Add nutrients and flavor to your holiday meal with leafy greens.

There’s been a lot of talk about making cities, buildings and cards more “green.” But how about making your diet greener by enjoying a heaping helping of leafy green vegetables such as arugula, romaine lettuce, mesclun mix (or “spring mix”), spinach, kale, collard, turnip and mustard greens, watrecress, chard, broccoli rabe and Chinese broccoli. With so many options, it’s easy to make leafy greens a more prominent part of your plate — and there’s no better time to do so than the holiday season, when rich, sugary foods tend to dominate family meals, buffets and party menus.

green-vegetables

Green, leafy vegetables are a must-have this Thanksgiving since they give you a bigger ‘bang for your buck’: They are nutrient-dense but not energy-dense (higher in calories), so you get all the benefits of vitamins, minerals and fiber without all the calories.

How nutritious are they? For starters, they’re high in antioxidants such as vitamin A and vitamin C, and rich in vitamin K, potassium and iron. They also serve as a great source of fiber. These nutrients provide many benefits, such as boosting the immune system during those cold winter months and keeping the heart healthy. They may even work toward cancer prevention.

The natural fiber in leafy greens can help you feel satisfied longer because the nutrients remain in the stomach longer with the fiber. That satisfied feeling can also lead to decreased overall caloric consumption and, potentially, weight loss.

Do you want more energy?

Do you want to feel better, look better, and experience a longer, more active and more fulfilled life? Do you want to have more energy throughout the day and improve the quality of your life?

By working regular, moderate exercise into your daily routine, you can have all of that and more. And, your FirstLine Therapy® (FLT) healthcare provider or lifestyle educator can create a program that’s just right for you. This program incorporates an optimal food plan, supplements, exercise, and stress relief.

Use It or Lose It

Exercise is a crucial component of re-gaining your energy. Recent research has shown that physical deterioration and lack of function associated with aging is largely due to an inactive lifestyle. We’ve all heard, “Use it or lose it,” and while many of us are “losing” physical function because we don’t exercise, we are also increasing our chances of degenerative diseases, such as heart disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and arthritis.

Regular exercise not only gives you a better body shape, but it:

• Increases your body’s metabolic rate—you burn more calories even after you have stopped exercising
• Increases your body’s percent of lean muscle versus percent of body fat
• Improves your insulin sensitivity
• Lowers your cholesterol levels
• Lowers your risk of chronic disease
• Increases your energy and vitality
• Improves your quality of sleep
• Reduces stress and tension
• Elevates your mood
• Increases your mental performance

 Start at Your Own Pace and Have Fun

Go for a walk in nature or join the local gym. Choose a satisfying activity—like yoga—that’ll include all three aspects of fitness: aerobic, strength, and flexibility. Whatever type of fitness program you and your FLT healthcare provider create, incorporate what you enjoy. Have fun in the sun or hike the hills—dive into a deep pool or jog with your dog!

Contact Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine today at 773.435.1150 to start the FLT journey, so you can feel the benefits of being fit—and live a long, healthy life!

Low Glycemic Summer Drink Recipe

Mango Lassi
(serves 4)

100 calories, 21 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein, 1 g fat

2 mangos, partially frozen
1 cup plain yogurt

Peel and dice mangos. Place in freezer to partially freeze for about 30-45 minutes (or use frozen mangos, partially thawed). Puree in food processor. Add plain yogurt slowly to the desired consistency (approximately 1 cup) and puree. Serve at once in chilled glasses.

Belly fat can be hazardous to health

That spare tire is nothing to hold onto because it can put you at greater risk to heart disease and type 2 diabetes, especially for middle age men and women. It’s never too late to take action. Help your body get back in healthy shape.

Our FirstLine Therapy (FLT) program will help you break the cycle that’s breaking you. FLT addresses underlying factors to improve your health in subtle ways that collectively make a big difference. Learn how to enjoy the foods you already love to help your body perform the way it should, and how just minutes of simple exercise can work wonders.

FirstLine Therapy medical food UltraMeal Plus 360° is formulated to complement a scientifically designed food plan, targeting multiple pathways in the body’s blood sugar and inflammatory processes linked to metabolic syndrome and other cardiovascular-related illnesses. So you can manage current conditions and reduce your risk to developing more serious ones. The FLT Program demonstrated greater effectiveness than diet and exercise alone.

In two landmark clinical studies, the FirstLine Therapy Program showed significant improvements in recognized risk markers for heart and blood sugar related disorders in just 12 weeks. Unlike many conventional approaches that carry greater risk of serious adverse effects, no such events have been reported with FLT. Why? Because the FirstLine Therapy therapeutic lifestyle program is research-based and the medical food contains only natural ingredients manufactured to higher quality standards.

Soon after starting the FLT program, people often report increased energy and the ability to do more of the things they enjoy. Don’t let your belly fat get in your way any longer.

Manage your health risks by taking action now. The FirstLine Therapy Program has been clinically shown to:

• Reduce weight
• Improve blood pressure
• Improve cholesterol & triglycerides
• Improve other heart disease risks

If you want to take control of your life, contact Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine at 773.435.1150 or email us at info@fltchicago.com

What is Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic Syndrome is a cluster of interrelated clinical symptoms that increase an individual’s risk for many chronic diseases including atherosclerosis and type 2 diabetes. In addition to increasing susceptibility to cardiac disease, Metabolic Syndrome confers increased risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition that is rising and is associated with an increased risk of cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure. Incidence of certain malignancies, including colorectal and prostate cancer, increases with the presence of Metabolic Syndrome. Polycystic ovary syndrome, the most common endocrinopathy of reproductive age women, is strongly associated with Metabolic Syndrome. Furthermore, sexual dysfunction, gout, chronic renal disease, and microalbuminuria have each been associated with Metabolic Syndrome.

Approximately 34% of adults in the US meet criteria for Metabolic Syndrome diagnosis, and individual propensity for developing Metabolic Syndrome increases dramatically with age. Due to the prevalence of obesity and the aging population, and given the relationship among Metabolic Syndrome, and cardiovascular disease, a long-term solution is urgently needed.

Although pharmaceutical treatment options are available for managing symptoms related to Metabolic Syndrome, lifestyle change programs are the recommended first line of therapy for the prevention or management of metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic Syndrome Diagnosis

Metabolic Syndrome is a cluster of symptoms that increase the risk for cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes and is diagnosed when at least 3 of the following are present: 1) Elevated waist circumference:
Men — Equal to or greater than 40 inches (102 cm)
Women — Equal to or greater than 35 inches (88 cm)

2) Elevated triglycerides:
Equal to or greater than 150 mg/dL

3) Reduced HDL (“good”) cholesterol:
Men — Less than 40 mg/dL
Women — Less than 50 mg/dL

4) Elevated blood pressure:
Equal to or greater than 130/85

At Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine, we offer a 12 week lifestyle program – FirstLine Therapy to help combat Metabolic Syndrome. Your initial will begin by meeting with one of our physicians who are board certified internists. Weekly sessions with CCWM health coaches will counsel patients regarding our Therapeutic Lifestyle Program. Our Lifestyle educators work as a team with our physicians, providing hands-on support to patients. You will have a Stress and Cardiovascular Risk Assessment. We will review your findings and determine your health goals in order to establish your course of lifestyle therapy.

Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine provides formulas that promote healthy blood lipid levels, circulatory and blood vessel function and support, and overall heart health. Body composition analysis will be given by one of our health coaches. This is the clinical assessment of tissue and fluid distribution in the human body. The body is modeled as a series of tissue and fluid compartments. It is an integral part of a health and nutrition assessment. A BIA (Bio-Impedance Analysis) will be conducted on patients throughout the weeks to determine your body fat, water content, and muscle mass. The body composition information is indicative of one’s current state of well-being.

Patients have seen tremendous results from our FrirstLine Therapy program – lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, loose body fat and weight, have more energy and improving their overall health.

Contact one of our healthcare providers at Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine at 773.435.1150 or email us at info@fltchicago.com for more information on our FirstLine Therapy program.

Surprising Reasons for Gaining Weight

If you started taking in more calories than usual or cutting back on exercise, you wouldn’t be surprised if the numbers on the scale crept higher. But what if you’re doing everything the same as you always do and your weight still goes up?

Here are a few surprising reasons for gaining weight

1. Lack of Sleep: If you’re up late, the odds are greater that you’re doing some late-night snacking, which will increase your calorie intake. The other reason involves what’s going on biochemically when you’re sleep deprived. Changes in hormone levels increase hunger and appetite and also make you feel not as full after eating.

2. Stress: When life’s demands get too intense, our bodies go into survival mode: Cortisol, the “stress hormone,” is secreted, which causes an increase in appetite. And then of course, we may reach for high-calorie comfort foods in times of stress.

3. Menopause: Most women do gain some weight around the time of menopause, but hormones probably aren’t the only cause. Aging slows the metabolism, so you burn fewer calories, and changes in lifestyle (such as exercising less) play a role. But where you gain weight also may be related to menopause, with fat accumulating around your waist, not your hips and thighs.

4. Hypothyroidism: If your thyroid is not making enough thyroid hormone, you’re probably feeling tired, weak, cold, and gaining weight. Without enough thyroid hormone, the metabolism slows, making weight gain more likely. Even a thyroid functioning at the lower end of the normal range might cause weight gain. Treating hypothyroidism with medication may reverse some of the weight gain.

5. Cushing’s Syndrome: Weight gain is a common symptom of Cushing’s syndrome, a condition in which you are exposed to too much of the hormone cortisol, which in turn causes weight gain and other abnormalities. Cushing’s syndrome can occur if you take steroids for asthma, arthritis, or lupus. It can also occur when your adrenal glands produce too much of the hormone, or be related to a tumor. The weight gain may be most prominent around the face, neck or upper back, or waist.

6. Quitting Smoking: On average, people who stop smoking gain less than 10 pounds.

7. Antidepressants: An unfortunate side effect from some antidepressants is weight gain. Talk to your doctor about making changes to your treatment plan if you think your antidepressant is causing weight gain. But never stop or change your medication on your own. Realize that some people experience weight gain after beginning drug treatment simply because they’re feeling better, which leads to a better appetite. Also, depression itself can cause changes in weight.

8. Steroids: Anti-inflammatory steroid medications are notorious for causing weight gain. Fluid retention and increased appetite are the main reasons. Although weight gain is common, the severity of this side effect depends on the strength of the dose and length of time on the drug. Some people may also see a temporary redistribution of fat while taking the drug — to places like the face, back of the neck, or the abdomen.

If you are gaining weight … Don’t stop taking any medications without first consulting your doctor. Recognize the importance of the drug you’re taking. It may be critical to your health.

Under the direction of Vesna V. Skul, MD, FACP, Medical Director at Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine, the FirstLine Therapy (FLT) program addresses all these issues and helps get you body back on track. During the FLT program, you will be taught stress management skills, learn what to eat and not to eat, have your “body composition” assessed — the measurement of body fat in relation to lean body mass, and much more.

Dr. Skul has spoken on a wide range of topics to professional and lay audiences around the country. Her areas of expertise within women’s health include menopause management and integration of alternative and complementary medicine into mainstream medical practice.

Recognized by her peers, Dr. Skul has been among Chicago’s top doctors as reported by Chicago Magazine, for nearly a decade. She was also nationally ranked in 11 specialties by U.S. News. Dr. Skul was listed in U.S. News Top Doctors – the top 1% in the nation in his or her specialty.

She is a founder and the Medical Director of the Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine, a multispecialty holistic medical practice for women, where she enjoys empowering her many patients through education and teaches medical students and residents.

For more information on women’s health issues, contact Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine at 773.435.1150, or visit their website at www.ccwm.com