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Cook Your Kale, Save Your Thyroid

Posted Oct 13 2011 12:19am
Some people are absolutely CRAZY about kale.  Yeah, I get it… it’s good for you, but eating it alone will not fortify you against all disease and bestow superhuman powers.  People in Portland love their kale so much, that it’s not unusual to spot tattoos of the leafy green vegetable adorning some of the health conscious residents here.  And in true Portland fashion, half of those people crunching their kale do so between drags on their cigarettes.  But I digress.

Kale is such a nutritional superstar that it has an  ANDI  score of 1000, meaning that it contains the highest nutrient content per calorie of any food (along with other leafy greens like collards, mustard greens, and watercress).  In addition, it is an excellent source of the often overlooked Vitamin K, which is poised to become the next nutrient media darling , (move over Vitamin D).

Kale is truly a superfood, but it’s a cruciferous vegetable and should be cooked.  Like soy, raw cruciferous vegetables contain goitrogens that disrupt thyroid function.  While consumption of goitrogens by those with robust thyroids might not pose any harm, a large number of individuals have compromised, undiagnosed, or subclinical thyroid issues.  The simple act of cooking lessens the presence of goitrogens, increases the bioavailability of some nutrients, and helps break down the insoluble fiber for easier digestion.  This last point is especially helpful if you (like me) have difficulty breaking down roughage.  It is also important to remember to consume good quality fats along with vegetables to ensure the absorption of fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K).

This recipe was inspired by one found on a bag of frozen kale from Whole Foods, adapted to fit our taste preferences and the ingredients I had in the house at the time.

Creamy Kale

In large saute onion and mushrooms in a small amount of the broth, gradually adding all of the broth and yeast. When onion/mushroom mixture is soft, transfer contents of pan to blender along with Brazil nuts and dash of garlic.  Blend until creamy.  Transfer back to saute pan and add Kale.  Cook until Kale is tender and serve.  If desired, transfer entire contents to blender and blend Kale along with sauce for a puree.

My husband and toddler likes this mixed in with quinoa.  I like it thinned out as a base for soup.  The possibilities are endless!

*I often use fancy dehydrated mushroom mixes and add them in with fresh mushrooms.  Just rehydrate the mushrooms first to use in this recipe.  To rehydrate, place mushrooms in a boil and cover with hot water.  Let mushrooms sit for a couple hours before use.  Alternatively you can cover with room temperature water and let sit overnight in the fridge.  I’ve found that they often need a long soak time or they will be a bit rubbery.

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