As promised, here is my review/summary of “Eat Dirt” by Dr. Josh Axe. You may remember I did a post on leaky gut just because I was curious about the term and wanted to learn more. Well, I learned the most from Dr. Axe’s website during my research. I bought the book he just published when it was being offered with a bunch of cool bonuses which basically paid for the book, but I’m so glad I have this book. I learned a lot more than I thought I would and definitely more than 9 things, but these are my the top nine take-aways.
1. Eight Ways to "Eat Dirt"
We need micro exposures of dirt and microbes on a continual basis to replenish the microbes that live in and on our bodies, keeping us healthy and fighting off the bad guys. Here are eight ways to accomplish this:
- Being outside, breathing microbes in the air (a good reason to take your kids outside every day to play, or exercise outside rather than in a gym)
- Having pets that go outside and bring dirt inside your home, or that you pet and hug and get the dirt transferred over to you.
- Gardening, getting your hands dirty in the yard.
- Walking barefoot (this is great for earthing, or grounding as well.)
- Eating fermented foods (kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, etc...)
- Eating foods from your garden or farmer’s market that haven’t been chemically treated for longer shelf life like at the grocery store.
- Consuming raw honey due to the pollen that hasn't been pasteurized and filtered out.
- Swimming in the ocean (the one thing I miss about living in LA… the beach and the ocean)
2. Another Detriment of Antibiotic Use
Antibiotics can wipe out some strains of good bacteria in your gut for good. Makes me a little sad and worried for my son who had quite a large dose of them a few months ago. But, now that I know, I can take action to replenish his gut flora.
3. We Clean Ourselves Too Harshly And Too Often
Showers with soap only really need to be done on work-out days (which should be like 3 times a week.) On the other days, if you must shower, just use water to rinse. I didn't realize this was good for microbes on the body, although it makes sense. I did know this was better for the natural oils on your body.
4. Several In-Home Tests Can Be Ordered
I thought it was cool that you can order so many tests to be completed in home. However, you’ll still need a licensed physician to order the test be done. Except the stool test to evaluate your body’s bacteria. That you can do yourself through ubiome.com. (I may start here with my son.) There is a Lactulose Breath Test (LBT) which helps diagnose leaky gut and small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), Organic Acids Test (OAT) which reveals mineral and vitamin deficiency, IgG test for food allergies and many others.
The websites for the other tests are greatplainslaboratory.com and gdx.net. Might be worth looking through all the tests that can be done for different symptoms to have an educated conversation with your doctor. Here in AZ, Naturopathic Doctors have to be licensed, so they should be able to order these tests and help you work through the results if you aren’t getting good results with your M.D. I don’t want to sound like M.D.s don’t help, but they are trained by Big Pharma, so the information they have is about what drug to prescribe and usually don’t have any training in nutrition and how it can be used as an alternative or in conjunction with medications to heal.
I know of research being done to make affordable at home testers for blood, don’t you think it is cool some day soon you’ll be able to draw your own blood or stool sample at home and get results immediately? Talk about a great way to help with preventative care of yourself and your family! There will probably be an app on your phone to help you read the results and give corresponding instructions to bring your numbers back to normal.
5. Three Things I Didn’t Know Damage Gut Lining
- OTC NSAID drugs like Tylenol and Ibuprofen can damage gut lining leading to leaky gut. They don’t just affect your liver or kidneys.
- Prescription Medications (well, this didn't really surprise me due to all their side effects.) Prescription Meds and OTC meds also lead to mineral depletion. Does your doctor do an organic acids test after you’ve been on prescription drugs for awhile to see how your vitamin and mineral levels are doing? Do they tell you to supplement because they should know the drug they are prescribing depletes the body’s vitamins and minerals? (I was aware of this after reading the Micronutrient Miracle by Jayson and Miranda Calton, but it is worth sharing.)
- Harsh cleaning products (I never liked the smell of them anyway which is why I’ve always been hesitant to hire a cleaning lady to help me out.)
6. If Left Untreated, Autoimmune Issues May Develop
This is why he calls leaky gut "a hidden epidemic," it may be the cause of these diseases and disorders (this is not an exclusive list): Autism, Alzheimer's, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Anxiety, Hypothyroidism, Crohn’s, Celiac Disease, Diabetes, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Allergies, Eczema, Psoriasis, Acne, Asthma, Metabolic Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer and/or Depression.
What a kick in the gut (pun intended) when prescription medications are prescribed to treat the symptoms of these diseases and those medications are probably making it worse by damaging the gut lining more.
7. Pathogenic Bugs Change Our Behavior
Different bacterial overgrowths can cause us to crave sweets or fats, depending on the strain. They can also affect our mood and behavior. They do this to help them survive and thrive in our body.
8. Different Strains of Probiotics Support Different Bodily Functions
For example, Lactobacillus acidophilus "relieves gas and bloating, improves lactose intolerance." (Probably why it is found in yogurt starter cultures.) The take-away here is to be sure to find a probiotic supplement that has as many different strains as you can, or alternate products so you get a wide variety. If you use starter cultures to ferment your own food, try different brands.
9. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Dr. Axe references his use of TCM to help heal his own gut issues and came up with 5 gut types to specialize gut healing in his patients. I find it interesting to know what a culture that has been around for thousands of years does when people get sick. In fact, Chinese Medicine was an elective choice for the Naturopath program I had began. I stopped that program because I was not going to be able to be licensed in the state of AZ after taking it, but maybe down the road, I’ll start again just for my own benefit and those of you I may coach.
I'm excited to try out some of his recipes for home care and cleaning products as well as food. I'll be sharing my results with those as I go, so stay tuned!
With love, hugs and smiles,
Is your gut leaking? Take his 30 second quiz at www.isyourgutleaking.com to find out and get information of how to receive the book for free (just pay shipping.)