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

Via Michelle Marchildon
on Jan 6, 2014
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kale chip


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On the other hand, all hail kale.

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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.


About 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.


74 Responses to “Why Kale May Kill Us, So I’m Getting a Divorce.”

  1. Kelly says:

    I have an open relationship with all foods.

  2. Ole Man Jake says:

    It depends on what blood thinners are being taken actually. Coumadin and high vitamin k products are a no-no. However, with Zarelto it's good-to-go according to my Doc.

  3. Michelle Marchildon says:

    The recipe for kale and vodka: make a green drink. Add vodka. It’s quite delicious.

  4. April says:

    Kale is actually NOT bad for you. The research that people are citing saying it is is over 50 years old and very outdated. Newer research suggests otherwise. You can eat unlimited quantities cooked and the amount you would have to eat raw to actually impact your thyroid function would be large

  5. oz_ says:

    The link you provided says:

    "Goitrogens are almost completely destroyed during cooking, so avoid eating raw kale in excess with hypothyroidism."

    And since goitrogens are what interfere with thyroid functionality, if your thyroid is underperforming, all you have to do is cook your kale and other cruciferous veggies. Problem solved.

  6. April says:

    I agree also! I actually just submitted a more "scientific" article to elephant in regards to this…I am hypothryoid and ever since Jennifer Berman published that New York Times op-ed, MANY people are being misled….in droves….I saw on this bio of this particular author that she classifies herself as a journalist…but IMHO, I think the sensational headline and poorly researched and referenced statements, is irresponsible journalism. I am disappointed. 🙁

  7. Michelle Walters says:

    Mike, you are right. Second opinion was needed here. I read this article on the same day that I had qn appointment with one of the most accomplished endocrinologists in the country at Washington University, St. Louis who stated as long as you are taking yourr thyroid supplement kale and other foods will still do their job. Seems like the author could do more research this is a serious condition bee afflicted tor 20 years with severe thyroiditis monitor my blood levels rvevery 6 weeks. food is an enormous part of your metabolic system, no one should steer you away from greens.

  8. Yeah, had to give up all the dark leafy goodness years back when I was diagnosed w/hypothyroidism. Realized I had issue after gaining weight all summer after eating super raw for months. But have no fear, its not a Never Eat It, its more a Eat It Sparsely type thing.

  9. Jenn says:

    This isn't an article about Kale people. It's an article about feeling like you have to follow the crowd. Be true to yourself. Read the current science, try items that are reported to have health benefits. If you like them and you feel good eating them, continue to do so. If not, find other foods that are good for you. Listen to your body, don't just go along with what "everybody is doing"

  10. Melisa says:

    Bad news: It's fine to eat kale if you're hypothyroid. Just cook it. The goitrogens are only present in the raw food.

  11. Great piece, Michelle – Be sure NOT to put spinach in your morning smoothie if you're taking Synthroid or Levothyroxine, as even the trace amount of calcium will block absorption if you have it less than two hours after your dose. btw….you seem pretty damn yogic to me. 🙂

  12. Maggi says:

    I get it. You never liked kale. But it's NOT TRUE that it (or any other of the cruciferous vegetables) is bad for you or for anyone with hypothyroidism (like me). It is slightly contra-indicated if you eat it raw. But if you cook it, all that might harm you disappears. And there are way too many good things in it and the other cruciferous veg to give them up.

  13. Branka Adlington says:

    Disappointed that Elephant Journal would print this article. Its a personal opinion that doesnt seem based on broad enough research. It doesn’t help anyone. And isnt referring to yourself as a yoga celebrity unyogic?

  14. elephantjournal says:

    This is one of our featured authors, and she's featured for many reasons, not the least of which is that she's funny! 😉

  15. SO glad I’m not alone–kale tastes to me like I imagine the fake grass in Easter baskets tastes, and I really don’t care what anyone tells me about its magical nutritional properties 😉 Huge thanks!!!

  16. Greg says:

    You did read the part where she says that she has hypothyroidism, and therefore, this could be bad for her?

  17. Lightworker says:

    It's a big myth in the hypothyroid/Hashimotos circles to avoid kale and other cruciferous veggies. We'd have to eat pounds of raw kale to impede the thyroid per the latest research.

  18. rachel says:

    I LOVE the taste and texture of kale..raw or cooked…but I'm also technically a "non-taster" and relish anything With a strong flavor.

  19. luhvulblogger says:

    I missed it too, the red in these articles always throws me. My eyes skip over it as if it were an advertisement. I, fortunately, do not have hypothyroidism and I love steaming up kale and onions with some soy sauce so I will continue to do that. Kale is not bad for everyone and is far better that a lot of other stuff we put in our face. But I am happy you found out that it was bothering you and that you are free of the kale! lol 😉

  20. flmarie2015 says:

    Cruciferous vegetables: Generally food items like broccoli and cabbage are recommended for healthy eating but not if you have hypothyroidism. This type of food can interfere with the production of thyroid hormones.

  21. Ken says:

    Dr Seuss said it best…Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. You don't know me but, don't mind 🙂

  22. Marcella says:

    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.

  23. Raine says:

    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.

  24. Linda says:

    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.