2500 years ago, Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine,” declared that “all disease starts in the gut.” With the advent of modern science, we relegated the status of the gut to that of a mere food tube, a mechanical conduit for nutrients and waste products. But there’s been a modern renaissance in our understanding of the GI tract: It houses the microbiome, a collection of micro-organisms that outnumber human cells by 10 to 1. The microbiome deserves the status of an organ unto itself. According to Dr. Alessio Fasano, an expert on celiac disease and gut health, “The gut is not like Las Vegas—what happens in the gut doesn’t stay in the gut.” The microbiome has an impact on shaping immunity, determining whether we’ll be susceptible to infectious diseases or autoimmunity; it affects the brain, in such diverse conditions as autism, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, anxiety and depression; it shapes our hormones (thyroid, adrenal, growth hormone, estrogen and testosterone); and it impacts metabolism, influencing whether we’ll gain weight or develop diabetes. Why is the microbiome under attack via our Western lifestyles? What are some ways we can cultivate a healthy microbiome?