“Let Them Eat Dirt-Saving Your Child from an Oversanitized World”

Some days when I am reading the newspaper, I am amazed at some of the articles I come across.dirt

Last week in the life section of the Wall Street Journal there was a two-page article titled “Get your Children Good and Dirty”

The article was discussing information in the book “Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving Your Child From an Orver-sanitized World” by Dr. Finlay and Dr. Arrieta.

The article and the book explain that we have spent most of the last 100 years thinking that microbes need to be destroyed and they all lead to disease.  We have overused antibiotics, and have been keeping ourselves too clean.

In the book, it is explained that during the first months of life, our microbiome is not well established.  Being exposed to microbes in the environment helps the bacteria in our gut react, and helps program the immune cells to react appropriately.

I remember my mentor Dr. Jack Hinze NMD., PharmD say decades ago that the health of the bacteria in our gut is responsible for digestion, elimination, detoxification and 60-70 % of our immune response.  He was way ahead of his time.

Today, we use antibacterial soaps, antibiotics, and do not allow children to get “dirty”, get exposed to microbes that will help their immune system get stronger.

The FDA recently banned some chemicals in antibacterial soap, and instructs us to just use soap and water and wash our hands properly.

We need to stop saying “don’t touch that insect, it’s dirty, or don’t play in the dirt, you’ll get dirty” to our children when they play outside.

Below is a description of the content of the book. This necessary and helpful information is now available to us all.

I think this is a very important book for everyone to read.  New parents, grandparents and young adults.  It is not just for kids, it explains one of the fundamental ideas for helping our body work the way nature intended.


“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.

Remember, the information in the book is helpful for everyone, not just children, so let us all plan on “getting dirty” and get healthier.



About drgaryk

Dr. Gary Kracoff is a registered pharmacist with a doctorate in naturopathic medicine who provides in-depth consultative services at Johnson Compounding & Wellness. Gary’s guiding philosophy is to treat the person as a whole, not to chase symptoms. He focuses on finding the “why” to what is happening physically and mentally, and works with individuals to restore balance in the body. Gary frequently lectures at pharmacy, medical, and health-oriented conferences. He is an educator at the Academy of Integrative Medicine, conducting two-day seminars for health care professionals twice a year. Gary also serves on the faculty of the Center for Education and Development of Clinical Homeopathy.
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