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  • Writer's picturePeg Davis

Mice Eating Tiny Little Sandwiches

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

“Imagine mice eating tiny peanut butter sandwiches. Imagine mice eating tiny peanut butter sandwiches to help us learn something very important. But wait--you don’t have to imagine it—it’s for real!

Before we talk more about the munching mice eating their little lunches, I have a question for you. Are you getting the itch to plant some colorful flowers? Waiting (not so patiently) for frosty nights to pass, remembering those seasons when you rushed it, and murdered tender sweet blooms, killed by dewy cold before their time?

Well, the planning and anticipation of growing flowers, veggies, herbs must satisfy until we can actually get out there and dig our hands in the dirt—because digging in the dirt really is the best part of all of it.

Every Spring, I make my plans, then often change my mind at the nursery when I discover the intriguing and amazing colors I didn’t even think of. I’m hard core, so I’ll have visited the local nurseries several times before actually buying my final choices for that BEST GARDEN YET!!

And then, planting day arrives. I always start out the day with gloves on, but after a while, I’m up to my elbows, knees dirty, feeling the soil and the plants and the warm sun on my hands and arms, the stones I unearth as I dig. You can be sure I DON’T feel the earthworms that dive for cover as I turn the soil over—I just appreciate they’re adding nourishing richness to the soil of my garden and reveling in their “leave me alone!” attitude.

And where does all this joy come from? Why will gardeners everywhere tell you that digging in the dirt really feels good? Some even call it therapy.

Remember the mice. If they could talk, they’d tell you they loved their peanut butter sandwiches and how good they felt after eating them! Because research scientists, after determining that soil microbes, bacteria in the regular old dirt we dig in, (called mycobacterium vaccae) has similar effects in our bodies as Prozac and other antidepressants … injected the sandwiches with veccae. Researchers report the mice were happier and smarter, with increased serotonin and improved cognitive function, as they raced through the maze twice as fast as usual, after eating their PB&V sandwiches!

The microbes, as we handle the soil, improve our mood by boosting the production of serotonin in our brain and body. Deficiencies of serotonin make us susceptible to cravings, anxiety, OCD and depression. Research is now being done in elder homes by testing residents after having them poke their fingers in plant soil.

Want to lift your mood and reduce stress? Get out there in the sunshine, take off the gloves and get down and dirty.”

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