I’m not a very clean person.
I don’t think about germs.
I don’t wash my hands all that often.
I’ll eat off the floor (within the parameters of the five second rule–how gross do you think I am?).
I’ve never purchased an anti-bacterial soap, wipe, or cleaner. I don’t use bleach.
I’ve never used hand sanitizer. Okay, maybe once, only out of peer pressure.
I use public restrooms and port-a-potties and touch handrails in public places without thinking twice.
In yoga, I put my hands and face on the floor, and yes, other people walk there.
My kids are pretty dirty too. Just last night they sat at the dinner table with streaks of sweaty dirt on their faces, and I didn’t even bother to tell them to wash up before they ate.
What can I say? There’s a lot of things to worry about in the world and germs aren’t on my radar. We’re all pretty healthy. Even with my dirty neglect, we don’t get sick that often.
I’ve always embraced the old-school mentality, “A little dirt never hurts.” But in our germ-obsessed culture, I’ve also felt a little self-conscious like maybe I’m being careless with our health. Until now.
I’m reading Eat Dirt by Dr. Josh Axe. It’s an in depth look at how our germ obsession and commitment to killing all bacteria is actually making us more sick. And how can you not love a book that basically reenforces all the choices that you didn’t even know you were making?
I originally picked up Eat Dirt, because after four years of being able to manage my stomach troubles, this spring they’ve made their way back. And while in the past, I’ve used diet to regulate myself, this time nothing I did seemed to give me any relief.
(Many people, including my mother, have pointed out that this relapse coincides with me working again. And yes, I hear you all loud and clear. I am going through a transition and adjusting to a different level and kind of stress which is without a doubt making things worse.)
But more than just rehabbing my gut, I’m also learning about inflammation in our bodies, what causes that inflammation, and how it can lead to more serious autoimmune conditions and diseases. And let’s just say, it’s one giant wake-up call about our war on germs.
In my estimation, we’ll look back at our germ obsession just like we look back on the War on Drugs and think, “Wasn’t that a waste of time, energy, and resources?”
In our attempt to wipe out all the bad germs in our environment, we’re also wiping out the good ones. Ground zero for this war is our gut. When our gut has a balance of good and bad bacteria, we are healthy. But when things get unbalanced, we start to see symptoms of our immune system going haywire. And that’s where and why disease starts in our body.
Dr. Axe argues that more exposure to bacteria, good and bad, will keep us healthier in the long run.
If you are feeling out-of-whack or suffer from a chronic condition that starts with inflammation, Eat Dirt gives you a plan for getting more bacteria in your life and restoring balance in your gut. It is with this plan in hand that I move forward, embracing my dirty side.
Feeling better already.
When Kaly doesn’t have her nose in a book, she wrangles and referees two elementary age boys and blogs about her humorous efforts to lead a mindful, connected life. She’s the author of Good Move: Strategy and Advice for Your Family’s Relocation, a book about the craziness of moving with kids. Her writing has been featured on sites such as Mamalode, The Mid, In The Powder Room, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Scary Mommy to name a few. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.