Clean Can Be Bad

Clean Can Be Bad
Christine Tender Points My mother always said, “You have to eat a bushel of dirt before you die.” Of course, I thought she was just joking. But it turns out she was more correct than either of us knew. Unfortunately, I wasn't paying attention at the time.  I chose instead to heed another of her favorite sayings, which was "cleanliness is next to godliness." I never cooked an unpeeled carrot, or an unscrubbed potato. I carefully washed and spun dry every leaf of lettuce I ate. I guess that's where I went wrong. It turns out that the microbes present in the dirt that got washed down my drain were the very microbes my gut needed to create a strong, healthy digestive system ― where a huge portion of our  immune system resides. As an adult with severe irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), I wish I'd been a little less godly. I attended a lecture about microbes (germs) last week. Harbor-UCLA Medical Center's chief of molecular medicine, Michael Yeaman, PhD, referred to the “hygiene hypothesis.”  It is a well-researched theory that has shown that lack of early exposure to microorganisms (commonly found in dirt) contributes to the increased prevalence of allergies and autoimmune disorders today. Sometimes, bacteria are good. Being raised in an o
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