Reviewing Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving Your Child from an Oversanitized World
by Brett Finlay and Marie-Claire Arrieta
ChewyMoon fuels young superheroes with healthy, natural foods. But we also know that nutrition is just a part of the bigger-picture parenting discussions and healthy development of growing kids. So how else do superpowers grow? Here’s a better question for you:
Have you ever heard of microbes? You might know them better as bacteria, germs, and other tiny microorganisms that live in our bodies and the world around us. Many parents (and non-parents, too) fear microbes because they worry about sickness, but the truth is that microbes are essential to growing up strong and resilient!
In Let Them Eat Dirt, authors Brett Finlay, PhD and Marie-Claire Arrieta, PhD explain, in great detail, the importance of the many many microbes that live in and on our bodies.
Their goal is simple: teaching parents about the potential consequences of different choices, so each parent can make more informed decisions for their kids. Scientific evidence is presented in an easy-to-understand, accessible way, and the authors wisely acknowledge that microbiome research is still in its own ‘infancy’ with much more to learn. Early findings are helpful to inform lifestyle choices and promote important conversations among parents and parents-to-be.
Why does this all matter so much?
Because microbes that transfer from the environment to the child can have powerful benefits. But these benefits are getting lost in our efforts to constantly clean and over sanitize our kids. In some ways, over-sanitizing prevents them from building up helpful antibodies that would strengthen them.
As you read, the research helps reduce the fear of germs and microbes by explaining how the right microbes can benefit the immune system, allergy avoidance and lifelong health. It also gives suggestions around supporting microbe diversity before birth and the first months of life and how our habits and daily practices influence which microbes live in and on us.
Throughout the book, the authors tackle topics ranging from pregnancy, birth and first foods to antibiotic use and the importance of playing in nature. Finally, the last few chapters really explain why this is all so critical, focusing on non-communicable diseases, obesity, diabetes, allergies, autism, intestinal diseases, and more.
SPOILER: My favourite part is when they explain why it is OK — and even GOOD — for babies to be licked by puppies. It’s important to expose kids to the world in safe ways. And what could be cuter than puppies and babies?
Comment or send us a note if you have any questions, or if you’d like to share your own thoughts about the book, microbes, and other ways to support budding young heroes. Thanks for following along with us today; please share with any parents you think would be interested, too!
Let Them Eat Dirt Rapid-Fire Profile:
What I liked most about the book
Fascinating research results written in a light and easy to understand way
What really stood out to me
Rather than just stating the facts, they translate the facts into practical, useful advice.
For many years, we have completely underestimated the role of our gut and microbiota. While research is in its infancy, it is fascinating to read about how everyday lifestyle choices influence our microbes and how we can help our kids develop a bitter and stronger immune system.
Practical takeaways I would use with my own kids
Birth is a very important event for development of baby’s microflora! When preparing for birth, look at your options and make an informed decision (i.e., consider seeding for c-section births, evaluate pre-birth antibiotics, ask how you can ensure the best possible outcome in your unique circumstance).
What I liked about the writing style
Fun, engaging, a lot of jokes about poop…
Who I would recommend it to
Parents and parents to be