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Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems and 5 Surprising Steps to Cure It Hardcover – March 29, 2016
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“Eat Dirt is a proven way to address the root cause of all disease. The first step to healing yourself is healing your gut. If you’re ready to learn some cutting edge concepts and take back your health, this book is for you.” (Mark Hyman, MD, author of The Blood Sugar Solution)
“If you’re struggling with a chronic illness like digestive problems, autoimmune disease or adrenal and thyroid conditions, this book can change your life. Dr. Axe lays out an easy-to-follow plan for addressing the root cause of disease where it starts in the gut. ” (Sara Gottfried MD, author of The Hormone Reset Diet and The Hormone Cure)
“There is a beautiful course correction afoot… In Eat Dirt, Dr. Axe deconstructs the myth behind our war against germs, sheds light on why and how we are sick, and honors the ancient wisdom of healing that starts with the gut.” (Kelly Brogan, MD ABIHM, author of A Mind of Your Own)
“Dr. Axe combines cutting-edge science and the ancient practice of natural immunization into a 5-step plan that taps the body’s innate defenses to reduce inflammation and chronic pain, lose weight, and increase energy and vitality. You’ll love this fun, counterintuitive strategy to achieve optimal health: Get dirty!” (JJ Virgin, author of The Sugar Impact Diet)
“Our understanding of what really threatens human health is undergoing a revolution, and Eat Dirt magnificently describes this paradigm shift. Dr. Axe’s guidance, centered on reestablishing healthy gut bacteria, is in line with our most respected and forward-thinking medical research. Read this book and open doors to lifelong health.” (David Perlmutter, MD, author, #1 New York Times Bestseller, Grain Brain )
From the Back Cover
In recent decades, modern “improvements” to our lifestyle and food supply have come with a cost: our health. From pesticides in our soil to the refrigeration and pasteurization of our food to an overreliance on antibiotics and a preoccupation with sanitizing everything in sight, our desire to be clean is actually putting us at risk for a host of chronic illnesses.
That’s because as we’ve shifted our focus to living a germ-free life, our bodies—specifically, our digestive systems—have taken a hit. Starved of actual nutrition, fed toxic levels of processed foods, and overtaxed by chemicals, stress, and excessive antimicrobial use, we’ve developed microscopic tears in our intestinal walls, leading to the widespread inflammation and weakened immunity that characterize a condition known as “leaky gut syndrome.”
In Eat Dirt, functional medicine practitioner Dr. Josh Axe explains the hidden causes and widespread effects of leaky gut syndrome, a condition that is thought to be ground zero for many of the country’s most confounding health crises—including allergies, asthma, food sensitivities, diabetes, digestive diseases, arthritis, thyroid conditions, and even frustratingly difficult-to-treat conditions such as chronic fatigue and autism.
Dr. Axe explains that 70 percent of our immune system is located in the gut—when it’s under attack, our health suffers. In leaky gut syndrome, a number of factors—including insufficient exposure to“dirt”—leads to the breakdown of the intestinal wall, allowing food, bacteria, and toxins to seep into the bloodstream. In Eat Dirt, Dr. Axe reveals that the solution, while counterintuitive, is almost effortless: we just need to welcome a little more “dirt” back into our lives.
From ditching hand sanitizers, using essential oils for personal products, reducing antibiotic use, and consuming local honey to spending more time outside, eating seasonally, managing stress, and incorporating probiotic-rich foods into our diets, Dr. Axe provides specific guidance to help everyone get a little “dirty.”
Advance Praise for Eat Dirt
“Our understanding of what really threatens human health is undergoing a revolution, and Eat Dirt magnificently describes this paradigm shift. Dr. Axe’s compassionate guidance, centered on reestablishing healthy gut bacteria, is in line with our most respected and forward-thinking medical research. Read this book and open the door to lifelong health.”—David Perlmutter, MD, author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller Grain Brain
“Eat Dirt is a proven way to address the root cause of all disease. The first step to healing yourself is healing your gut. Using the science of ‘microexposures,’ Dr. Axe gives us a simple-to-follow guide on the five steps to repair a damaged gut and overcome a range of issues, from autoimmune disease to chronic inflammation. If you’re ready to learn some cutting-edge concepts and take back your health, this book is for you.”—Mark Hyman, MD, bestselling author of The Blood Sugar Solution
“If you’re struggling with a chronic illness like digestive problems, autoimmune disease, or adrenal and thyroid conditions, this book can change your life. Dr. Axe lays out an easy-to-follow plan for addressing the root cause of disease where it starts—in the gut. His natural prescriptions using plant-based medicine, a gut-friendly diet, and exposing yourself to good microbes to build your microbiome are cutting-edge techniques that can help you experience a health breakthrough.”—Sara Gottfried, MD, bestselling author of The Hormone Reset Diet and The Hormone Cure
“There is a beautiful course correction afoot—scientific research is reminding us of our inner and outer ecology and our inextricable union with the natural world. In Eat Dirt, Dr. Axe deconstructs the myth behind our war against germs, sheds light on why and how we are sick, and honors the ancient wisdom of healing that starts with the gut.”—Kelly Brogan, MD, ABIHM, author of A Mind of Your Own“Years of oversanitation have left us vulnerable to the modern world’s most dangerous infections. In this practical guide, Dr. Axe helps us see the direct links between our nation’s obsession with cleanliness and the epidemics of leaky gut and autoimmune conditions. Dr. Axe combines cutting-edge science and the ancient practice of natural immunization into a plan that reduces inflammation and chronic pain, promotes weight loss, and increases energy and vitality. You’ll love this fun, counterintuitive strategy to achieve optimal health: Get dirty!”—JJ Virgin, bestselling author of The Sugar Impact Diet
Top customer reviews
That's where conventional medicine left me.
I started researching and stumbled upon Dr. Axe. I immediately started implementing his recommendations into my daily routine. The depression and brain fog started lifting. The weight gain stopped. The energy started coming back. I got my life back!
Now I'm ready to kick this weight to the curb by implementing what I have learned in Eat Dirt.
Some of my favorite quotes in the book:
"We CAN heal. We just need to summon the collective will to change some of our long-standing but extremely damaging habits – especially our deadly addiction to being clean. "
"On a cell for cell basis, we are 90% microbial. We don't just live on the earth – the earth lives in us."
"While this is cutting edge science, the solutions could not be any simpler. All we need to do to load up on our old friends and get more of these microexposures is easy, fun stuff we probably already love to do: get back to eating seasonally and locally. Spend more time outdoors. Hug our dogs after they roll around in the leaves. Let our kids to make mud pies get their hands dirty on the playground."
"Go "forest bathing." Go on a short walk in the woods, and take many deep breaths, consciously bringing the scent of the trees into your lungs. This form of aromatherapy is a practice called "shinrin-yoku," or "forest bathing," in Japanese. Researchers there found breathing in the antimicrobial organic compounds called phytoncides - the woods' essential oils - decreased cortisol levels and blood pressure, enhanced immune system function, and stabilized nervous system activity.
I found a local doctor of functional medicine and I was diagnosed with estogen dominance, low progesterone, low DHEA, adrenal fatigue and leaky gut. If you are suffering from any of these issues, you need this book.
I will return to this review in a few weeks to report how I feel with the Eat Dirt plan.
Okay, at this point, I got a LOT more interested in what Dr. Axe had to say.
Dr. Axe's main point is that we need to get back to the bacterial DIVERSITY that we used to have: "Bacterial diversity keeps the whole system in balance." The idea is, this balance requires lots of different bacteria. This used to happen naturally in our environment and diet, but when we started to use tons of chemicals, and changed our food composition, we began to reduce the types of bacteria in our gut.
EAT DIRT contains a pretty detailed technical discussion about how our digestive system works, and the important layers in our gut. The doctor explains that these layers protect our body from dangerous pathogens. The health of this barrier is affected by certain chemicals. Research shows that these chemicals are released by the over-consumption of gluten. When the protective wall thins, this leads to the "leaky gut" syndrome, with all the nasty symptoms.
The author cites quite a bit of scientific studies, but he admits that the field is changing, and that tons of research is ongoing. In fact, he notes that there have been over a thousand new research studies in the last year alone. There are lots of interesting studies cited that seem to support the author's ideas. Perhaps the most intriguing, for me, was one study that linked bacterial diversity to lower body weight and lower fat.
The author recounts the experiences from different patients in his medical practice. He is careful to note that one patient's experience--no matter how impressive, should not be generalized to everyone. He cautions the reader to not jump to broad conclusions based on just a few anecdotal cases. I thought this was wise counsel.
EAT DIRT has links to "replacement foods" so that you can switch-out your current menu items for more healthy choices. Besides these links, the doctor also discusses alternatives for common foods. For example, instead of drinking the usual milk, he discusses the advantages of coconut and almond milk, as well as more unusual alternatives.
I never understood the fuss about wheat and gluten. After all, I thought, how can something so natural really be harmful? Well, the author explains that it's not the SAME wheat, and it's prevalence is not the same as it used to be--its use is far more widespread now. Okay--I appreciate this information. I admit I did not know that.
I found EAT DIRT to be a serious work that will require serious study. There is a LOT to absorb in this book. The author makes many good points, and he does a good job of supporting his theories. The appendices contain lots of notes and further research information.
I have decided to follow the author's advice, and make some changes in my diet and lifestyle. I will especially to try to get more diverse bacteria by making some simple dietary changes. Fortunately, many of Dr. Axe's food recommendations are tasty. I like Kefir, and I'm buying more.
Advance Reading Copy courtesy of Edelweiss Book Distributors