Is your kale causing your brain fog and making you more tired? 

I can hear some of you celebrating…



And others, like me, feeling really bummed that one of my fav green foods may also be toxic! 

But hold on, because there's always more to any story. 

As I shared with you a few months ago, I did a urine heavy metal test on myself. 

I was overdue- maybe you are too?

We are all exposed to metals everyday - the air we breathe, the foods we eat and stuff we put in and on our bodies.

I see over and over again in the clinic the impact of removing metals when people have exhaustion, brain fog. This piece of the puzzle is often missed when trying to heal from complex chronic fatigue including long COVID.

It sure was mine many decades ago when I first put my chronic fatigue in remission!

We have flipped the earth inside out- and our health is paying the price. 

We have beautiful buildings, and cool cars and all these things that are basically made from things that used to exist inside the earth. 

And now they're on top of the earth. As they break down, they climb into our cells. We drive our cars down the road and cadmium is released in the air, we used fossil fuels with lead up until 1974, we burn coal for energy and it puts mercury in the air we breathe. 

And we make mistakes. 

My lovely dentist thought he was taking good care of me, yours did too. But now I am riddled with poisonous mercury from the over 20 mercury fillings I had in my mouth as a child.  

Industrialization of our world has created a bit of havoc for our sensitive bodies. 

In particular, my very favorite little organelle, the mitochondria. The mitochondria have this little tiny inner membrane that is so sensitive to metals. Especially those that have two positive charges. 

They just get sucked right into that inner membrane and block the mitochondria's ability to create energy. 

Even though I know all of this- I was SHOCKED by the results of my heavy metal urine test. 

Do you own a Prius?

If so, you know about this ‘hot’, rare metal. 


Palladium is called white gold. It's one of the most expensive metals out there right now. Which is why if you own a car with a catalytic converter- especially a Prius- you run the risk of it getting stolen.  

Funny story about that. My son’s friend, an OHSU nurse, bought our Prius from us.  She left the hospital after a long shift in the middle of the night. Found her car up on bricks in the well-lit OHSU parking lot- minus her catalytic converter. 

Bless her heart. 

All she could do was laugh. 

Which is what I have to do about my high Palladium levels. 

I have not stolen any catalytic converters, I have called every supplement company I use, thought of every product I have contact with and asked pretty much any expert I run across- still no answers. 

If you ever see a lab result that does not make sense you gotta re- run it. I do it for my patients, this time I did it for myself. 

The lab re- ran my sample- same results.

The source of my high Palladium remains a mystery, if you have any ideas, let me know.

You now ask- but where does the kale come in?

There is a metal I never saw high on lab tests decades ago, now it is much more common. 

Meet Thallium, another metal that is deep, deep deep down in the earth.

Thallium, in high levels in our bodies, can lead to brain fog, fatigue and block the mitochondria just like lead and mercury can. 

Those of us who love our green vegetables or green juices or green smoothies, eating tons of vegetables a day are at higher risk for this toxic metal- why?

Heard of Fracking? This is a relatively inexpensive, yet environmentally destructive way to get natural gas out of the earth. 

It takes massive amounts of water pushed into the earth to get the natural gas out so we can use it to heat our homes and cook our supper. 

The ‘wastewater’ from fracking is sold to farms to be used to water our crops- especially where water is in limited supply such as California and Arizona- and if that water came from fracking  it’s filled with Thallium. 

Some plants are more likely to absorb this metal than others. 

The brassica family- you know broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage and yes KALE is my favorite! (My dog loves them too.) They are the best veggie family to help with supporting your liver detoxification pathways. It is one of the reasons I say EAT YOUR VEGGIES!! They help us detoxify. 

Ironically, this family of veggies also likes to suck up that Thallium. 

Kale, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, these vegetables tend to be higher in thallium if they have been exposed to ‘wastewater’ from fracking sites. 

The scientist I spoke to at Doctor's Data (the company I use for testing heavy metals in urine) 

Shared that one of their clients had off the charts Thallium levels. She had been doing her green smoothies every day- and yes, they were organic! She stopped her smoothies and her levels dropped and her brain fog disappeared as well.  

Am I saying you should throw OUT the veggies in your diet??NO! What I'm saying is be aware that this is an issue, without going into your fear brain, because being in your fear brain triggers your limbic brain and that makes it so that it's very hard to heal and to be happy. 

Instead, just be aware that this is one of the situations that is here with us on the planet.

Here are the 3 smart actions you can take:

  • Keep eating your veggies!! Please!! I love mine and feel good when I purchase locally from local organic farms. (I know they are not using fracking water because we don't frack over here!) I also try to buy from farms that do not grow near busy roads. 
  • Ask your farmer!  I called up Cal-Organics. They are the main suppliers of organic veggies to our local stores. They assured me that they use absolutely no wastewater in any of their crops at all. And I believed them. I was relieved!
  • Choose wisely- I used to say eat lots of veggies even if they are not organic. Now I would say- choose wisely. Do I still get non-organic kale when I am out at a restaurant? Yup, I do and I do not worry about it. However if I ate out ALL the time, I would make sure to eat a variety of foods and watch my brassicas. Check out the guide from  Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen to help you choose what to buy organic over conventional grown.
  • If you are thinking you need a heavy metal test- you may be right!  It can be reassuring to find out your baseline.  We all have our genetic differences and how we metabolize toxins.  Heavy metals may not be a problem for you at all.  Or if they are, it's good to start figuring out your plan to reduce your load. I do have to warn you, the body is very very good at hiding toxins and you may not know your total load from one urine test, but it's a great place to start.  If you’re interested in getting metal tested, here's the metal test company that I use- Doctors Data.
  • Yup, guess how metals leave your body- your stool, urine and sweat.  Incorporating daily practice to support your bodies natural elimination is smart in these times. You may need a full out detox like I am doing right now, with ALL the magic tricks I am using. OR you may just need to add in a few things to keep things moving out on a daily basis. 

Here are some basics to consider:

  1. Sweat: saunas, hot sweaty pickle ball games or dancing FOLLOWED BY A SHOWER are great for releasing all sorts of toxins and keeping your lymph moving. 
  2. Fiber: in your diet helps bind metals in your stool and you release them with your bowel movement.  Aim for 30 grams of fiber a day.
  3. Water: “The solution to pollution is dilution.” Aim for ½ your body weight in water each day to reduce your toxic load.

I believe through awareness we can be conscious advocates for our own health.

Keep healing, keep doing all the amazing things you do!

In Great Health and Love

Dr. Jenny Tufenkian ND

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