I’ve been reflecting on where I was a year ago, Before The Pandemic (BTP), what has changed and what has not. Last May BTP I wrote a post about our microbiome, the microbes that operate our bodies like Willy Wonka’s Oompa Loompas. The post is completely out of tune with our present moment ATP, and that’s why I’m reposting it. For example, BTP marketing trends for personal care products were moving away from microbe killing sanitizers, and healthcare experts were discouraging us from using them. Also, BTP chronic conditions like depression and cancer were strongly associated with the health of our microbes, but infectious disease didn’t even make the list. It is as though BTP infectious disease wasn’t something most of us had to be concerned about. And one more thing, I was happy when I wrote this. I was having fun. Here’s my post from May 8, 2019 BTP:
Maybe you remember back in the day when lemon scent was added to all sorts of household products to make us feel as though they were more natural, not just a bottle full of killer chemicals. My favorite was the 1966 Lemon Pledge furniture polish commercial with the dreamy house babe in her blue cocktail dress and heels, dancing around her living room, spraying Pledge on her coffee table and wiping it off in long graceful sweeps. Today I watched that commercial on Youtube and thought she must be stoned out of her mind.
Since advertising was born many products have been sold by imaginary characters like the house babe. Who can forget the Fruit of the Loom Guys dressed up like grapes to sell men’s underwear. Then there is Mr. Clean, or Maestro Limpio, as he’s called in Spanish. Mr. Clean is a bald white guy with an earring, wearing a spotless white T-shirt, claiming to be “the most powerful cleaning man in a bottle.” The irony of a powerful old white guy cleaning my kitchen could make my head explode.
They say the next craze in household products is going to be bacteria. So, throw out your antibacterial soaps, your bleach and your disinfectants, your hand sanitizer, and any food made with preservatives or from animals fed antibiotics. Bacteria is the new big thing. After a lifetime of fighting ring around the collar, dirt is our friend. Amoebas in sexy grass skirts will soon be doing the hula on TV commercials, calmly wagging their hips to quell our fear of microbes and hypnotize us into buying new and improved products squirming with life, because happy skin needs happy bacteria.
Actually, a happy you needs happy bacteria. Trillions of bacteria call our bodies home, and we couldn’t live without them. They colonize our mouth, skin, eyes, gut, urethra, bladder, vagina, uterus, and lungs. They manage our immune system, and affect our moods, memory, complexion, body odor, digestion, and regularity. All together our body’s community of microbes is called our microbiome.
Our microbiome makes the connection between our environment and our experience. Allergies, autism, acne, cancer, heart disease, dementia, depression, gastro-intestinal problems, and obesity are all linked to issues with our microbiome. When you feel great, that’s your microbes singing The Sound of Music, twirling in pink tutus. Likewise, if it makes you feel sick to look at a bottle of tequila, that’s your brain scrapbooking with your gut bacteria about the time they were attacked by a pitcher of margaritas.
I know it’s hard to wrap your head around after living in a world obsessed with killing microbes. But think of your microbiome as your pet bacteria. If you take good care of them, they’ll take good care of you.