Here’s a salad you can get excited about in February. Fresh, flavorful, filling, and best served at room temp, this brown rice salad with shrimp and avocado spans the gap between winter’s braises and summer’s leafy greens. It’s the sort of simple dish I could eat happily year round.
Poached shrimp, crisp cucumber and green onion doused in a lemon-tamari vinaigrette are nestled amidst brown rice and topped with creamy slices of lemon-spritzed avocado. It’s heavenly and gluten-free.
I came by this recipe by way of my dear friend Brooke, who flew to Montana from Nantucket to meet my lil’ guy back in February of 2012. James was still quite new at the time, all smiles and baby chubs and the two of them hit it off like strained peas and carrots. The other purpose of Brooke’s visit was to fulfill a long-standing dream of mine and create one of her evocative paintings to hang over our fireplace. If you followed my previous blog you may remember seeing it.
While Noah was busy building her an easel, Brooke and I stayed busy doing what we do best– cooking and talking about things we were going to cook. She tore this recipe out of an issue of Women’s Health on the plane ride here. It looked so good and light and satisfying all at the same time, but the best part was that it met my nutrition requirements. James was having some sensitivities to corn and dairy at the time, and I had omitted them from my diet since he was still on 100% breast milk.
James grew out of most of his food sensitivities, but now, about four years after my postpartum hypothyroidism diagnosis, I have an updated set of nutritional goals. Once again, this recipe adheres and satiates. It’s still dairy, corn, and gluten-free, and it also happens to be thyroid-nourishing. I’ll break down the hypothyroid-specific nutrition for you, below.
- Iodine-rich foods like shrimp are recommended for people with hypothyroidism because they are often deficient in this key thyroid-supporting nutrient. The thyroid gland uses iodine to produce thyroid hormone.
- A low-fat diet can exacerbate hormonal imbalances like hypothyroidism. Avocado is rich in healthy fats like oleic acid which can help reduce cholesterol.
- Avocado is also one of the few foods that helps the body produce glutathione, a super-antioxidant that can boost immune function, detoxify the liver, and help combat Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
- Experts believe that up to 90% of hypothyroidism cases are autoimmune-related. Gluten molecules are nearly identical to that of thyroid tissue, making it suspect numero uno for a body’s mistaken attack on thyroid tissue. Eliminating gluten is one of the most commonly agreed upon recommendations I see for a hypothyroid-friendly diet. Brown rice is a gluten-free grain. Also, whole grains like brown rice have a higher protein and fiber content than their refined counterparts and are a better choice for maintaining a healthy weight.
- Soy is commonly discouraged for those with hypothyroidism because of it’s goitrogenic (or thyroid-inhibiting) compounds; however, in fermented soy products like tamari, the goitrogenic compounds have been greatly reduced or eliminated.
- Soy sauce often contains wheat, so if you are avoiding gluten, it is important to purchase tamari (a wheat-free soy sauce) and double-check the label.
Hope this salad brightens up your winter repertoire : )
Wishing you the Best of Health,