The Microbiome Lifestyle
Do you have the belief system and lifestyle of a microbiome nerd?
As Simon Sinek puts it in Start with Why, companies like Apple and Harley Davidson rallied people to their brand because they believed in something. Apple believes in challenging the status quo, in empowering the individual to self-realization, and the company’s products are ways to make it happen. They are the how. Harley Davidson became the symbol of freedom and rebellion. Both companies created a unique loyalty, because they didn’t just create products: through their why, they became the symbols of a lifestyle.
Does this powerful “Why” question apply for other things than brands? How does it translate to the Microbiome community? Is there such a thing as a Microbiome lifestyle? I think so.
Here is the belief system I think it builds upon:
- You believe the world and relationships between people and between species are not just shaped by competition, but by cooperation, by symbiosis.
- You believe everything is interrelated — how food is produced, how stressed you are, your microbiome, your health, the health of your family, pets, colleagues, community… and ultimately the health of the Planet. You believe in One Health.
- You believe you come from bacteria, from LUCA, our Last Unicellular Common Ancestor, and you believe you are largely bacterial in nature — from the 38 trillion microbes your body comprises to the mitochondria in the heart of most of your own cells. You don’t see the evolutionary tree like Darwin, but rather like Lynn Margulis.
- You believe the loss of biodiversity (the crisis undergone by microbes, insects, animals, plants, crops…) is very bad news. It necessarily means less resilience and poorer health of the system.
- You believe this is a world of bacteria — they were here before us, they’re dominating the world today, they will continue to do so tomorrow.
- You believe we can partner with microbes and leverage the know-how these little bugs developed to metabolize about anything on the planet to nurture your health and the global One Health.
When you live based on these premises, how does it impact your lifestyle?
- You drink red wine rather than white wine — the polyphenols are better for your microbiome diversity
- You think of your microbes when you have a meal. 5 fruits & veggies a day at least, maybe you even count your 30 different plants a week, and you include in your diet fermented foods like yogurts, kefir, sauerkraut, fermented olives, etc. Maybe even probiotic supplements.
- When you go to the loo, you look at your poop, and according to the Bristol Stool Scale, you know how fast is your transit and have a feel of how healthy is your microbiome.
- You love the concept of Fecal Microbial Transplant — how bacteria from poop reverse the bad feeling around germs and actually save lives!
- If your doctor prescribes antibiotics to you, you challenge their necessity. Especially if it’s in prevention. You’re more aware than he/she is of the risks associated with the loss of diversity antibiotics can cause.
- You love to do gardening or have a walk in nature. All that pretty rich dirt in your fingernails — who knows if it’s cheering you up thanks to Mycobacterium vaccae? You think that Dirt is Good and you want your kids to be exposed abundantly.
- You play Gut Check with your friends, because you want them to learn how cool probiotics are.
- You see fermentation everywhere — from the yeast in your broth cubes to the air your breathe, clean water and medicines…
- You come up with ideas that could change the world — substituting antiseptic solutions with probiotics in hospitals, using bacteria to assemble atmospheric carbon into new foods, digesting and recycling plastic…
- You don’t stop at complexity. You embrace the fact that interactions with the microbiome are dynamic and impossible to fully grasp, but little by little you assemble the pieces of a puzzle that starts to make sense.
- You see the microbiome as the Revolution of the 21st century. The advances in sequencing technologies, in synthetic biology and the new understanding of the symbioses that rule the biological world will change how we interact with our environment for the best.
Are you part of the Microbiome Revolution yet? Let’s connect, because we think alike and maybe we can work together to build a better world, one that relies on ecosystems, nurtures them and leverages them. A world that considers and protects life in all its beauty, complexity and interdependency.