I’m not completely sure where the kale fear mongering came from. It may have been Dr. Oz, or it may have been based on a series of articles about the so-called health risks of green smoothies and juices based on the potential thyroid disrupting risk and high oxalate levels of cruciferous veggies (kale, collards, mustard greens, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens and bok choy, to name a few.)
The amount of energy and money being put into trying to scare us away from healthy habits is silly. Considering how many of us are still visiting the drive-thru on a regular basis and believe cooking is about taking something from the freezer in a BPA-leaching plastic container and heating it up in a microwave, you’d think no one would ever warn us about the potential dangers of eating kale. But it is happening.
Kale is so good for you. It’s like the friendly mascot of the wellness community. Munch on some homemade kale chips on the bus and the other health-conscious passengers will cast you meaningful glances and barely perceptible nods. “Ah, yes,” their eyes will say. “That wise kale-eater knows what’s up. We’re in this together.”
Recently, we’ve started getting questions about whether eating too much kale can result in hypothyroidism (due to a single case of an 88-year-old woman coming down with the condition after eating one to two kilograms a day of raw bok choy for several months) or kidney stones (due to the oxalate content).
Theoretically, eating massive quantities of cruciferous vegetables like kale (i.e. more than you would ever possibly want to eat) could potentially impact your thyroid. Maybe. If you actually have a thyroid problem you’re worried about, your doctor might recommend against overdoing the kale. Ditto if you have a higher risk of kidney stones.
But giving up kale because you saw an episode of Dr. Oz? No need. He’s pretty awesome, for sure, but sometimes, as with any super expert, the information can be misrepresented. Even with these conditions, kale eating is the least of our worries when it comes to thyroid health if we’re still consuming alcohol, fluoridated water, blood-sugar fluctuating refined carbohydrates or the birth control pill.
Let’s not get so panicked about following all the so-called health rules that we fail to see the bigger picture. Let’s not get so stressed by healthy living — the thing that’s supposed to make us feel powerful, amazing and alive — that we get discouraged by every article we read or documentary we watch.
That’s not helpful for any of us.
Binge eating anything isn’t going to be fabulous for you. You can die from drinking too much water. Does that mean we should all switch to Coke? No way! The panic, that stress over making a mistake? That’s what’s going to lower our quality of life and harm our health in the long run. Not overindulging in green smoothies or kale chips.
If you’re downing multiple bunches of kale every day, you must be having great poops. You might want to consider rotating your greens to ensure you’re getting a full spectrum of nutrients (and don’t worry, you’ll still have great poops even if you swap the kale for spinach every once in a while).
If you’re even thinking about your kale intake, I can guarantee you that you’re automatically more health-conscious than the vast majority of the population. Don’t ruin it with worry. Pour yourself a glass of green juice and toast to all the amazing things you’re doing for your health, kale-eating included.
Dijon Kale Chips
- Total Time: 18 hours 10 mins
- Yield: 2 servings 1x
A different way to enjoy dehydrated kale chips.
- 2 Tbsp hot Russian or Dijon mustard of choice
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 Tbs maple syrup
- 1 cup sesame seeds or tahini
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup water
- Sea salt to taste
- Cayenne (optional)
- Place all marinade ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Add water as needed just in order to blend. Remember that you will be drying this out again after, so you want to avoid doing this as much as you can.
- With your hands, mix together the kale, and marinade, massaging gently.
- Transfer to dehydrator rack or parchment-lined baking sheet
- Stick in your dehydrator on medium-high setting or in your oven on its lowest temperature with the oven door left slightly open.
- In the dehydrator, it will take about 4-5 hours for them to reach the perfect crunchiness. Drying times will vary in an oven.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 18 hours
- Category: Snack
17 responses to “Are You Eating Too Much Kale?”
Funny – someone told me just the other day that I should stop eating so much kale (I love kale!) and I just chuckled and thought really? I’m glad you posted this – I will share with her… ;)
Meghan, I read your headline and started to panic! Hehe. I wondered why I’d never heard about kale being bad for you. Thank goodness it’s still on the good list.
I saw that episode on Dr Oz and I got mad, anything in excessive outrageous amounts isn’t good. I would like your advise on another show of his that poo poo’s whole grains, all of them. I’ve changed my life living a whole food vegan diet and am saddened by all the criticism, my goodness, is the meat, dairy and processed food companies that powerful, or are they that threatened?
Seriously? I am 100% sure that I will not be able to overeat Kale or any of the other cruciferous vegetables. Also not over drink if that is possible. I can’t even have a green smoothie every day, or any smoothie for that matter…. so I alternate with omelettes… I use ghee to fry my eggs… I eat egg yolks… I eat avocado… I eat tomatoes… ah all the health dangers :))
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YAYYYY I love kale and have even started my very own vegie patch just because I want to grow kale and other yummies of course :) I eat a handful of kale nearly everyday. is that too much?, I do try and change it up a little but dam that kale is good :)
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Results from a endoscope 12 months ago made me want to change my way of eating. I went paleo. I stated each day with a kale, blueberry and almond milk smoothie. 12 months after my 1st endoscope, I had another. This was after being on the morning kale shakes and spinich shakes for a month. The results from the endoscope were devastating. My Eosinophils blood count is over 600 – the normal count is under 10. Kale and spinach are the only new foods I have added to my diet. Has anyone else experienced this. Possibly healthy eating and I can’t co exist.
What was the reason for your endoscope? Raw smoothies are not ideal when dealing with any kind of stomach or intestinal inflammation or ulcers.
I recently learned that if you eat a lot of cruciferous and/or fermented vegetables you should increase your iodine intake – by adding iodine rich foods to your diet – to help balance out the iodine blocking properties of these goitrogenic foods. Agree?
I really agree with this article. I wish to add that people juicing should mix it up a bit. I will have mangoes, mushrooms, carrots, spinach, and kale one week and the next week I will have a slightly different mix. I always eat kale 4-5 times per week. I was told by a biochemistry professor the kale fear is overstated and by simply withdrawing from kale for a few days eliminates any risks. I eat 1 to 2 kale branches/leaves each day 4-5 times per week.
Yes! – to the person who asked about iodine.
if you (especially if you are vegan or vegetarian) don’t eat a lot of foods that contain iodine (dairy, soy milk, eggs, fish, salt that had iodine added) then eating a lot of raw cruciferous vegetables can be “dangerous” because the nutrients fight with iodine for absorption into the body. You end up lacking in iodine if you were already barely getting enough… And iodine is crucial for your thyroid to function properly.
That is how you can end up with hypothyroidism from lots of cruciferous vegetables. The lack of iodine can make you tired, slow your metabolism down.. and you can end up with a big goiter in your throat!
It’s just dependent on your diet and if you’re eating enough of everything you need. If you are not taking a multivitamin and you are vegan or vegetarian and you eat a lot of cruciferous veggies.. consider making a multivitamin part of your daily routine.. and/or check your diet to make sure you’re getting everything you need.
To keep healthy eating stress-free, I recognized it’s a process – one that requires consistency over a longer period of time. When I accepted that and followed through with it over a month (and counting), I feel amazing. I’m treating my rosacea with a plant-based diet (removed dairy, processed flour/sugars, and gluten). During my first go-around at this, I was hyper-focused on removing all typical rosacea ‘triggers’ (nightshades, etc). That didn’t work for me. If I had a meal with tomatoes in it, I was riddled with guilt. Although there may be value in removing nightshades (for example), it’s just not my path right now. I’ve built confidence in what I’ve accomplished and my overall health is steadily improving. Whether my rosacea stays or goes, this lifestyle of acceptance and consistency has helped me feel really, really, good.
These are so delicious! Are you able to offer me a nutritional breakdown- how many calories & fat? They are beyond awesome- we can double the recipe and still eat them with one or two days! I just would like to know the breakdown to make sure to keep ourselves in check on our weight loss journey.
No one bats an eye at downing a big bag of potato chips, yet we freak at kale chips? Go figure…
I just wanted to note that the information here about Kale being high-oxalate doesn’t match up with other sources. While spinach is said to be really high oxalate and dangerous for stone-formers, kale is said to have a very low oxalate content. So I think listing spinach and kale as interchangable in that regard is mis-leading… I’m sure the rest of the information is fine, but I had kidney stones from mega-dosing spinach and when i switched to Kale, they went away. now that I found out about the thyroid thing I will probably cook most of my Kale and incorporate some broccoli too.
What about the high thallium content of kale and other cruciferous veggies? That’s concerns me a lot since I was consuming some of them everyday.