Posts Tagged ‘bacteria’

What’s Up With Probiotics?

October 6, 2012

Andrew Siegel, M.D.  Blog # 78


Probiotics (literally meaning “for life”) can be defined as live microorganisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer health benefits upon the host. Probiotics are the healthy and friendly bacteria that are present in fermented foods such as yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, soy products (including tempeh, miso and soy sauce), pickles, pickled vegetables and sauerkraut. Some probiotics provide an immune function whereas others optimize our intestinal function by improving the balance of microbes and inhibiting the presence of pathogens and toxin-producing bacteria.  Our intestines actually make up an important part of our immune system and in the event of an intestinal injury or infection, dangerous bacteria and/or their toxins can get into our blood and cause serious illness.

Dr. Elie Metchnikoff was a Nobel laureate who is regarded as the father of modern probiotics—in the early twentieth century, he made a seminal observation that the regular consumption of lactic acid bacteria in fermented dairy products was associated with enhanced health and longevity in Bulgarian peasants.

Probiotics may consist of bacteria strains as well as yeast strains.  Lactobacillus acidophilus is probably one of the most commonly known probiotics;  Bifidobacterium bifidus is another.  Sacchararomyces boulardi is a common yeast probiotic also known as nutritional yeast.

Probiotics themselves rely upon food in our diet for sustenance.  These food sources for probiotics are known as prebiotics.  This fuel for the probiotics consists of non-digestible food components, particularly fiber.  Thus, it is important to consume fiber regularly in order to maximize the benefits of any probiotics that we eat.

At birth, our intestinal contents are sterile. This changes at birth, when we depart the sterile environment of the womb.  Our initial exposure is to our mother’s vaginal flora or skin flora, depending upon whether the delivery is vaginal or via C-section.  This primes our immune system and provides us with our own micro-cosmos of healthy bacteria that will help us survive and thrive.  One of the key residents of a pregnant woman’s vagina is Lactobacillus. During vaginal delivery, the baby is exposed to an abundance of these bacteria, theorized to prepare the baby to be able to digest breast milk, as the bacteria produce lactase, an enzyme that helps break down the sugar in milk, aka lactose. Colonization of the gut is dependent upon our mode of feeding, whether it is breast-feeding or bottle-feeding.  Breast milk plays a very important role in stimulating our immune system. Breast-feeding further charges up the colonies of good bacteria in our gut, since breast milk contains hundreds of species of healthy bacteria.  In the first few years of life, our intestinal ecosystem gets increasingly complex as new microbes are added through contact with family members, our diet, and exposure to our environment including animals and other human beings

Probiotics can help us to optimize our health. They may reduce atopic dermatitis and infections during infancy. Lactobacillus has been shown to reduce vaginal yeast infections and may aid in modulating cholesterol levels, as well as reducing the incidence of obesity in pregnant females.  Lactobacillus produces lactase, so in the lactose intolerant population, these bacteria can help to digest milk products.  Lactobacillus increases the acidity of our intestines and can mitigate diarrhea because its presence crowds out pathogenic bacteria. Probiotics also serve a role in helping to repopulate the gut with healthy bacteria when we take antibiotics, which kill many of the bacteria in our intestinal tract.

So, in order to maintain optimal immune function as well as intestinal health, it is important to get sufficient amounts of prebiotics and probiotics. Synbiotics refer to nutritional supplements combining both prebiotics and probiotics that work together in a synergistic fashion.

Plentiful intake of fiber from whole food sources will ensure getting enough prebiotic sources. In terms of a source of probiotics, it is as simple as adding fermented foods to one’s diet. Live probiotic cultures are present in fermented dairy products and probiotic-fortified foods, as well as tablets, capsules, and powders containing the bacteria in freeze-dried form.

A great source of probiotics is yogurt, particularly Greek yogurt.  Its thickness and creaminess lends itself to using it in place of many recipes that call for sour cream, including salad dressings, toppings for baked potatoes, and dips. In terms of whole food sources of probiotics versus supplement sources of probiotics, it is clear that  whole food sources trump pills and supplements.  With respect to supplements, there are purity and standardization issues as well as the question of whether live bacteria formulated in a pill will survive the harsh conditions in our stomach.  Under the circumstances of one disliking yogurt and other fermented foods as well as fiber, consideration for probiotics in pill and supplements should be a consideration.

Andrew Siegel, M.D.

Author of Promiscuous Eating: Understanding and Ending Our Self-Destructive Relationship with Food

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A special thank you to Professor Roberta H. Anding, RD, LD, CDE, CSSD of Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, Texas for providing much of this information via her awesome DVD series: Nutrition Made Clear, published by THE GREAT COURSES, Chantilly, Virginia. This DVD series consists of 36 thirty-minute lectures on nutrition that are comprehensive, enjoyable, and accessible and are a wonderful source of useful and practical information.


The Zoo On You (Our Microbial Ecosystem)

September 29, 2012

Andrew Siegel, M.D.   Blog #77


There is an invisible “zoo” that lives on and in our skin, mouths, nasal passages, intestines, etc. We are literally teeming with this wildlife park of microscopic creatures —bacteria, viruses, fungi—that live on and in you and me. We are like coral reefs in the sense that other species take up harbor on or within us, although in this case, the tenants are microbial. This extensive menagerie of microorganisms consists of an incredible diversity of species with an estimated population of 100 trillion—collectively it is referred to as the microbiome.  Every one of us has a unique community of microbes, predicated on our genes, diet and environment.  This invisible ecosystem is dynamic and will change with variations in our diet and environment.

Many bacteria have been justifiably given a bad rap—methicillin-resistant Staph aureus (MRSA), E. Coli O157:H7, Clostridium difficile, etc.—as they are potentially very hostile creatures that can wreak havoc to our health and even kill us. However, not all bacteria and other microbes are our evil enemies; in fact, many are valuable, beneficial and are, in fact, vital for our health and existence, and that is the nature of our microbiome.

Our microbiome is primed at birth, when we depart the sterile environment of the womb.  Our initial exposure is to our mother’s vaginal flora or skin flora, depending upon whether the delivery is vaginal or via C-section.  This “jumpstarts” our immune system and provides us with our own micro-cosmos of creatures that will help us survive and thrive.  One of the key residents of a pregnant woman’s vagina is Lactobacillus.  This species usually resides in the gut, where it makes enzymes to help digest milk. During vaginal delivery, the baby is exposed to an abundance of these bacteria, theorized to prepare the baby to be able to digest breast milk.  Breast-feeding further charges up the microbiome, as breast milk contains hundreds of species of healthy bacteria.  In the first few years of life, our microbiome ecosystem gets increasingly complex as new microbes are added through contact with family members, our diet, and exposure to our environment including animals and other human beings.

There is a lot of truth in the following joke by George Carlin:

When I was a little boy in New York City in the 1940’s, we swam in the Hudson River. And it was filled with raw sewage! OK? We swam in raw sewage, you know, to cool off. And at that time the big fear was polio. Thousands of kids died from polio every year. But you know something? In my neighborhood no one ever got polio. No one! EVER! You know why? Cause WE SWAM IN RAW SEWAGE! It strengthened our immune system, the polio never had a prayer. We were tempered in raw shit!

Most of the invisible residents composing the microbiome are not harmful to humans and in fact, are vitally helpful to us in many ways.  This colony of aliens lives on our skin, in our nose, mouths, and gastro-intestinal and uro-genital tracts.  Our largest organ—the skin—is swarming with good bacteria, some of which break down the oily secretions of skin cells, creating a moisturizing film that provides suppleness and prevents cracks that could allow entry to those harmful microbes that can cause invasion and disease.

The greatest population of microbes resides in the gastro-intestinal tract.  This makes sense, since that’s where the most abundant food supply is.  Hey, why did Willie Sutton rob banks? …. Because that’s where the money is. We carry at minimum a few pounds of microbes in our intestines.  They confer many  advantages to us, including the following: they digest components of plant-based fiber that we cannot break down on our own; they synthesize vitamins, e.g, Bacteroides, which produces Vitamin K; they help release beneficial chemicals from food; they activate, train and maintain our immune systems; they suppress those microbes that can cause food poisoning, e.g., Lactobacillus salivarius in our mouths makes a toxin lethal to Listeria monocytogenes; and they guard against virulent (hostile) microbes by virtue of the magnitude of good bacteria present.

Our gut microbiome is very much influenced by our diet.  Interestingly, lean people seem to have very different intestinal microbes than obese people, and diabetics have very different intestinal microbes than non-diabetics.  Gut bacteria can digest fiber that we cannot on our own and are thus capable of allowing us to harvest additional energy.  The microbiome of obese people plays a role in regulating how cells use sugar for energy and in fat storage.  Certain bacteria in the gut can cause an inflammatory response that promotes fat storage and weight gain. It has been proposed that, like diet and exercise, gut microbes should be regarded as an additional factor affecting our overall energy balance.  Different gut microbiome composition can help explain why the absorption of nutrients and medications varies so much from person to person.

The fascinating story of Clostridium difficile (C. difficile)

This bacteria inhabits the intestine of about 8% of healthy people without causing harm or symptoms.  It remains non-hostile, as long as its population remains checked by the presence of a large population of healthy bacteria.  A C. difficile infection is commonly acquired under the circumstance of taking broad-spectrum antibiotics. These antibiotics not only kill the bacteria that they are intended to kill, but are also lethal to the “good” bacteria, allowing the C. difficile to flourish and predominate.  In the majority of people who don’t normally have C. dificile in their microbiome, it is acquired in hospitals or nursing homes, where it is spread by the fecal-oral route (not washing hands after bowel movements).  Toxins produced by the bacteria cause a horrible diarrhea with potential dire consequences.

In the United States, C. difficile causes more deaths per year than HIV infections.  The treatment of choice is to stop the broad-spectrum antibiotics that are responsible for killing off the good bacteria, and starting an antibiotic called Vancomycin, that is capable of killing C. difficile.  For refractory cases that do not respond to these means, fecal transplantation—transferring stool from a healthy donor to an ill patient to restore the normal balance of gut bacteria (i.e., the actual injection of healthy fecal matter into the colon via colonoscopy)—has proven highly effective.

How To Be On The Best Terms With Your “Zoo”:

  • Unless you have an immune deficiency, you do not need to live a life in quarantine—remember, in his joke, George Carlin made a very telling point.
  • Don’t use anti-bacterial soaps as they can kill off some of our good bacteria; good old plain soaps are just fine.
  • Don’t overdo it with hand sanitizers.
  • Don’t use antibiotic creams for every minor wound—clean with soap and water and cover with a band-aid.
  • Don’t beg your doctor for antibiotics.  More than 50% of antibiotic usage in the United States is both inappropriate and unnecessary.  Most common infections are viral—not bacterial—and the use of antibiotics is not only ineffective, but also a waste of resources and selects for a population of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.
  • Probiotics such as yogurt can help repopulate the microbiome if there is cause to believe it has been disturbed.  (This will be the subject of a blog in the very near future).

There’s no need to say “ewww” about your own personal “zoo”; rather, attempt to do everything to leave it undisturbed so that it can provide you with its natural health benefits.


Men’s Health, May 2012: The Dirty Little Secret Of Perfect Health by Jim Thornton

New York Times, March 20, 2012: Gut Infections Are Growing More Lethal by Denise Grady

Nutrition Action Newsletter, July/August 2012: Living In A Microbial World—Learning To Love Your Bacteria by David Shardt

New York Times, June 19, 2012: Attending The Bodies Microbial Garden by Carl Zimmer

ZOOBIQUITY: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing, Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, M.D. and Kathryn Bowers

Andrew Siegel, M.D.

Author of Promiscuous Eating: Understanding and Ending Our Self-Destructive Relationship with Food

Available in paperback or e-book on Amazon Kindle

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Bladder Infections In Women

March 16, 2012


 Bladder infections (cystitis) are relatively common occurrences among females.  Acute uncomplicated bacterial cystitis is an infection of the bladder that can cause burning, frequency, urgency, bleeding, urinating small volumes, incontinence, and pain (abdominal, pelvic, or lower back).  Lab studies usually show bacteria, white blood cells and red blood cells in the urine. 80-90% of cystitis is caused by Escherichia coli, 5-15% by Staphylococcus and the remainder by less common pathogens including Klebsiella, Proteus, and Enterococcus.

 Cystitis occurs when bacteria that normally inhabit the colon gain access to the urinary bladder. While cystitis is common among the female population, it is rare among the male population.  Anatomical differences that promote cystitis in women are the short female urethra and the close proximity of the urethra to the vagina and anus, areas that are normally colonized with bacteria.  The occasional occurrence of cystitis—while a nuisance and oftentimes uncomfortable—is usually easily treated with a short course of antibiotics.   When bladder infections recur time and again, it becomes a major source of inconvenience and suffering for the patient, and it becomes important to fully investigate the source of the recurrence.

 A urinary infection is considered complicated under the following conditions:  if it involves the kidneys; if it occurs during pregnancy; if the bacteria are highly resistant to antibiotics; if there is a structural abnormality of the urinary tract; if it occurs in immune-compromised patients, including diabetics; in the presence of a “foreign body” such as an indwelling urinary catheter, urinary stent or urinary tract stone.

 For an infection to develop, there has to be vaginal colonization with pathogenic bacteria (bacteria that can cause an infection and not the normal healthy bacteria that reside in the vagina); movement of these bacteria into the bladder; and finally, attachment of the bacteria to the cells that line the bladder.  Whether or not an infection develops is based upon the interaction of female protective mechanisms (“defense”) and bacterial virulence factors (“offense”). “Defense” factors include an acidic vagina, which inhibits the growth of the type of bacteria that cause infections while promoting the growth of “good” bacteria such as lactobacilli; the presence of a mucopolysaccharide layerthat protects the bladder lining; and immune cells present in the urine that block the adherence of bacteria to the bladder cells.  Additionally, the dilution action of urine production and the flushing effect of urinating can wash out bacteria before they have a chance to latch on to the lining of the bladder.  Bacterial “offense” factors include fimbriae, tentacle-like structures that promote attachment to the bladder lining cells and the capability of bacteria to evolve and develop resistance to antibiotics.

  Women aged 18-24 years old have the greatest prevalence of acute uncomplicated bacterial cystitis and sexual activity often is a factor in bacteria finding their way into the urethra and bladder, hence the term “honeymoon cystitis.”  The following are risk factors for cystitis: a new sexual partner; recent sexual intercourse; the use of spermicides, diaphragms or spermicide-coated condoms. Spermicides can change the vaginal “environment” and promote the presence of different bacteria from the normal flora. Being overweight can play a role in promoting cystitis because it is more difficult to maintain good hygiene under these circumstances.

  Cystitis also occurs with increased prevalence in the post-menopausal population, based upon changes that happen because of estrogen deficiency.  As a result of low levels of estrogen, there is a change in the normal bacteria (flora) of the vagina in which E. Coli replaces lactobacilli.  Topical estrogen cream has been shown to reverse vaginal colonization with E. Coli and helps prevent cystitis.  Other factors are an age-related decline in immunity; incomplete bladder emptying; and the not uncommon occurrence of urinary and fecal incontinence often managed with pads, which remain moist and contaminated and can promote movement of bacteria from the anal area towards the urethra.  The presence of diabetes (particularly when poorly controlled, with high levels of glucose in the urine that can be thought of as “fertilizer” for bacteria), neurological diseases, pelvic organ prolapse, obesity and poor hygiene further increase the prevalence of cystitis among older women

 It is important to distinguish a symptomatic urinary infection from asymptomatic bacteriuria, urethritis, vaginitis, and Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS)/Interstitial Cystitis (IC).  Asymptomatic bacteriuria is the presence of bacteria within the bladder without causing an infection.  Asymptomatic bacteriuria does not require treatment, since treatment is most often futile and achieves nothing but selection of a resistant organism—in other words, by unnecessarily exposing bacteria to an antibiotic environment, bacteria can evolve and adapt to become modified in such a way that the antibiotic is no longer effective. Asymptomatic bacteriuria needs only to be treated in pregnant women and in patients undergoing urological-gynecological surgical procedures.  Urethritis is an infection in the urethra; vaginitis is a vaginal infection; and PBS/IC (Painful Bladder Syndrome/Interstitial Cystitis) is a chronic inflammatory condition of the bladder that can mimic the symptoms of cystitis.

 The diagnosis of cystitis is on the basis of urinalysis and culture.  A urine specimen is obtained after cleansing of the vaginal area with an antibacterial wipeand collection of a mid-stream voided specimen. At times, catheterization is necessary to obtain a specimen.  Dipstick is the fastest and least expensive means of screening for an infection, but it is not very accurate and fraught with false positives and negatives.  Microscopy is much more accurate, seeking the presence of bacteria, white blood cells and red blood cells.  The definitive test is urine culture and sensitivity, which will demonstrate the bacteria responsible for the infection, the quantitative bacterial count, and those antibiotics that are most likely to be effective.

    Treatment of cystitis is based upon antibiotics to eradicate the bacteria. In the case of recurrent cystitis, it is important to do an evaluation to rule out a structural cause. This generally involves imaging—often an ultrasound (using sound waves to obtain an image of the urinary tract)—and a cystoscopy (a visual inspection of the urethra and bladder with a flexible scope).  This will check the entire urinary tract, including the kidneys and bladder.  Findings may be a (cystocele) dropped bladder, a stone within the urinary tract, a urethral stricture (a narrowing in the channel leading out of the bladder that causes an obstruction), a urethral diverticulum (a pocket connected to the urethra), or a fistula (abnormal connection between the colon and bladder).

    After treatment of the acute infection, it is important to make changes in order to help minimize recurrent episodes of cystitis.  After urination or a bowel movement, it is important to wipe in a top-to-bottom direction to avoid bringing bacteria from the anus up towards the urethra.  It is also important to remain well hydrated to keep the urine from becoming very concentrated:  “The solution to pollution is dilution” applies well to urinary infections.  It is important to urinate on a regular basis over the course of the day, utilizing the natural flushing effect of urination to wash out the bladder and keep it from becoming over-distended.  Many workers such as nurses and teachers do not have the time to empty their bladders during the course of their days, and they often end up predisposed to cystitis.  It is very important to urinate after sexual activity to help flush out any bacteria that may have been introduced into the urethra and the bladder.

   One option for the management of recurrent cystitis is the self-administration of a short course of antibiotics when the cystitis symptoms first occur.  It is useful to first test your urine using a dipstick (although not perfect, it is great for home screening) when the symptoms of cystitis arise. This has proven to be safe, economical and effective.  Alternatively, a single dose of antibiotic can be administered just before or after sexual activity if the infections are clearly sexually related.  Another possibility is a single dose of antibiotic administered on a prophylactic basis every evening or every other evening to prevent recurrent cystitis.  Methenamine is converted to formaldehyde in the urine and can help prevent recurrent infections. Cranberries, lingonberries, and blueberries contain proanthocyanidins that inhibit the adherence of bacteria fimbriae to the bladder cells, acting as anti-adhesives and helping to prevent bacteria from attaching onto bladder cells and causing an infection.  There are formulations of cranberry extract available to avoid the high carbohydrate load of cranberry juice.  Estrogen cream applied vaginally can help restore the normal vaginal flora and thus help prevent cystitis.  Probiotics promote healthy bacteria colonization of the vagina, production of hydrogen peroxide that is toxic to bacteria, maintenance of acidic urine, induction of an anti-inflammatory response in bladder cells, and inhibition of attachment between bacteria and the bladder cells.

   In summary, bladder infections in females are common, annoying, but rarely serious.  They are very treatable, and those who suffer with recurrent infections can be nicely managed.

                      Pearls To Help Keep Cystitis Away

  • Wipe in a top-to-bottom motion after using the bathroom
  • Stay well hydrated to keep the urine dilute
  • At minimum, urinate every four hours while awake to avoid an over-distended bladder
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Urinate after sexual activity
  • If infections are clearly sexual related, an antibiotic taken pre or post-sexually can usually preempt the cystitis
  • If you are diabetic, maintain the best control possible
  • Topical estrogen can be helpful for the post-menopausal female
  • Seek urological consultation for recurrent infections to check for an underlying and correctable structural cause; if none are found, there are a number of means of managing recurrences, including self-diagnosis/self-treatment; daily antibiotic prophylaxis; daily methenamine; cranberry extract; probiotics

Andrew Siegel, M.D.

Author of Promiscuous Eating: Understanding and Ending Our Self-Destructive Relationship with Food

Now available on Amazon Kindle

To view my educational video on bladder infections:


Scary Stuff: Our Drinking Water

July 24, 2011

I live in the cozy village of Ridgewood—a nice, suburban town in Bergen County, New Jersey, just a short ride from the George Washington Bridge.  I recently received the 2011 water quality report, something I would most typically file in the recycling bin without a glance or a thought, but my interest in what precisely it is that we are putting in our bodies left me compelled to read the report.

To start with a verbatim quote from the report: “Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants.  The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that the water poses a health risk.  In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, EPA and NJDEP prescribe regulations which limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems.  FDA regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water, which must provide similar protection for public health.  EPA regulations are more stringent than FDA regulations.”

Ridgewood’s water source is primarily groundwater from wells.  As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves minerals and radioactive materials and can pick up substances from the presence of “animals or human activity.”  Contaminants may include the following:

  • Bacteria and viruses from sewage, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations and wildlife
  • Salts and metals from natural sources or from storm runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas projection, mining or farming
  • Pesticides and herbicides
  • Organic chemical contaminants from industry, petroleum production, gas stations, storm water runoff and septic systems
  • Radioactive contaminants from natural sources or oil, gas, mining activities

Ridgewood Water Department issues susceptibility ratings for seven contaminant categories—the possible ratings are high, medium, or low.  “If a system is rated highly susceptible for a contaminant category, it does not mean a customer is or will be consuming contaminated drinking water.  The rating reflects the potential for contamination of source water, not the existence of contamination.”  I consider myself to be a reasonably intelligent person, but I have trouble understanding the aforementioned concept, which is present in boldface in the report.  Here is the actual report of the 58 wells:

Source                                                       High          Medium          Low

Pathogens                                                    1                  53                   4

Nutrients*                                                   33                25

Pesticides                                                                      27                   31

Volatile organic compounds                        55                                        3

Inorganics                                                   37                21

Radionuclides                                              32                26

Radon                                                          58

Disinfection Byproduct Precursors                4                   54

* Nutrients  are defined as compounds, minerals and elements that aid growth, both naturally-occurring and man-made, e.g., nitrogen and phosphorous.  In my humble opinion, this is quite the euphemism!

Is it just me, or is the aforementioned report frightening, alarming and terrifying?  I think that I summed up the situation pretty well in my book Promiscuous Eating: Understanding and Ending Our Self-Destructive Relationship With Food:

“Is water contamination any great surprise to us? Collectively, human imprudence and greed have been rather unkind to Mother Earth. What goes around, comes around, i.e., cosmic karma—for years we have polluted the air, water and soil of the earth and are now paying dearly for it—we have been wanton in our actions and our folly is coming back to haunt us. Our power plants, vehicles, refineries and industrial facilities have spewed horrific volumes of exhaust gases, smoke and by-products of coal combustion into our air. We have dumped billions of tons of industrial effluents, mining and agricultural wastes and raw sewage into our rivers and oceans. We have polluted our soils with chemicals from herbicides and pesticides and have overfilled landfills with garbage and toxic materials. There are well over 1000 Superfund toxic waste cleanup sites in the USA! Our civilization has stripped the earth, mined it, burned it, consumed its natural resources, deforested it, emitted into it . . . basically, we have raped and pillaged and destroyed much of it. We have paved over large swathes of the earth in an effort to urbanize and industrialize the land…and are now at the point where there is much less of anything clean and natural left.

This life of ours is not a board game: Just by virtue of our being able to transport, shift, and compartmentalize our waste into discrete dumpsites, basically a lose-lose strategy of taking hazardous matter from point A to point B, does not liberate us from their ill—likely deadly—effects. In essence, our now “Going Green” may be too late since we “Went Red” a long, unfortunate time ago. What happens to the inhabitants of the planet is a microcosm of what happens to Mother Earth, since we—and almost all that we eat—breathe the air, drink the water, and eat the food grown in the soil.”

Andrew Siegel, M.D.

This is just a taste of what you will find in Promiscuous Eating: Understanding and Ending Our Self-Destructive Relationship with Food. The website for the book is:

It provides information on the book, a trailer, excerpts, ordering instructions, as well as links to a wealth of excellent resources on healthy living.  It is also available on Amazon Kindle.