Here is a handy list that can help you decrease your toxic load:  The Environmental Working Group ( is a non-profit, environmental research organization dedicated to helping people live healthier lives in a healthier environment.  It’s a great website to get information on the pesticides that are commonly on our food.  START SOMEWHERE knowing which fruits and vegetables are heavily sprayed with toxic pesticides and which ones aren’t.  

Clean 15 for 2016 – No need to buy organic

  • Avocados
  • Corn
  • Pineapples
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet Peas
  • Onions
  • Asparagas
  • Mangos
  • Papayas
  • Kiwi
  • Eggplant
  • Honeydew
  • Grapefruit
  • Cantaloup
  • Cauliflower

Dirty Dozen for 2016 – Buy organic to avoid pesticide toxins

  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Celery
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell Peppers
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers

Remember the I Love Lucy episode with Lucy and Ethel in the candy factory?  (Rewatch it for a refreshing belly laugh!)  I think that’s a perfect picture for thinking about toxins in our body.  We were designed with intricate solutions to clear what our bodies don’t need.  However, those systems can get overwhelmed and that’s when problems happen.  Just because your are not overtly sick doesn’t mean that your body is healthy and functioning optimally.  Chronic illness starts developing long before symptoms show up.  START SOMEWHERE today to reduce your exposure.  

A great new question for our series, #AskDrDebbie:    

“How easy is it to overdose on Vitamin D3?” -Susie K.

Thank you for this timely question! Vitamin D3 is a very common deficiency and one of the most essential nutrients in the body.  It actually functions more as a hormone than a vitamin.  Receptors for Vitamin D are located all over the body, including the bones, intestines, brain, pancreas, kidneys, reproductive organs, spine, thyroid gland, pituitary gland, and adrenals.

In my dental practice, I have observed people who have “spongy gums” but have good home care and minimal plaque or calculus.  My theory (which is purely observation) has been that they are low in Vitamin D.  I typically recommend that they have their Vitamin D3 tested, and so far, 100 percent have been extremely low.  Very interesting!

The key is to get it measured with a simple and inexpensive blood test. This is something your physician can easily do along with your yearly blood test or there are easy at-home kits.  For a number of common reasons, people are much more likely to be deficient in Vitamin D than to have too much:

  • Not enough sunlight:  Your body can manufacture Vitamin D3 when enough bare skin is exposed to the right amount of sun at the right time of day.  It needs to be about 10-15 minutes at solar noon – when the sun is overhead and your shadow is shorter than you are – about three times a week.
  • Overweight:  Since Vitamin D3 is a hormone-like, fat soluble vitamin, it can get stored in the body fat and be unavailable for use.
  • Dark skin:  The pigmentation of dark skin reduces Vitamin D3 production and many African Americans are deficient in this essential nutrient.  People with low Vitamin D3 are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers.  
  • Pregnancy:  According to the American Pregnancy Association, most prenatal vitamins do not have adequate Vitamin D3.  A recent study found that women taking 4000 IU/day was safe and had the greatest benefits for reducing preterm labor/births and infections.
  • Northern latitudes:  Even if you are outside “naked at noon”, it depends on your location and the time of year.  
  • Age:  Older people have thinner skin and can’t naturally produce as much Vitamin D.  Vitamin D3 is essential for bone and muscle strength!  

It is difficult to get adequate Vitamin D3 from food.  It’s found in beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, and salmon.   Again, the key is to get it measured.  I try to stay in the range of 60-90 ng/mL.  It’s tougher than I expected to maintain that level.  The Vitamin D Council has a home test kit available that makes it easy.  For an excellent, easy to read book, I recommend What You Must Know About Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs, and More by Pamela Smith, M.D., MPH.  

Everything Pumpkin! Try this yummy Pumpkin Chicken Chili now that it’s cooling off:

Adapted from Heather Christo

You will need:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 24-ounces peeled and chopped pumpkin
  • 3 15-ounce cans white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • kosher salt
  • Garnish: avocado, and fresh chopped cilantro

Here’s the drill:

  1. In a large heavy pot over medium heat add the olive oil and add the yellow onion, stirring often and cooking until tender, 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add the carrots, sweet potato and pumpkin and stir to combine.
  3. Add the white beans to the pot and then pour the chicken broth in.
  4. Add the turmeric, cumin, chili powder and red pepper flakes. Stir well and then add the shredded chicken and simmer over low heat with a lid for 30 minutes until the sweet potato and pumpkin are tender.
  5. Remove the lid and continue to simmer with the lid off for another 10 minutes. Season to taste with kosher salt and serve hot.

A verse that has inspired me this week:  “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”  Psalm 20:7

Thank you for being part of the START SOMEWHERE community.  I hope you found the clean 15 & dirty dozen useful. Let’s LIVE YOUNGER together!  

Clean 15 & Dirty Dozen

Clean 15 & Dirty Dozen