January 6, 2014

Why Kale May Kill Us, So I’m Getting a Divorce.


Relephant reads:

On the other hand, all hail kale.

Kale, Kale, we love Kale.

9-Year Olds Discuss the Value of Kale. (Plus 2 Great Kale Recipes.)

Ode to Kale.

For 2014, I made several resolutions, and among them I am giving up kale.

Yes, I am throwing it out, once and for all. I will no longer look at its deep dark greenery sitting on the produce shelf and think that within its lush and fertile folds lie the mysteries of life. And guess what? I have recently learned that it is actually bad for me. But more on that later.

Of course, I will make an exception for a kale chip smothered in olive oil and salt and toasted to where the nutrients are fried right out of its hair. Anything smothered in olive oil and salt is pretty good.

But kale and I are breaking up. I’ve been divorced before and I know how to do it amicably. You have to be quick and firm about it, and be clear that it’s not you, kale, it’s me. This makes the other half feel superior so they can move on too.

From now on, and this is my resolution, I am no longer going to torture myself trying to do better. I’m not going to eat anything nasty and bitter even though it is the yoga mascot and I think it’s going to make me more yogic. If my haters don’t like this, they can suck it.

I know that as a (minor) celebrity yogi, I am supposed to eat kale. I am supposed to juice it and put pictures of it on Instagram. However, I am also a rabble rouser, so I am breaking with the pack and going my own way.

I made this decision several weeks ago, but I was afraid to write about it for fear of vicious yogic retaliation (don’t believe me? See the vicious yogi comments on Facebook, already). I have many new sponsorships and magazines for which I’m writing this year, and I’ve been afraid to let them know of my decision. While the elephant journal will allow for dissension in the ranks and non-kale-eaters, other yoga voices will not. So now I am coming clean because a closet is a small space to live one’s life.

Here is the kicker, and if you are still reading (God knows why you would be, unless you want to more clearly formulate your argument about why I should die for being so unyogic) I have just learned that kale is actually, wait for it, very bad for me!

What the what? Hold the presses! The yoga mascot can cause harm?

I have hypothyroidism, and if you have a lazy thyroid you should not eat kale. Oh My God!

Up to now, I’ve been eating it, juicing it, mulching it, putting it in my kids’ oatmeal, and even in my vodka. I stick it in soups, stews and smoothies. I am probably, single-handedly, supporting the international kale stock exchange.

Kale, along with other cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choi, turnips and watercress (which is pretty much my entire diet) will I-don’t-know-what-the-eff-they-are-talking-about to your thyroid. Right? Because that’s what I understood when I read the scientific research.

My doctor simply said, don’t eat it, and I knew right away this was a sign from the Universe that I was right to give it up.

So now that I have been validated in this divorce, no matter what the yogis say, I am leaving kale. Remember, it’s not you, kale, it’s me.

If you want to find me, I’ll be making out with the spinach from now on.

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo:  sleepyneko/Flickr.

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Linda Feb 23, 2016 3:49pm

You'll be glad to know that kale is also bad for anyone who has any kind of blood clotting disorder–it has a massive amount of Vitamin K1, which clots blood. And I mean massive. You could probably cure a bloody nose by eating one leaf. So if you have thick blood, avoid kale like the plague.

Raine Feb 23, 2016 9:12am

I have known about this for quite a while, a lot of cruciferous vegetables adversely effect people who have hypothyroidism. (soy milks and edame also causes similar problems.) I wish more people who don’t have these problems would realise and stop seemingly shove Kale this, Kale that down people’s throats. I’d love to be able to have KALE FREE food. Everyone, it seems is obsessed with Kale. It drives me nuts.

Marcella Feb 22, 2016 2:50pm

Many, but not all, green vegetables contain some levels of goitrogens. Even when eaten frequently, foods containing goitrogens will not cause thyroid disease in healthy people. You need only monitor goitrogen intake after you have been diagnosed with thyroid disease. Kale and green vegetables are very healthy foods, rich in nutrients, and do not need to be avoided completely. If you have thyroid disease, continue to eat these foods cooked. Dietary guidelines given by your doctor should take precedence.

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Michelle Marchildon

Michelle Berman Marchildon is the Yogi Muse. She’s an award-winning journalist, and the author of Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Better, Wiser and Stronger through Yoga. Her second book, Theme Weaver: Connect the Power of Inspiration to Teaching Yoga, is for yoga teachers who want to inspire their students. Michelle is a columnist for elephant journal and Origin Magazine and a contributor to Teachasana, My Yoga Online and Yoga Journal. She is an E-RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance and teaches in Denver, Co where she is busy raising two boys, two dogs and one husband. You can follow her on Facebook at Michelle Marchildon, The Yogi Muse. You can find her blog and website at www.YogiMuse.com. And you can take her classes on www.yogadownload.com.