My dogs love to eat poop.
My dogs especially love to eat frozen poop. Poopcicles.
My dogs love to eat frozen poop and wipe their faces on the back seat of my Subaru.
OK, stay with me people. This actually is about gardening and food and seasonal living. Sort of.
So lets think about poop for a minute. I’m talking about horse poop, although I’m sure they would eat cow poop too, if we had a cow. The horses eat the grass. They digest the grass. That keeps them warm. Then the horses poop out the grass. It goes onto the ground and the worms come to eat it, and they digest it, and they poop too. (yep, Everybody Poops) THAT goes into the ground, making healthy soil, and the grass grows healthier. And the horses eat the healthy grass. The magic that is happening in this very specialized system that I have grossly oversimplified is called …..Drum roll please….Bacteria.
Enter the Dogs. What is actually going on here is the dogs are capitalizing on a healthy system. They are trying to get something they need into their diet by eating the poop of other animals. It’s not because the poop tastes good, although it might. I wouldn’t know. Dogs, being carnivores, don’t have a ton of naturally occurring good bacteria in their guts, but horses do. That’s why we put their poop on our gardens. The dog eat the horses’ poop to get the good digestive bacteria.
Can you see where I’m going with this?
I just finished reading The Mind Gut Connection, by Emeran Mayer. I strongly recommend that anyone anywhere sick with anything read it immediately. Even though I know you all will, I’ll give you a synopsis anyway.
- The gut is larger than the brain and every bit as complex.
- The gut has trillions of microbes, including bacteria, in it. The microbes are our personal ecosystem.
- The Microbes (actually the metabolites they produce), interface with our brains. They control most of our hormones, as well as our immune responses. They can also produce cytokines when they are unhappy, which cause inflammation.
- Personal microbial stability = good health and emotional wellness.
- Things that kill our personal gut microbes are bad for us. (pesticides, antibiotics, corn syrup, commercial wheat gluten, emulsifiers etc. etc.)
- Things that are good for our microbes are good for us. (organic produce, fermented food, wild foods)
- We must ‘farm’ our microbes to keep them healthy.
I’m not saying we should be eating poop, although that’s fast becoming a treatment for certain illnesses. Just consider, the next time you stop for a doughnut and a caramel mocha latte, what is happening to your gut bacteria. The next time you have to take a Z-pak, realize that it’s wiping out all the good guys along with the bad. No wonder it gives you the runs.
I know we all get sick, and the best treatment for severe bacterial illness is strong antibiotics. But remember that a healthy gut can (and does) wage war on invasive bacteria. Your personal army of microbes, if you keep it strong and healthy, will prevent you from getting sick in the first place.
Once you’re there and you’ve been coughing for weeks, fever of 103, chest x-ray, and you’re gulping down those steroids and antibiotics and sucking on the nebulizer, it’s time to do some serious bacterial rebuilding. If you just plain refuse to eat poop (just kidding!) there are other ways to rebuild your internal microbial army. They are called FERMENTED FOODS.
Kim chi, sauerkraut, pickles, yogurt, fermented cheese, kefir, kombucha, miso, tempeh, sourdough. These are some of the common ones available at the grocery store. Get them and eat them every day. Or ferment your own. It couldn’t be simpler. Put some vegetables in a crock with some salt. Cover them with water. Wait 4 weeks. Eat. It is actually that easy.
So go forth my friends, and colonize your guts with healthy bacteria. Farm your internal microbes. Eat well, live well, be happy.