Tip Tuesday, no. 4

August 14, 2012 · 15 comments

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Green smoothies are all the rage, right? All over pinterest, in the to-go mugs of lululemon moms everywhere. They’ve been one of my favorite breakfasts since I went grain-free and my standby granola went by the wayside.

Most smoothie recipes call for grabbing a bunch of fresh leafy greens and grinding them to liquid with some other yummier items (bananas or other fruits). This is what I did most of last summer, pulling straight from our garden, where our little patch of kale was prolific for many months.

But then I kept reading things about raw greens* containing chemicals that can worsen the effects of hypothyroidism. My thyroid has lately tended to be slightly weak — so while I loved getting my greens in my morning smoothie, I thought it best not to eat them raw every day.

Solution: cook a batch of kale, puree it down in a blender or food processor, and freeze it in ice cube trays. Once frozen, pop out and store in a zipper bag. When it comes smoothie time, just grab a cube and stick it in the blender with the rest of your ingredients. You get your serving of dark greens, but they’re cooked to inhibit those goitrogens.

If you drink green smoothies every day, you might consider keeping these kale cubes in your freezer to alternate with raw green smoothies (of course you could do this with any green, I just prefer kale). Perfect for those days you’re clean out of fresh greens — the flavor is still mild, usually overcome by fruits, and you start the morning with a serving of veggies.

* Goitrogens are not present in lettuce greens — so eating all the salad you want doesn’t effect thyroid function. It’s the sturdier greens, including spinach, along with cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower.

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Looking for a great way to add immunity-supporting probiotics to your smoothie? Check this Kid’s Probiotic Smoothie — it’s for grownups too (delicious with kale cubes added)!

Frozen Cooked Greens Cubes for Smoothies

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, chard, collard, beet, etc.)

Instructions

  1. Wash the greens really well, and tear leaves off tough stems if necessary.
  2. In a large lidded pot with a steamer basket inserted, bring 1-2" filtered water to a boil.
  3. Fill the steamer basket with leaves, and cover. Reduce heat to medium-low, and steam for about 5 minutes, or until leaves are bright green and softened (do not overcook, a light steaming is sufficient to destroy the goitrogens).
  4. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Transfer leaves to a blender or food processor. Add a few tablespoons of the steaming water to the greens, and puree. Add more water if necessary.
  5. Fill an ice cube tray with the pureed greens. Freeze until solid, then transfer to a zipper bag for long-term storage. Use frozen in smoothies.
http://katymcarter.com/2012/08/tip-tuesday-no-4/

This post was linked up to Simple Lives Thursday.

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{ 13 comments }

Rebecca Martin August 14, 2012 at 10:07 am

Brilliant.

Amy Brown August 14, 2012 at 10:18 am

Love this! Thanks for the tip. Had no idea about the goitrogens…

Sarah Partain August 14, 2012 at 10:38 am

Thanks so much for this post. I just got fresh kale so I will definitely try this out! You may have just saved my thyroid from going back on medicine! I had heard differing things about green veggies etc but didn’t know what to think. So thanks!

katy August 14, 2012 at 1:55 pm

from what I’ve read — if your thyroid is stable, there’s no reason to avoid raw greens altogether, you might just not have them every day. Of course if your thyroid went off again, you might totally avoid them. It’s tricky, b/c it’s all about iodine absorption, which effects thyroid production — but it seems best to stay on the conservative side.

Eileen August 14, 2012 at 1:12 pm

I bet these would be great to keep in the freezer for greens uses of all kinds. I can totally see myself chucking a couple of these into a batch of pasta sauce when I’m too lazy to wash and chop fresh kale. :)

katy August 14, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Eileen, that’s an awesome idea. I believe I’ll be doing that now, too!

Beth August 14, 2012 at 3:49 pm

A timely post as I was just looking over all the kale in my garden and trying to think of the best way to use it. (It’s *finally* growing in more plentifully after some delightful rain.)

We’ve been doing green smoothies about 2-3 times a week this summer. While I’m not sure that is frequent enough to be a concern, I’m glad to know about the potential hazards. Plus, freezing some will be a great way to extend our summer treat after the growing season ends. Thank you!

Jen August 16, 2012 at 9:45 am

Brilliant. I have avoided green smoothies for the reason you mentioned. I’m definitely trying this now. Guess I have another reason to get an ice cube tray. Been on my list forever!

Adrienne @ Whole New Mom August 16, 2012 at 11:31 am

Hi Katy. I have been puzzled about this. I have read info on both sides – have you done a lot of research about the thyroid inhibitors? I would love to hear from you!

katy August 16, 2012 at 11:35 am

Adrienne, I’ve probably done about as much research as you have ; )

Basically, I’ve read info on both sides as well. The goitrogens don’t directly inhibit the thyroid, they inhibit iodine absorption, which in turn effects thyroid production. I’ve heard that as long as your iodine levels are ok, it’s fine to eat the raw greens.

I came to the solution of balance — leaning toward using cooked over raw — simply because my thyroid of late has already been weak (I don’t know about my iodine levels, I’m just being cautious). I still occasionally eat the raw greens, mostly in raw kale salads — because I like them ; )

Stuart Berkowitz August 16, 2012 at 2:06 pm

To katymcarter.com, or to whomever put the comment about raw greens and thyroid function in your Facebook post: please avoid blanket statements like that! Where’s the (legitimate) science to back that? Please cite your sources!

katy August 16, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Stuart, I don’t consider this post to be a blanket statement at all. As far as sources, there are countless articles that cite a correlation between goitrogen-containing raw greens and thyroid function. Here’s just one, from Dr. Weil.

I am a food blogger — as always, use your own best judgment, check with your doctor, and feel free to argue the legitimacy of sources in a scientific chat room.

designhermomma August 28, 2012 at 8:13 pm

how did I miss this post? Have a bunch of sad kale in my fridge right now. Tomorrow, it meets it’s frozen maker.

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