Why I Eat Romaine Instead of Spinach

Happy Thursday lil peeps!

How’s it going over there??

I have been a snacking out of control lately and attempted to make a good, healthy snack yesterday to combat some of the excess sweets and treats I’ve been enjoying daily at 3pm.

I bought some strawberries that weren’t the sweetest so I put them in a smoothie.

california strawberries (800x600)chocolate covered strawberry smoothie recipe whey

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie

  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 4-5 ice cubes
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1 cup almond milk (vanilla or chocolate)

Fit Tip: If your protein powder is grain-y add 1/2 cup of strawberry greek yogurt and blend very well.

Blend. Drink. Repeat.

chocolate covered strawberry protein smoothie (600x800)


Almost daily I have a massive salad for lunch OR dinner.

lettuce and hummus and chicken salad (376x502)salad with eggs and hummus (669x502)

A few weeks ago I shared my Costco Grocery Cart and someone asked,

“Why are you getting romaine lettuce instead of spinach? I’ve heard romaine has no nutritional value?”

romaine lettuce (669x502)

Great question! If you’ve seen my salads you might have realized that under those massive layers of hummus and eggs there are romaine leaves 80% of the time. This is for a few reasons:

1.) Since I have slight hypothyroid test results I’ve done some research and found I should avoid certain foods. (More below.)

2.) It’s cheaper and I like to buy in bulk. Some things are simple as that Smile

salad was never

Okay – back to the romaine.

I am a big believer in buying foods named after celebrities. Like, I buy Rebecca Romaine for salads…and Claire Dane-ishes… and Halle Berr-ies… and Christian Bale Kale

Ha! I think I’m funny.

chelsea laughing

Seriously though… I when I first got tested I did a lot of research and read that you are supposed to avoid Goitrogrens if you are hypothyroid.

“Goitrogens are able to disrupt normal thyroid function by inhibiting the body’s ability to use iodine, block the process by which iodine becomes the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), inhibit the actual secretion of thyroid hormone, and disrupt the peripheral conversion of T4 to T3.” – Source

When I first tested low for T3 I was eating cabbage and soy (2 foods on the list) Every.Single.Day. Not sure if that contributed to my results, but it sure didn’t help!

I do NOTHING in moderation. If I love something I love the crap out of it and smother it to death. Which is what I was doing with those exact foods I should have been eating less.

i love you

So. When I realized that I was eating a few foods from the “Foods People with Low Thyroid Should Avoid List” ALL THE TIME – I stopped. This included cabbage, kale, spinach and soy. I’m NOT allergic to these foods so I will have them sometimes, but I try not to buy them on the regular (strawberries are on the list hello). I’m not stressed about it, just doing things in a way that I can maintain long term.

Also – the foods on the list are some of the healthiest foods on most other lists so I am always doing new research and checking in with myself to assess what is working/not working. I’m not sure if I’ll stick with this forever – or even until next week so don’t hold me to anything.

Note: Many sources say you can eat these foods in limited quantities if you cook them. For some reason cooking them inhibits their goitrogenic properties.

I didn’t really post about it at the time because it wasn’t a big deal, I changed it up and went about my business.

Also, when I used to read blogs a few years ago and was struggling with my weight/body/self esteem it made me confused and frustrated when a blogger would stop eating M&Ms or something because of some random reason. Moral of the story: Do you.

you dont want to be like me

Question: Does it make you second guess yourself when you read a new diet trend or cleanse or fad?

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by me. Don’t do anything I do because I probably am crazy or have an agenda or wrote this on Wine Wednesday while watching bad network TV because I stupidly cancelled cable…


  1. says

    I take everything with a grain of salt. But whenever I read about how bad and addictive sugar is I want to cry. It scares me but not enough to stop eating it. There are times where I make a conscious decision not to eat a fruit or veggie for an entire day because my stomach cramps up a lot and they aggravate it.

    I do what I can to be healthy but I can’t be perfect and who knows what will ultimately be my demise. I doubt it’s because I went with white bread on a Saturday in March of 2005. :)

  2. says

    Romaine might not be as nutrient packed as spinach, but that doesn’t mean it has NO nutritional value. I get the huge bag of romaine at costco sometimes and it stays fresh longer. Getting that huge bag of spinach is stressful because I’m racing to finish it before it goes bad!

  3. says

    Just because Spinach has a few extra nutrients in it doesn’t mean that romaine has NOTHING. I just bought romaine at the store last weekend because its cheaper (on a crazy tight budget) and it seems to last longer for me!

  4. says

    Great post. I also have a janky thyroid. I go into hypothyroidism every time I got pregnant. Hence the huge weight gain. Ick. Any way I never heard about the strawberries thing. I eat them everyday in my smoothie. I think I need to rethink that. Thanks so much.

  5. says

    This is an interesting post. My husband and daughter both have Graves Disease which is the exact opposite of hypothyroidism. Initially we thought my husband had cancer because of some of his symptoms. Changing our diet drastically has made an amazing difference in their health. My husband elected not to have surgery but instead uses diet to control his symptoms. Today, 15 years after being diagnosed, he is healthy and has his thyroid under control. It was about this time that we started to take up running and have never looked back. Thanks for sharing your story!

      • says

        I had to have my thyroid removed a few years ago due to complications from being hypothyroid. I was so relieved to learn that I can go back to my kale and spinach (and cabbage!) obsession! I’m so sorry you have to cut back on it.

  6. says

    I would also be interested in more information about what worked with the reader above chris cossiart. I was diagnosed with a nodule on my thryroid last year and it is being watched by my endo. But I also fall in love with a food and eat it everyday for a span of time. I am currently eating prechopped salad which is mostly romaine and cabbage! yikes! I may need to lay off the cabbage somewhat and increase the romaine. Thanks for this post!

  7. Tara says

    Glad to hear you were able to find info on things to avoid. I take everything I read on blogs with a grain of salt. I know what I can handle, I know what I like, what works for me. I am still all about the pizza and beer, even though I eat whole foods all week and workout. Everyone’s sense of ‘balanced diet’ or ‘moderation’ is different.

    I love romaine lettuce. It does have nutrients, and I LOVE the crunch!
    I also love baby romiane-have you tried that as an alternative to Spinach?

  8. zoe says

    I feel ya. I don’t eat peanuts because of (1) a common fungus that grows on them which is weakening to SOME people’s immune system and otherwise not tested very well, and (2) I have heard they increase the likelihood of cold sores in people who get cold sores (me!). So i just don’t! At first, since I didn’t have a solid reason, my friends thought I was being overly conscious about food. Not so!! THere is a good reason for me doing what i’m doing. So i just think, keep on keepin on

  9. says

    Always! There is so much information out there and it can be intimidating to hear about new fads/research/diets all the time! I try to look for the most scientific information and reliable sources.

  10. says

    I am a very trendy eater…..I seriously love food though and, like you, if I’m eating it, I’m eating it ALOT.

    I’ve recently began talking to a nutritionist because of my alopecia areata. I’m interested to see what he thinks is effecting me, even though I’m not allergic to it…..especially as an avid runner. How much of what I should be eating, etc. I know he does thyroid issues too……..I’m doing it all via telephone/email. If it works out I’ll pass on the name!

  11. Melisa says

    Very interesting post, but be honest, did a teensy part of you want to tell that reader to mind her own damn business? Who died and made her the food police?

  12. says

    Way to keep it light hearted and fun (as always!). Loved your point about information being confusing and changing so often. My mother was crazy (sorry mom) like that- Too much doctor Oz. One day we were not allowed to drink during dinner because some celebrity doctor said it is watering down digestive enzymes.. the list goes on and on.

    At the end of the day you are right, just gotta do YOU!

  13. Chatelaine says

    second guess? all.the.time……….. i had to stop subscribing to some blogs because I’d get so confused that i was miserable and thought everything i put in my mouth was harming me… drastic much? i’ve had to reset and totally ‘do me’…….

  14. Sara K says

    I am hypo and know all about the goitregenic stuff. Yet that didn’t stop me from putting cups of spinach into my smoothies a couple years ago. And oh boy did I feel its effects!! Stopped that pretty quickly. I don’t ban the things on the list but definitely limit them. Soy is in everything! Also the estrogen in BCPs can mess up thyroid stuff (in people who have problems with it). Found that out the hard way too.

  15. Suzanne says

    I will comment on the food in your cart–I LOVE those Sabra mini cups! Perfect amount, and I don’t feel like I am adulterating an entire container of hummus by sticking a carrot in it (I take about 3 weeks to eat a container of hummus–I vary my snacking between that and cheese & crackers after work).
    I also love Wholly Guacamole’s 100 cal packs/cups. They freeze beautifully and defrost under lukewarm water in about 5 minutes.
    I don’t have any doctor prescribed food issues except for lactose intolerance. I avoid butter, milk and cream. I do not push these values on anyone else. And it makes me angry when people get militant and judgement about their diets, ESPECIALLY when it’s not doctor prescribed. Do your own thing and let others do their own, make healthy choices, eat fruits & vegetables, drink water, and try to do everything in moderation…that is my advice. Screw fad diets!

  16. says

    There is so much misinformation on the internet that I take everything I read with a grain of salt. Plus, as a Dietitian, I tend to know when someone is blowing smoke up my rear about a new fad or trending diet 😉
    I think it’s important that you know about nutrition but every person is individual, we have individual needs and preferences and that’s okay. That’s why there are a variety of foods available!

  17. says

    I have had hypothyroidism for 10+ years and never knew about the do not eat food list. I am going to be checking it out though! Thankfully, mine is very minimal. It used to be really bad, but after I lost 80 pounds it got much better.

  18. says

    It’s funny because I’m sitting here eating strawberries and peach yogurt, while I also had spinach last night in my spaghetti. I am hypothyroidism and take medication every day for it. I may have to do some more research on foods that are possibly bad for thyroid. Thanks for the advice.

  19. Shannon in Tustin says

    Girl, I am just stopping by to comment on your disclaimer for the day. SO. DANG. HILARIOUS!

    “wine Wednesday and stupidly cancelling cable” HA HA HA HA HA
    You’ll get used to it, I promise. :)

    Thanks for keeping it real and keeping it light.

  20. Wendy says

    For a long time I felt guilty about not liking quinoa, but now I proudly say- I don’t like it!!! Also, I like romaine because spinach can feel weird on your teeth.

  21. says

    I have been hypothyroid for about 10 years, and I knew about soy but not the other foods on the list. I eat many of them daily including spinach in smoothies and salads. But my levels have always stayed in normal ranges with Synthroid. I’m just wondering what effects do you feel if you eat these foods? Do you really notice a difference without them in your diet? Are you on Synthroid or trying to control it naturally? Definitely food for thought for me. Thanks!

  22. says

    I’ll try new foods that have high nutritional value but I never feel the need to eat it just because everyone else is. That’s just dumb.
    For instance, I love quinoa, barley, chia seeds. I also really like egg yolks, so no egg white omelets for this girl. I cannot stand kale unless it’s cooked in bacon grease (just too earthy for me) and oatmeal’s texture grosses me out now even though I ate it religiously for years and years.

  23. says

    Thanks for sharing your reason for not eating spinach! I also have a low thyroid (sub-clinical) and have avoided soy, and eat broccoli, kale, etc. in moderation. I, however, did not realize that spinach is on that list and eat it at least once a day! Yikes! Thanks for the information! I will definitely “check back in” with myself and adjust as necessary!

  24. says

    Oh for crying out loud. I’m so unimpressed with myself, I can hardly stand it. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism nearly two years ago. Did I do any research? NO. None. Zilch. Zero. I eat goitrogen-rich foods! Ugh. Upward and onward, indeed.

    I gotta thank you for posting this, BIG TIME!

  25. Tonya says

    This post was your best…and oddest yet! It’s always refreshing to read
    a blog of yours that does not involve you pimping yet another product. 😉
    The Honey Boo Boo reference was genius….by the way.

  26. Laura says

    I know spinach is a better choice over romaine but ditto what the others say….romaine is usually way cheaper AND I feel like it’s a race against the clock to eat my huge bag of spinach. I usually end up eating 1/2 of it and the other half goes to waste (hey let’s throw $$$ in the trash). Now really the only time I buy it is right now…going to tint the water in the toilet bowls green on Monday for St. Patrick’s Day and I hate the thought of using food coloring….I blend the spinach up and dye the toilet water green.

  27. says

    I have found myself doubting things in the past when a new diet trend arises (like the world things carbs are bad, which is so stupid!). I always try to make sure I get a good amount of carbs, proteins, and veggies. A well-rounded diet = a well-rounded runner, not a round runner!

  28. says

    If I read something new or contradictory to what I am currently doing, I will do my research. It doesn’t make me change what I’m doing if I hear it from one person, but I may look into why it’s being said and make my decision from there.

  29. says

    I need to make that smoothie ASAP. Chocolate covered strawberries are God’s greatest gift to mankind!

    What protein powder do you use in this smoothie? I have tried a few different ones, but just curious on what your favorite is.

    It is SO HARD and EXHAUSTING to try and keep up with the current/trendiest “what’s good for you” list. It wears me out. I just try to eat all the things that taste delicious and throw some fruit and veggies in there with my french fries and call it good.

  30. The Silent Assassin says

    Loved this one!!! It made me LOL and people outside of my office wanted to know what was so funny. Halle Berry, huh, huh! (crickets chirping…) I gave them, “You had to be there” response.

    • The Silent Assassin says

      Oh, I had to tell you. Almost forgot…on the previous blog on Sevia zero calorie soda. I accidentally saw it at Whole Foods. I picked up one at $1.09 a can! Geez…but I got one anyway. Ginger Root Beer for the win! Thanks.

  31. says

    haha! Awesome! I love how you eat what you want to eat, and you eat what your body loves. That’s how it should be. If you like romaine, eat the shit out of it. :)

  32. says

    I agree with Coach Steve, especially the Catalina F*in Marathon, bwhahaha, I wish I lived there and I would run that just so I could say, I’m running the Catalina F*in Marathon…Yes, I have the humor of a 12 year old boy, I’m okay with it…

  33. Denise says

    I’m kind of freaked out… I put quite a bit of spinach in my daily shake. I will be taking this info to my Dr and doing more research. Thanks

  34. says

    No, because I know what works. Carbs, humans were made to eat carbs. We are the only animals in the whole world that think our diet should be varied in the same species. I wonder how many gorillas are thinking they should go on the paleo diet since that whole plant thing is really working for them. I just fail alot, like my fried avocado taco today.

  35. says

    What protein powder did you use? Do you find a diff in taste or texture between them? I’m vegan so am just using/having soy protein or wheat protein.

  36. says

    Hi Monica!

    I lived in Japan all last year, sans TV, and since moving back to the States I don’t have cable either. I usually listen to music and/or read, but OF COURSE, I like TV too. Silly shows. Like Vampire Diaries or Real Housewives. I got into Scandal and Nashville too.

    In Japan, we didn’t have access to any American sites. I used Project Free TV. http://projectfree.tv/
    Seems sketchy, but totally works. Don’t click on any ads. Putlucker is the best host.

    In the US, I have Netflix, use Hulu, and/or I bought a digital antenna because I could NOT miss out on the Olympics. I pick up about ten stations in Vermont: NBC, CBS, FOX, and like five local stations. It cost about $50. Sometimes iTunes has free TV episodes online too.

    I enjoy reading about all your running! I used to run marathons, but I don’t have the right foot genetics for it any longer. I had to stop and switch over to swimming. Good luck up on your upcoming trail race!

  37. says

    i’m a volume eater so i make a HUGE romaine salad, with a few toppings and a little dressing. then eat a smaller portioned dinner. that way, the bulk of what I eat comes from romaine. I figure that’s better than getting seconds and thirds!

  38. says

    I’m a sucky at home salad eater, I am new to eating them (I know, it’s terrible) and I always forget to get stuff to put on top…so it’s just spinach.

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