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.
Yield: 2 servings
- 2 Tbsp hot Russian or Dijon mustard of choice
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 2 Tbs maple syrup
- 1 cup sesame seeds or tahini
- ½ red bell pepper
- ½ 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.