The DIRT on Microbes, Toxins, Stress & Spirit with Dr. Maya Shetreat

We’re speaking with Maya Shetreat, MD, a neurologist, herbalist, urban farmer, and author of The Dirt Cure: Healthy Food, Healthy Gut, Happy Child. Dr. Maya is the founder of the Terrain Institute, where she teaches Terrain Medicine™, earth-based programs for transformational healing. She works and studies with indigenous communities and healers in Ecuador, and is a lifelong student of ethnobotany, plant healing, and the sacred.

In this episode, you're going to hear what she believes to be 3 foundational pieces to our health & wellbeing (they all revolve around dirt), how her son’s early health challenge sent her down a rabbit hole, and a path to remembering what she really cared about - food, plants, environment, and spirit.

We’re covering the microbiome, toxins, stress, and Dr. Maya gets really honest about being a pioneer in her field and the resistance she encountered from colleagues. She shares her top non-negotiables and what she believes the one thing we must cultivate for our soul’s wellbeing.

Show Notes

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How Dr. Maya got into dirt, her childhood playing with nature

  • 3 foundational pieces to our health & wellbeing - all around dirt; the pillars of health:

    • Being exposed to germs and microbes

    • Eating fresh food from healthy soil

    • Being immersed in nature

  • How Dr. Maya started putting the puzzle pieces together and recover her son’s health, beginning with late nights looking at the scientific literature

  • The connections between pesticides, farming practices and allergic disease

  • How Roundup was first patented as an antibiotic

  • How families share a microbiome, and how diversity is important for health

  • How Dr. Maya got her family on board with food and lifestyle changes using incremental changes, phases, rotations, and “crowding out” techniques

  • Top things to avoid: bleach and harsh chemical cleaners, instead, use natural cleaners

  • Why we really want to be around germs, and promote diversity in our microbiome

  • Eliminate antimicrobial soaps and toxic hygenic products

  • Expand microbial exposures - good news: you don’t have to clean as much! “It’s ok to not be squeaky clean all the time”

  • Incorporate as much time outside and out in nature as possible

  • Have a pet - you share microbiome with your pets!, the benefits of having pets in the prevention of immune disorders

  • How stressors can be good for us, and how they result in more powerful nutrition and medicine in plants

  • Dr. Maya breaks down the immune process and system, and how a less diverse exposure to microbes will lead to more allergic response and overactivity

  • The concept of hormesis and the importance of small stressors in regular doses

  • How emotional stressful situations can be apart of an initiation and support our growth

  • The importance of coming together to protect our health from massive stressors and toxins, and how Dr. Maya sees it happening already

  • How Dr. Maya weaves in the spiritual into her medical practice, and why there is no way to avoid connection to the ancient entities and spirit when working with Mother Earth

  • What working with an ethnobotanist, shaman, and other teachers in Equador taught her

  • As a pioneer in her field bridging mind body spirit in conventional neurology, the resistance she encountered from colleagues when she began incorporating holistic tools and modalities

  • Some common emotional-spiritual-physical body connections and challenges Dr. Maya sees and how she supports her patients through self discovery

  • The importance of learning how to listen, and incorporating practices to listen such as keeping a dream journal

  • Dr. Maya’s top non-negotiables for supporting your health, and how being in a state of receiving can be game-changing, plus her tips on how to get into that receptive mode and learn to listen to unspoken language

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Connect With Dr. Maya Shetreat

WebsiteInstagram | Facebook

Resources & Links

Free gift: Earth Medicine Transformational bundle at

The Dirt Cure: Healthy Food, Healthy Gut, Happy Child by Dr. Maya Shetreat

An Epidemic of Absence: A New Way of Understanding Allergies and Autoimmune Diseases by Moises Velasquez-Manoff

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