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Eating Dirt

Journey at Home Day 47

When I was a child, I used to pretend that dirt was chocolate pudding mix. I would scoop up some spoonfuls from the backyard, mix it with water, and eat it. Yum! It was kind of crunchy in the mouth and didn't taste at all like chocolate. Still, I loved pretending. I was an overweight kid who couldn't get enough sweets. This was a good substitute. (Soil photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

Many microbes live in dirt. Today I don't want to think of the specifics—bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, and more. I do credit the robustness of my immune system to all that dirt I ate. My body had to learn at an early age to cope with all those organisms. Perhaps that's why I was a happy kid. Antidepressant Microbes In Soil: How Dirt Makes You Happy, claims dirt ingredients are like Prozac. Don't run out and start eating dirt though. I haven't delved into those claims. I also suspect that starting to eat bowls of dirt when you are older probably won't help. It might be something that is tolerated only at a young age.

That brings me to Bill Maher, who published a good video piece on immune systems. Unless a person has an autoimmune disease or an immune system compromised by a health issue, the body is designed to fight off disease. That's why most people who get COVID-19 survive and many who are exposed don't exhibit symptoms. His point is that humans are not designed to isolate themselves to avoid microbes. Most of us have a working immune system. We need to keep in mind that we are isolating to reduce the load on the medical system. It's worth watching.

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