So there we are, stoking ourselves with power-packed greens every morning, never guessing we might be overdoing it. I was recently surprised to discover the down side of my kale smoothie breakfast habit.
Ever heard of Isothiocyanates? Me neither. They are natural compounds in raw cruciferous veggies (kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, Brussels sprouts, collards and more), which may suppress thyroid function. We call these veggies goitrogens because they can lead to a goiter (big lump rising on the throat – has nothing to do with that great sad movie you saw last night).
If your thyroid is in great shape, and you’re dedicated to your kale smoothie, that’s wonderful. But if you drink that smoothie every day for years, and your neck starts to balloon, don’t say I didn’t warn you. (That is to say, if your thyroid levels are off – hypothyroid or hyperthyroid – then daily raw kale might be a bad idea.)
Kale, cabbage, broccoli and all these are lovely vitamin-rich veggies. We should not stop eating them. Just cook them. When cruciferous vegetables are cooked, they lose their goitrogen properties.
(BTW other goitrogens are gluten and soy products. Perhaps not everyone would be sensitive to these things, but it’s good to be aware, yes?)
If you’re an avid green smoothie fan, rotate your greens often. Don’t stay with kale. Don’t stay with spinach either. For some people, an over abundance of spinach may form calcium oxalate stones, which become kidney stones.
Another caveat on green smoothies, given to me by a doctor friend: ‘that’s a lot of concentrated nutrients to throw at your liver so fast.’
The liver has so much processing to do. Maybe it’s overwhelmed at the way I swig down my smoothie? (I eat and drink too fast. Others can sip their smoothie for hours.)
Ayurvedic practitioners agree that we’re gulping an overly concentrated food here. The digestive system likes simplicity. Green smoothies are dense and complex with scads of nutrients, depending on ingredients. According to Ayurveda, this density and complexity is hard to digest.
Leafy greens and fruits become a drink that is cold, dry, and rough in quality, says Ayurveda. Those qualities belong to Vata or Air: mobile, changeable, cold, dry, and rough.
So, daily green smoothies may stimulate even more Vata in us. This might present as a changeable appetite, indigestion, constipation, dry skin and hair, restlessness, vacillating energy level, anxiety, moodiness, poor concentration or weakening memory. Eventually it may affect our immune system.
Ayurveda teaches that it’s better to cook these veggies and eat them warm most of the time. Or limit green smoothies to a few each week, not every day. (But I still like ’em, and I think they’re great for a short-term detox.)
Okay, I know, I know, everybody has different opinions about good/bad foods.
Maybe we’re I am obsessed.
Each of us humans is so unique, we might thrive on totally different foods. Maybe. I knew someone who mostly ate mashed potatoes . . .
Anyhow 18 months ago, when I gushed about the Joy of Green Smoothies, I hadn’t heard of any negative effects. I spent a couple years scarfing down my daily green smoothies. Thought I had a fantastic immune system. Four months ago I caught pneumonia, then hypothyroidism. Sha-zam.
I can’t blame green smoothies for this misadventure, but I wonder if they played a part.
I’ve been investigating a lot. Soon I will bring you surprising news about iodine deficiency, copper overload, and calcium overload. A large chunk of our population has all of this going on. I am one of them.