A Review: An Epidemic of Absence by Moises Velasquez-Manoff

This book is not for the faint of heart. If you are at all squeamish about the idea of purposefully infecting yourself with worms, be warned that this book will make you squirm. That being said, it is definitely a must read for anyone who is interested in learning more about the concept that we are more than just ourselves, we evolved as an ecosystem of microbes, helminthes (worms) and other bacteria/viruses.

I’ve been interested in the idea of microbes and how they play into our health for many years so I’m really excited to see that this issue is getting more focus and quality writing. This is a great rundown of the different ways that our bodies work in concert with other organisms. It is written by a journalist and not a scientific or medical expert, so have that in mind when you are reading it, but also remember that a lot of the things that he talks about are still on the fringes of the mainstream and so the people involved in working on these issues are typically working outside of the typical framework anyway. 

One thing that I didn’t expect to find from this book was the heavy focus on the prenatal environment and how important it is for the life of the child. It was good to see such a focus because that is an area of interest for me but it also scared the sh*t out of me. 

As a woman who is thinking of having kids one day it really made me a little apprehensive about all of the ways that I could mess my kid up before they are even born. Eventually I got through this fear and tried to take away the lessons that I could use: get my inflammation levels as low as possible, expose myself to as many diverse microbial communities as I can, spend more time outside (preferably around barn animals), and don’t obsess over “cleanliness.”

At the end of the day, this book did not make me want to run out and infect myself with worms, but it did make me think about the possibility and I wouldn’t discount it in the future. I really enjoyed this book and the many different ideas that it brought up and made me think about. For anyone who suspects that our hyper-clean environment, modern medicine, modern food practices and eating habits have all contributed to our current epidemic of autoimmune disorders and metabolic diseases, this book is a must read. 


What do you think about this stuff? Have you read the book? Would you intentionally give yourself a "parasite" if you thought it could actually be beneficial to your overall health? 


This post was not sponsored or paid for in any way. All views are completely my own.