Kale Causing Acne?

ACH85ACH85 ✭✭
edited March 2014 in Bulletproof Diet

When I first did kale shakes (kale, cucumber, celery, ginger, avocado or MCT) I didn't bother to steam/drain the kale, or to add calcium and magnesium as Dave suggests. I got acne. I started doing the things Dave suggests and it went away. 


Slowly, though, I've noticed I'm getting some acne on my body, and then when I take a break from the kale shakes it seems to recede. This weekend I did some social stuff that involved beer and a cheat meal with gluten and dairy - but no kale - and the acne is still better than during the week with kale shakes. 


So obviously I'll be switching it up, but I still like the convenience of a veggie shake.


Does anyone have any thoughts on what specific aspects of kale might cause acne? Goitrogens? Oaxalic acid? When I search this, it's all info on how kale helps acne. Or perhaps I'm way off base and there's no way kale causes acne?


I'm planning to try collard greens and brussels sprouts as a replacement, but I don't want to blindly make a swap, I'm hoping to do so with a theory of what's going on informing my changes. 


Additional info on my kale:


I'm not going nuts with the amount of kale, after it's steamed and drained it's probably a fist-sized amount of kale. Buying "Laciento" kale - looks like dino. I've been keeping the stems on, not removing the leaf from the stem. 


  • That’s strange. Magnesium sourced foods normally help acne. Detoxing or a food allergy maybe?

  • ACH85ACH85 ✭✭

    Yeah, it is strange. Maybe an allergy to kale? Probably not detoxing because my diet's been similar for a while, just with the addition of kale shakes slowly seeming to cause the acne. Weird acne too, like on the front of my shoulders and chest where I never had issues even as an acne-riddled teenager. 


    I guess I'll just cut it out and see what's up. I eat ~2 cups of chopped spinach a day with no problems too, so it's not dark leafy greens in general. 

  • I agree, that is strange! I juice curly kale every other day for a few years and haven't ever broke out. Kale benefits skin, along many of those others. Maybe switch it to spinach to see if it helps your acne.
  • ACH85ACH85 ✭✭

    Just to update this I've swapped to collard greens and brussels sprouts this week. Both steamed before blending. Today is collards only, and... it tastes a lot worse than a kale shake. 


    Can anyone answer:


    - is there a proven negative to leaving the kale stems on while blending?

    - same as above, for collards?

    - should I use calcium/magnesium blended in, as in Dave's kale shake recipe?


    @rexsmom, any reason you don't blend? Veggie fiber is pretty healthy, seems like a waste to remove it by juicing. 

  • Yes, it does seem like a waste but I do blend a spoonful in juice and then use rest in other things I cook. I have a dehydrator and I make my own crackers. So hardly anything goes to waste.
  • ACH85ACH85 ✭✭

    Ah, makes sense. Veggie fiber in cooking is a cool idea. 


    As an update to this thread, I'm about a week into replacing kale with brussels sprouts and collard greens (both steamed) and the body acne I was complaining about is drying up and about 50% faded compared to what it was. To be honest I'm pretty surprised, I figured it was something else besides the kale. Maybe it is, but the experiment seems to be working. 

  • NickatNickat
    edited March 2014

    Just out of curiosity do you think it has anything to do with the pesticides in the produce (clean 15 and dirty dozen)?


    About the fiber, maybe you could test your tolerant to soluble fiber vs. insoluble fiber?


    Cooked Kale       1 cup   2.6g total fiber  /  1.2g insoluble fiber  /  1.4g soluble fiber


    Brussels sprouts  1 cup   6.4g total fiber  /  2.5g insoluble fiber  /  2,9g soluble fiber

    Cooked Collards 1 cup   5.3g total fiber /  2.1g insoluble fiber  /  3.2g soluble fiber


    And so on….


    You seem to suggest that insoluble fiber is doing you more good from your example. Generally speaking low insoluble fiber tends to be safer for those with gut issues. Maybe alternating cooking methods could account for a reaction through some sort of detox. Mashing, chopping and grating insoluble helps us digest them better. Preparation techniques like these can make a difference over time. Or like you theorize, maybe because you made Kale shakes already it is an allergy. Interesting.

  • ACH85ACH85 ✭✭
    edited March 2014

    I hadn't thought much about the pesticide aspect, but now that you mention it I have, and I don't think that's the problem. I was washing the kale, steaming it, then rinsing it again. Perhaps more relevant, I've continued eating plenty of celery and spinach, both of which are on the dirty dozen along with kale. 


    I don't know as much as I'd like to about fiber, but I didn't mean to suggest I thought insoluble fiber was doing me good. My comments about juicing were more based on a general feeling that if a plant is good for me I'd rather blend it and eat the whole thing than just drink the juice and throw away the rest of it. 


    So I'll look into the fiber aspect, but my first thought is that the soluble and insoluble fiber content of these kale/veggie shakes is not high enough to make a difference for me. I still eat legumes when my diet is not super low carb, and handle them fine - even up to a cup of black beans in a day. That's a lot more soluble and insoluble fiber than any of the veggies under consideration here. I once had a week where I was eating beans and also adding avocado to my smoothies. I looked back at my nutrition tracking spreadsheet and noticed I was eating nearly 50g of fiber a day (it auto-calculates nutrition facts, discussed here, which is why I didn't notice.) I hadn't noticed any other effects, or I certainly would have checked my spreadsheet for fiber sooner. So if I can handle that with no noticeable effects, it's hard to believe the fiber in kale is causing problems. 

  • Your probably right, so a food intolerance. It’s great to hear just how you assessed and deduced it. Uber cool. Was just putting some thoughts out there.

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