
Easy to DIY – Homemade salsa only lasts a few days in the fridge, but fermented homemade salsa lasts months! The same goes for sauerkraut, pickles, beets and other garden foods. Lacto-fermentation allows you to store these foods for longer periods of time without losing the nutrients like you would with traditional canning. Tons of recipes are easily available with a quick google search
Bring on the Bacteria!
Friendly bacteria in probiotic foods and probiotic supplements not only offer a large number of positive health benefits (particularly for our gut), they also help to prevent and treat a wide variety of problems.
Probiotics help to strengthen immunity
One of the key functions of friendly bacteria is to stimulate our immune response, which means that by consuming probiotic foods, drinks and supplements, we can in turn strengthen our immunity to illness and disease. Probiotics increased production of lymphocytes - sub-types of white blood cell (Natural killer cells, T cells and B cells) that are found in our immune system and a marker of immune response.
As a result, probiotics can help to prevent and treat the following:
Researchers have found that those who are obese tend to have different gut bacteria than those with a healthy weight – a strong indication that gut flora plays a role in weight management. Research also indicates that probiotics can help those who have received weight loss surgery to maintain their weight loss. Also, a study of post-partum women demonstrated that a probiotic supplement containing lactobacillus and bifidobacterium helped to reduce waist circumference.
Probiotics also pump up the good bacteria in your gut and help the digestive process along in a healthy way. Not only will you look slimmer because you will be less bloated, but you will also get rid of a little bit of backed up waste to leave you literally feeling pounds lighter!
Probiotics help to promote mental wellbeing
Probiotics may also be beneficial for healthy brain function and mental wellbeing. In fact researchers at UCLA discovered that brain function in healthy women who regularly consumed a probiotic yoghurt actually improved. As a result, it’s thought that probiotics might have the potential to change brain neurochemistry and, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, could additionally be used to treat anxiety and depression.
Probiotics help tooth and gum health
Taking a probiotic everyday can not only reduce the effects of gingivitis but also can help kill the bacteria that causes tooth decay.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (fatty liver for short) and is caused by the 152 pounds of sugar and 146 pounds of flour in our diet. In the United States, 70 to 90 million Americans have a fatty liver and almost none of them know they have it. In fact, you might have it, as well, and not even know it – this is dangerous because it is a major risk factor for diabetes, heart attacks, and even cancer.
What is a fatty liver?
Some of you may have heard of foie gras. Foie gras is the French term for fatty liver that is used to describe a delicacy made from duck or goose liver. What happens to the livers of these animals as a result of the controversial practice of overfeeding is what you could be doing to your own liver, unknowingly. For those people who have this disease, essentially what they have is a liver that is full of fat, and that is a major cause of chronic disease and inflammation in the body.
What causes it?
In order to make foie gras, ducks or geese are force-fed sugar in the form of corn and starch. In the body, this sugar turns on a fat-production factory in the liver, a process known as lipogenesis, which is the body’s normal response to sugar. Fructose actually ramps up the lipogenesis response (making high fructose corn syrup specifically potent!). The high fructose corn syrup found in our processed foods is the single biggest cause of fatty liver, and carbonated sugary beverages are the number 1 culpret.
How do you know if you have it?
Blood tests can detect a fatty liver. You can also see it on an ultrasound. The bottom line is, if you eat a lot of sugar and flour, if you have a little bit of belly fat, or if you crave carbs, starch, and sugar, you probably have this to some degree.
Why is this a problem?
Fatty liver causes inflammation in your body. This inflammation creates insulin resistance and pre-diabetes, which causes your body to deposit fat not just in your liver but also all around your organs and in your belly.
That dangerous belly fat caused by the sugar and starch in your diet then creates even more problems. It causes you to have high triglycerides and low HDL, the good cholesterol. It causes you to have small LDL, the dangerous cholesterol particles that cause heart attacks. It also puts you at great risk for having a heart attack. Certain populations like Latin Americans have a much higher risk of having a fatty liver.
We are now starting to see children as young as 12 who have lived on soda for years needing liver transplants from fatty liver - that’s scary! We really need to think about what we are doing to our children by feeding them these toxic foods.
How to fix your fatty liver
There are some really simple things you can do with diet, exercise, and supplements to help heal your fatty liver.
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
- inability to recover appropriately from exercise (you should feel tired post-workout for MAYBE 20-30 minutes, then you should feel just fine – if you are dragging for hours or the rest of the day, you overdid it!)
- headaches with physical or mental stress
- weak immune system & allergies
- slow to start in the morning
- gastric ulcers
- afternoon headaches
- feeling full or bloated
- craving sweets, caffeine or cigarettes
- blurred vision
- unstable behavior
- becoming shaky or light-headed if meals are missed or delayed
- cannot stay asleep or cannot fall asleep
- dizziness when moving from sitting to standing or lying to standing
- transient spells of dizziness
- hemorrhoids, varicose veins
What can you do about it?
- Avoid draining people or situations. Learn to say NO to things!
- Do not over-train: (training vs draining, working out vs working IN, READ: Paul Chek’s book “How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy” for more on this)
- Do restorative exercises: see Paul Chek’s book – listed above – Qigong, meditation, restorative breathing, walking, very light/restorative yoga. Depending on your status, if you are going to lift weights, keep it moderate weight and low reps- not high intensity over long periods of time.
- Whenever you are not enjoying your life, assess whether you can:
1. change the situation
2. change yourself to fit the situation
3. leave the situation
- Play! With family, friends, pets.
Diet: The food you eat is your first line of defense against Adrenal Fatigue.
- A well-balanced diet free from refined grains (or all grains), and any added sugar– focus on quality proteins and fats, add starch pre and/or post workout as-needed for energy and recovery.
- A variety of (organic) vegetables
- EFAs (omega 3 fatty acids) to manage inflammation and quiet the loop that feeds into higher cortisol production
- Add mineral sea salt to food / water
- Balanced meals – judge your “success” by how you feel entering your next meal (starving, shaky, low blood sugar?!)
- make sure to stay well hydrated
- cut out coffee (or switch to decaf)
- take a probiotic with your meals
Vitamin C – Citrus, strawberries, kiwi, cruciferous vegetables and green leafy vegetables are good food sources. Vitamin C has been shown to induce an anti-inflammatory response to prolonged exercise and stress and limits the rise of cortisol and response to physiological stress
Vitamin B5 (or only a complex as noted below) – Helps to activate the adrenal glands and deficiency results in adrenal insufficiencies characterized by fatigue, headaches, sleep disturbances, nausea and abdominal discomfort.
Vitamin B Complex– Liver, meat, seafood (wild/pasture raised, grass-fed sources), seeds, mushrooms are good food sources. All B vitamins are critical for the entire adrenal cascade
Magnesium Glycinate or Malate – Green leafy vegetables, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds (also tahihi) salmon and halibut are good food sources. Magnesium is “essential to the production of the enzymes and the energy necessary for the adrenals.
Omega 3 – Fatty cold water fish: salmon, mackeral, herring, some tunas, etc. are good food sources. In supplemental form, fermented cod liver oil from GreenPasture.org is the one that I recommend.
Licorice root extract (DGL) – no more than 1000mg of glycyrrhizin/day – when cortisol is lower than normal. This is also easily taken via licorice root tea .
Acetylcholine – To support poor circadian rhythm function (tired & wired/can’t sleep), supporting brain and neurotransmitter function.
L-theanine – As a calming amino acid, works by increasing GABA which is a relaxer and creates a sense of well-being in the brain.
Ashwaganda root & leaf, Panax ginseng, Siberian ginseng, Ginger root – adaptogenic herbs that can help to modulate cortisol levels, normalize blood pressure, heart rate and increase metabolic rate by stimulating the production of digestive enzymes for protein and fat.
Ginkgo biloba – a powerful antioxidant that helps to calm free-radical production and thereby protect the adrenals from the imbalance of inputs to the hypothalamus that the free-radical damage would create.
GMO foods are often genetically modified to achieve greater size, sweetness, and shelf life. But a they healthier or less healthy than their “natural” counterparts?
What are GMOs?
All living organisms have genes, which control how the organism functions. They influence appearance and behavior. For example, there is a gene that corresponds to eye color, others than control physical characteristics like how tall you will grow, and others that may increase your risk of developing a certain disease.
Scientists figured out that if genes were changed before the organism is developed, it will develop differently. Many techniques have been discovered that allow genes from one organism to be inserted into the genetic makeup of a drastically different organism.
If we pick the right genes to put into a seed, we get a fruit or vegetable that is more desirable, either from a growing or taste perspective. However, any change to one gene can affect other surrounding genes as well. This has led to concern that genetically modifying organisms may lead to unforeseen consequences.
GMOs are Resistant to Insects and Weeds
Seeds are genetically modified for a variety of reasons, but the most common reasons are to make the crop resistant to insects (insect-resistant) or herbicides (that are used to control weeds) that might harm it. In addition, crops can be made resistant to specific diseases that plague certain areas.
Less Use of Pesticides and Herbicides
When a crop is resistant to bugs and invasive plants, the farmer needs to use a smaller quantity of herbicides and pesticides.
Better Yield and Longer Shelf Life
These are benefits for the farmer, but not necessarily for you. The longer shelf life is usually a sign of low-quality foods, although GMOs are entirely different from highly processed foods, and don’t necessarily have the same drawbacks.
The Major Concerns over GMOs
GMOs are fairly new, only really becoming popular in the last 30 years or so. And with anything new, it takes time to test and learn about the full range of implications.
Can GMOs be Allergenic?
Introducing a gene to a foreign organism can result in adding allergens to the food. For example, adding the genes of a nut variety with another whole food will cause allergic reactions in a person with a nut allergy.
Are GMOs Safe to Eat?
I think the most basic thing that everyone wants to know is if GMOs are safe on a basic level. There have been no long-term epidemiological studies completed, because it’s really hard to track GMO consumption. If anyone tells you they are 100% certain that GMOs are safe in the long term — they’re lying. Some studies on animals have shown significant toxic effects from regular consumption of certain GMOs - this raises concerns.
As you can see, the science of GMOs is still relatively new and quite muddled. I wish there was a nice straightforward answer about GMOs being good or bad, but there isn’t. For now, we simply do not know the long-term effects that GMOs have on environment and health. It doesn’t appear that there is any disastrous consequences of eating modified foods, but there could be minor ones that are currently unknown. Another issue is that even if you wanted to avoid them, GMOs do not have to be labeled in most parts of North America.
What are the most common GMOs?
The most common GMOs are soy, cotton, canola, corn, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, alfalfa, and squash (zucchini and yellow). Many of these items appear as added ingredients in a large amount of the foods we eat. For instance, your family may not eat tofu or drink soy milk, but soy is most likely present in a large percentage of the foods in your pantry.
GMOs may be hidden in common processed food ingredients such as: Amino Acids, Aspartame, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Ascorbate, Vitamin C, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Flavorings (“natural” and “artificial”), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Lactic Acid, Maltodextrins, Molasses, Monosodium Glutamate, Sucrose, Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Xanthan Gum, Vitamins, Yeast Products.
For more information, you can visit www.nongmoproject.org
The key is to be consistent! Whatever strategy you choose, be sure to stay consistent. If your kids figure out they may get their old foods back by throwing a tantrum, that’s what they’ll keep doing.
For two-parent households, it’s vital that both adults stay on the same page about what is and isn’t allowed: frustrated kids are quick to take advantage of any inconsistency. If your kids refuse to eat dinner, it won’t hurt them to skip a meal – vegetables have a way of magically becoming less “icky” the hungrier they are. Be encouraging of their efforts and stick to your plan.
Involve your kids in grocery shopping and meal prep
One of the simplest ways to get your kids excited about their new food is to involve them in the process.
- Encourage kids to help you in the kitchen with basic tasks like washing veggies.
- Older kids can help shop, chop, peel, and clean up.
- Teenagers can take charge of the family dinner for a night.
- Ask your kids for their input when you plan meals, and then take them to the grocery store to help you pick out the ingredients.
Fun healthy Snacks for Kids
- One way to make almost any food fun to eat is to create a mini version: mini omelets, mini meatloaves, and mini burgers are quick and easy ways to make dinner kid-sized – these can all be made in muffin tins (or mini-muffin tins).
- Cut deli meats with cookie cutters, or use an egg mold to keep low carb snacks interesting.
- Fruit or berries in small amounts are an easy, tasty snack.
- Almond milk chocolate milk (sweeten with stevia), or add chia seeds to make it into a tapioca-style pudding.
- Hard-boiled eggs are another nutritious option that you can easily make ahead of time and store in the fridge for days.
- Try baking crackers from alternative forms of grain such as almond and coconut flour. Enjoy them with butter, nut butter, guacamole, or deli meats.
- Jerky and small packets of nuts are easy to find and portable.
- Pack a hot lunch in a thermos (soups, stews & chili etc.), lunches don’t have to be complicated or time-consuming.
- Surprise your child with a colorful, healthy Bento lunchbox packed with leftover meat, fruit salad, hard-boiled eggs, chopped veggies like carrot or celery sticks, and some strawberries etc. Other items you can include are:
- Mini meatloaf
- Mini quiche/omelette
- Beans/baked beans
- Cottage cheese
Add plenty of good fats. Keep them fuller for longer. Use cold meat or lettuce as a ‘wrap’. Take a slice of ham or roast beef and wrap it around veggies (asparagus, sliced peppers, alphalfa sprouts)
Be Patient & Lead by Example - Kids typically want what you find delicious to eat. Embrace the challenge. You don’t have to be perfect family from day one. Minor setbacks along the way doesn’t mean you should give up entirely – keep at it, it’ll get easier with time.
HELP REDUCE BELLY FAT
Research has shown that swapping your cooking oils for varieties like avocado oil that are rich in monounsaturated and oleic fatty acids can spot-reduce abdominal fat, which may decrease the risk for metabolic syndrome—the name for a combination of negative health markers associated with weight gain. A study in the journal Diabetes Care found that a diet rich in monounsaturated fat may actually prevent body fat distribution around the belly by down regulating the expression of certain fat genes. One tablespoon of avocado oil is about 120 calories and 10 grams of monounsaturated fat—a nutritional profile almost identical to extra virgin olive oil. But unlike EVOO, avocado oil has a very high smoke point, so you can use it for sautés and stir-frys without risk of creating free radicals that can harm your health.
STABILIZES BLOOD SUGAR
An avocado also provides nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients essential for healthy weight management, including 14 grams of satiating fiber and 66 percent (60 micrograms) of your daily need for vitamin K—a nutrient that helps regulate sugar metabolism and insulin sensitivity. Leafy greens are an even richer source of the vitamin, so adding avocado to your salads will give you the best bang for your buck.
HELPS YOU WORKOUT LONGER
Pre-workout supplements claim to give you that extra boost, helping you work out longer than usual. Research has shown that eating an avocado can provide the same energy boost naturally! Bottom line: swap fried foods, baked goods and butter for snacks and oils that are high in monounsaturated fat like fresh avocado or avocado oil for a clean energy boost that keeps your metabolism burning, even after you’ve left the gym.
THEY KEEP YOU FULL FOR HOURS
A scoop of guacamole may be one of the most effective hunger-squashers known to man. In a study published in Nutrition Journal, participants who ate half a fresh avocado with lunch reported a 40 percent decreased desire to eat for hours afterwards. At only 60 calories, a two-tablespoon serving of guacamole (on top of eggs, salads, grilled meats, etc.) can provide the same satiety benefit with even more of a flavor-punch. Additional studies have shown that they increase meal satiety, and increase time to hunger, which makes avocados are a weight loss friendly food. Avocados are also high in fiber, and very low in carbs, two attributes that should also help promote weight loss, at least in the context of a healthy, real food based diet.
THEY’RE A NUTRIENT BOOSTER
Vegetables are a dieter’s best friend, but you won't get much benefit from a garden salad without adding a little fat - Avocados are vitamin-rich and chock-full of important nutrients that can shrink your waistline. And when it comes to fat, the type found in avocados reigns supreme - Studies have shown that adding avocado to salad allowed participants to absorb three to five times more carotenoids (disease fighting compounds associated with improved weight and fat loss). Give your greens the ultimate nutrient boost by adding guacamole, avocado slices, or a tablespoon of avocado oil-based vinaigrette.
THEY’RE A FREE-RADICAL FIGHTER
Free radicals in your body attack your cell’s mitochondria has a negative effect on your metabolism. Antioxidants in fresh fruits and vegetables can help neutralize some free radicals, but they can’t reach the mitochondria - that’s a problem; when your mitochondria aren’t working properly, your metabolism runs less efficiently . Research has found that monounsaturated-rich avocado oil can help mitochondria survive the free-radical attack.
So there you have it – hope you try it out for yourself!
Magnesium is perhaps one of the most overlooked minerals. This is especially important because, an estimated 80 percent of North Americans are deficient in it. The health consequences of deficiency can be significant, and can be aggravated by many, if not most, drug treatments.
According the book The Miracle of Magnesium (by Carolyn Dean), Magnesium deficiency triggers or causes the following conditions:
- Anxiety and Panic attacks: Magnesium (Mg) normally keeps adrenal stress hormones under control.
- Asthma: Both histamine production and bronchial spasms increase with Mg deficiency.
- Blood clots: Mg has an important role to play in preventing blood clots and keeping the blood thin-much like aspirin but without the side effects.
- Bowel disease: Mg deficiency slows down the bowel causing constipation, which could lead to toxicity and malabsorption of nutrients, as well as colitis.
- Cystitis: Bladder spasms are worsened by Mg deficiency.
- Depression: Serotonin, which elevates moods, is dependent on Mg. A Mg-deficient brain is also more susceptible to allergens, foreign substances that can cause symptoms similar to mental illness.
- Detoxification: Mg is crucial for the removal of toxic substances and heavy metals such as aluminum and lead.
- Diabetes: Mg enhances insulin secretion, facilitating sugar metabolism. Without Mg insulin is not able to transfer glucose into cells. Glucose and insulin build up in the blood causing various types of tissue damage.
- Fatigue: Mg-deficient patients commonly experience fatigue because dozens of enzyme systems are under-functioning. An early symptom of Mg deficiency is frequently fatigue.
- Heart disease: Mg deficiency is common in people with heart disease. Mg is administered in hospitals for acute myocardial infarction and cardiac arrhythmia. Like any other muscle, the heart muscle requires Mg. Mg is also used to treat angina, or chest pain.
- Hypertension: With insufficient Mg, spasm of blood vessels and high cholesterol occur, both of which lead to blood pressure problems.
- Hypoglycemia: Mg keeps insulin under control; without Mg episodes of low blood sugar can result.
- Insomnia: Sleep-regulating melatonin production is disturbed without sufficient Mg.
- Kidney Disease: Mg deficiency contributes to atherosclerotic kidney failure. Mg deficiency creates abnormal lipid levels and worsening blood sugar control in kidney transplant patients.
- Liver Disease leading to liver failure: Mg deficiency commonly occurs during liver transplantation.
- Migraine: Serotonin balance is Mg-dependent. Deficiency of serotonin can result in migraine headaches and depression.
- Musculoskeletal conditions: Fibrositis, fibromyalgia, muscle spasms, eye twitches, cramps and chronic neck and back pain may be caused by Mg deficiency and can be relieved with Mg supplements.
- Nerve problems: Mg alleviates peripheral nerve disturbances throughout the whole body, such as migraines, muscle contractions, gastrointestinal spasms, and calf, foot and toe cramps. It is also used in treating central nervous symptoms of vertigo and confusion.
- Obstetrics and Gynecology: Mg prevents Premenstrual Syndrome; prevents dysmenorrhea (cramping pain during menses); is important in the treatment of infertility; and alleviates premature contractions, preeclampsia, and eclampsia in pregnancy. Intravenous Mg is given in obstetrical wards for pregnancy-induced hypertension and to lessen the risk of cerebral palsy and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Mg should be a required supplement for pregnant mothers.
- Osteoporosis: Use of calcium with Vitamin D to enhance calcium absorption without a balancing amount of Mg causes further Mg deficiency, which triggers a cascade of events leading to bone loss.
- Raynaud’s Syndrome: Mg helps relax the spastic blood vessels that cause pain and numbness of the fingers.
- Tooth decay: Mg deficiency causes an unhealthy balance of phosphorus and calcium in saliva, which damages teeth.
So...what can we do about it??
Stop Draining Your Body of Magnesium
- Limit coffee, colas, salt, sugar, and alcohol
- Learn how to practice active relaxation
- Check with your doctor if your medication is causing magnesium loss (many high blood pressure drugs or diuretics cause loss of magnesium)
- Eat Foods High in Magnesium
Include the following in your diet as often as you can:
Kelp, wheat bran, wheat germ, almonds, cashews, buckwheat, brazil nuts, dulse, filberts, millet, pecans, walnuts, rye, tofu, soy beans, brown rice, figs, dates, collard greens, shrimp, avocado, parsley, beans, barley, dandelion greens, and garlic
Take Magnesium Supplements
The RDA (the minimum amount needed) for magnesium is about 300 mg a day. Most of us get far less than 200 mg. Some may need much more depending on their condition. Most people benefit from 400 to 1,000 mg a day.
Plants’ Natural Defenses
Plants have developed their own toxic substances to self protect - to discourage animals and people from eating them, and to protect them from plant pathogens and adverse environmental conditions. These toxic substances, as discussed in last week’s post, have come to be known as anti-nutrients. They are present in varying quantities in many foods. Small amounts won’t do much damage but in larger amounts they can interfere with your body getting adequate nutrition, and in excessive amounts they can even be fatal.
Raw isn’t necessarily best!
Raw foods are wonderful, delicious and nutritious, but they are not necessarily good for all conditions. Especially, not for thyroid troubles. The brassicaceae family of vegetables contains glucosinolates that can inhibit iodine uptake, resulting in hypothyroidism and promoting goiter formation.
Members of the brassicaceae family include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, radishes, turnips, kohlrabi, rutabaga, collard greens, kale, Brussels sprouts, bok choy and watercress.
Many people think they are doing the best thing by putting raw kale into their smoothies. It’s actually not very smart: not only for thyroid health, but for kidney health, too. Kale, as well as spinach, contains high amounts of oxalates that can promote kidney stones and other painful deposits in the body, especially in people suffering with underlying fungal infections and candida overgrowth. kale is also a goitrogenic food, meaning that it can contribute to an enlarged thyroid — a goiter. A goiter indicates that the thyroid gland is not functioning optimally.
Here’s the science on the kale-thyroid connection from the Oregon State University Micronutrient Information site:
Very high intakes of cruciferous vegetables…have been found to cause hypothyroidism (insufficient thyroid hormone) in animals. There has been one case report of an 88-year-old woman developing severe hypothyroidism and coma following consumption of an estimated 1.0 to 1.5 kg/day of raw bok choy for several months. Two mechanisms have been identified to explain this effect. The hydrolysis of some glucosinolates found in cruciferous vegetables (e.g., progoitrin) may yield a compound known as goitrin, which has been found to interfere with thyroid hormone synthesis. The hydrolysis of another class of glucosinolates, known as indole glucosinolates, results in the release of thiocyanate ions, which can compete with iodine for uptake by the thyroid gland. Increased exposure to thiocyanate ions from cruciferous vegetable consumption or, more commonly, from cigarette smoking, does not appear to increase the risk of hypothyroidism unless accompanied by iodine deficiency. One study in humans found that the consumption of 150 g/day (5 oz/day) of cooked Brussels sprouts for four weeks had no adverse effects on thyroid function. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/food-beverages/cruciferous-vegetables
It’s the dose that makes a poison. If people have hypothyroidism or they’re taking thyroid medication, then they should check with their doctor. But even in this case, reasonable amounts shouldn’t be a problem. Now, if people have a tall glass of kale juice every single day, then it gets into the unknown territory…but normal, reasonable amounts of eating should not be a problem. A regular person [with no thyroid issues] who eats several servings of cruciferous vegetables a week should not have problems.
Safer ways to include kale in your diet:
1. Cook Your Kale
The goitrogenic properties of kale become dramatically lessened when kale — or any other cruciferous vegetable — is cooked. (Other veggies in this category include: broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kohlrabi, mustard, rutabaga, turnips, bok choy and Chinese cabbage. Arugula, horseradish, radish, wasabi and watercress are also cruciferous vegetables.)
2. Eat Seaweed
Kale on its own does not increase the risk of thyroid problems. It’s a combination of factors; including potential iodine deficiency. (One of the most common causes of goiters is iodine deficiency.) Adding seaweed or another iodine rich food to your diet may, in some cases, help you get adequate iodine.
3. Throw A Brazil Nut Into Your Smoothie
Selenium can support normal iodine levels which in turn may support a healthy thyroid. A Brazil nut or two in your daily smoothie or as a topping to any dish might help keep selenium levels strong. Alternatively, you can add a selenium supplement to your diet.
4. Switch Up Your Greens
Vary your greens. If you’re going to eat kale one day choose a non-cruciferous, non-goitrogenic veggie dish the next. There are many highly nutritious vegetables that aren’t goitrogenic, including celery, parsley, zucchini, carrots and more. Our bodies need many nutrients and by eating a variety of vegetables you’ll ensure that you don’t overload on one and skip another.
Traditional cooking methods can deactivate most of those anti-nutrients in these raw foods. Blanch kale in water, and then saute it in some fat (butter) to help your body absorb the beneficial minerals. And, skip the smoothies for a while. This doesn’t mean that you can never have another smoothie or raw kale salad, it just means to listen to your body, hear what it is saying, and make the necessary dietary adjustments that can facilitate healing.