HOME: Toxic Overload

toxic overloadFor 24 years, Karen Munger’s husband fought fires and sifted through the ashy rubble of destroyed properties and burned-out homes. He also breathed in the chemicals and toxins released from scorched plastics and synthetic materials and hundreds of other poisonous substances that haunted the air and burned the lungs.

“He was always very careful about keeping his breathing gear on,” said Munger, of Edmond. “He really stood firm about protecting his lungs and limiting his exposure, but between the plastics and synthetics in fires, toxins still build up.”

Munger’s husband suffers from toxic overload and chemical sensitivity, making him ultra-vulnerable to nearly every chemical, toxin or foreign substance. Suffering with headaches, dizziness, sinus congestion, difficulty breathing, rashes, nausea and body aches, – he couldn’t even walk by the outdoor pool in the couple’s Edmond home without the chlorine fumes irritating his skin and lungs. “Last summer we hit a crisis. We knew something was wrong for a long time, but no one could tell us what it was,” Munger said. “We had to go to the ER for his breathing issues. Finally, we found a doctor who specialized in environmental medicine.”

What followed was a complete detoxification of not only Munger’s husband’s body, but their Edmond home as well. The food had to be all organic in order to stop adding to his toxicity levels. Personal care products – like soap, toothpaste and shampoo – and cleaning supplies had to be allergen and chemical-free. The couple even invested in a far-infrared sauna made of a specific wood, glass only and no glues or plywood. That helped him release toxins from deep within his body.

The Mungers aren’t alone. More people are being exposed to toxins and chemicals daily, even in their own homes. However, with a few small changes, anyone can start cleaning out their living space, making it safer and healthier. The Mungers are an extreme case of toxic overload, but Dr. Michelle Menzel, doctor of naturopathy and owner of Edmond’s Naturopathic and Energetic Wellness Center, says people in general are becoming too toxic.

Menzel, who suffered an illness brought on by extreme diets and environment, says organic and whole living can make a big difference in everyone’s health. “Our problem is all the over-processed and refined foods,” she said. “My heart was set on studying preventive medicine through food. What we eat is our medicine for our bodies.”

After more than 15 years of independent and official study, Menzel opened her practice in 2008, using the seven laws of wellness approach. She also has introduced the 48-Day Transformation, a program designed to detoxify the system and, as an added bonus, lose weight.

But besides a whole, organic diet, Menzel says homeowners can institute small changes to make a big impact on the toxicity levels in their homes. “Making a complete overhaul change can be intimidating and a lot of people do not have the means to do it all at once,” she said. “But you can start doing small things to detoxify your home. Start replacing toxic chemicals one by one,” Menzel said. “Adding whole foods to cleanse and build up the body through nutrition is best.”

Munger agreed. “Anything you can do to make your home greener or healthier, the better. Just changes in your food and what you use to clean things makes a big difference,” she said. According to Menzel, foods that typically have the highest pesticide load are fruits like apples, grapes, pears and strawberries as well as vegetables like celery, lettuce and potatoes. She recommends always buying these organic. Not only is organic produce chemical-free, but it also contains more antioxidants and higher levels of beneficial minerals like iron and zinc. Produce that typically has the lowest pesticide
load are foods like bananas, kiwi, pineapple, avocado, asparagus and broccoli. Munger adds, “making a 180-degree change is hard, but if you make one percent changes and start upgrading slowly, you can do it. It’s so important now.”

For more information on Dr. Menzel, environmental toxicity or the 48-Day Transformation, call 359-1245 or visit www.energeticwellnessok.com.

Here are some changes that can be made in the home:

• Open your windows for at least 20 minutes a day to circulate fresh air and air out any toxins in the home.

• Choose hardwood flooring or tile
over carpeting. Carpets contain many chemicals, including formaldehyde, which can be dangerous. If you choose carpets, choose ones with natural fibers and backing, like hemp.

• Use nontoxic paint and wait longer than three hours between coats. Be sure to air out the room after each coat.

• Choose natural and non-toxic cleaners for basic cleaning. Many stores now carry products that are organic or toxin-free. Or check the web for natural cleaning alternatives – like vinegar, baking soda or lemons.

• Opt for a saltwater pool or other less toxic alternatives, over a traditional chlorine pool.

• Cut down on electromagnetic radiation in the home created by electronic appliances by installing a home

• In the kitchen, use stainless steel or ceramic-coated pans or glassware to cook or store food.

• Have air ducts cleaned regularly.

• Install a reverse-osmosis water filter to your sink and use glass or stainless steel drinking containers.

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