This weekend I caught an April episode of the public radio program Radiolab that focused on the alimentary canal, or—as host Robert Krulwich put it—”the interior space that runs down from your mutt to your butt.” It seemed appropriate to detour from my regular posts so as to stop and consider not what we eat and how it comes to be, but how our bodies take in that food and make it part of us. Given that one segment considers the ecosystem living inside our intestines, the subject seemed especially relevant on the heels of my recent post about fermentation-guru Sandor Katz and his appeareance on NPR’s Fresh Air.
The Radiolab episode includes conversations with science writers like Mary Roach (who’s current project is a book called GULP, due out next spring) and Carl Zimmer, neuroscientist John Cryan, author Jon Reiner, and others. It’s a fascinating look at the “tube” that makes us all a doughnut. Seriously: from “your mutt to your butt” is one long tunnel through your body, through which food enters us and eventually becomes us.
The Radiolab website encapsulates the episode this way: “We stick our hand in a cow stomach, get a window into our core (thanks to a hunter who became a walking science experiment in the 1800s), and listen in on the surprising back-and-forth between our gut and our brain. And we talk to a man who kind of went out of his mind when a medical procedure left him (for a little while) gutless.”
Head here for the audio and accompanying links and images.