Doctor's Note

Check out these videos for more on cruciferous vegetables:
Prolonged Liver Function Enhancement from Broccoli
The Broccoli Receptor: Our First Line of Defense
Counteracting the Effects of Dioxins Through Diet

And check out my other videos on greens.

For more context, also see my associated blog posts: The Best DetoxBroccoli Boosts Liver Detox Enzymes; and Nutmeg Toxicity.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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  • Veguyan

    Sounds like your assessment of excessive amounts of cruciferous vegetables is based upon one person’s experience. Is that a fair assessment?

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Though it was a case report (and so by definition described only a single patient), it is consistent with data going back more than 50 years, when researchers in Finland blamed the consumption of milk from cows grazing on cruciferous plants for contributing to the national epidemic of goiter. Don’t get me wrong, I recommend everyone eat greens every day (except those on the drug coumadin who should first ask their physician about re-titrating their dose). Greens are probably the healthiest foods on the planet–but a thousand cups is too much!

      • myjolina

        Can you explain further why the drug coumadin would react with kale. If someone has too much iron in their blood, haemochromotosis, would they suffer from eating kale. Is there an immediate reaction to too much kale or is it a slow build-up in the blood system that would create symptoms?
        thanks
        ps – kale chips are on the way!

        • Michael Greger M.D.

          Great questions–seriously! One can eat dark green leafy vegetables while one is on Coumadin; one just has to titrate their greens consumption to their Coumadin dose. Coumadin (a.k.a. warfarin, a.k.a. rat poison) is a blood thinner that works by interfering with the action of vitamin K. So if all the sudden you eat lots of greens (excellent sources of K) you can overwhelm the drug’s ability to keep it from clotting your blood normally. So we should all be eating lots of greens; folks on coumadin just need to keep their greens consumption relatively stable and make sure their physician matches that level of consumption with the appropriate dose. Or even better, one can eat a healthy diet and help avoid the kinds of conditions (like heart attacks) that might lead to one having to take these sorts of drugs in the first place! :)

          And no, one does not have to worry about plant-based sources of iron in terms of iron overload since your body is able to restrict absorption. Blood-based (“heme”) iron is absorbed whether our body likes it or not, however, and can indeed contribute to the development of that iron overload disease in susceptible individuals. Eat your kale! More about iron here.

          And I can’t wait for the chips! For those that missed it, I’m offering to mail a complimentary copy of my latest DVD to anyone who sends me (address here) their very own homemade kale chips–now that’s what I call veggie booty! :)

          • JoAnn Downey Ivey

            The oven is on! Seriously Dr. Greger, I’ve been on Synthroid for 30 years (since age 37) so do I need to worry about iodine and thyroid function? I’m well controlled on medication. I don’t do salt, so my source of iodine is what’s in the liquid from Eden Organic NAS beans. Thanks.

        • I have yet to make kale chips successfully. Can anyone direct me to a good reliable and tasty recipe?

          • Rebecca Johnson

            1 C raw cashews
            1 red bell pepper
            1 small/roma tomato
            1/8 cup lemon juice
            1/4 C nutritional yeast
            1/8 tsp salt or to taste
            pepper to taste

            Blend in high-speed blender. Coat kale leaves with blended mixture. Dry in dehydrator.

            Adjust all ingredients to your taste – e.g., if you like it tangier, use more lemon juice.

  • walfaro

    Dr. Greger: Do you consider 10 cups of cruciferous to much at day? Is there a link between them and inflammation?

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      According to this study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 10 cups a day on a regular basis is probably the limit for raw kale–my second favorite vegetable!

      • Laurak

        Please tell what is your favorite vegetable? You can’t leave us hanging!! Also is that cooked or raw?

      • Zany

        I would also like to know why kale is not your favorite vegetable and what is?

      • Sebastian Tristan

        According to the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture database, 10 cups of kale is like 670 grams. I double any human can eat so much on a daily basis.

  • ananas26

    I just “discovered” your site ! really enjoy the videos.
    It just made me think of all the euphoria there is with drinking green smoothies and juices lately ( which I love) how much is too much kale for example in one day?
    and will doing a one month or two month juice fast for example be harmful in the long run if too many greens are used?

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Please see my kale response to walfaro immediately above–thanks for your question!

  • Interesting video. I am wondering if you are familiar with the Wahls diet (http://youtu.be/KLjgBLwH3Wc or http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Wahls-Foundation/150956531629073?sk=app_208412272531040 ) and if so do you believe given the information that you researched that she is recommending too many greens?

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Also, please check out my associated blog post: http://nutritionfacts.org/blog/2012/04/12/the-best-detox/!

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please check out my associated blog post, The Best Detox!

    • Ellen Scarisbrick

       My husband and I have begun drinking green smoothies containing raw kale…maybe 1/2 a bunch or more in the vitamix along with fruit to make it more palatable. We really feel this is a easy way to get greens consistently into our diet. By the way, we are totally convinced that whole food, plant-based is the healthiest form of diet. No need to convince us of that. My question is, since my husband (age 71) is on thyroid medication should he avoid completely all forms of raw cruciferous vegetables?

      • Toxins

        Certain veggies, especially the cruciferous veggies, contain natural chemicals called goitrogens that can interfere with thyroid hormone synthesis. Other foods that contain these chemicals include corn, sweet
        potatoes, lima beans, turnips, peanuts, cassava, and soybeans.

        Most of these goitrogens are not of any real significance unless they are consumed in very large amounts or there is coexisting iodine deficiency. So, while it is theoretically possible for someone to consume enough of these foods that they may have an effect, for most people it is not an issue. However, when consumed raw, as part of a smoothie, there is the possibility of there being an impact from them, especially if the person
        is consuming several of these smoothies a day. These goitrogens are inactivated by cooking, even by light steaming, so
        there is no need to forego them when consumed in that style.

        • dorange

          Rami, are goitrogens in soybeans and sweet potatoes, etc. also inactivated by cooking? How about peanuts, which are not steamed, but roasted?

          • Rami Najjar

            Generally yes, but this is only a concern for those with pre existing thyroid conditions. I would not worry about it otherwise.

          • Mule4eva

            Goitrogens are chemicals in food such as kale, cruciferous vegetables and soybeans. Many, but not all, green vegetables contain some levels of goitrogens. Even when eaten frequently, foods containing goitrogens will not cause thyroid disease in healthy people. You need only monitor goitrogen intake after you have been diagnosed with thyroid disease. Kale and green vegetables are very healthy foods, rich in nutrients, and do not need to be avoided completely. If you have thyroid disease, continue to eat these foods cooked. Dietary guidelines given by your doctor should take precedence…..Mr. Ghandi

          • Rami Najjar

            You have echoed my response

          • tina stamatakis

            Hi. I just had a thyroidectomy and will be starting suppliments in coming days. I know you’ve said that only large amounts of cruciferous veg cause problems but since i am vegan and eating lots of these i was wondering if ill have problems regulating my levels. Wondering also if i should mention my diet to my endochrinologist.

          • Rami Najjar – NF Moderator

            Cooking generally destroys goitrogens, and not all leefy vegetables contain them. Cruciferous family vegetables contain them, such as kale, broccoli, etc.

  • Drbill

    Dear Dr. Greger,
    Thank you for the brilliant posts on this subject. Several years back I published a paper [Food Alone May Not Provide Sufficient Micronutrients for Preventing Deficiency] open access http://www.jissn.com/content/3/1/51  I performed diet analysis on 10-men & 10-women according to actual weighed foods they consumed over 3-7-day periods. None of the 20-healthy subjects were consuming near the reference range iodine levels. It was the only micronutrient 100% were deficient. I declare 20-healthy randomly chosen subjects do not represent the whole. It is this note that asks if the potential cause for many disease have a dietary component complexly resulting in hypothyroidism in large populations?
    We would enjoy hearing your view…
    Bill Misner

  • vademonbreun

    Please research the Gap’s diet for clearing up adrenal and thyroid related issues!!

    • Dr. Connie Sanchez, N.D.

      There has been no scientific studies/research done on the GAPS diet. Any evidence that it “clears up” adrenal and thyroid issues is purely anectdotal. 85% of the GAPS diet is made out of meats, fish, eggs, fermented dairy and vegetables (some well-cooked, some fermented and some raw). This diet is too high in saturated fat and cholesterol to be healthy.

      • Good point Dr. Sanchez, but I think that vademonbreun is saying what you are (to a point) that there are no scientific studies on the GAPS diet, and that someone should conduct some studies to determine its effects on adrenal and thyroid health.

        I, for one, wish that there were a site similar to this one on thyroid health. From my few forays into researching thyroid health it seems that, just like in the health and wellness nutrition field, there is a lot of bunky claims being made often to people who are quite desperate for relief.

      • Joonyaboy

        It frightens me that doctors are still afraid of saturated fat (the healthy kind). I lost 50 pounds and all my health markers increased when I started consuming fat for 70% of my daily diet. Please don’t go off what you learned in school. Take some time to research.

  • Guest

    Dr. Greger, is there any danger in consuming too much greens because of vitamin K. Almost all green leafy food easily contain daily dosages – and vitamin K is said to have an impact on blood clotting..

  • steff

    My husband and I recently depressed our thyroid function by juicing a large handful of fresh kale from my garden every day with our smoothies. After 4 or 5 weeks of daily juicing we began to lose energy and stamina, and developed brain fog. When we complained to our primary care doc he drew blood and discovered that our TSH was high and free T4 was low. I should mention that we didn’t have much iodine in our diets. We started eating dulse and a little seaweed salad every day for iodine and left off the kale–we are recovered now after about a month….who knew?!

    • Wow, That must have been quite the experience for you guys! Glad that you were able to adjust your diet and recover rather quickly it sounds like.

      As someone with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, I have read that raw kale and other raw cruciferous veggies can have goitrogenic effects on the thyroid (the ability to cause a goiter and slow down the thyroid, much like anti-thyroid drugs do), and can even affect the absorption of synthetic thyroid hormone medicaiton. Apparently, raw juicing goitrogenic vegetables ends up providing especially high concentrations of goiter-promoting ingredients.

      Luckily, I have also read and been informed that the enzymes involved in the formation of goitrogenic substances in some plant foods can be partially destroyed by heat. Which is a good thing b/c that means that these yummy health foods can still be eaten if they are steamed or cooked. And, even in moderation in there raw form.

    • Sebastian Tristan

      How much kale did each one of you have daily?

  • Ирина Счастливая

    Почему без титров? =( печаль какая то выходит

  • Gayle Delaney

    Can an overdose of raw cruciferous vegetables (kale, collards, etc.) in smoothies cause the feeling of serious acid-burn tongue similar to same from overload of raw pineapple, but lasting for a week? Is there any ingredient we could add to the smoothie that would neutralize this effect? Any cure besides the tincture of time and time off those smoothies?

  • NHGirl

    Hi, Dr. Greger,
    I recently adopted a whole, plant-based vegan diet after years of reading the research. However, I have Hashimoto’s Disease and regularly take levothyroxine to mitigate the effects of this. Lately, my TSH levels have gone back up — have you seen any evidence to suggest that the addition of raw greens in smoothies could produce this? I am also a green tea drinker in the morning and am wondering if this could all be interacting. Any advice you may have to give would be greatly appreciated!
    Thank you,
    NH Girl

    • sf_jeff

      ctrl-F search on this page for “TSH” the answer is, more Iodine and cook or skip certain veggies.

  • D

    When I vitamix-juice, I juice 1 pound of spinach, 1/4 pound of kale, 1-1.5 pounds of berries and sometimes add chia seeds and/or parsley. I drink this over about 8-12 hours. Is this too much?

  • Carrie

    So, Dr. Greger, would you recommend against drinking raw kale juice regularly? Thank you.

  • Cgillenator

    dr. Greger, I currently am on armor thyroid, since I had a complete thyroidectomy ten years ago. Just started sprouting broccoli and i eat a lot of homemade kale chips. do you see a problem with eating about a quarter cup of broccoli sprout and a cup of kale chips a day. I have a great recipe for kale chips which includes miso, nutritional yeast and turmeric.

  • Rob Dodd

    I juice daily, so always add a double handful of kale, spinach or another leafy green veg. I
    read somewhere that revolving your cruciferous vegetables can minimise
    any side effects, so I use a different handful every day. But it seems I could be wrong! I must check on your iodine posts.

  • Celine Indiana

    If 10 cups of greens is ok, does it matter wether it is juiced or eaten as a salad or steamed?

  • Mindaugas Raulinaitis

    The study included 293 cases of thyroid cancer and 354 population controls. We found that high consumption of cruciferous vegetables was associated with thyroid cancer among women with low iodine intake (OR=1.86; 95% CI: 1.01-3.43 for iodine intake < 96 µg/day). The high consumption of cruciferous vegetables among Melanesian women, a group with mild iodine deficiency, may contribute to explain the exceptionally high incidence of thyroid cancer in this group.

    http://www.hal.inserm.fr/docs/00/47/13/39/PDF/dietary_factors_in_thyroid_cancer_20100308_CCC_R1.pdf

  • Travis H

    I am hoping you can provide more info on which plants contain more of these compounds than others… My wife loves arugula what would the daily limit be?

  • Paul Oakes

    Thank you, Dr. Greger, for your contributions here on NutritionFacts.org. Great stuff. I’ve been consuming one or two small bunches of watercress daily since I read about how it helps with exercise recovery. How much watercress would be too much? Would eating dulse seaweed help balance it’s goitrogenic effect?

  • Guest

    Can you tell me if there are any true studies showing the danger of too much kale comsumption and excessive thallium intake?

    Please see link below pertaining to the idea:
    http://www.care2.com/greenliving/could-kale-be-poisoning-you.html

    Thank you!

  • Carol

    I started using the dark greens in the nutribullet for three weeks running. About two large cups a day. My breathing started to get very poor, almost like I was caught for breath. I’ve had my thyroid checked with my gp but she said it’s seems to be fine and the breath test was fine and high. I’ve backed off using any greens except fresh mint for now. Waiting for my breathing to correct itself still. Is this usual do you know? Thanks.

  • 4Baccurate

    I wonder if it is the sulforaphane that inhibits iodine uptake by the thyroid gland? Is sulforaphane’s effectiveness reduced by cooking? Thanks!

  • nmi1010

    Instead of 55 cups a day, would like to know about reasonable amounts of raw cruciferous vegies and thyroid and how much iodine to counteract effects if you’re a vegan. (Following your daily 12.) Especially if you have borderline low thyroid. Many thanks!

  • tyty

    Hey, medical question.
    Im 26 , female, and have had chronic constipation for well over 7 years (and even before that wasn’t regular), most of the time I need to take suppositories as oral laxatives do.not.work.
    I’m being tested for hyprothyroidism (waiting for results), I eat a 100% whole food plant based diet (and vegan for 3 years), plenty of greens etc everyday. I was looking up any diet related intervention to help with hypothyroidism and constipation…trouble is I either get told to eat more fibre (..how? lol, my diet IS fibre) or cut out lots of amazing foods like spinach, cauliflower etc, and i’m wondering if my large intake of fruits, beans, nuts, greens and veggies are making my condition worse.
    what advice would you suggest? Not sure I can take another doctors appointment where they throw another unhelpful and chemical ridden laxative at me.
    thankyou for your time!
    Ty

  • passthebeans

    Hello NutritionFacts.org, I have not been able to find any information from your website on Hashimoto’s Disease. I guess what l would like to know is making the change to a plant based diet, can l be hopeful that my auto immune disease be treated and possibly get off the Thoroxine that l am currently on?

    • Thea

      passthebeans: I don’t know if there are any specific studies on Hashimotos and diet or not. But here’s a thought for you: Eating a diet of whole plant foods has helped lots of people with various auto immune diseases. Seems worth trying. Furthermore, even if you were not able to get off the Thoroxine, switching to a healthy diet would help keep you healthy in other areas of your life so that your life doesn’t get even more complicated by other health issues. Something to think about. Would you like some pointers to resources that help people make the change?

    • I’d contact or check out information by Dr. Yusuf M. Saleeby and his book which I reference in my comment below. Instead of trying to repeat it all I’ll just copy and paste another comment I made here (I’ve been doing a ton of research on natural thyroid healing):

      I’m doing research on that now, I’ve come across so much. Doctors are often run by the pharmaceutical industry and their jobs can be threatened when they don’t comply. So you’ll most likely be told that hormone replacement therapy with prescription meds are the only way, but it’s untrue and can even be harmful as it stops your thyroid from producing its own hormones and your body becomes dependent on the drugs.

      There’s certain amino acids that are important so enough protein is essential and plant protein is far superior. I like my vegan protein shake by Garden of Life as it’s a whole foods organic shake and includes all the essential amino acids. I’m also going to start eating a cup of beans or lentils everyday and although whole soy is very healthy, for precaution I’m going to avoid soy for the time being.

      Shakeology is a good whole foods based shake with a lot of the same things that my Garden of Life shake has but is less expensive although I don’t know if it’s completely non-GMO, but if you do consider ordering, definitely get the vegan flavors as whey is extremely harmful and DEFINITELY would be harmful for thyroid functions given all the hormones.

      Adaptogens are studied for helping thyroid among many other things. They regulate hormones. I’m going to start taking Ashwaganda, I’m getting it from Vitacost.com from Organic India as I read they regularly screen for heavy metals and are a very reputable company.

      I also came across a doctor, in my reading, who specializes in the natural approach using herbs and wrote or was one of the writers of a book about thyroid issues and the natural approach (I believe) and all kinds of other insight, it’s called “Stop the Thryoid Madness II” and the doctor’s name is Yusuf M. Saleeby.

      Iodine is super important but I think I was previously taking too much so I’m getting my levels checked immediately. If you have hashimoto’s, iodine is extremely important but too much can be just as detrimental. I read that excessive iodine can be bad in any case and I’ve been taking kelp a tsp a day which was giving me over 900% DV!

      It is SO important to stay away from fluoride! As fluoride competes with iodine absorption. So a reverse osmosis filter (the only one I’m aware of that removes fluoride completely or virtually completely) is a good idea or drinking spring water but stay away from plastic bottles as not only are they horrifically unsustainable and bad for our health, but BPA has an effect on hormones and can be very bad for thyroid health.

      Anti-depressant drugs can be very bad as well because fluoride is always an ingredient from my understanding, at pretty high levels. And also lithium is horrible for low thyroid. In fact, fluoride and lithium have both been used to treat HYPERthyroidism and thus suppress thyroid function. Luckily, if you have anxiety problems or depression, adaptogens like ashwagandha (there are many others as well) help with moods and stress and overall hormone balance. I have issues with OCD so this is good news for me. Adaptogens are safe and can be helpful for both an under active and overactive thyroid based on my research but it seems to be referenced mostly for hypothyroidism.

      Pharmaceuticals will be a quick fix, but will not actually heal the body and instead disrupt it and make it dependent (in regards to thyroid meds). Nature is not a quick fix, but it’s real healing. I’d do research and dedicate your time to healing your body if that’s what you really want. That’s definitely what I want which drove me to all this research.

  • passthebeans

    Thank you Thea for the heart warming advise, l have been following a plant based diet of veg, fruit, nuts, seeds, beans and mushrooms for nearly 4 months now. I have experienced the plant based diet to be more beneficial. Perhaps some time in the future l maybe able to answer my own questions.

    • Thea

      passthebeans: Keep us posted. I’m thinking good thoughts for you.

  • [email protected]

    I lost my teeth due to bone loss (undiagnosed Diabetes). I did get dentures, but they never fit well, plus I couldn’t get past that plastic (?) piece that goes between the right side and left side of the upper denture. It made me gag, and no matter how much I did try, I just couldn’t tolerate it. I would love to get the new complete “denture” implants. But there’s no way I could ever afford it. Not even with a payment plan. I love raw vegetables, but obviously can no longer eat them. So, I have to cook them to “death”. So, there goes the nutrition of the food. Even if you only steam them. So I’ve opted to juicing. I haven’t started yet. I did buy a slow masticating juicer. Able to handle everything I want to incorporate into my new eating lifestyle. Everyone is concerned with my wanting to go on a 30 day juice fast, followed by juicing all the time and limiting the solid food I eat. My plan is simple; go on the green juicing diet for the 30 days, and then start incorporating beans, nuts, and of course only eating organic. My neighbour has a large veg. garden every year, but she doesn’t eat the veggies, I do. I think I’ve got her talked into doing it for me; her: short term to detox, but she say’s she couldn’t ever give up meat. I’m not going to eat meat or dairy, I hope. I must confess, I’m going to have a problem giving up yogurt. Perhaps I can make my own @ home from organic milk/cream (?), whatever it takes to make it. I am also going to learn how to “can” fruits and veggies. This way I’ll have them when fresh (organic) is not available in the store. Options ? , opinions ? , answers ? Thanks, Jolae

    • Dairy is so cruel and is actually toxic to our bodies. I’d look for whole foods vegan recipes on yogurt or get a store bought vegan yogurt. If you want probiotics, there’s lots of vegan options and Garden of Life has a really good vegan probiotic which is just labeled dairy free, but is completely vegan, it just doesn’t specify that on the label. But regardless, eating a whole plant foods diet will provide your body with good bacteria.
      Some veggies you cook, like cauliflower, can be mashed up without being overcooked. Blending is another great option.

      • patcee14

        Blended soups might be a way to have some variety. They can be delicious, filling and nutritious. Hot or cold, I have fallen in love with soup. There is a soup for every vegetable and also fruits.

  • [email protected]

    I forgot, juicing will be better for me than what I have been doing. Food wise. That’s why I don’t understand the concern. Jolae

  • [email protected]

    Is there any diet cure for low thyroid.

    • I’m doing research on that now, I’ve come across so much. Doctors are often run by the pharmaceutical industry and their jobs can be threatened when they don’t comply. So you’ll most likely be told that hormone replacement therapy with prescription meds are the only way, but it’s untrue and can even be harmful as it stops your thyroid from producing its own hormones and your body becomes dependent on the drugs.
      There’s certain amino acids that are important so enough protein is essential and plant protein is far superior. I like my vegan protein shake by Garden of Life as it’s a whole foods organic shake and includes all the essential amino acids. I’m also going to start eating a cup of beans or lentils everyday. Shakeology is good whole foods based shake with a lot of the same things as my Garden of Life shake has but is less expensive although I don’t know if it’s completely non-GMO, but if you do consider ordering, definitely get the vegan flavors as whey is extremely harmful and DEFINITELY would be harmful for thyroid functions given all the hormones.
      Adaptogens are studied for helping thyroid among many other things. They regulate hormones. I’m going to start taking Ashwaganda, I’m getting it from Vitacost from Organic India as I read they regularly screen for heavy metals and are a very reputable company.
      I also came across a doctor, in my reading, who specializes in the natural approach using herbs and wrote or was one of the writers of a book about thyroid issues and the natural approach (I believe) and all kinds of other insight, it’s called “Stop the Thryoid Madness II” and the doctor’s name is Yusuf M. Saleeby.
      Iodine is super important but I think I was previously taking too much so I’m getting my levels checked. If you have hashimoto’s, iodine is extremely important but too much can be just as detrimental. I read that excessive iodine can be bad in any case and I’ve been taking kelp a tsp a day which was giving me over 900% DV!

      Pharmaceuticals will be a quick fix, but will not actual heal the body and instead disrupt it and make it dependent (in regards to thyroid meds). Nature is not a quick fix, but it’s real healing. I’d do research and dedicate your time to healing your body if that’s what you really want. That’s definitely what I want which drove me to all this research.

  • What about kale and collards? How much would be too much of these two things?

    • patcee14

      I wonder about this, too. All I’ve read emphasizes greens should be eaten often, but never say how much you need each day. I have been using the half-cup traditional serving, but have no idea if that is the correct amount.

  • patcee14

    I am new to a plant-based diet and want to lose weight. Every recipe I find does not contain calories in the description and on vegan sites I have seen comments that vegetarians and vegans do not count calories. Is there an explanation for this and how do you lose weight when you need grains and nuts in your diet?

    • Thea

      patcee14: Several studies have shown that people stop eating when they feel full. If you eat low calorie density foods, you will feel full sooner. In general, people who eat a whole plant food based diet similar to the one proposed by Dr. Greger in his Daily Dozen or in the PCRM Power Plate, will naturally lose weight without worrying about counting calories because they are naturally eating a low calorie dense diet.
      .
      Of course, the devil is in the details and your mileage may vary. There is a video on NutritionFacts about calorie density, but my favorite talk on the topic gives a lot more information and a bit of guidance. And it is so fun. It is free and called How To Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind. I can get you a link to that talk plus a link to a written article from Jeff Novick with additional information if you are interested. Let me know.

      • Thea

        patcee14: My earlier reply got cut-off. Here it is repeated:
        .
        Several studies have shown that people stop eating when they feel full. If you eat low calorie density foods, you will feel full sooner. In general, people who eat a whole plant food based diet similar to the one proposed by Dr. Greger in his Daily Dozen or in the PCRM Power Plate, will naturally lose weight without worrying about counting calories because they are naturally eating a low calorie dense diet.
        .
        Of course, the devil is in the details and your mileage may vary. There is a video on NutritionFacts about calorie density, but my favorite talk on the topic gives a lot more information and a bit of guidance. And it is so fun. It is free and called How To Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind. I can get you a link to that talk plus a link to a written article from Jeff Novick with additional information if you are interested. Let me know.

        • patcee14

          Yes, I am interested in the link. I suppose I will learn as I go, and I have enjoyed this way of eating but I haven’t noticed the needle going down on the scale. I am thinking I should cut out some of the grains and nuts, but I don’t know for sure how small a portion these can be to keep nutrition up.

          • Thea

            patcee14: Giving up grains and nuts? The devil is in the details. What form of grains? Is it bread and other dry goods? Or whole, intact cooked grains like rice and barley? The former is relatively calorie dense. The latter is generally not. For nuts, they are very good for you. But how much are you eating? An ounce, all that Dr. Greger recommends, is just about 1/4 cup–not very much. And for some people, even that may be too much.

            Below is the reply I typically give to people who want to lose weight. If you can work your way through a few of those resources, I think you will learn exactly what to do to lose weight (and still eat a scrumptious set of healthy dishes).

            ——————
            The nice thing about your situation is that you already understand half the battle. I’m guessing from your post that you already understand about the importance of a whole plant food diet and have at least a sense of how to implement it. That’s half the learning curve. The other half is understanding the concept of calorie density and how to apply it to weight loss so that you don’t get hungry and you still get all the nutrients you need.
            .
            Dr. Greger covers calorie density, but not in enough detail in my opinion for someone who wants to apply it for the first time. I believe that Doug Lisle is one of the experts in the Forks Over Knives documentary, and he gives a great ‘calorie density 101’ talk officially called: How To Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind. I have watched the following talk from Doug Lisle several times and think very highly of it. And it’s free!!! And it’s entertaining! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAdqLB6bTuQ
            .
            As good as Doug Lisle’s talk is, it pretty much just gives you a solid understanding of the concept, but not enough practical information in my opinion. For starting to get the practical information, I recommend a talk from Jeff Novick,Calorie Density: “How to Eat More, Weigh Less, and Live Longer,” which is no longer for sale. Argh! (I mention it just in case you can get your hands on a copy.) Happily, there is a very good second best source for that information: an article that Jeff wrote that you can get here: http://www.jeffnovick.com/RD/Articles/Entries/2012/5/20_A_Common_Sense_Approach_To_Sound_Nutrition.html
            Be sure to pay attention to the charts.
            .
            Chef AJ tells people who want to lose weight to eat “left of the red line”, where I believe the red line is on a diagram of hers representing is 700 (or was it 600?) calories per pound. And “left of the red line” is all the whole plant foods which are below 700 calories per pound. The above article from Jeff Novick gives you a good sense of which foods are “left of the red line” by food category. But if you want to look up the calorie density of specific foods, you can find many foods on the following site: http://nutritiondata.self.com/ Most foods on that site have the option of choose an ‘ounce’ as a size. Then you can multiply by 16 to get the calories per pound.
            .
            It would be perfectly respectable if you are one of those people who are just not interested in the theory. You just want to dive right in and want straight how-to information. If you would rather not think about any of that (or start with the theory and then move onto this step), I have one more suggestion that Dr. Greger also recommends in his book, How Not To Die. Consider going through the free program from PCRM (Physician’s Committee For Responsible Medicine) called 21 Day Kickstart. The program will “hold your hand” for 21 days, including meal plans, recipes, videos, inspirational messages, and a forum (moderated by a very respected RD) where you can ask questions.
            http://www.pcrm.org/kickstartHome/
            (Click the green “Register Now” button.)
            At the end of the program, you will have a very good practical knowledge about how to eat with healthy and “low” (normal for most people) calorie density.
            .
            Another recommendation that Dr. Greger and I share is to get Jeff Novick’s Fast Food videos for tasty, affordable, fast and healthy calorie density recipes. Also, on-line and free is a YouTube series of recipes/cooking shows called something like Chef AJ and The Dietician. I know that Chef AJ will not steer you wrong in terms of weight loss and providing accurate nutrition information.
            .
            How’s that for some tips? If you give these ideas a try, please report back and let us know how it went.

          • patcee14

            Wow, thanks for all the information. It sounds like I have some studying to do. On the grains, I was talking about brown rice, essentially. It is very high in calories for the serving size. I have not experimented with other grains, simply because I never have. Maybe now is the time. I’ve tried quinoa and didn’t like the texture. I’ll try it again. I am excited about getting started with all this great stuff you’ve suggested for me and I’ll let you know how it goes.

          • patcee14

            I am unable to go to the Novick site – it says it is a faulty URL.

          • Thea

            patcee14: I don’t know what the problem is. I just tried it again and it worked for me.

            Maybe your browser is having some trouble with the way the link went on two lines? Try this:
            http://www.jeffnovick.com/RD/Articles/Entries/2012/5/20_A_Common_Sense_Approach_To_Sound_Nutrition.html

          • patcee14

            Got t! Thanks. I now have a lot of new things to think about and to learn, too. I like the sound of the calorie density method for losing weight. It would be great not to have to think about numbers. I am having fun trying out new food combinations. For lunch I made a tofu noodle soup that was delicious, a recipe from a vegan site. I have to get used to cooking instead of looking for instant and easy. It is a good feeling to start changing my habits at this late date. I waited until I was old to learn how to eat.

          • Thea

            patcee14: You rock!
            .
            I used to never cook. Now I try, just like you. It can be both scary and exhilarating trying new foods. Good for you for giving it a try.
            .
            As much as I think cooking is a good idea and ultimately the healthiest option, there are plenty of shortcuts that can be taken and still be healthy. So, don’t despair that you might be in the kitchen all day long. It doesn’t have to be like that.

          • patcee14

            Instead of dreading it, I now am looking forward to trying more recipes. That soup was so good I ate two bowls of it for lunch, along with a salad, and tonight I was not hungry at all. I read that you should only eat when you are hungry, but I wonder about getting all the nutrition. I just had carrot sticks and hummus tonight. Good grief. No longing for bread or even dessert. This is fantastic.

          • patcee14

            I’m getting hung up on the protein thing. How do I know if I am getting enough and if I am eating a variety of vegetables and fruit, should I take a B12 supplement anyway? I read that older people sometimes need to even if they aren’t vegan.

          • Thea

            patcee14: Dr. Greger would recommend that every vegan take a B12 supplement. Like you, I have also heard that most people over a certain age would do best on a B12 supplement (though I don’t know if that is true). Regardless of your angle, taking a B12 supplement sounds like a good idea to me.
            .
            Your concern over protein is very understandable. The following article is a wonderful protein 101 overview. I think this article will make you feel much better. http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/protein.html If you want some additional information about protein beyond this article, Dr. McDougall has some good ones in his old newsletters. You could look those up.

          • patcee14

            How would you answer someone who says, “If everyone needs B12, and you can only get it from animals or animal products, that must mean we are supposed to be eating animals instead of plants.”

          • Christine Kestner

            Vitamin B12 is made by bacteria living in soil and water. Modern sanitation and agricultural practices have greatly reduced this activity. Most animals used for food today are given B12 supplements, because they no longer get enough from soil and water. You can skip the animal, and take the supplement yourself!

          • Thea

            patcee14: You already got a very good reply to this question. I wanted to expand a bit on the information you got in case that would be helpful. First, I recommend taking a look at this older post from NutritionFacts: http://nutritionfacts.org/2011/08/25/vegan-b12-deficiency-putting-it-into-perspective/

            Second, I have some other wording (and wordy? ramblings) that might help put things into perspective. These might be arguments that could help you talk to your friend or at least get things clear in your own head. So, here’s how I might answer someone who thinks that a need for B12 means we are “supposed to” eat animals:
            *******************

            How do you think elephants and other omnivores get their B12? Did you know that B12 comes from bacteria that lives in the lower intestine of animals, including humans? The B12 is too far down the digestive track to provide us with all that we need, but if you ate your own poop, you would get all of b12 you need. (We know this because they did an experiment on humans doing just that…)

            So, how did our ancient ancestors get their B12? Our super ancient ancestors ate small amounts of carrion and fish and maybe the odd egg when it could be found. But the majority of their diet was plants. (Dandelion greens are just so much easier to catch than deer…) So, how much of the B12 that they got came from dirty water and the soil attached to dirty plants vs the small amounts of animal product? We don’t know. What we do know is that the safest way to get our B12 *today* is from a supplement. I don’t recommend that anyone drink dirty water or eat meat. Who needs the cholera or cancer?

            Put another way: It is completely irrelevant how our ancestors got their B12. You can argue all day with people about what paleo people ate or not. It is irrelevant because we know that the body of scientific evidence tells us that the healthiest diet for people *today* is to eat a whole plant food diet with b12 supplement. People who eat a whole plant food diet with b12 supplement: live longer, and have *significantly* less risk of: major cancers such as breast, prostate and colorectal, type 2 diabetes (and possibly type 1), heart disease, stroke, autoimmune disorders such as arthritis, and more. People who switch to healthy eating find minor conditions clearing up: better skin, disappearing joint pain, and more. And whole food eating vegans are the ONLY population in America that on average have healthy body weights. Even a little cheating and that group’s average body mass goes above normal/healthy. (There are videos on NutritionFacts which back up all these statements.)

            Stressing about what our ancestors ate is not productive. Stressing about what we are “supposed” to eat is not productive unless “supposed to” means “is healthiest”. Looking at what we KNOW is healthy for humans today makes the most sense. And we know exactly what that is.

            patcee14: Just to stress, this is not a rant at you. It is just something I wrote up some time ago to help someone else and thought you might want to see it too.

          • patcee14

            Thanks. That clears up my question on B12. I am being amazed at reaction to news of my switching to a plant based diet. I am at the point that I feel like keeping it a secret now. Why do people care so much what I eat? I am not attacking them for eating animals, but I have gotten very little support from the people I’ve told.

          • Thea

            patcee14: You are not alone! You will likely need to seek support elsewhere. You might want to look into a meetup.com group. That is a good way to find and hook up with a vegan group in your community. That kind of moral support can be very helpful.

            Here is a 6 minute video of an interview with Doug Lisle which gives some great advice to someone in your position. Why don’t you see if this helps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAO1qDaGDXA

          • Christine Kestner

            Yes, you should take a vitamin B12 supplement, a good idea for most modern people, especially with age. You can find more information here
            http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/vitamin-b12/
            With regard to the protein question, you may find your answer here
            http://nutritionfacts.org/video/increasing-protein-intake-age-65/
            I hope this helps!

  • patcee14

    I have been following a whole foods, plant-based diet for almost a month now and was hoping it would help with losing weight. Instead, I have gained 2 pounds. I have cut my calories way down from what I was eating before, but still the scale goes up instead of down. What am I doing wrong? I don’t eat many beans because I have IBS. I try to stick to low density calories. I am also diabetic so have to keep carbs low. Should I cut out starches like potatoes and rice (although I don’t eat much of either).