Protecting Our Health After the Fires: Tools for a toxic environment
Our bodies mirror what is happening in the environment. Here in health-conscious Sonoma County, we’re pretty good about avoiding known toxins such as BPA in water bottles and pesticide use. We’re now in uncharted territory in the aftermath of the North Bay wildfires, which have had inevitable toxic impact on our air, soil, and water quality.
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are dangerous hormone-modulating and potentially carcinogenic toxins that can remain residual in our environment for weeks to years.These pollutants include the daily use products in every household that burned as well as fire-specific chemicals such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons—some are benign, some carcinogenic, several can stick around for a long time. Flame retardants (PBDEs) are being phased out of California, but how many older sofas burned out there? Heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury are also a big post-fire toxin concern.
Molecular-sized toxins, either brought in from the outdoors or emitted from our household furniture and belongings, settle with the dust in our home which we, our children, and our pets then ingest.
Here are some ways that you can improve your internal and environmental landscape to protect your health:
Food is Medicine
Include these naturally-detoxifying foods in your diet to promote optimal liver function:
- Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, collard greens
- Water-soluble fibers such as: pears, oats, apples, and legumes (beans)
- High sulfur-containing foods such as: garlic and onions
- Artichokes, beets (tops and bottoms), carrots, dandelion (tops and bottoms), parsley, cilantro, turmeric root, sweet potatoes, and squash
- Liver support: Milk Thistle, Artichoke, Burdock Root, Dandelion root and leaf, Schisandra
- Turmeric (fresh root or Meriva SF): enhances detoxification, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory
- Mushrooms: Reishi, Turkey Tail, Shitake, Maitake, Cordyceps—these are nature’s potent detoxifiers and immune protection for the earth and our bodies
- A high-potency multivitamin and mineral can help protect against toxin exposure. Antioxidants like vitamin C, beta-carotene, and vitamin E protect the liver against damage, as well as aiding in the liver’s detoxification process. B vitamins, calcium, and trace minerals also play a role in the elimination of heavy metals and other toxic compounds.
- Lipotropic nutrients (compounds that stimulate the flow of bile and fat to and from the liver) such as choline, betaine, methionine, vitamin B6, folic acid, and vitamin B12 have a “de-congesting” effect on the liver, promoting both improved liver function and fat metabolism.
- N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), alpha lipoic acid (ALA), chlorella, and modified citrus pectin all serve to substantially increase liver detoxification thru direct liver function enhancement and/or capturing toxins for proper elimination.
- Blue Heron: GI support and detoxifying binders for proper elimination
Gentle Regular Detoxification
- Regular weekly hyperthermia treatments such peat baths (see our New Year newsletter) and infrared sauna therapy are excellent ways to routinely enhance toxin elimination.
- Clothing, pets, cars, and outdoor recreational items can be a passive collection of toxic chemicals in our day to day lives.
- Regularly wash your clothes, wash your bodies, wash your pets, and have shoe-free home.
- Consider HEPA air filtration systems and indoor plants for clean air quality in your home.
- Environmental Working Group: find the cleanest products possible at www.ewg.org
We’re exposed to toxins on a daily basis, external and internal, in many forms. Chemical exposure has its highest impact when we are vulnerable, such as in time of stress and fear. Take good care of yourself with adequate stress support including:
- Therapy as needed for support of life’s abundances and relationships
- Finding the right exercise routine that works for you
- Adaptogenic herbs
- Adequate quality sleep
Surround yourself with souls you love who love you in return—this is in many forms: friends, chosen family, pets, neighbors. Our quick smiles, nods, or waves in brief encounters. We’re all in it—life’s absurdities. Let’s have some ease on our soul’s journey with a quick smile for one another.
Please check in with your physician about starting any treatment in case you may be allergic or have a need for a personalized program. Heavy metal and toxin analysis is provided at our center and our Natural Remedy Store staff are available to assist with any of the supplements or herbs mentioned in this article to best support you and our community.