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Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving Our Children from an Oversanitized World

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“A must-read . . . Takes you inside a child’s gut and shows you how to give kids the best immune start early in life.” —William Sears, MD, coauthor of The Baby Book Like the culture-changing Last Child in the Woods, here is the first parenting book to apply the latest cutting-edge scientific research about the human microbiome to the way we raise our children. In the two hu “A must-read . . . Takes you inside a child’s gut and shows you how to give kids the best immune start early in life.” —William Sears, MD, coauthor of The Baby Book Like the culture-changing Last Child in the Woods, here is the first parenting book to apply the latest cutting-edge scientific research about the human microbiome to the way we raise our children. In the two hundred years since we discovered that microbes cause infectious diseases, we’ve battled to keep them at bay. But a recent explosion of scientific knowledge has led to undeniable evidence that early exposure to these organisms is beneficial to a child’s well-being. Our modern lifestyle, with its emphasis on hyper-cleanliness, is taking a toll on children’s lifelong health. In this engaging and important book, microbiologists Brett Finlay and Marie-Claire Arrieta explain how the trillions of microbes that live in and on our bodies influence childhood development; why an imbalance of those microbes can lead to obesity, diabetes, and asthma, among other chronic conditions; and what parents can do--from conception on--to positively affect their own behaviors and those of their children. They describe how natural childbirth, breastfeeding, and solid foods influence children’s microbiota. They also offer practical advice on matters such as whether to sterilize food implements for babies, the use of antibiotics, the safety of vaccines, and why having pets is a good idea.  Forward-thinking and revelatory, Let Them Eat Dirt is an essential book in helping us to nurture stronger, more resilient, happy, and healthy kids. 


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“A must-read . . . Takes you inside a child’s gut and shows you how to give kids the best immune start early in life.” —William Sears, MD, coauthor of The Baby Book Like the culture-changing Last Child in the Woods, here is the first parenting book to apply the latest cutting-edge scientific research about the human microbiome to the way we raise our children. In the two hu “A must-read . . . Takes you inside a child’s gut and shows you how to give kids the best immune start early in life.” —William Sears, MD, coauthor of The Baby Book Like the culture-changing Last Child in the Woods, here is the first parenting book to apply the latest cutting-edge scientific research about the human microbiome to the way we raise our children. In the two hundred years since we discovered that microbes cause infectious diseases, we’ve battled to keep them at bay. But a recent explosion of scientific knowledge has led to undeniable evidence that early exposure to these organisms is beneficial to a child’s well-being. Our modern lifestyle, with its emphasis on hyper-cleanliness, is taking a toll on children’s lifelong health. In this engaging and important book, microbiologists Brett Finlay and Marie-Claire Arrieta explain how the trillions of microbes that live in and on our bodies influence childhood development; why an imbalance of those microbes can lead to obesity, diabetes, and asthma, among other chronic conditions; and what parents can do--from conception on--to positively affect their own behaviors and those of their children. They describe how natural childbirth, breastfeeding, and solid foods influence children’s microbiota. They also offer practical advice on matters such as whether to sterilize food implements for babies, the use of antibiotics, the safety of vaccines, and why having pets is a good idea.  Forward-thinking and revelatory, Let Them Eat Dirt is an essential book in helping us to nurture stronger, more resilient, happy, and healthy kids. 

30 review for Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving Our Children from an Oversanitized World

  1. 5 out of 5

    Irena BookDustMagic

    I had this non-fiction book since it first came out, but somehow never got around it. Now when I finally gave it a chance, I am glad I read it at this point of my life, when I'm a mum to a newborn and can learn so much about developing his immunity. I think this book gives valuable informations and advices, and it is also written in interesting way which makes it easy for everyone to understand what the authors wanted to say. It is also full of examples which makes it even more easy to understand. I I had this non-fiction book since it first came out, but somehow never got around it. Now when I finally gave it a chance, I am glad I read it at this point of my life, when I'm a mum to a newborn and can learn so much about developing his immunity. I think this book gives valuable informations and advices, and it is also written in interesting way which makes it easy for everyone to understand what the authors wanted to say. It is also full of examples which makes it even more easy to understand. I would recommend it to parents of little children and newborns, and to parents to be. Read this and more reviews on my blog https://bookdustmagic.com

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mischenko

    I had higher expectations when I started reading this. Over and over the authors state that we've ruined our guts which has now led to many disorders like asthma and allergies to name a few, with a list of do's and don'ts after each. Yet, many of the studies need more research and are inconclusive. Not only that, I hoped that I could learn about what I can do now to help myself and my kids. What should I eat? What should I drink? Supplements? Should we take a daily probiotic? No information was I had higher expectations when I started reading this. Over and over the authors state that we've ruined our guts which has now led to many disorders like asthma and allergies to name a few, with a list of do's and don'ts after each. Yet, many of the studies need more research and are inconclusive. Not only that, I hoped that I could learn about what I can do now to help myself and my kids. What should I eat? What should I drink? Supplements? Should we take a daily probiotic? No information was given on that, but I'm guessing it's a must. The book does however explain all the things we're doing wrong. The importance of breastfeeding, playing outside, healthy diet and exercise etc. is emphasized. Overall, a book worth reading, but glad I didn't purchase it because it's a lot of reiterating known facts.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    Ahhh this book was so interesting. I’ve never strongly agreed with 50% of a book while strongly disagreeing with the remaining 50%, ha! Loved all of the fascinating info about microbiota, bacteria, diet, the importance of using antibiotics very sparingly, improving pregnancy health, how to deliver babies in the most ideal environments, raising babies/toddlers/children with healthy bacterial exposure, etc. But strongly disagreed with the evolutionary information and pro all vaccines stance. Some Ahhh this book was so interesting. I’ve never strongly agreed with 50% of a book while strongly disagreeing with the remaining 50%, ha! Loved all of the fascinating info about microbiota, bacteria, diet, the importance of using antibiotics very sparingly, improving pregnancy health, how to deliver babies in the most ideal environments, raising babies/toddlers/children with healthy bacterial exposure, etc. But strongly disagreed with the evolutionary information and pro all vaccines stance. Some great information and I’m glad I listened to it, but can’t give it more than 2 stars because of the specific content I disagreed with.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Interesting information regarding the "bugs" that inhabit the human gut and, in turn, affect one's general health (and how diet, cleanliness, antibiotics, etc. factor into the equation). However, I was put off by, one, the majority of the information being inconclusive, from a scientific and medical standpoint (most of what is discussed has only been studied in animals, if at all), and two, the majority of the "advice" being, therefore, inconclusive, not to mention conflicting (e.g., you don't h Interesting information regarding the "bugs" that inhabit the human gut and, in turn, affect one's general health (and how diet, cleanliness, antibiotics, etc. factor into the equation). However, I was put off by, one, the majority of the information being inconclusive, from a scientific and medical standpoint (most of what is discussed has only been studied in animals, if at all), and two, the majority of the "advice" being, therefore, inconclusive, not to mention conflicting (e.g., you don't have to wash your hands too much ...just before eating, after using the bathroom, if you've been in contact with someone sick, etc.—as in, as usual). But, if you're willing to dig through the conjecture, you may nevertheless find some reasonable (and potentially liberating) rationale to more or less let your kids get dirty.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jess Jackson

    For the most part I enjoyed this book and found it interesting. Personally for me I found that my mind wandered a bit as they seem to repeat themselves in parts. Also some parts I just didn't find interesting so my attention waned For the most part I enjoyed this book and found it interesting. Personally for me I found that my mind wandered a bit as they seem to repeat themselves in parts. Also some parts I just didn't find interesting so my attention waned

  6. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    A decent introduction for people who have not yet heard much about the emerging science of the human microbiome. The early chapters provide a slightly more detailed biological breakdown of the "why" behind the arguments in favor of natural birth and breastfeeding than is common. These insights are given in a conversational tone that (one can only assume) the authors intend to sound approachable. Unfortunately as the chapters progress, they trip and fall over the line between approachable and vap A decent introduction for people who have not yet heard much about the emerging science of the human microbiome. The early chapters provide a slightly more detailed biological breakdown of the "why" behind the arguments in favor of natural birth and breastfeeding than is common. These insights are given in a conversational tone that (one can only assume) the authors intend to sound approachable. Unfortunately as the chapters progress, they trip and fall over the line between approachable and vapidly twee (case in point: discussing information gained from fecal bacteria analysis as a "massive dump of data", p. 244). A little more scientific structure would have been welcome--for instance, though endnotes are provided, the corresponding citation numbers do not appear next to the relevant text. Their arguments on behalf of the importance of vaccination would also have benefited from some scholarly rigor--that chapter tied with the chapter on the microbial benefits of dogs for fewest citations. The authors acknowledge that for many this is a highly emotionally charged topic; they have no excuse, therefore, for failing to bring their A game.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    So much to digest (no pun intended) after reading this book. I've never been fearful of germs and allow my children to get dirty/play in mud/chew on sticks, so maybe the perspective was just reiterating my beliefs BUT it provided strong scientific evidence to allow our kids to do these things. If anything, this should be mandatory reading for parents during this COVID time period. We're creating an even MORE oversanitized environment for children (which will have nothing but detrimental affects So much to digest (no pun intended) after reading this book. I've never been fearful of germs and allow my children to get dirty/play in mud/chew on sticks, so maybe the perspective was just reiterating my beliefs BUT it provided strong scientific evidence to allow our kids to do these things. If anything, this should be mandatory reading for parents during this COVID time period. We're creating an even MORE oversanitized environment for children (which will have nothing but detrimental affects if we don't correct it sooner than later!) Our bodies are miraculous and capable of much more on their own than people would like to believe.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    Although I found myself skimming over some of the technical and seemingly repetitive parts of the book, it changed my mindset away from overly protective hygeine in raising our two boys. I now laugh if the dog licks my son's face, not cringe. They still have to wash their hands when we come in from outside, but not always before meals. I have been able to steer the doctor away from giving antibiotics for minor colds. We have yogurt every day. And I am still quite fascinated by how the gut flora Although I found myself skimming over some of the technical and seemingly repetitive parts of the book, it changed my mindset away from overly protective hygeine in raising our two boys. I now laugh if the dog licks my son's face, not cringe. They still have to wash their hands when we come in from outside, but not always before meals. I have been able to steer the doctor away from giving antibiotics for minor colds. We have yogurt every day. And I am still quite fascinated by how the gut flora and fauna can change everything in the body.

  9. 4 out of 5

    K

    This book is written by two microbiologists. Super interesting stuff about the microbiome and the gut / brain relationship. It said the gut has the second most number of neurons, second to the brain. And they used to think the brain dictated to the gut but now scientist also think the gut dictates to the brain. The book includes various chapters on pregnancy, c-section vs vaginal deliveries, breastfeeding, Autism, vaccines, IBS, ect. The last chapter talks about a new alternative treatment for c This book is written by two microbiologists. Super interesting stuff about the microbiome and the gut / brain relationship. It said the gut has the second most number of neurons, second to the brain. And they used to think the brain dictated to the gut but now scientist also think the gut dictates to the brain. The book includes various chapters on pregnancy, c-section vs vaginal deliveries, breastfeeding, Autism, vaccines, IBS, ect. The last chapter talks about a new alternative treatment for c-diff. The YouTube video in the link below explains it simply. But apparently they also have used the fecal transplants for a number of other things, including to treat autism (not yet proven, still being studied). https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/gastr...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    I really enjoyed reading this book overall. It has a lot of interesting information and things to consider. While I found parts of it a bit dry and hard to read, I ultimately would recommend this book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    An amazing look at a burgeoning field of medicine. I've been saying this for years, I've observed my friends and their kids. The families with super clean houses and that were washing all the time were the ones that seemed to always be sick. But the people I know who don't have immaculate houses and who's kids are allowed to get dirty are healthier. I literally let my kid eat dirt when she was little, much to other people's horror. At one point they discuss the rise in cleanliness, I think they An amazing look at a burgeoning field of medicine. I've been saying this for years, I've observed my friends and their kids. The families with super clean houses and that were washing all the time were the ones that seemed to always be sick. But the people I know who don't have immaculate houses and who's kids are allowed to get dirty are healthier. I literally let my kid eat dirt when she was little, much to other people's horror. At one point they discuss the rise in cleanliness, I think they left out one factor in why cleanliness became so popular. I think a major factor is that it's a status symbol, the rich don't have to work, so they don't get dirty. If you look at old 50's appliance commercials and ads aimed at housewives, you can see this message almost directly stated. They do not claim that this is a magic bullet that will fix everything, but the do look at how antibiotics and over sanitation are harming us as a species. I applaud the FDA for banning 15 components used in anti-bacterial soaps this year, and glad that handsanitizer sales are being banned in my state starting in 2017. Get messy, let your immune system learning.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Vannessa Anderson

    Microbes are the smallest forms of life on Earth. They encompasses bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and other types of organisms that can be seen only with a microscope. Microbes are also the oldest and most successful forms of life on our planet, having evolved long before plants and animals (plants and animals actually evolved from bacteria). Although invisible to the naked eye, they play a major role in life on Earth. Authors Finlay and Arrieta explore the history and benefits of non-dangerous Mic Microbes are the smallest forms of life on Earth. They encompasses bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and other types of organisms that can be seen only with a microscope. Microbes are also the oldest and most successful forms of life on our planet, having evolved long before plants and animals (plants and animals actually evolved from bacteria). Although invisible to the naked eye, they play a major role in life on Earth. Authors Finlay and Arrieta explore the history and benefits of non-dangerous Microbes in the body. We learn how we are exposed to Microbes during birth and how Microbes fit in with the development of our immune system. And, the disadvantage of ingesting antibiotics. Things I Learned ―antibiotics are widely used as growth supplements in agriculture (banned in Europe) ― receiving antibiotics during childhood is associated with - obesity - asthma - allergies ― Microbes - Digest most foods - Increase fiber and complex proteins - Supply Vitamins B and K (Vitamin K helps blood to coagulate) - Help combat disease-causing microbes I found Let Them Eat Dirt an important read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    KC

    I would like to thank B. Brett Finlay, Marie-Claire Arrieta, NetGalley, and Algonquin Books for the advanced digital copy for an honest review. Much of this book covers microbiota, the connection between the pathogenic microorganisms and how they share our body space. It begins prior to conception to birth and beyond. This book is an all encompassing, from dirt, to germs, breastfeeding, vaginal births, vaccinations, ADHD, and diet. So maybe we will now pass on that hand sanitizer and as Barbara I would like to thank B. Brett Finlay, Marie-Claire Arrieta, NetGalley, and Algonquin Books for the advanced digital copy for an honest review. Much of this book covers microbiota, the connection between the pathogenic microorganisms and how they share our body space. It begins prior to conception to birth and beyond. This book is an all encompassing, from dirt, to germs, breastfeeding, vaginal births, vaccinations, ADHD, and diet. So maybe we will now pass on that hand sanitizer and as Barbara Kingsolver once said " everyone should get dirt on his hands each day."

  14. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I won a copy of this book through goodreads giveaways. All opinions are my own. As a researcher, seeing how many studies were "inconclusive," yet the authors still decide to write about those conditions and topics in relation to gut biome, was disheartening. It became an opinion piece. I won a copy of this book through goodreads giveaways. All opinions are my own. As a researcher, seeing how many studies were "inconclusive," yet the authors still decide to write about those conditions and topics in relation to gut biome, was disheartening. It became an opinion piece.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Elena

    Even if the title makes you feel somewhat cautious (should I really let my kids eat dirt, and how would that protect their health?), I suggest not to worry and read the book to learn more. If not actually eating dirt, getting dirty does have more health benefits than we might expect! Let Them Eat Dirt, written by two scientists in 2016 in the style of popular nonfiction, explains how outdoor play and exposure to microbial diversity affect the development of children's microbiota (microorganisms Even if the title makes you feel somewhat cautious (should I really let my kids eat dirt, and how would that protect their health?), I suggest not to worry and read the book to learn more. If not actually eating dirt, getting dirty does have more health benefits than we might expect! Let Them Eat Dirt, written by two scientists in 2016 in the style of popular nonfiction, explains how outdoor play and exposure to microbial diversity affect the development of children's microbiota (microorganisms that live in our digestive tract). It also describes how gut microbiota influences the development of the child's immune system, and the ways children's health depend on it. The authors analyze these relationships starting at childbirth, explaining how a child's immune system goes through a "training process", when it learns to distinguish between harmless microbes and pathogens. Many sources are involved in this learning process: acquiring maternal microbes through childbirth and breastfeeding, food, pets, outdoors ... The authors point out that raising children in excessively sterile environment may lead to the lack of learning experiences for their immune system, which, in turn, may be one of the reasons for the increase of auto-immune diseases, such as allergy and asthma, in developed countries in the past few decades. Such factors as abundance of highly processed foods in our diet, widespread use of antibiotics and cleaning products, and less time outdoors contribute to the decrease of microbial diversity we are exposed to, and that leads to negative health consequences. The book cites a number of fascinating research studies, which document the links between environmental factors, microbiota, and health. For example, are kids who grow up on farms more or less susceptible to allergies? How does growing up with a dog or another pet in the house make a difference? (Spoiler: there is evidence that exposure to dogs early in life decreases the risk of developing asthma and allergies later in life (Finlay and Arietta, p.121) . The most intriguing part of the book: To me, it was the chapter which explored the connections between gut microbiota and the brain. When you read how digestive issues may be linked to the quality of intestinal microbiota, it feels like something to be expected. For example, typical Western diet (lots of sugar and refined grains) is associated with poor microbial diversity, diabetes and obesity. However, I wouldn't immediately think about gut microbes in connection with cognitive and emotional problems, or neurological disorders, such as autism. That is why I found research studies and anecdotal evidence described in the book eye-opening and even shocking in some cases. The most helpful part of the book: Dos and Don'ts at the end of each chapter, which give practical, balanced, and down-to-earth recommendations about the ways you can use the information in the chapter in your own life. One suggestion is balancing your diet to include more fiber: foods rich in fiber digest more slowly and "feed" microbiota in the colon. Lots of recommendations will be helpful for parents. What else I enjoyed about the book: I found the book to be consistently research-based, informative, and explaining scientific data in a clear and engaging manner. It was hard to put down! Who I would recommend this book to: parents, especially of young children, and parents-to-be anyone who wants to create a healthier home environment, lifestyle, and diet for themselves and their family anyone interested in workings of our immune system people who like learning about health and disease prevention in an informative and entertaining way I hope you enjoy reading the book as much as I did! This review was originally published here: https://www.mintandmoment.com/reading...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Biggus

    I'll quote Shayla's review. 'The premise is promising, and I agree with the main sentiment that a healthy microbiome is critical. Unfortunately, the book contains little useful information and a disconcerting amount of misinformation unrelated to the main topic.' Spot on! She hit the nail on the head. A healthy microbiome is critical, but this book doesn't begin to tell you how to get one, apart from stuff we all know anyway. In fact, they state that a low fat diet, full of healthy whole grains, I'll quote Shayla's review. 'The premise is promising, and I agree with the main sentiment that a healthy microbiome is critical. Unfortunately, the book contains little useful information and a disconcerting amount of misinformation unrelated to the main topic.' Spot on! She hit the nail on the head. A healthy microbiome is critical, but this book doesn't begin to tell you how to get one, apart from stuff we all know anyway. In fact, they state that a low fat diet, full of healthy whole grains, topped up with tofu, is good for you. Yeah right. :( Well, maybe that sort of thinking is why we ended up here in the first place guys. Stick to bug study, and keep away from pre-conceived ideas of what is good and bad. If those things are good, it is hard to explain why doing the opposite, and changing to (low carb) high fat, grain and soy free diet fixes the problems caused by eating these things in the first place! Sure, eat plenty of fibre, plenty of veg, these are givens, but low fat and grain? Tofu? Come on. When in the same sentence they said to avoid sugar, and eat fruit instead, I nearly choked. What do they think fruit is? Sugar with some fibre and micronutrients, but sugar nonetheless, and the worst of all the sugars too, the evil fructose. I gave it 3 hours of listening to the worst narrator in history, but pulled the pin. I have read several books on this topic, and they were all a lot more informative, and interesting, than this one. Don't get me wrong, I agree 100% with underlying topic of the book, just not the conclusions and advice given along with it, or the style in which it is presented. The constant apologetic tone of the book annoyed me too. You have your opinions and facts guys, state the damn things, don't apologise for them. Stupid damned political correctness. Forget it. Say what you think! Like me :)

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brieanna

    I think the book did what it set out to do: heighten awareness on certain issues like over-sanitization and anti-bacterial everything. It's an excellent discussion starter on the topic for parents or individuals who work with children. I found particularly fascinating the parts about the developing microbiome and all the ways in which we destroy it and build it up (for better or for worse). The rest of the book covers correlations amongst various health conditions (i.e. diabetes, asthma, mental h I think the book did what it set out to do: heighten awareness on certain issues like over-sanitization and anti-bacterial everything. It's an excellent discussion starter on the topic for parents or individuals who work with children. I found particularly fascinating the parts about the developing microbiome and all the ways in which we destroy it and build it up (for better or for worse). The rest of the book covers correlations amongst various health conditions (i.e. diabetes, asthma, mental health) and the microbiome--without necessarily saying, "a+b=c". It's merely a discussion of "the research" from the author's perspective. From a nutrition/foodie perspective, I personally wish the book went a little bit more into ancient food preparation and fermentation--and the history of honoring the "bugs" long before we knew what they were. It does this in some ways talking about farm kids vs. city kids and kids, etc....and those parts I really enjoyed. In regards to the topics that the author opposed, like not having your children vaccinated, I would have liked to have learned more about why he/she has his/her viewpoint. The author basically says most science opposing vaccines is "bad science". But how so? How did you come to that conclusion and state that without anything to back it up? From a parental perspective, I want to learn why you feel that way so I too can make my own educated decisions. So, I yearned for a little bit MORE information in some chapters. In regards to my understanding on the microbiome, there are better books that delve a little further into the topic of our bacteria (like "Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride")....if you are wanting to know "more" about the whys and hows. But overall, I thought this book did a great job explaining many of the areas affecting our lives by living in an "over-sanitized world".

  18. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    This book had an interesting premise but as it continued on, it got increasingly annoying. Why? Because every topic that was introduced, ended with "the research indicates that microbes are to blame but it is inconclusive." It's like the authors were afraid to say they believed in what they were writing about. Not only that but the cheeky comments (pun intended) took away from the seriousness of the topic. I felt like a better approach to writing this book would have made it more interesting. Th This book had an interesting premise but as it continued on, it got increasingly annoying. Why? Because every topic that was introduced, ended with "the research indicates that microbes are to blame but it is inconclusive." It's like the authors were afraid to say they believed in what they were writing about. Not only that but the cheeky comments (pun intended) took away from the seriousness of the topic. I felt like a better approach to writing this book would have made it more interesting. The book takes us on a journey of life - starting with pregnancy. Basically the authors state (in every chapter) that probiotics seem to help the gut flora and help prevent many diseases. Depending on the disease - you may need a certain strain of probiotics. The book begins with expressing that the gut flora is fragile as an infant - antibiotics given at a young age may cause more harm than good. They also suggest that antibiotics are given out too readily and that is damaging children's gut. The first couple chapters reflect the title, but as we go on it seems it strays away from the "oversanitized" statement and starts looking at diet and lifestyle changes that may be to blame for gut issues. Ifeel that an expectant or future parent may find this book more interesting due to the fact that there are some ideas worth further exploring. Overall, I found the book obnoxious.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kalista

    I was initially intrigued when I heard this book discussed on the radio, but found myself bored and disappointed with the result. I found myself wanting more scientific structure in the writing as opposed to broad interpretation in the chapters and a list of references at the end. I also question the quality of some of these studies... many upon first look seemed to break the conventional "correlation does not equal causation" rule. Many times it came off to me as the authors were taking a well I was initially intrigued when I heard this book discussed on the radio, but found myself bored and disappointed with the result. I found myself wanting more scientific structure in the writing as opposed to broad interpretation in the chapters and a list of references at the end. I also question the quality of some of these studies... many upon first look seemed to break the conventional "correlation does not equal causation" rule. Many times it came off to me as the authors were taking a well known health fact and searching for any evidence to establish a link back to the microtia. Other times, the claims seemed particularly sensationalist to me, such as in the case of ASD and ADHD which have very different accepted evidence in their fields. While I do believe there are some interesting findings coming out of this field, they diluted their impact by trying to capture everything under this umbrella.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Molly Erickson

    A very well researched and written book about the importance of microbes in our world. While its SO important that we understand the harm microbes can cause in our lives, it is just as important to understand the many benefits that microbes also offer. This field of science is rapidly growing and changing as technology improves. We are learning about the important role the microbiome plays in our lives. This book covers everything from pregnancy to common illnesses and how the microbiome affects A very well researched and written book about the importance of microbes in our world. While its SO important that we understand the harm microbes can cause in our lives, it is just as important to understand the many benefits that microbes also offer. This field of science is rapidly growing and changing as technology improves. We are learning about the important role the microbiome plays in our lives. This book covers everything from pregnancy to common illnesses and how the microbiome affects and is affected by life changes. This book is a must read for everyone. Honestly, it does a great job summarizing recent research and developments in the microbial field. While we try to live clean lives, interacting with dirt and animals have many benefits for our bodies. We've always been taught to watch out for germs, but this book takes a look at how germs can be beneficial and the important roles they play in our lives.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    Examining the healthy gut biome and what factors contribute (or detract) from it was a great topic but honestly, this book would have made a nice pamphlet. Stretching the information out over 300 pages felt like, well, a stretch. This was a good read for parents but the title was a bit misleading: by the time kids are old enough to "eat dirt," it's too late to improve their gut bacteria. Almost all of his tips were things to do during pregnancy, childbirth, and the first year of life. If your ki Examining the healthy gut biome and what factors contribute (or detract) from it was a great topic but honestly, this book would have made a nice pamphlet. Stretching the information out over 300 pages felt like, well, a stretch. This was a good read for parents but the title was a bit misleading: by the time kids are old enough to "eat dirt," it's too late to improve their gut bacteria. Almost all of his tips were things to do during pregnancy, childbirth, and the first year of life. If your kids are older, this might just be a book to make you feel bad about everything you missed because you didn't know better. I don't drink, but if you wanted to play a drinking game take a shot every time the book mentions "fecal transplants." Just kidding, don't do this because you'll die. You can just laugh about it with your friends, though. It's on every other page.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Batsheva

    The book, authored by 2 microbiologists, is a cross between a how-to parenting book and a pop-science explanation of recent studies of how human health is linked to our microbiota. As a not-parent, I skimmed over the pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding topics, and focused on the more gee-whiz science full chapters. Definitely want to check out the original papers cited by the authors. Favorite scene: Where a mom trying to convince her kid to eat vegetables spins an elaborate tale about the "bu The book, authored by 2 microbiologists, is a cross between a how-to parenting book and a pop-science explanation of recent studies of how human health is linked to our microbiota. As a not-parent, I skimmed over the pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding topics, and focused on the more gee-whiz science full chapters. Definitely want to check out the original papers cited by the authors. Favorite scene: Where a mom trying to convince her kid to eat vegetables spins an elaborate tale about the "bugs" living in the child's tummy who need fiber to be healthy. "It's not for you, it's for your bugs." Kid draws pictures of her pet bugs, sings songs about them and has a much improved relationship with eating vegetables.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    I really liked the content of this book. I am of the same mindset, that food is health care and medicine is sick care and this book supports this view as well as gives ways to implement it in your life. I was impressed by the amount of empirical study that went into the research behind these topics, though saddened by the animal testing described. Though I think I wouldn't have been able to slog through this book visually, the audio was terrible. So many of the areas covered had to do with femal I really liked the content of this book. I am of the same mindset, that food is health care and medicine is sick care and this book supports this view as well as gives ways to implement it in your life. I was impressed by the amount of empirical study that went into the research behind these topics, though saddened by the animal testing described. Though I think I wouldn't have been able to slog through this book visually, the audio was terrible. So many of the areas covered had to do with female anatomy, child birth, and breast feeding, yet this was read by a man which is a poor choice. Know your audience!! I am glad to have this guide as evidence to back up some of my beliefs though and I would recommend.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    I think this book is a medley of both 5 star nuggets and 1 star monologues. There were sections when a concept/opinion was thoroughly supported by credible sources with citations... and there were other sections when a bold statement was made with little to no supporting evidence and it was just assumed that the reader would agree with the authors conclusion. It almost felt like that this book was divided section by section between the two authors. These apparent “transitions” were not only obvio I think this book is a medley of both 5 star nuggets and 1 star monologues. There were sections when a concept/opinion was thoroughly supported by credible sources with citations... and there were other sections when a bold statement was made with little to no supporting evidence and it was just assumed that the reader would agree with the authors conclusion. It almost felt like that this book was divided section by section between the two authors. These apparent “transitions” were not only obvious but also felt clunky. I really love the overall message of this book, but would recommend reading additional books before anchoring any of your personal convictions to this text.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tess Mertens-Johnson

    My mother has had this theory since I can remember. Keep kids playing outside and in the dirt and they will be healthier. She does not have a degree in biology or medicine, she just raised seven healthy children. This book discussed how we have “anti-bacterialized” our selves by not going outside to play into taxing the healthcare system for conditions that only build up out immunities. How our “gut” or intestinal tract needs to be solid and able to resist certain bacteria. This book was very inter My mother has had this theory since I can remember. Keep kids playing outside and in the dirt and they will be healthier. She does not have a degree in biology or medicine, she just raised seven healthy children. This book discussed how we have “anti-bacterialized” our selves by not going outside to play into taxing the healthcare system for conditions that only build up out immunities. How our “gut” or intestinal tract needs to be solid and able to resist certain bacteria. This book was very interesting and I hope to read the others in the series

  26. 4 out of 5

    tracy lou

    The main takeaway is the more (good) bacteria, the better, and antibiotics can fuck up your baby’s gut bacteria for their whole entire life, causing numerous problems. However, probiotics can be used to combat the issues associated with antibiotics. The book was written in plain (if cheesy) English, but I would have preferred foot notes or end notes to the bibliography at the end. Also, as scientists are wont to do, there is a great deal of scary language about obesity and and autism, which is in The main takeaway is the more (good) bacteria, the better, and antibiotics can fuck up your baby’s gut bacteria for their whole entire life, causing numerous problems. However, probiotics can be used to combat the issues associated with antibiotics. The book was written in plain (if cheesy) English, but I would have preferred foot notes or end notes to the bibliography at the end. Also, as scientists are wont to do, there is a great deal of scary language about obesity and and autism, which is inappropriate but unfortunately dominates the parenting book genre.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mercedes Diaz Sanchez

    In general very interesting and educative book, with hands-on and straight to the point tips for parents (particularly new parents!). The only downside for me is that too many sections, particularly in the second half of the book, just describe very early stage observations on theories, to close with a "maybe in a few years...". Although it is an interesting field and certainly good-to-know, I had the impression, while reading, that all that part was a bit of losing time and could be summarized In general very interesting and educative book, with hands-on and straight to the point tips for parents (particularly new parents!). The only downside for me is that too many sections, particularly in the second half of the book, just describe very early stage observations on theories, to close with a "maybe in a few years...". Although it is an interesting field and certainly good-to-know, I had the impression, while reading, that all that part was a bit of losing time and could be summarized in "stay tuned".

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I am trying to take this book with a grain of salt since it is three years dated and quite extreme at times, but wow. Definitely NOT on the antibiotic train now. I'll pass. But being pregnant, I feel half relaxed- don't worry about dropping a pacifier and it's okay if they put a rock in their mouth. But there's also the worry that the first year especially is important if I want to avoid diseases like obesity and asthma.. Like I said, trying to take this with a grain of salt, but it is really in I am trying to take this book with a grain of salt since it is three years dated and quite extreme at times, but wow. Definitely NOT on the antibiotic train now. I'll pass. But being pregnant, I feel half relaxed- don't worry about dropping a pacifier and it's okay if they put a rock in their mouth. But there's also the worry that the first year especially is important if I want to avoid diseases like obesity and asthma.. Like I said, trying to take this with a grain of salt, but it is really interesting! And yes I did just order a probiotic supplement....

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lora

    I found this book fascinating! It has definitely changed the way I think about a number of things. Plus I liked how the authors were careful not to overstate the findings in their field, or make claims they couldn't back up with research. My only beef with this book that it didn't give me as many answers as I wanted. But I guess that goes back to the authors not overstepping the research. :) Maybe there will be a volume two eventually. I found this book fascinating! It has definitely changed the way I think about a number of things. Plus I liked how the authors were careful not to overstate the findings in their field, or make claims they couldn't back up with research. My only beef with this book that it didn't give me as many answers as I wanted. But I guess that goes back to the authors not overstepping the research. :) Maybe there will be a volume two eventually.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Jay

    The information in this book was interesting, however the title was a bit misleading. I was expecting a book for all ages of development. This book is primarily focused on prenatal to age 1 in microbial development in children. You will not be able to do much of anything with this information once your child passes their 1st birthday. As an informative text, this is a good book, but as a guide for child rearing not as much.

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