Mirror mirror on the wall, will I ever stop talking about the gut / intestines or no, not at all? The answer to that is the latter. But I want to talk about the microbiome through a slightly different lens this time. I’ve already covered how you can improve the state of your gut health with food here, but what about with everyday products you use. Can they also adversely impact the state of the mighty microbiotia? The short answer to that is yes. Which is why I recently switched over my cleaning products to Aunt Fannie’s.
A little background info.
Collectively, bacteria in your body weigh about 3 pounds, which is around the size of your brain!! This just blows my mind (and my brain). Even more fascinating is that 90% of the cells within your body are not human – they are microbes and bacteria that comprise the microbiome.
Your gut produces neurotransmitters, the brain chemicals you need to feel calm, balanced, optimistic, energized, and focused. When your GI tract isn’t functioning properly it can’t synthesize enough of these crucial chemicals.
The environment living inside of us – our microbiome – has one of the biggest impacts on our genes, turning them on and off and determining which ones are ultimately expressed as disease.
Our microbiome also dramatically affects our mood.
balanced microbiome —> healthy GI system —> correct levels of neurotransmitters —> clear thinking and calm, confident, energetic mood
When things are out of balance, dysbiosis occurs. This may be the root cause of a whole range of conditions, including: food cravings, bloating, weight gain, yeast overgrowth, IBS, IBD, SIBO, leaky gut, parasites, celiac / gluten sensitivity, vaginosis, food allergies and sensitivities, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, skin conditions.
Repopulating the microbiome can be challenging. Your microbes are constantly changing and evolving and even if they’ve been severely damaged by medications, infection or diet, and so paying attention what you put in and on your body can yield huge improvements. Here are a few easy ways to improve the state of your gut health (see more here).
natural probiotics: fermented vegetables, fermented dairy products (The Microbiome Diet)
natural prebiotics: asparagus, carrots, garlic jerusalem artichoke, jicama, leeks, onions, radishes, tomatoes (The Microbiome Diet)
herbs/spices: cinnamon and turmeric (anti-inflammatory and assist with blood sugar control) (The Microbiome Diet)
eat more plants
eat more fiber
balanced omega-3 to omega-6 ratio: nuts and nut butters (almond, macadamia, cashew), seeds and seed butter (sunflower seed butter), flaxseed, olive oil (The Microbiome Diet)
foods high in resistant starches: green bananas, green banana flour, greens peas, lentils, uncooked rolled oats, white beans (The Microbiome Solution)
foods high in inulin: artichokes, asparagus, bananas, chicory root, dandelion root, garlic, leeks, onions (The Microbiome Solution)
avoid: additives and preservatives, antibiotics (sometimes they’re 100% necessary, but avoid overuse and always take probiotics while taking antibiotics), chlorine, environmental toxins, excessive and unremitting stress, hand sanitizers, heavy metals, meat from animals treated inhumanely or raised inorganically, NSAIDs, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, sugar and refined carbs, trans fats and hydrogenated fats (The Microbiome Diet / The Microbiome Solution)
We know that antibiotics are an obvious threat to the health and wellbeing of our trusty intestinal bacteria. But what about other, seemingly harmless sources. Like our cleaning supplies.
Dr. Robynnne Chutkan in her book “The Microbiome Solution” recommends avoiding using scents containing alcohol, using hand sanitizer, using antibacterial soaps and products, and using chemical household cleaners.
As per this recommendation, I’ve switched my cleaning products over to Aunt Fannie’s cleaning supplies.
The ingredients in the cleaning wipes (these are for the Lavender smell – my personal favorite) include: White Distilled Vinegar, Sugar Surfactant (myristyl glucoside), Rosemary Oil, Lavandin Grosso Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus Oil, Orange Oil, Peppermint Oil
And why is making the switch important? Quite honestly ingredient labels aren’t even mandatory for cleaning products. Most of time, it’s hard to determine and pronunciate what you’re getting your hands on. The Environmental Working Group, however, developed the Guide to Healthy Cleaning. The Guide contains information on more than 2,500 products, and grading products A through F, based on the safety of their ingredients and the information they disclose about their contents. Aunt Fannie’s cleaning solutions have been rigorously evaluated by EWG’s researchers and the results are in: Every single one of our cleaning products has earned an ‘A’ rating from EWG. In fact, no other brand has more products with an ‘A’ rating in either General Purpose Cleaner, Glass/Window Cleaner or Floor Care Cleaner categories than Aunt Fannie’s.
(If only I was also getting A’s in all of my grad school classes right now. Insert nervous laughter here….)
According to Aunt Fannie’s, “by harnessing the pure power of food-based, non-disruptive, microbiomic ingredients, we’ve created solutions that strive to work in harmony with our bodies, not against them. We can help restore our immunity, keep our loved ones healthy, improve our moods and energy… all while cleaning the floor.”
HOW AMAZING IS THIS!!!! SORRY FOR THE ALL CAPS and excessive use of exclamation points, I just get really excited when brands are not only good for us, but have a strong mission, genuinely care about their consumers, and are accessible and affordable.
And you can now use the code LEMONS for 30% off Aunt Fannie’s products until December 31, 2017!
Thank you to Aunt Fannie’s for sponsoring this post and for existing. I wouldn’t be able to get so excited and passionate about my present and my future if it weren’t for companies like you.
Blaser, M.J. (2014). Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics is Fueling our Modern Plagues. Picador: New York, NY.
Chutkan, R. (2015). The Microbiome Solution. Penguin Random House: New York, NY.
Kellman, R. (2014). The Microbiome Diet. Da Capo Press: Boston, MA.