Today I have the pleasure of sharing a really informative book with you all; The Microbiome Solution by gastroenterologist Robynne Chutkan M.D. For those of you interested in nutrition, the effects of antibiotics or the role of bacteria to overall health, this is an essential read. Published in the UK as of last week, The Microbiome Solution explores common symptoms and causes of unhealthy gut biomes. It’s interesting just how many everyday medications and foods can have an impact upon your internal systems. After explaining the causes and results of a poor microbiome, Chutkan introduces an “eat clean, live dirty” lifestyle plan that promotes growth of “good” bacteria and overall health.
Chutkan goes into quite a lot of depth, so you may wish to dip in and out or head only to the sections relevant to you. Luckily, by being split into four sections, this is easily done. The first section provides a brief introduction to what exactly the gut bacteria is. If, like me, you come from a science-based background, some of this is fairly basic, but provides a good all-round information to bring everyone up to speed. Part two is the largest section by a significant amount. Here, we look at the causes of bodily complaints related to the digestive system. As this section moves from problem to problem, with a variety of issue that have similar causes, parts did start to sound a little repetitive -a patient came in with poor digestion or repeated cases of infection, Chutkan advised them to come off their antibiotics or stomach acid medication and eat a low sugar, gluten free diet. The patient would then start to see a recovery. Part of the reason for this repetitiveness is, no doubt, because many cases follow similar patterns. Still, it may be worth skimming over the sections less relevant to you if you are reading the book to solve a specific problem. The section is highly comprehensive, and I liked how symptoms, causes or names of bacteria (good and bad) frequently appeared in text boxes, enabling the reader to make an easy summary of any especially relevant information.
In the next section Chutkan breaks down how to adopt a lifestyle that should help to prevent and go part of the way to cure any of these ailments. She breaks this down in to simple steps giving a range of options to take, useful as not all the tips are to everyone’s taste -showers every other days or less will challenge a few social expectations! There are lots of suggestions that are easy to follow though, such as using homemade cleaning products and natural soap, eating pre- and probiotic foods, limiting medication except where necessary and more. This chapter focusing on the theme of “rewinding” ourselves, which I think is a really great concept.
Lastly, Chutkan teamed up with Elise Museles of Kale and Chocolate to create a section dedicated to recipes. The Eat Clean, Live Dirty lifestyle revolves around a blend of vegan and paleo diets. The option of eating meat is offered, with some great recipes for meat dishes included, but there is a strong emphasis towards eating more plant based dishes, with dairy and gluten being largely excluded. Although this section doesn’t contain images, I still found that lots of recipes caught my eye, including coconut milk kefir, which is a plant based version of the latest probiotic superfood doing the rounds at the moment.
If you have had digestive problems, or have an interest in holistic (and western!) nutrition, I would really recommend giving this book a read. It is a purely factual book, but the anecdotes throughout helped to break up the text. Thanks to clear headings and sections, it is easy to skim through the book if needed. I can’t comment on the recipes as of yet, but they look promising as it stands!
The Microbiome Solution is now available in the UK, published by Scribe and selling for RRP £14.99, or for £5.62-£11.84 on Amazon.