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KALE Made Simple!

Posted by Dr. Lori Arnold


KALE Made Simple!

Written by: Dr. Lori Arnold, Pharm.D., FAARM

Are you confused by KALE the “superfood”? I know I was when I made my first purchase! In fact, I was just in a Health Food Market last week and noticed a woman standing by the kale looking pretty confused. I usually try not to get involved but I couldn’t help myself on this one. Sometimes all it takes is 2 minutes of your time to help someone sort through the confusion! It turned out it was her first visit to this store and she had two sick little kiddos at home. She was told by the physician to prepare healthier gluten-free food so she was doing her best to make it happen. Fortunately, the tidbits I offered her were exactly what she needed and since she had my undivided attention, she asked about several other products in her cart. I LOVE being in the right place at the right time!

Many people want to jump on the health bandwagon and stock the refrigerator full of this green powerhouse. Like the lady in the story I told you, you also run to your local market, recipe in hand, and the recipe simply calls for “kale”. As you scan the produce section, you also may notice that there are several varieties of kale, and each variety is unique in its texture and flavor. In order to get the flavor you are striving for in your recipes, it is crucial to choose the kale that works best for that recipe. I would even highly suggest you grab a one of each and take them home to taste test the differences in each variety… just so you know what I am talking about.

In this blog I want to help you understand the health benefits and nutrient content of kale, along with a quick synopsis of the types of kale, and a couple of food prep suggestions to help you and your family enjoy the flavor and versatility of this awesome green!


  1. Kale is a HOME RUN in vitamins! Kale contains Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Folate.
  2. Kale contains important minerals like manganese, potassium, MAGNESIUM and copper.
  3. Kale contains QUERCETIN, which is an antioxidant and anti-viral.
  4. Kale contains LUTEIN and ZEAXANTHIN, which are crucial for eye health and can help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.
  5. Kale is high in IRON, which is essential for good health. Calorie for calorie, kale has more iron than beef!
  6. Kale is high in CALCIUM, which helps prevent osteoporosis. Calorie for calorie, kale has more calcium than milk!
  7. Kale is low calorie and HIGH IN FIBER! We all need more fiber in our diets, and kale is high in insoluble fiber which aids in good digestion and intestinal cleansing.
  8. Kale contains OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS in amounts higher than other vegetables, making kale a natural anti-inflammatory food that helps combat arthritis, asthma and autoimmune diseases.
  9. Kale is great for cardiovascular health and may lower cholesterol. In studies kale helped decrease the damage from LDL (bad) cholesterol.

VARIETIES OF KALE: Kale comes in several varieties, so here is a breakdown of the top varieties to help you choose the kale that suits your taste or recipe.

  1. CURLY Kale: The most common kale variety. The leaves are curled and can be bright green, dark green or purple in color. The flavor is this variety is more bitter and “peppery” than other varieties. As with most kale, when prepping make sure to tear the leaves from the stems and only eat the leaves. This is my favorite kale for making baked kale chips!
  2. DINOSAUR, LACINATO or TUSCAN Kale: This type of kale has all of these fun names. When you see this variety, it is dark green in color and has long, thicker and heartier-looking leaves. This variety is excellent in your raw dishes, like salads, but is my TOP choice for adding to blended smoothies. In terms of taste, this variety offers a “sweeter” and almost nutty flavor that is considerably more enjoyable than the other varieties in sweet fruit and vegetable shakes. In fact, if the kale is fresh you can barely taste it in your shake. Make sure when you are cleaning this variety to cut or tear along the stem. Personally, I do not enjoy biting into the tough stem in my salads, and find it quite inedible. Trader Joes offers a pre-cut bag of Tuscan Kale, which is mostly the rib of the kale, which I only use for cooked kale dishes.
  3. RED RUSSIAN Kale: This variety of kale looks like a large oak leaves and has a red color to the stems. In terms of taste this type of kale has a combination of curly and Tuscan kale, with a slight sweetness and some pepper flavor. Again, remove the stems as they are difficult to eat. This is my favorite kale for sautéed and cooked dishes.

BONUS COOKING SUGGESTIONS:  Kale works great for most cooking methods as it is hearty and holds up well when sautéed, baked or added to soups and stews. It is also amazing simply baked and seasoned as kale chips. But, when prepping raw, pay attention! Not only is the variety important for your recipe, but the TECHNIQUE in preparation is critical! True Story… one evening, I was invited for dinner at a friend’s house. After reading a book, they had become vegans and wanted to show me the healthy changes they had made in food choices. The salad course were individual plates of dry, plain curly kale, with no accompaniments… just a plate of the crunchy green stuff with stems still in place. Again, the flavor of crunchy kale can be quite bitter by itself, and the leaves can also be a little “pokey” in your mouth. They did provide a salt and pepper grinder and a few varieties of oil and vinegar for a DIY dressing at the table. If I was forced to eat kale like this I may not be a fan. I don’t want you to make the same mistake! Kale is wonderful but tastes so much better if you take the time to MASSAGE the leaves.   What does this mean? Massaging your food sounds a little like we are manhandling it, but we actually are giving it some love! The technique is simple.

“Massaging” Kale TECHNIQUE: Clean your kale, remove the stems and pat dry. Take a couple of bunches of kale and rub the kales leaves together, repeating this with your entire batch of kale. You will immediately notice the kale starts to break down and become softer. For an added bonus of deliciousness, add some extra virgin olive oil and sea salt and massage the leaves. If you are short on time, and don’t want to massage the leaves, plan the prep the night before and toss the leaves with olive oil and sea salt and leave in the refrigerator overnight. The leaves will soften by the next day.

I hope you feel like a KALE EXPERT now and if the mood strikes you, you may be able to offer assistance to someone at your next trip to your local grocer!

Foods and supplements that heal the thyroid

Posted by Dr. Lori Arnold


(NaturalNews) Fresh, raw, organic produce heals. Produce heals everything. Other than that, foods high in iodine and foods that are high in selenium are known to aid thyroid function.

The thyroid gland requires iodine to function. Iodine taken by itself or ingested through fortified salt can be problematic.

Good food sources include: meat, seafood, yogurt, milk, and eggs, but there are vegan sources as well.




Vegan Food Sources of Iodine

  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Seaweed
  • Himalayan sea salt
  • Navy beans
  • Cranberries

Selenium is required for the body to convert T3 into T4. Without enough selenium in the diet, the thyroid suffers. Seafood and meat are high in selenium, but there are also some vegan choices.

Vegan Food Sources of Selenium

  • Brazil nuts
  • Shiitake/white button mushrooms
  • Lima/pinto beans
  • Chia seeds
  • Brown rice
  • Seeds (sunflower, sesame, and flax)
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Spinach

Supplements For Hypothyroidism

A number of vitamins and minerals are critical to thyroid health, and many herbs can help boost thyroid function as well. Due to the fact that thyroid conditions are associated with inflammation, anti-inflammatory herbs can aid in thyroid healing as well.

B Vitamins

Vitamin B12 is found in every cell of the body. It is required for cellular metabolism and energy production, so obviously, without B12, the thyroid can’t function optimally. B12 deficiencies are very common with hypothyroidism. A lack of B12 can cause and worsen hypothyroidism. Even though most people actually consume enough vitamin B12 in their diets, a deficiency occurs in many due to an inability to absorb the nutrient in the blood. This goes back to gut health. The body cannot absorb and assimilate nutrients properly with a poorly functioning digestive system.

In addition, if the liver is not up to par, this radically inhibits the body’s ability to utilize B12. Unless a knowledgeable naturopath recommends it for a limited amount of time, do not take vitamin B12 alone. We recommend a B vitamin complex with extra B12.

Vitamin D

Over a billion people worldwide do not get enough vitamin D. A recent study showed that vitamin D levels were significantly lower in people suffering from hypothyroidism than the general population. While vitamin D deficiencies and hypothyroidism do tend to take place together, a lack of vitamin D and pretty much every other disease coincide as well. It’s unlikely anyone’s hypothyroidism is primarily caused by a lack of vitamin D, but it’s a certainty that the body will not fully heal without enough vitamin D.

Vitamin A

We all know vitamin A is required for good vision. We also need vitamin A for the immune system, hormone synthesis, and the production of T3. Without enough vitamin A, thyroid hormone levels drop quickly.


Bromelain is the enzyme that makes pineapple the superfood that it is. Bromelain helps reduce inflammation.


Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that has many benefits, including the ability to significantly improve liver function, and it can help stabilize cortisol levels. This helps stimulate T3 and T4 hormone synthesis.

Licorice Root

Licorice root can benefit the thyroid and adrenal glands for people who have low cortisol (adrenal fatigue).

Reishi Mushroom

Reishi mushroom is a good source of selenium, and it has a ton of other benefits including boosting the immune system.

Schisandra chinensis

This is another adaptogenic herb that helps the thyroid and has many other health benefits.


Selenium is the major cofactor for the key thyroid enzyme 5’deiodinase. This enzyme converts T4 into T3 and can help normalize the thyroid hormone balance.


A zinc deficiency has been shown to inhibit T3 production. Zinc also contributes to immune modulation, which may reduce thyroid antibody levels. Additionally, like selenium, zinc also contributes to 5’deiodinase activity.


A lack of iodine inhibits the body’s natural detoxification, leads to cancer cell growth, and causes hypothyroidism. The thyroid absorbs iodine and, in doing so, replaces other toxins it has accumulated.

It’s also important to avoid excessive iodine intake for anyone with Hashimoto’s or hyperthyroidism. As stated above, we highly recommend that any iodine consumed come from whole food sources.

Traditional Asian Herbs

  • Coleus forskohlii(Indian coleus)
  • Melissa officinalis(lemon balm)
  • Ningpoensis(Chinese figwort)
  • Prunella vulgaris(common selfheal)
  • Radix scrophulariae(xuan shen)


If the gut is healed and the diet is healthy, in most cases, the thyroid will eventually heal. Unfortunately, it can take a very long time, often many months. With desiccated thyroid, the process is much faster, and relief from hypothyroid symptoms are immediate. But again, you must fix the gut! Be sure to check out How to Kill Candida and Balance Your Inner Ecosystem to heal the intestinal tract. And see Understand Hypothyroidism – Prevention and Natural Remedies for more information, including a specific supplemental protocol.


About the author:
Michael Edwards is the founder, owner, editor-in-chief, and janitor for Organic Lifestyle Magazine and Green Lifestyle Market. At age 17, Michael weighed more than 360 pounds. He suffered from ADHD, allergies, frequent bouts of illness, and chronic, debilitating insomnia.

Conventional medicine wasn’t working. While he restored his health through alternative medicine he studied natural health and became immersed in it.
Author, Michael Edwards via
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