The Springboard for The Essential Thyroid Cookbook

Last week, Lisa and I shared a bit about our history and how the idea for our Essential Thyroid Cookbook came to be.

Today, we’re going deeper to show you how and why Lisa’s delicious, easy-to-prepare, mouthwatering recipes are so thyroid- and immune-supportive.

At the onset of this journey, I told her that my biggest fear was someone saying, “This is just another cookbook.” I’ve seen a few (great) cookbooks that claimed to be supportive in this or that way, with no substantive proof or explanation. You had to take the author at their word and to be honest, I’d look at some of the recipes and think, “What is it about these that are so uniquely supportive?”

I didn’t want you to see our recipes without the context of why they help to support thyroid and immune function.

So, in the cookbook, we:

  1. Provide framework for how we chose our ingredients; and
  2. Educate you about the true healing power of nutrition in overcoming hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s.

Below is a quick distillation of our process and of the Our Springboard and Our Methodology chapters. It will leave no doubt in your mind that the recipes in The Essential Thyroid Cookbook provide you with the best nutritional bang for your buck!

Our Springboard and Methodology
Lisa and I created a nutritional springboard that is the foundation of our cookbook. 

We spent weeks (think late nights and hair-splitting research) weeding wide-eyed through the subjective nature of nutrition and sleuthing out the most supportive nutrients for the thyroid and immune system. We then researched the foods that are dense sources of these nutrients – not simply moderate sources, but concentrated sources – to create our ingredient list. To see those specific nutrients, you can find our Nutrient Legend from the cookbook here.

In other words, you can rest assured that each of Lisa’s recipes possesses a broad and substantive thyroid- and immune-supportive spectrum.

Despite this insane amount of dissection, we don’t necessarily subscribe to “nutritionism,” a term popularized by author and activist Michael Pollan. This was another of our concerns – getting too granular with our research and thus, losing people (and ourselves) with our nerdy and too-scientific approach.

In his New York Times article, “Unhappy Meals,” Pollan states, “The first thing to understand about nutritionism is that it is not quite the same as nutrition. As the ‘ism’ suggests, it is not a scientific subject but an ideology. In the case of nutritionism, the widely shared but unexamined assumption is that the key to understanding food is indeed the nutrient.”

Put simply, nutritionism refers to the “parts” in the saying, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Lisa and I believe that indeed, when it comes to food and nutrition, the whole is certainly greater than the sum of its parts. But it didn’t stop us from doing what we felt was the critical, nitty-gritty research needed to make this cookbook the best that we could make it – and the most beneficial for you.

So while we perhaps strayed into a bit of “nutritionism,” we did the necessary foundational work to prevent this cookbook from being “just another cookbook.”

Although there are other whole foods, aside from the ones we highlight – and of which there are plenty in our cookbook – that contain at least some of the nutrients we identified, for the sake of simplicity and effectiveness, we created a comprehensive (and sophisticated, if we do say so ourselves) ranking system that shines the spotlight on foods that are “excellent” or “very good” sources of at least four of these nutrients.

Lisa’s recipes are built on the ingredients that “made the cut” by getting a high score.

Wait! There’s more…
If that weren’t enough, each recipe – including suggested combinations of recipes, such as a side paired with a main dish – contains at least five ingredients rich in one of these key nutrients.

The recipes have a legend displaying at least five of our nutrient symbols. The very few that don’t are beverages (that would likely be consumed as part of a meal anyway) or the recipes that can be paired (side plus main dish, for example) to round out the spectrum to meet our criteria.

Our cookbook isn’t comprised of only these ingredients – they’re simply the dense nutritional sources that each recipe or recipe combination contains at least five of.

For example, fruits, such as berries and citrus, are some ingredients that didn’t rank high in our analyses – they weren’t “excellent” or “very good” sources of at least four thyroid- and immune-supportive nutrients. But they’re important and will be included in some of our recipes because they’re an excellent source of Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that’s important for glutathione production and recycling.

Below is a visual that will make things clear. Many of you will be surprised to know that Brazil nuts, popular for their selenium content, didn’t rank high on our analyses. Again, that doesn’t mean that they’re not included in some of our recipes. Yes, they’re one of the best sources of selenium, but they didn’t offer a broad enough nutritional spectrum to qualify as a “biggie.”

As you can see, sunflower seeds scored a 7, whereas Brazil nuts only a 3. 

[NOTE: This chart does not represent the full nutritional spectrum of each food we identified. (This goes for all of our ingredients, not just the two shown above.) Our goal was to highlight especially supportive nutrients and then designate foods with considerable amounts of those nutrients.]

Let’s look at asparagus, one of my all time favorite vegetables. If you read Our Story from last week, you know that Lisa and I are big advocates of the seasonality of food. Asparagus is a “spring crop” and is already done where Lisa lives (Kansas City), but here in Minnesota, we’re at the tail end of asparagus season.

Dating back to the age of reptiles, asparagus has been recognized for its medicinal properties. Considered a detox powerhouse, it’s a perfect vegetable for spring and early summer, which is nature’s time for renewal and cleansing.

In addition to asparagus being a free radical scavenger and anti-inflammatory, it also possesses tumor-reducing properties and is rich in chlorophyll, which builds red blood cells.

As far as being thyroid- and immune-supportive, check this out. Asparagus blew past our minimum requirement of four supportive nutrients by a country mile and is our top-ranking non-leafy vegetable.

So with that, here is Lisa’s Simple Asparagus with Lemon Walnut Gremolata recipe. With local asparagus, you gotta get while the gettin’ is good!

We look forward to sharing more of our ingredient highlights – and recipes! – as the growing season continues. 


I can't wait to put my money down for your cookbook and shake your hand. I am a huge fan and so very grateful for your spirit and hardwork! Cheers to good eating!

Thank you, Katie!

I made this asparagus last night and it was hands down the best thing on our plates! Delicious. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

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