OK, I admit it.  I’m a sucker for a little brain candy once in a while and have probably frittered away way too many rainy Sunday afternoons on my favorite movie genre – classic westerns.  Ya I know, who would have guessed:) So when I hear that phrase, “the dirty dozen”, you know what pops into my mind – Lee Marvin, Telly Savalas, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson…  They just don’t make them like that anymore!  Standing up for the disenfranchised, restoring peace and safety to their lives, is always a noble aspiration.  Though I must admit, there are probably more realistic ways of going about it.

Some of you may remember that SAFTEY is actually the third arm what I call the Cross of Health representing four essential keys to a healthy body.  SAFETY covers a number different health factors, both defensive (things you can do to boost your defenses) and evasive (things to stay away from and avoid). 

In our last issue, I talked (again:) about how important a healthy immune system is to your safety and resistance to infection.  I reviewed three surefire ways and one bonus way to fortify your defenses against infections and most other major diseases, so won’t spend much time on that in this issue.

Right now I want to focus on the evasive side of SAFETY.  Obviously standing in front of bullets, trains, or bombs is not a very safe or healthy thing to do.  It is also no secret that environmental pollution, heavy metals, and toxic chemicals are an increasing concern and threat to our safety.  Some of that, aside from how you cast the occasional vote, is out of your personal control.  Other things, like what you bring into your home or use on your yard and garden, you do have more control over.  Which brings me back to The Dirty Dozen.

Oh, before I do that, I have to reiterate that smoking or any other form of tobacco is the most common and devastating form of environmental toxin anyone can subject themselves or others (second-hand) too.  Don’t do it!  If you’ve already crossed that bridge and need help quitting, you may find the stop-smoking manual I wrote a few years ago helpful.  You can find a link right here in the column just to the left of this post .  I also do personal and group coaching if following the manual on your own is a bit too challenging.  Quitting tobacco is probably the hardest change you will ever make, but also the most beneficial.  So don’t hesitate to let me know if you’d like some help.

OK, back to the Dirty Dozen.  The Environmental Work Group is “a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment”.  And they have recently started using the Dirty Dozen designation in two ways – one to refer to common toxic food additives, and the other referring to foods that commonly carry toxic agricultural chemicals.  Now I’ll be the first to point out that toxicity is always a matter of dosage – whether or not a substance is toxic to totally dependent on the amount a person is exposed to.  The other issue with this subject is that hard gold-standard scientific studies are often too expensive or even unethical to do – if you suspect a substance to be a poison, who are you going to give it to to find out for sure?!  Even testing on animals is fraught with ethical dilemmas.  That being said, here is their list of food additives that you need to watch out for.


A good rule of thumb here, stick as close to natural, unprocessed, as grown food as you can.  And start paying more attention to labels – if you can’t pronounce it or describe what it is, don’t eat it!

As far as the Dirty Dozen food list – foods that are commonly exposed to toxic agricultural chemicals – be careful when purchasing apples, strawberries, pears, nectarines, peaches, cherries, tomatoes, grapes, spinach, kale, celery, and potatoes.  At the very least, wash these well before eating or cooking.  Better yet, make a point of only purchasing these foods from organic farms.

It may be a long time before we know for sure just how toxic our food supply really is, but one thing is certain – the closer we get to food as nature intended, the more confident we can be that it is both nutritious and safe.  Just one more link in the chain of optimal health – both systemic and oral.

Dr. Lon Peckham provides comprehensive and whole-health dental care in Priest River, Idaho.  He is a Diplomat of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, a Fellow of the American Academy for Oral-Systemic Health, facilitates a national study club for the Dawson Academy, and is also certified in Lead Management and Choice Theory by the Glasser Institute.  He helps patients and dentists successfully incorporate whole-health into their lives and practices.

Extra note:  If you suspect that environmental toxicity may be affecting your health, aside from the evasive recommendations I just mentioned, you may want to consider supporting your cells and promoting restoration by supplementing your diet with ReDox signaling molecules.  Learn how others have benefited by visiting online at RedoxRevolution.NET.