Category Archives: Healthy Living

Goitrogenic Vegetables: To Eat or Not to Eat?

A lot of people have asked me why I am not afraid to eat a lot of cruciferous vegetables, which can have a goitrogenic effect on the thyroid gland, even though I have Hashimoto’s Thyroid Disease.  My answer?  Cruciferous vegetables won’t hurt my thyroid, they will help it. 

Liver Health and Thyroid Hormone Conversion

Cruciferous vegetables are chock-full of nutrients and vital for detoxing the liver, which plays a key role in the functioning of healthy thyroid hormones, particularly the conversion of the storage hormone T4 to the bioavailable hormone T3.  When this conversion doesn’t take place, the result is an increase in Reverse T3 which blocks Free T3 (the thyroid hormone that’s actively used in our cells) and the end effect is hypothyroid symptoms (fatigue, lack of motivation, depression, weight gain, hair loss, etc.).

This can be confusing to some doctors who are trained to by go TSH because TSH can be what they consider normal.  Even Free T3 levels can be normal, while Reverse T3 levels are building up, blocking all the Free T3 that is there.

Estrogen Metabolism Helps Thyroid Hormone Health

Cruciferous veggies are crucial for healthy estrogen metabolism (those of you taking DIM supplements know this!), which is important for both men and women and positively impacts thyroid hormone health.

Fermented Veggies Help Everything

Many of cruciferous vegetables make great ferments which are rich in healthy bacteria for our gutsA healthy gut helps protect thyroid function.  Fermented garlic sauerkraut in particular is loaded with probiotics, especially s. Boulardii, a good yeast strain; really, the benefits are infinite.

Crucifers are Anti-Inflammatory

Crucifers contain sulforaphane, which stimulates the release of antioxidant enzymes, i.e. crucifers are anti-inflammatory.

Crucifers are Anti-cancer

Crucifers reduce the risks of cancer, even thyroid cancer. (See links below.)

Want to Eat Crucifers?  Keep Iodine Levels Optimal

Unless you’re low in iodine, affects on your thyroid gland are likely not a concern.  The Paleo Mom explains the science behind cruciferous vegetables and iodine health:

“Importantly, the evidence linking human consumption of isothiocyanates or thiocyanates with thyroid pathologies in the absence of iodine deficiency is lacking. This means that these substances have only been shown to interfere with thyroid function in people who are also not consuming adequate amounts of iodine (if you are severely deficient in iodine or selenium, addressing those deficiencies before consuming large amounts of cruciferous vegetables is a good idea; see page ##). In fact, the consumption of cruciferous vegetables correlates with diverse health benefits, including reducing the risk of cancer (even thyroid cancer!). In a recent clinical trial evaluating the safety of isothiocyanatesisolated from broccoli sprouts, no adverse effects were reported (including no reported reductions in thyroid function).”

Frankly, we should be far more worried about the environmental toxins that are causing our thyroid issues (anti-thyroid and mood depressing fluoride in our tap water, for one) than about such nutrient-dense, anti-cancer, gut health-helping foods.

Dr. Mark Hyman also has a wonderful, clear article on goitrogens:

“There is a lot of chatter in the pop-nutrition culture saying that these vegetables have an ill effect on the thyroid because they contain goitrogens. . . .

The truth is, you would need to consume a large amount of these vegetables for their goitrogenic constituents to have an impact on your thyroid. Even more important is that you would have to consume them raw [emphasis mine]. When was the last time you ate 10 cups of raw Brussels sprouts or blended up 5 cups of raw kale in your Dr. Hyman’s Whole Foods Protein Smoothie and consumed it every day?

. . . So, my advice is not to worry about eating moderate servings of raw or cooked cruciferous veggies and to actually make a point of consuming 1 to 2 servings of them daily because they are so fundamentally crucial to disease prevention (especially cancer), as well as normal metabolic function (such as detoxification).”

If you do have concerns about consuming goitrogenic foods, cook them a little before consuming.  Just remember: the more you cook them, the more the nutrients are lost.

More good info on the health benefits of cruciferous vegetables:


  1. Higdon J, Delage B, Williams D, et al: Cruciferous vegetables and human cancer risk: epidemiologic evidence and mechanistic basis. Pharmacol Res 2007;55:224-236.
  2. Wu QJ, Yang Y, Vogtmann E, et al: Cruciferous vegetables intake and the risk of colorectal cancer: a meta-analysis of observational studies. Ann Oncol 2012.
  3. Liu X, Lv K: Cruciferous vegetables intake is inversely associated with risk of breast cancer: A meta-analysis. Breast 2012.
  4. Liu B, Mao Q, Lin Y, et al: The association of cruciferous vegetables intake and risk of bladder cancer: a meta-analysis. World J Urol 2012.
  5. Liu B, Mao Q, Cao M, et al: Cruciferous vegetables intake and risk of prostate cancer: a meta-analysis. Int J Urol 2012;19:134-141.
  6. Lam TK, Gallicchio L, Lindsley K, et al: Cruciferous vegetable consumption and lung cancer risk: a systematic review. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2009;18:184-195.
  7. Bosetti C, Negri E, Kolonel L, et al: A pooled analysis of case-control studies of thyroid cancer. VII. Cruciferous and other vegetables (International). Cancer Causes Control 2002;13:765-775.
  8. Dal Maso L, Bosetti C, La Vecchia C, et al: Risk factors for thyroid cancer: an epidemiological review focused on nutritional factors. Cancer Causes Control 2009;20:75-86.
  9. Higdon J, Drake VJ: Cruciferous Vegetables. In An Evidence-based Approach to Phytochemicals and Other Dietary Factors 2nd edition: Thieme; 2013
  10. Krajcovicova-Kudlackova M, Buckova K, Klimes I, et al: Iodine deficiency in vegetarians and vegans. Ann Nutr Metab 2003;47:183-185.
  11. Leung AM, Lamar A, He X, et al: Iodine status and thyroid function of Boston-area vegetarians and vegans. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2011;96:E1303-1307.
  12. Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Iodine.
  13. Tonstad S, Nathan E, Oda K, et al: Vegan diets and hypothyroidism. Nutrients 2013;5:4642-4652.
  14. McMillan M, Spinks EA, Fenwick GR: Preliminary observations on the effect of dietary brussels sprouts on thyroid function. Hum Toxicol 1986;5:15-19.
  15. Chu M, Seltzer TF: Myxedema coma induced by ingestion of raw bok choy. N Engl J Med 2010;362:1945-1946.
  16. Zhang X, Shu XO, Xiang YB, et al: Cruciferous vegetable consumption is associated with a reduced risk of total and cardiovascular disease mortality. Am J Clin Nutr 2011;94:240-246.
  17. Hooper LV: You AhR What You Eat: Linking Diet and Immunity. Cell 2011;147:489-491.
  18. Zimmermann, M.B. & Köhrle, J., The impact of iron and selenium deficiencies on iodine and thyroid metabolism: biochemistry and relevance to public health, Thyroid. 2002 Oct;12(10):867-78
  19. Barrera, L.N., et al., TrxR1 and GPx2 are potently induced by isothiocyanates and selenium, and mutually cooperate to protect Caco-2 cells against free radical-mediated cell death, Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012 Oct;1823(10):1914-24
  20. Bonfig, W., et al., Selenium supplementation does not decrease thyroid peroxidase antibody concentration in children and adolescents with autoimmune thyroiditis, ScientificWorldJournal. 2010 Jun 1;10:990-6
  21. Chandler, J.D. & Day, B.J., Thiocyanate: a potentially useful therapeutic agent with host defense and antioxidant properties, Biochem Pharmacol. 2012 Dec 1;84(11):1381-7
  22. Ertek, S., et al., Relationship between serum zinc levels, thyroid hormones and thyroid volume following successful iodine supplementation, Hormones 2010, 9(3):263-268
  23. Hodkinson, C.F., et al., Preliminary evidence of immune function modulation by thyroid hormones in healthy men and women aged 55-70 years, J Endocrinol. 2009 Jul;202(1):55-63
  24. Jakubíková, J., et al., Effect of isothiocyanates on nuclear accumulation of NF-kappaB, Nrf2, and thioredoxin in caco-2 cells, J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Mar 8;54(5):1656-62
  25.  Magnusson, R.P., et al., Mechanism of iodide-dependent catalatic activity of thyroid peroxidase and lactoperoxidase, J Biol Chem. 1984 Jan 10;259(1):197-205
  26. McDanell, R., et al., Chemical and biological properties of indole glucosinolates (glucobrassicins): A review, Food and Chemical Toxicology. 1988; 26(1):59-70
  27. Shapiro, T.A., et al., Safety, tolerance, and metabolism of broccoli sprout glucosinolates and isothiocyanates: a clinical phase I study, Nutr Cancer. 2006;55(1):53-62
  28. van Bakel, M.M., et al., Antioxidant and thyroid hormone status in selenium-deficient phenylketonuric and hyperphenylalaninemic patients, Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Oct;72(4):976-81
  29. Virion, A., et al., Opposite effects of thiocyanate on tyrosine iodination and thyroid hormone synthesis, Eur J Biochem. 1980 Nov;112(1):1-7
  30. Zimmermann, M.B. & Köhrle, J., The impact of iron and selenium deficiencies on iodine and thyroid metabolism: biochemistry and relevance to public health, Thyroid. 2002 Oct;12(10):867-78

Garlic Sauerkraut

Of all the ferments I make, this Garlic Sauerkraut is the star.  It’s jam-packed with an intensely rich beneficial bacterial profile, including a special one from the yeast family: Saccharomyces Boulardii.

S. Boulardii is a phenomenal little probiotic, known in particular for keeping Candida yeast overgrowth in check.  (You can read more about S. Boulardii in this great post by Joanie Baxter at Kelly the Kitchen Kop.)  So many people today face long-term battles with Candida overgrowth: those who eat a Standard American Diet (SAD), which halts the proliferation of healthy bacteria in the gut; those who are facing chronic health conditions such as Autoimmune Disease, Leaky Gut Syndrome, Lyme Disease, and more.

In addition to the vast bacterial profile that sauerkraut contains, the addition of garlic makes it a one-two-punch for fighting candida yeast overgrowth.  But, because of the intense die-off it can cause, it’s best for those with candida to start with consuming just one tablespoon daily and slowly increase over time.

Fermented Sauerkraut can help to not only lower candida overgrowth, but prevent it.

In addition to its rich probiotic profile, sauerkraut is loaded with digestive enzymes, lactic acid, Vitamin C, B Vitamins,

One last thing worth mentioning: as a Lyme patient with lots of unhealthy bacteria and yeast wreaking havoc in my body, this is a really beneficial ferment for me to consume.

Essentially, if you face any health issues whatsoever, this is a “supplement” worth having in your arsenal.


  • 1 head of organic green cabbage
  • approximately 2 tablespoons salt
  • 3 cloves organic garlic, sliced



  1. Thinly slice the cabbage, wedging out the core.Kraut 3
  2. Place the shredded cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons of salt.  (Do not use iodized salt for this.  You want unrefined sea salt.)Salt
  3. Using a cabbage tamper, the end of a French rolling pin, or, if you’re really cut out for a work out, your hands, pound the cabbage until the liquid starts to release.  This step helps the cellulose in the cabbage start to break down.Kraut 4
  4. In the 5-liter Fido jar, layer the cabbage and the sliced garlic.  Press the cabbage down.  Kraut 5
  5. Lock the jar, label the date on the jar (I use a Sharpie on a strip of masking tape), store the jar in a dark cabinet, and mark the calendar for four weeks.  It’s important that you wait four full weeks both for the flavor and the bacterial profile.

Kraut 1


Kristen Michaelis of Food Renegade has a great article highlighting the most common fermenting mistakes.

Beauty Products

Toxins are a huge concern in our health and beauty industry here in the United States.  I was astonished to find out that Europe bans over a THOUSAND toxic chemicals from their personal care products that the U.S. allows in ours!  Many of these are hormone disruptors, carcinogens, and neurotoxins.

Thankfully, we can check our products here on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database.

And thanks to consumer demand, finding chemical-free beauty products is becoming easier all the time.

However, I know that many of you, especially those of you with Celiac, need gluten-free products, as well.  Below is a resource for you in your search for products that meet your standards.

Nota Bene: I have not tried all of these products.  

Please, check with the manufacturer to make sure there haven’t been any changes since this list was created and always check product ingredient labels. 


Physician’s Formula

All products are gluten-free.

AfterGlow – Certified GF

Real Purity – “Most of Real Purity’s products are gluten-free. If there are any that you are particularly concerned about, please contact our customer service team.”

Southern Magnolia Mineral Cosmetics™ makeup is all natural, organic and gluten free.”

Alima Pure All of their products are GF.

Cocoon Apothecary – All of their products are GF.

 Willow Tree Minerals 100% natural.  I’ve never seen any of their product labels that suggest there might be gluten in them, but know your ingredients and check individual labels.

HoneyBee Gardens – Their products seem to be gluten-free.  But know your ingredients and check individual labels.

Jane IredaleThis page contains a list of ingredients that are not gluten-free.

NaturalJoy – This site has a category of GF products:

Arbonne – Not all arbonne products are GF.  See here:

Joppa Minerals  – On their Facebook page, they state that all of their products are GF except their Retinol Serum:

100% Pure products may not be GF.“Most of our products are gluten free. We are sensitive to this since we know many people suffer from gluten allergies. One common ingredient that contains gluten is Vitamin E. But the Vitamin E we use is gluten free because it’s derived from cold pressing rice bran.”

Bare Minerals is NOT gluten-free.“Many of our products do not contain ingredients derived from barley, oats, rye, spelt or wheat, which are commonly known sources of gluten. However, due to the wide range of raw materials and equipment used during the manufacturing of our products, we cannot confirm that our products are free from any traces of gluten. If you have specific questions or concerns regarding gluten, and the ingredients contained in our formulas, we recommend that you consult your physician.”

Other Beauty Products

Regarding ingredients in beauty products, this article has a list of ingredients to watch out for:

Eye Moisturizers

Vintage Tradition is a wonderful moisturizing cream made simple from 100% grass-fed beef tallow and essential oils.  It takes only a small amount to moisturize your face and neck, or body.  They also make a deodorant cream from tallow, olive oil, and essential oils. 

 Fat Face

Hair Products

Morrocco Method

Intelligent Nutrients

JÄSŌN has a line of GF products, including face wash, body, shampoo, conditioner, face cream.

Savonerrie – All products are GF


Desert Essence – List of GF products here:

Hair Coloring

Hairprint (not dye)



Natural Dyes


Check out my Lotion Bar & Lip Balm Recipe! You can also modify the recipe to make into a sunscreen or diaper rash ointment for babies.

Also, check out my Aluminum-free, Chemical-free Deodorant Recipe.

Kelly the Kitchen Kop (love that lady!) has a cool Deodorant Powder recipe:

Dry Shampoo Recipe



Gelatin Hair Mask

Nail Polish:

Lavender Body Oil, Body Scrub, and Salt Bath Bags

Tallow Body Balm

Natural Body Spray

Healthier Treats

I took the photo above of an old-timey mural painted on the side of a brick building in our city’s historical district.  It made me laugh out loud.  I thought it was appropriate for this post. 🙂

Sometimes, a girl just needs a treat!  Years ago, I would have grabbed a Diet Coke and some Reese’s Cups and then felt like crud afterwards.

photo (4).jpg_B

These are two healthier options that I indulge in: Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups and Synergy Drinks GT’s Organic Kombucha.

While Justin’s aren’t something I will eat too often because of the cane sugar, when I do I relish every bite and don’t feel guilty!

Since kombucha is loaded with B vitamins and probiotics, especially S. Boulardii, I don’t exactly consider it a treat.  But buying the bottled stuff is a treat because of the delicious flavors and the cost.  We make our own at home which saves a lot of money.  And although we’ve gotten pretty good at flavoring batches, it’s fun to try new flavors to get ideas.  So sometimes I’ll buy a bottle when I’m out shopping.