The Dirt Cure

The Dirt Cure with Dr. Maya Shetreat-Klein

In this episode of The Functional Medicine Radio Show, Dr. Carri’s special guest Dr. Maya Shetreat-Klein explains the Dirt Cure.

Maya Shetreat-Klein, MD is a neurologist, herbalist, urban farmer, and author of “The Dirt Cure: Healthy Food, Healthy Gut, Happy Child”. Board certified in adult and child neurology as well as pediatrics, Dr. Maya completed the University of Arizona’s Fellowship in Integrative Medicine, and now serves on their faculty. She works and studies with indigenous communities and healers in Ecuador. In her book and her practice, she offers an integrative and spiritual approach to allow moving beyond chronic health problems in children and adults. She also founded the Terrain Institute, where she teaches Terrain Medicine, an earth-based program for transformational healing.

Main Questions Asked:

  • What is the dirt cure?
  • Can you tell us about the terrain and how it plays a role in our health?
  • Can you explain to our listeners that this isn’t some crazy idea that you just thought up one day, about the hygiene hypothesis, and the research going on about how important bacteria is for us?
  • Can we switch gears and talk about soil now, and how soil benefits our bodies?
  • What are your thoughts about eating wild plants?
  • Can you tell us about why bitter foods are so important for us?
  • When we talk about coffee as a bitter, do you mean black coffee?
  • Do you mind listing a few other bitter foods?
  • How do healthy fats help the immune system and brain?
  • Is there anything that we have not touched on that you think is important for our listeners to know about?

Key Points Made by Dr. Maya:

  • The dirt cure is part of the three foundations of health: being exposed to germs and microbes; eating fresh food from healthy soil; and getting outdoors into nature.
  • Terrain refers to our bodies and what is in and on them as our bio terrain, and our environment as our eco terrain, and the relationship between the two.
  • Researchers studying the hygiene hypothesis determined that even though there were approximately the same amount of germs in both an urban apartment as on a farm, on the farm there was many more types of germs, leading them to believe our bodies crave biodiversity to maintain good health.
  • Animals and pets are a good source of biodiversity.
  • 25 percent of the world’s biodiversity comes from soil. There are as many organisms as there are people on this planet in just one teaspoon of soil.
  • There is a microorganism in soil that actually boosts your serotonin levels and can help fight depression.
  • Foraging wild plants are good for your health as long you are careful not to eat anything poisonous or that may have been sprayed with chemicals like pesticides.
  • When foraging try not to take more than 30 percent of what is there so the species can continue to grow and flourish.
  • Bitter foods improve motility and helps increase stomach acid which helps break down proteins. In addition, it helps improve blood sugar levels, improves detoxification and boosts the immune system in not only the stomach, but in the ear nose and throat as well.
  • Coffee and beer are bitter tonics.
  • Some common bitters are dark leafy greens, orange rinds, and dark chocolate.
  • Every cell membrane of every cell in our body is made with over 200 different kinds of fatty acids.
  • Liver and egg yolks are good sources of cholesterol which helps to give structure to the cell membrane.
  • Our brains are made with significantly high amounts of fats due to all the cell membranes contained in our brains.
  • Babies need cholesterol so badly that breast milk contains enzymes that help absorb the cholesterol so it can go straight to the baby’s nervous systems.
  • Omega 3’s help with mood, focus and attention, preventing cancer, and preventing asthma and other autoimmune conditions.
  • Although you can get Omega 3’s from some plants, it’s only 5-10%. Animal products have more bio available omega 3’s for our bodies to absorb.
  • Simply being in nature has numerous health benefits like reducing stress.

Resources Mentioned:

Book – The Dirt Cure: Growing Healthy Kids with Food Straight from Soil

Dr. Maya’s website

Dr. Maya’s facebook page

Book – Reclaim Your Energy and Feel Normal Again

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