Sunday, July 24, 2011

Balance, It’s All About Balance

I know how busy everyone is, so let me make this as brief as possible. If you were at our green smoothie demo at Summerfest or you just love throwing a lot of kale in your smoothie, you will want to read this.  If you are a woman approaching menopause, going thru menopause or are post menopausal, you will want to read this. 

The following all relate to each other:
1-The smoothies I make typically contain the equivalent of one full bunch of raw kale. 
2-This year I discovered a creamy delightful unsweetened yogurt made by Whole Soy and was eating it by the case.
3-This year I discovered the joy of making “massaged” raw kale salads and have been eating a lot of them.
4-A few months ago I went from my usual complaint “I have way too much energy” to feeling like doing anything was too much effort.  My first full blown exhaustion.   In addition, my throat felt tight and I sounded like a cigarette smoker.  The exhaustion was accompanied by brain fog….forgetting even simple words.

After lots of research into possible causes, I decided that the symptoms could be thyroid related. 70% of menopausal and post-menopausal women have thyroid issues. My research into hypo-thyroid consistently came up with the same results:  Eating way too many raw cruciferous (cabbage family) vegetables (also known as brassica veggies) can be harmful to thyroid function.  Eating way too much processed soy can be the same.  

6 days ago I stopped eating processed soy and cut out all the raw cruciferous veggies to see if I felt any different.  I continued to make green smoothies but used wild greens, lettuces, parsley, and other raw non brassica greens.  Within two days I could feel my energy coming back.  By day 5, I was back to my familiar “too much energy” and I no longer sound like a cigarette smoker.

I will start including raw kale and some soy back into my diet, but in balanced proportions.

Let me just be clear.  I am not a doctor or registered dietician. And, this is NOT AN ANTI-SOY OR ANTI-RAW GREENS STATEMENT!
While I am in touch with how my own body is feeling, I do not know a lot about the physiology of a human body.  Before this experience, I did not even know exactly what the thyroid did or that it is shaped like a butterfly.
My conclusion after all my research and my own experience is that soy and raw greens are both healthy foods.  Soy is one of the best foods for hormonal balance in menopausal women.  Raw and cooked greens are great for healthy nutrients and minerals. 
And, too much of a good thing is….well….too much.
While nutrition is not my expertise or even my number one passion, I love the idea of healthy energetic vegans going out into the world and making it a more compassionate place for all species. is how I want you to feel....

So, eat your raw greens and eat your soy and don’t overdo it!
Balance, Balance, Balance….It’s all about balance.

Here is a link to one of the many articles I found about this issue:


  1. Thank you for sharing this Rae. It shows that being in touch with how you feel makes a difference. Then you can change what you do.

    Including sea vegetables on a regular basis can help regulate thyroid for many people.

    I am happy to hear that you are back to your regular high energy, loving self.

  2. Rae, my mother has often told me to check my thyroid, because it runs in our family, but I must admit I never paid much attention! I too have had a lack of energy at times. I recently said goodbye to tofutti sour cream, and hello to cashew cream! Thanks for the interesting post=)

  3. Wow! Like who knew? I eat most of my kale and greens in soups, and casseroles, so it's not so concentrated. In summer, I gorge on romaine salads every day, and my thyroid checks out fine... when will we see you at Rochester RAVS again? Cindy LL Coach

  4. Hi Rae,

    I just read your post today, and mentioned it to my friend Anne-Marie who is a vegan nutritionist. She said that if you put more iodine in your diet, you can continue to eat raw kale and soy. You can get iodine through seaweeds (especially nori and dulse, which have iodine but not too much), or adding a drop of iodine to your water. Too much iodine can pose a problem though, so you'd want to avoid overdoing it (like from kelp, where it's reeeeally concentrated). Same lesson anyway, balance balance balance.