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Archive for the 'dirt' Category



A few months ago, we embarked on our most ambitious summer project yet.

An organic vegetable garden in our backyard! We planted tomatoes, zucchini, green chilies, basil, cilantro, peppermint, cucumbers and bell peppers.

To our delight, most (R.I.P cucumbers) of the vegetables survived our less-than-perfect tending. And we had our first harvest last week!bell-pepper.JPG

The kids enjoyed getting their hands dirty and watching the veggies “being born.” But the best part, they say, was popping the cherry tomatoes into their mouths, soon after harvesting them.

The project allowed the kids to make the farm-to-table connection, and they’ve grown a special fondness for yellow bell peppers. Bonus!vegbasket1.JPG

Posted by Swapna Venugopal on Thursday, August 14th, 2008 at 12:32 pm |

I knew it! Dirt *is* healthy for you


Last weekend, I had the two little guys at a nearby playground where the ground under the structures was dirt and soft wood chips instead of that newfangled soft, rubbery surface.dirt-2-2.jpg

Markus, the toddler, has really found his balance and rarely topples over now, but he had a terrific face plant while running from the bottom of the slide to the steps to climb back to the top. He stood up and had dirt from his forehead down to his toes.

But his mouth had been open, as he was laughing at the time, so he got some dirt in his mouth.

Recognizing that since time immemorial, children had been eating mudpies and dirt in various ways, shapes and forms, I didn’t freak out. I dusted him off, and tried to help him get the excess out of his mouth, then realized I had the solution in my hand: a half-filled juice box. He sucked down the juice — and the remaining dirt — and wiped his hands on his pants before he trotted off to climb the steps again.

Today, I was happy to be vindicated by this article. Eating dirt is known as “geophagy.”

Chimps (our closest genetic cousins in the animal kingdom) eat dirt to help fight malaria, apparently.

Humans apparently do it all over the world, too. (And apparently it’s very common among pregnant women.) Scientists believe the reasons are twofold: First, to absorb minerals they need; second, to detoxify. Here’s a link to the original study in the PLoS ONE journal that the article was based upon.

So, next time junior grabs a handful of dirt in the backyard and crams it in his mouth before you can get to him, don’t freak out.

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Posted by Amy Vernon on Wednesday, June 4th, 2008 at 11:34 am |
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