Health & Happiness: The toxic soup we live in

By Jennifer Means, ND, LAC

Oregon is beautiful. Thank God for the oxygen giving trees, the sacred rivers and the majestic Cascade Mountains!

But sadly, we are heading down a steady path of increasing toxins in our environment and ourselves. The fish that we eat are full of mercury. Mercury is the most toxic, non-radioactive element on the planet. The US alone releases 200 metric tons of mercury into the environment each year from coal burning, medical and dental waste and fluorescent light bulbs. This mercury gets released into the atmosphere returning to earth in rain water and then redistributed into our atmosphere during forest fires.

Our ocean is filled with an island of plastic as big as the state of Texas. Plastics disrupt our hormones in our bodies, poison our cells, can affect fertility, puberty and break down into small particles that are consumed by our fish and insects then redistributed in our world up the food chain.

Our air is filled with chemicals. Our crops are contaminated by chemicals. These toxins disrupt hormones, inhibit our energy production, cause inflammation, infertility, birth defects and cancer.

So sad– but what can we do?

We can buy food from the outer aisles of the supermarket with less packaging. Organic does help – especially for certain foods – like strawberries, peppers, apples, grapes and celery. ( has a great list of the foods you should always buy organic)

We can use natural biodegradable detergents and cleaning agents. White vinegar works great in the home

Cook our food in stainless steel, ceramic or cast iron cookware. Avoid Teflon and aluminum pans.

Avoid herbicides or pesticides in the garden. Our children absorb these toxins more readily than adults – as their bodies are growing and their organs have unique metabolic needs.

Wear natural fiber clothing such as cotton, linen, silk, hemp and wool. Washing our synthetic fibers in washing machines contributes to the particles of plastic in our environment.

Avoid plastic bags  – use paper, bring your own. Use refillable water bottles.

Exercise regularly to mobilize toxins out of our bodies.

Drink clean water.

Breathe clean air – get out into nature more often.

I think that if we all start taking responsibility for our internal environments, we will see an increased sense of well-being and by doing so, we decrease our impact on the environment. Keep Oregon Green!

Dr. Jennifer Means & Dr. Elizabeth Elliott welcome you for Primary Care for the whole family: Nutrition, IV Therapy, Naturopathy, and Acupuncture.

For more information, contact us at 503-641-6400.