Tending the Body’s Microbial Garden

One of the great luxuries in our lives is getting the New York Times delivered every morning. Gets here at 5AM, even out in this pretty rural area. Yesterday there was this article on microbes by Carl Zimmer, one of the NYT’s excellent writers. It caught my attention because I’ve been making sauerkraut (and fermenting olives) lately, and doing other things like drinking Kambucha tea and taking probiotic tablets to promote a healthy digestive system.

“For a century, doctors have waged war against bacteria, using antibiotics as their weapons. But that relationship is changing as scientists become more familiar with the 100 trillion microbes that call us home — collectively known as the microbiome.

‘I would like to lose the language of warfare,’ said Julie Segre, a senior investigator at the National Human Genome Research Institute. ‘It does a disservice to all the bacteria that have co-evolved with us and are maintaining the health of our bodies.’

   This new approach to health is known as medical ecology. Rather than conducting indiscriminate slaughter, Dr. Segre and like-minded scientists want to be microbial wildlife managers.

    No one wants to abandon antibiotics outright. But by nurturing the invisible ecosystem in and on our bodies, doctors may be able to find other ways to fight infectious diseases, and with less harmful side effects. Tending the microbiome may also help in the treatment of disorders that may not seem to have anything to do with bacteria, including obesity and diabetes.…”

Article here.

Carl Zimmers blog here.

Cool Tools here (where I first heard of the great book Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods by Sandor Ellix Katz and Sally Fallon.

5 Responses to Tending the Body’s Microbial Garden

  1. Unknown says:


    Tsukemono, kim chee, okoko,

    I'm fermenting!!!


  2. rj says:

    Your post motivated me to sign up for the Times. Believe it or not they are going to home deliver in the middle of rural Central Texas….plus I already have online access…

  3. Shadey says:

    i've been brewing my own kombucha for about six months now. it was getting expensive, but now it's nearly free. if you're interested in a free-starter kombucha mushroom with instructions, let me know on this comment board, and i'll send one out to you.

  4. Lloyd Kahn says:


    Sure! Address 285 Dogwood Road, or PO Box 279, Bolinas, CA, 94924. The best beverage I've ever had was ginger/turmeric kombucha. There was yet another article on healthy microbes in the NY Times a few days ago. Thanks!

  5. Anonymous says:

    just got back today . . . will send it out this weekend with instructions.

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