Mary Roach

How does saliva work? Why doesn’t your stomach digest itself? And did constipation really kill Elvis? In her new book “Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal,” Mary Roach chronicles the surprisingly exciting journey that food undertakes in the human body. Roach joins us to talk about everything you ever wanted to know — or might be disgusted to know — about the digestive process.

Mary Roach’s Adventures in Digestion 17 April,2013forum

Mary Roach, author of "Gulp" and other books including "Stiff," "Spook," "Bonk" and "Packing for Mars"

  • Karen

    Hello Mary Roach,
    How do you choose your subject matter when deciding to write the next book? How long do you tend to research each subject before beginning to write, and what’s next on the horizon? Love your books.

  • Estrella Bibbey

    I’ve heard Mary Roach on “The Daily Show” and now on Forum. She has such great info to share. And as a Sjogren’s patient who’s body doesn’t not produce saliva, it’s so importance for people to know how detrimental this disease is form a GI track point of view. Thank you for the great topic! (Lean more about Sjogren’s at

  • Great to hear Jane Dornacker referenced. The Mucous Layer was part of Jane’s discussion of the Hostess Snowball outer layer

  • Chris OConnell

    Humans are funny.

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    Have found my internal plumbing works so much better since I became more vegan and wonder how peoples systems work if they eat lots of meat, or fast/junk food.

  • Mark McPherson

    Food reporter and former restauranteur Narsai David has promulgated a USDA-developed method to degas beans for the last couple decades. Lots of practical recipes can be found online. A detailed description follows:


    The USDA has done a lot of research to try and get the gas-causing
    element out of beans. And British agriculturists are trying to breed a
    new variety of beans with the same goal. USDA work has led to a really
    simple procedure that eliminates fully 80% of the source of the problem.

    One of the complex sugars in beans is not broken down in the human
    stomach. It continues on to the lower intestine, where it causes the
    problem. The cooking technique for its removal is marvelously simple.

    Select a large enough pot to hold at least 3 to 4 times the volume of
    beans comfortably. Bring the water to a rolling boil while you are
    picking over the beans, removing pebbles and spoiled beans. Wash the
    beans and add to the kettle. Boil for only two minutes.

    Remove from the heat, cover, and let it rest for one hour. Drain and
    discard the water. Add fresh water or broth and continue cooking (follow
    recipe below). The offending sugars are reduced by at least 80%, and
    very little other nutrients are lost. You may discover that you will be
    cooking beans more frequently with this wonderful, easy trick.”

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