This post is about something we’ve all needed: a charming Millennial named Giulia Enders’ entertaining and simple explanation of how digestion works. She’s a doctoral student at the Institute for Microbiology in Frankfurt, Germany. In 2012 her presentation about the gut won first prize at the Science Slam in Berlin – and then deservedly went viral on YouTube.
I highly recommend watching Darm mit Charme (Gut Charm). It’ll crack you up while you’re learning some very useful information about how your body works.
Winning the Science Slam prize led to an invitation to write a book. Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ has become, again deservedly, an international best seller. It’s now been published in 30 languages!
This Amazon review of the book says it all:
Best popular science writing EVER – a brilliant, witty treasure trove of insanely useful information
“I don’t believe I’ve ever learned more useful information per page than in “Gut” — and I’m trained as a doctor! The whole time I’m reading this, I’m shaking my head, thinking, “How come we weren’t taught that in med school?” A longer, more thorough review is forthcoming, but in the meantime, if you are a fan of eating or have ever eaten in your lifetime, ever had a “gut feeling” about anything, or happen to possess a digestive tract, you need to read this. Is there anything more fundamental than knowing how your body extracts energy and nutrients from food? Dr Giulia Enders covers all aspects of the gut and how it relates to your mind, mood, hormones, and health, and does it all in a style that’s accessible to the 10yr old and enjoyable to the seasoned professional.
Also, she’s freakin’ hilarious.”
— Ali Binazir, M.D., M.Phil.
Ms Enders is in the category of people who’ve found Western Medicine less than helpful for what ailed them and decided to search for better answers.
As a teenager, she developed a mysterious skin condition that covered her skin with sores. Treatments offered by her doctors were largely ineffective. She knew she’d been delivered by Caesarian Section, which doesn’t allow the mother’s probiotic bacteria to transfer properly to the infant so C. section babies start life at a microbial disadvantage.
At age 17, Enders decided to experiment with treating what she realized was the underlying cause of her skin condition, a digestive disorder, rather than rely on treating only her symptoms, as her doctors had been doing. She read up on current gastroenterological research, took probiotic and mineral supplements to support her gut microbiota and improve her digestion, eliminated dairy products and almost all gluten, and continued fine tuning her diet. Her skin problems cleared up – and her fascination with the intestines began.
As she gained knowledge from her reading, experimented on herself, and got better, she was also struck by how little most lay people and doctors seemed to know about the workings of the gut and its important influence on the health of the rest of the body – including whether we develop cancers and other diseases; on our feelings, decision making processes, self-awareness, moods, weight, and even morality. Learning as much as she can about the gut and teaching people about it have become her life’s work. (Coburn, 2015)
And she’s very good at it.
Here’s a two-part TV interview with Giulia Enders from 13 February 2015, after her book had become a best seller. Watch both parts – you’ll be glad! They’re in English, delightful, and short. (SkavlanTalkShow.com, 2015) Among other interesting topics, she talks about why it’s much healthier to squat than sit while pooping.
A big thanks to Mike Robotti for sending the Coburn article about Giulia Enders my way.
Coburn, J. (2015). A German Writer Translates a Puzzling Illness Into a Best-Selling Book. New York Times. See: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/20/world/europe/a-german-writer-translates-a-puzzling-illness-into-a-best-selling-book.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share&_r=0
Enders, G. (2012). Darm mit Charme (Gut Charm). Science Slam Berlin. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFsTSS7aZ5o
Enders, G. (2015). Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ. See: http://www.amazon.com/Gut-Inside-Story-Bodys-Underrated/dp/1771641495
SkavlanTalkShow.com. (2/13/2015). Interview with Giulia Enders, Parts 1 & 2. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szp6mFMX5w0
© Copyright 2015 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.