Cucumber Kale Cleanser  (aka "Green Juice")

Ali Segersten Jan 01, 2014 12 comments

Happy New Year! Cheers! This is our favorite green juice recipe, in fact, our children think it's the bomb! They love it. Serve it in a pretty glass with a stainless steel or glass straw. I think you'll find that this green juice is very mild tasting and quite enjoyable to drink. This recipe is part of our new Elimination Diet Program and Book! We've been receiving so many emails asking about the Elimination Diet and where to find it. Our Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook (where the old program was) is out of print now. We spent our summer completely updating the book with 100 new recipes and plenty of new up-to-date science! It will be available this spring, published through Grand Central Life & Style. We also removed the elimination diet from the book because it deserved its own book. We have a brand-spanking new elimination diet program coming for you soon online. We can't wait to share this powerful healing tool with you, complete with new recipes, menu plans, and more!

If you are setting new year's intentions that revolve around eating well (I like intentions far better than resolutions) then this juice recipe is a great one to add to your repertoire! Through our research we've found that it's quite important for all of us, children included, to add some sort of raw cruciferous vegetable to our daily diets. You can make raw salads, green smoothies, or fresh juices. Cruciferous vegetables include kale, collard greens, mustard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, arugula, bok choy, daikon radish, horseradish, radish, turnips, rutabaga, watercress, and bittercress (a common weed).


Many people have the misperception that raw cruciferous vegetables damage the thyroid. According to Dr. Jed Fahey from Johns Hopkins University, this claim started decades ago when dairy cows were being fed rapeseed (now called canola) and concentrating high levels of glucosinolates (sulfur compounds) in their milk. When certain people drank too much of this milk, they ended up with thyroid issues. Since then research has shown that you'd need to eat over two pounds of raw cruciferous vegetables every day for many months AND be iodine deficient for this to even be a concern. Dr. Johanna Lampe from the University of Washington has been testing people eating 2 pounds of raw and cooked cruciferous vegetables a day and has seen no adverse effects on the thyroid. Eating raw cruciferous vegetables is actually one of the most protective things you can do for your health! Find out more in Tom's TED talk entitled, Broccoli: The DNA Whisperer!


About the Author

Ali Segersten

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University and a Master’s of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine from the University of Western States. She is a Functional Nutritionist, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Alissa is the founder and owner of Nourishing Meals®.

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How many servings is this? I am so glad to see you back!

So glad you're back! I've been following some Paleo blogs, but I still want some whole grains and legumes...not to mention baking Paleo is extremely expensive!

Is there a specific reason you're juicing this and not just making a smoothie? I don't have a juicer....

Thank you both so much for the post! Ali, beautifully written as usual. Tom, thank you for your input on the great Thyroid/Cruciferous debate. . A few years ago I was diagnosed with Hashitmotos, and then they found nodules on my thyroid. As a nurse and a woman surrounded by people in the wellness industry, I began a raw food diet including these vegetables for 6 months. I lost weight, gained energy and on the next thyroid scan I had NO nodules. With a gluten free diet, I even decreased my blood inflammatory markers to near zero, meaning I have greatly slowed the progression of my disease. It wasn't until about 6mo into my basically raw food diet that someone told me brassicas and the like were "dangerous" for me, and I should stop immediately. Stop immediately? I was in radiant health! But I did stop. And I've felt like I didn't understand how they could be harmful, this whole time. Thank you for questioning these assumptions and digging in to the root of old research. It is HARD to stay on top of true health, but it's always nice when a gut feeling is confirmed. Keep up the great work!

Hi all (Bastyr student)
I'm the proud owner of both cookbooks. I do the elimination diet twice a year. I was going to start again next week but I'm wondering if I should wait until the new version is available online? Do you know when you will launch it? It would be helpful to know so I can plan.


Looking for a good juicer. Any recommendations? The fusion looks good but seems unavailable from several sites.

Can you post the nutrition value in this drink. How many calories, protein, vitamin & mineral content?

Your juice recipe is very similar to what we do (almost on a daily basis). We call our green juice green lemonade, Green Lantern juice or Hulk juice (don't normally name food, but our son thought the naming was cool). My older two children do most of the juicing (thanks to my husband's lead). We usually include a green - kale or collards - and broccoli stalks. I was the juicer for years, then my husband took over (I was tired with the third baby and he was missing his juice!) and now he juices the lemon with the peel on and it gives it more zing (we like it better with the peel). Is there a reason you do not use the peel? (We use organic lemons.) I'm so excited for the new edition of your book! We use both of your books daily.

I love this post as this information needs to get read. Thank you for bringing this out.

Anne- Thank you for your comment. The question is not if there is any new research. The question is whether the “old” research actually demonstrates what everyone is saying. After reading numerous scientific articles and interviewing thyroid experts and cruciferous vegetable researchers, it is clear that the experts are not drawing the same conclusions that many bloggers and authors are. Some of the compounds in cruciferous veggies can bind to iodine. If you are iodine insufficient and consume raw cruciferous vegetables at the same time you consume your primary iodine sources this could be an issue over time. For example, let's say your primary iodine source was seafood, and every single time you consumed it you ate a raw cruciferous salad. Some of the iodine may bind to compounds in cruciferous veggies, leaving them less able to be absorbed by the body. If this occurred everyday over years, it is possible it could contribute to a goiter.

Does this mean that we cannot consume a serving of raw cruciferous vegetables every day? No. Does this mean that it is not safe to consume a mix of raw and lightly steamed cruciferous vegetables that could even reach up to two pounds a day? From what researchers are demonstrating….no.

What we are seeing is that people who consume cruciferous vegetables consistently have a reduction in certain cancers (breast, prostate, colorectal, bladder, stomach, and more). We also see that the sulforaphane can increase antioxidant and detoxification capacities that may reduce the risk for most common diseases known to man (including one of the most common thyroid disorders, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis). Our hope with this blog post is to have people question their first thought regarding cruciferous vegetables.

While I agree that eating raw goitrogens will not harm a healthy thyroid, I was not aware of any new research that disproved the concept that consuming raw foods in this category can affect iodine absorption in people who may have issues. As a celiac, eating many of the foods on your list raw will negatively impact my health.

I have an allergy to many raw fruits -- apples, pears, peaches, plums, etc.. Citrus and berries are fine. Can I use cooked fruit for the same effect? What substitution would you suggest for the raw apple?

Hooray--great to hear that the WLN book is undergoing something of a metamorphosis. I have to say that having done the elimination diet and variations for some time trying to figure out what my wee ones were reacting to (and what I was reacting to) was an overall valuable experience, but it didn't lead me to concretely finding the foods since bananas and rice were two (of the allowed foods) that came up for us on the US Biotek test. Removing those helped a lot. Actually, removing all grains/legumes seems to have helped the most and I am still not sure if it's a gluten cross-contamination issue or the grains themselves.

I am excited to try this new green juice! The girls really like the juicer :-)

Happy New Year--it's nice to see your posts popping up in the in-box again!

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