Book Review: Let Them Eat Dirt by B. Brett Finlay & Marie-Claire Arrieta
You might know that I love reading books on health and parenting and the most recent one — which is a very interesting book — is Let Them Eat Dirt: How Microbes Can Make Your Child Healthier by B. Brett Finlay & Marie-Claire Arrieta.
It’s a very important topic as the modern lifestyle of hyper-cleanliness with all things anti-bacterial (oh and all the antibiotics!) is having a negative effect on our children’s health. We have believed for a long time that microbes are all bad and cause infectious diseases and have tried to keep everything super clean to control them.
I’m a bit guilty of this myself as I’m a fan of using hand sanitiser and antibacterial cleaning products too. I want to keep my children safe and keep their environment clean but you can definitely be too clean. My husband grew up with an over-cleaning mother and he was ill a lot as a child, has a quite a few allergies and still has a weak immune system and usually gets ill before anyone else in the household.
With our home and our children, I’m trying to be more balanced. I still clean and there are a few areas that I’m more particular about — the kitchen work top and the bathroom — as these areas need to be hygienic. I’m not sterilising and sanitising everything though and it seems to be better not to when it comes to our kids’ immune system.
Let Them Eat Dirt is an interesting and comprehensive guide in which microbiologists B. Brett Finlay and Marie-Claire Arrieta explain how the trillions of microbes that live in and on our bodies influence childhood development and why an imbalance in those microbes can lead to chronic health problems like obesity, allergies, diabetes and asthma.
It’s great read that makes you think about what kind of cleanliness your children really need and what things you can do to raise healthier children and help them have the best start in life as the problems mentioned above are ones that affect their lifelong health.
The book is fascinating and easy to read though also scientific. It explains how certain organisms are beneficial to our children’s well-being and in which ways we can introduce them.
I really like the Dos and Don’ts at the end of most chapters as they summarise the topic well and are really accessible. There are also Q&As with questions from parents and these are really good as most of us are probably wondering similar things.
The title might sound extreme and the book doesn’t actually advice you to let your children eat dirt, it’s more about letting your children enjoy nature and getting dirty, touching things and exploring. It’s not about being unhygienic at all; the advice in the book is to still wash your hands well before eating and after touching certain things, to stay clear of any animal waste and be careful in dirty communal places like public toilets and transport — don’t lick the windows on the underground!
It’s very balanced and it all makes perfect sense! The book covers lots of areas of childhood including pregnancy/in the womb, birth, breastfeeding, weaning, vaccinations, antibiotics, childhood obesity, pets and much more.
Buy your copy of Let Them Eat Dirt: How Microbes Can Make Your Child Healthier from Amazon.co.uk here.
I was sent this book for my review. As always, all my reviews are 100% honest and all thoughts and opinions are my own.