THE SEASON OF GREENS

By Karen Malkin Health Counseling 

Good for the liver, immune system, gut, and more…

To me, the change of seasons means I get to enjoy more fresh nutrient-dense goodness of greens such as spinach, kale, and Swiss chard.

Spring is the ideal time to introduce these power-packed vegetables to your diet; it’s nature’s time of rebirth, and the greens that grow now are designed to rejuvenate and cleanse your body after the winter season of slowing down and eating warmer, heavier foods.

The list of beneficial properties offered by greens is long and includes:

  • improving circulation
  • promoting healthy gut flora
  • improving liver function
  • strengthening the immune system
  • clearing congestion

Greens provide a whole host of valuable nutrients, micronutrients, and phytonutrients. Chlorophyll (found in all green vegetables) is a powerful blood builder akin to liquid oxygen!

If you are trying to get pregnant, you can benefit from the high folate content in greens. And if you need to increase your calcium intake, leafy greens beats milk because it doesn’t put the body into an acidic state the way dairy does. Here are some greens with significant amounts of calcium:

  • cooked beet greens
  • dandelion greens
  • turnip greens
  • kale
  • collards
  • parsley
  • watercress

Try a variety of methods such as steaming, boiling, sautéing in oil, water sautéing, waterless cooking or lightly pickling, as in a pressed salad.

  • Boiling makes greens plump and relaxed. Boil for less than a minute so the nutrients in the greens don’t get lost in the water. If you’re using organic greens, drink the cooking water as a health-giving broth or tea!
  • Steaming makes greens more fibrous and tight, which is great if you’re trying to lose weight. Raw salad is also a wonderful preparation for greens. It’s refreshing, cooling, and supplies live enzymes.

Get into the habit of adding the following leafy green veggies to your daily diet, and notice what happens to your energy levels, your complexion, and your waistline.

If you have some garden space, why not try growing your own?

What Does the Gut Have to Do with It?
Along with the garden in your backyard, there’s also a “garden” in your gut, and it’s comprised of a complex network of trillions of microorganisms that work together to help you maintain vibrant health and achieve permanent weight loss. This is because of their influence on metabolism, appetite regulation, energy expenditure, endocrine regulation, inflammation, and insulin resistance. In fact, the influence is so strong that studies show that imbalanced gut flora contributes to obesity.

To prime your gut to work with nature and help reboot your system—and replenish your microflora, load up on leafy greens. An exciting discovery out of Australia suggests that due to an unusual sugar molecule found in them (sugar sulfoquinovose, or SQ), leafy greens are essential for feeding good gut bacteria. SQ evidently limits the ability of bad bacteria to colonize the gut by shutting them out of the prime “real estate.”

Your Healthiest Option
As always, I recommend you purchase ORGANIC fruit and vegetables as they are better for your health (and the health of the environment)! If it’s not in your budget to do this, consult the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list and prioritize buying organic for these fruits and veggies—they are the ones sprayed with the highest amount of pesticides.

To your good health,
Karen


Are you looking to reduce your toxic load with a metabolism re-set this Spring? Sign up for one of my 14 Day Transformation programs here:

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What’s in your tap water? – filter for optimal health!

By Karen Malkin – Karen Malkin Health Counselsing

Water is the driving force of all nature.” — Leonardo DaVinci

Did you know that nearly all the major systems in your body depend on water?

Water moistens sensitive tissues, lubricates joints, protects organs, regulates body temperature, helps dissolve minerals to make them accessible to your body, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells and lessens the burden on the kidney and liver by flushing out waste. That’s why it’s so important to stay hydrated! As a reminder, your daily requirement is half your body weight in ounces.

Your Water Source
It’s tempting to drink straight from your tap, but is the water safe? To make it easier to understand exactly what’s in your water, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has pulled together a comprehensive database of drinking water quality reports by zip code. Click here to find the results for your area.

According to the EWG’s study, “The vast majority of the nation’s drinking water supplies get a passing grade from federal and state regulatory agencies. However, many of the 250-plus contaminants detected through water sampling and testing are at levels that are perfectly legal under the Safe Drinking Water Act or state regulations, but well above levels authoritative scientific studies have found to pose health risks.”(1) This is where we can take action.

Greater Chicago Water Contaminants

For our greater Chicago area (I pulled the results for the north shore areas) and 10 contaminants were shown to be present at levels higher than what’s considered safe.

  • Arsenic

  • Bromodichloromethane

  • Chloroform

  • Chromium (hexavalent)

  • Dibromochloromethane

  • Dichloroacetic acid

  • Radiological contaminants

  • Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)

  • Trichloroacetic acid

  • Hormones

Of these contaminants, I’d like to focus on chromium-6 or hexavalent chromium. It’s naturally occurring, but mostly a chemical byproduct of industry. Made notorious by the film “Erin Brockovich,” hexavalent chromium is unregulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act. California state scientists have established a level at which this chemical poses a negligible risk of cancer for people who drink it daily for a lifetime.(2) It has been detected in levels HIGHER than that in drinking water supplies for more than 250 million Americans in all 50 states. This is alarming.

Fortunately, there are ways to clean this up so you can safeguard your health. As part of the study, the EWG has provided suggestions for specific filters—across all price ranges from simple pitches to whole-home systems—that pull out specific contaminants found in your tap water.

Here are a few filter options to pull out hexavalent chromium from your tap water.


PITCHERZeroWater 8-Cup Stainless Steel Pitcher

  • Uses ion exchange and granular activated carbon

  • Only pitcher certified by NSF to reduce both lead and chromium

  • BPA free

  • TDS (total dissolved solids) meter that provides a digital reading so you know when it is time to change your filter

DISPENSERZeroWater 23-Cup Dispenser 

  • Uses ion exchange and granular activated carbon

  • Only pitcher certified by NSF to reduce both lead and chromium

  • BPA free

  • TDS (total dissolved solids) meter that provides a digital reading so you know when it is time to change your filter

  • One-handed “push to dispense” spout to fill any bottle or cup

PLUMBED-IN, SEPARATE TAPMicroline Reverse Osmosis System TFC-435

  • Uses reverse osmosis and granular activated carbon

  • Up to 35 gallons per day

  • NSF Standard 58 Certified System

  • 4-stage TFC (thin film composite) performance

  • Comes with 1 free set of replacement filters

PLUMBED IN: Whether or not your water is harmful of helpful depends on what’s in it. Distillers and reverse osmosis systems come the closest to removing most contaminants. If you are on public water, call your water provider and ask for the Annual Consumer Confidence Report which will contain a list of regulated contaminants in your water.

For public/municipal water supplies, pay attention to what is intentionally put into your water to disinfect it for you. Numerous contaminants naturally occur in well water. If you are on a well, it’s important to have your water independently tested for contaminants. Know the contaminants in your specific water, and find filters that remove them. Download Environmental Working Group’s water filter guide here.

For a list of 70+ more filters that take out hexavalent chromium, click here.

Karen


MORE NEWS
Karen’s Corner 

SAVE THE DATE: Please join me me on Wednesday, April 18th at The Four Seasons Chicago! Keynote, Tieraona-Low Don, MD, will speak on her latest book “Life is Your best Medicine”! I am chairing this event and created an anti-inflammatory menu with the chef. The food will be amazing! Click here for tickets or reach out to me directly by replying to this e-mail. Join me in supporting my mission to help change the way we practice medicine by supporting the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern Medicine.

MUST SEE DOCUMENTARY: I sponsored a documentary film at Sundance Film Festival, The Devil We Know, unraveling one of the biggest environmental scandals of our time, a group of citizens in West Virginia take on a powerful corporation after they discover it has knowingly been dumping a toxic chemical- PFOA- into the water supply. PFOA is found in the blood of 99.7% of Americans and used to make Teflon, Gortex, Scotchguard, and many other products.

Are you looking to reduce your toxic load with a metabolism re-set this Spring? Sign up for one of my 14 Day Transformation programs here:

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MAKE BRAIN HEALTH A PRIORITY

brain health

Brain health is as important as your overall physical health. Here’s why…

As your brain ages, it becomes less efficient at utilizing glucose as an energy source. This defect in energy conversion starves your brain of nourishment and weakens its ability to withstand normal oxidative stress from free radicals.

As a result, you are more susceptible to neurodegenerative disorders and you can run the risk of developing dementia.

KETONES TO THE RESCUE! 

Ketones are designed to fuel the brain and other peripheral organs during reduced carbohydrate diets when blood glucose levels are low. Normally, your brain primarily derives its energy from glucose, but when ketosis is induced, up to 75% of energy requirements can be obtained through the production of ketones.

MCTs leads to substantially more ketones in the blood (compared to LCTs), making the fatty acids a critical substance for a healthy brain.

Studies show a state of ketosis may help prevent and provide symptomatic relief to a wide variety of brain disorders:

  • ALS
  • Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia
  • Autism
  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Traumatic brain injury

Ketones have been found to reduce Alzheimer’s-type plaque in the brain.

In clinical studies, Alzheimer’s patients who consumed a beverage with MCTs compared to one without MCTs, scored significantly better on cognitive tests.

In other studies, ketosis has led to:

  • improved performance on visual-spatial memory tasks
  • increased ability of learning tasks
  • enhanced short-term memory

Ketones trigger the activation of specialized proteins called brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNFs) that aid in brain cell maintenance, repair, and protection. BDNFs also stimulate the growth of new brain cells to replace dead or dying cells, allowing some mental function restoration.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MCT

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Self-Love and Your Health

By Karen Malkin from Karen Malkin Health Counseling 

It’s easy to get swept up in all things love. But do you ever really think about love in the context of yourself? If not, it’s time to get selfish, because the love you show yourself is the greatest form of self-care and also what will keep you healthy (and happy) in the long run.

The benefits of this form of self-care or self-compassion are clear. According to Emma Seppala, Ph.D., Associate Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism, making the effort to nourish your body, mind, and soul with love can lead to:

  • increased inner strength,
  • increased productivity,
  • and decreased stress.

In addition, research out of Wake Forest University about the effects of self-compassion on eating habits shows that women who gave themselves permission to occasionally indulge were less likely to overeat than those who relentlessly beat themselves up over any indulgence.

It may seem frivolous, but self-care is not something to take lightly. You can reap the wellness benefits by focusing on yourself in these important ways:

Love Yourself — Start by being less critical of yourself. Silence the inner voice in your head that tells you are not good enough… smart enough… rich enough… thin enough…. Become aware of when your inner voice launches into her harsh critique, and try to reframe the dialogue so that it’s more caring. This will take some time, but the goal is for that voice to be as loving as it would be if you were talking with a dear friend.

Takeaway: You don’t have to love your extra weight, but you need to love the person who has the extra weight.

Feed Yourself — An important physical form of nourishment comes from the foods you choose to feed your body. A loving attitude towards yourself makes you want to fill your plate with that which make you feel energized and clear-headed (whole foods, organic fruit and vegetables, and healthy fats) as opposed to that which leave you feeling drained, spacey, and hungry for more (fast food, processed food, and fried food). Something as simple as staying properly hydrated can be a powerful signal to your body that you care.

Takeaway: Filling your tank with healthful whole foods is a radical form of self-love.

Time for Yourself — Are you are a mom juggling the needs of your family? Or are you a busy executive, giving 110% to your job? Or maybe both of these roles fit? If so, one of the most important things you can do is carve out time each week for you—and you alone. That means that during that timeframe, everyone else’s needs take a backseat to yours. Whether you schedule a massage, sink into a great book, take a walk with a friend, or simply do nothing, you’ll find that prioritizing yourself in this way provides the perfect opportunity to recharge your batteries.

Takeaway: You show up in the world in a much more meaningful way when you take time to prioritize yourself.

When it comes to taking time for yourself, I invite you to join our 14 Day Transformation Cleanse, which features two full weeks of eating nourishing whole foods as well as wellness supplies and direct support from me. During that time, you can expect to feel more energetic, mentally clear, better able to sleep, and more! Why not give yourself the ultimate gift of self-love? Sign up today here.

To your good health,

Karen

MORE NEWS – EXPANDING MY REACH

As many of you may know, earlier this year, I joined the board of the Environmental Working Group (EWG). I couldn’t be more proud of the work we’re undertaking. As a consumer advocacy group focusing on (and fighting for) getting potentially harmful chemicals out of the food we eat and the products we use, I’m able to make a bigger impact with the causes that are close to my heart. Back in October 2017, I attended a two-day board meeting in Washington DC, and we also spent a day lobbying on Capitol Hill in support of the Organic Farm Bill. This year I will be dedicating more of my energy to this advocacy work with the goal of building a healthier world with integrative medicine at its core.

If you want to work with me 1:1, I will still be taking clients, but will be limiting my in-person sessions and shifting to a mix of Skype/FaceTime/phone and office visits. I also highly recommend my 14 Day Transformation programs as a self-guided alternative. For more information:

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