When you and I find the courage and strength to be better in any regard we help everyone around us. This goes for every area of our lives and even what we eat – and it includes our bacteria. You have trillions of hitchhikers that live in and on you, and they play a huge role in keeping you healthy. Your home, too, is covered in your bacteria, and every room is teeming with your unique bacterial signature. Researchers involved in the Home Microbiome Project 1 studied seven families for six weeks across the United States (pets included). When these families moved into new homes they began to colonize it with their bacteria in just a few minutes, completely changing the environment rapidly and replacing it with the bacteria that they contained on them and in their bodies. Within 24 hours, the new home was almost identical to their older home – your bacteria go with you everywhere. Everything you do – when you scratch, yawn, open the kitchen cabinet, turn on the TV – releases bacteria. When you go to a hotel room, it takes no time for you to convert it to your own “bacteria home.”
“People get very fidgety and itchy about hotel rooms,” study author Jack Gilbert, a microbiologist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, says — from his hotel room in South Korea. “But realistically, my hotel room right now looks like my microbiome. I’ve wiped out any of the previous occupants’ microflora in here—it’s 99.9% me.”
What about the bad bugs?
Exposing your immune system to many different types of microbes is one way to strengthen your body’s ability to fight pathogens. Eating probiotic foods is a fantastic way to build your microbiome. Another great way to do this is to get a dog or cat. Dogs and cats have different microbes that help build our micro world. One study 2 found that infants who lived among pet dander had lower rates of allergies. “Having a dog rapidly supercharges the highways of microbial transmission in the house,” Gilbert says. Gilbert was so convinced by the study that he got his family a dog.
When I do cultured food classes, the first thing I do is have everybody shake the hand of the person next to them. Then I announce, “You just gave that person 8 million of your unique bacteria!” People laugh, but it’s true, we all share our bacteria with one another. But what about the harmful microbes? Researchers in this study found a potentially antibiotic-resistant pathogen on the kitchen countertop that was then found on the hands of the family members, but nobody got sick. Their immune systems took care of it and they never even knew it was there. This is happening all the time. As long as we’re relatively healthy our immune system keeps those pathogens at bay, destroying them before we have a problem. Only when our micro flora gets out of balance or compromised do those bugs get a foothold and we get sick. This is why cultured foods are such a good idea. They will strengthen your army of bacteria, give them lots of prebiotics to make them grow strong and mighty, and you become a force to be reckoned with. When people tell me they’re sick and not to get too close to them, I always say, “I’m not afraid of colds and flu. The flu should be afraid of me!”
Change every room you walk into
Why not change every room you walk into with your good bacteria? You have 100 trillion helpers with you everywhere you go. These invisible forces can be used for good to change the world we live in. This isn’t science fiction, this is the way things really are. If one person decides to get healthy, it spreads to others. If enough of us change our bacteria and become strong we could wipe out antibiotic-resistant bugs fast! We wouldn’t need antibiotics because our own bacteria would be strong enough to keep everything in balance. Cultured foods are a great way to start. Pick one, just one: kefir, kombucha, or cultured veggies. Eat them and give it a try. The old paradigm systems of drugs and surgeries to repair the body aren’t working. We have to change what we eat, strengthen ourselves from the inside out, and then we become unstoppable. Your trillions of helpers will help you, but you have to feed them and make them grow. Make friends with your microbes . . . they were placed inside you to keep you well. It was an ingenious plan. It’s just time you knew about it.
In this day and age, with antibiotic resistance growing rapidly, the new research says probiotics will be the new drugs of the future.
Here’s a good recipe to start building your microbiome. You can start changing your world for the better with just one meal. Feed those microbial hitchhikers and then thank them for taking care of you. They were put here to help you, don’t take it for granted, it can change everything.