If you’re like the vast majority of people in the world, you would emphatically exclaim, “Yes! Of course germs cause disease!”
Let’s take a little bit of a deeper look, shall we?
The short history of the germ theory wars
Germ theory emerged with the Italian doctor, Girolamo Fracastoro in the mid-16th Century, but really picked up steam with French scientist Louis Pasteur, the man most famous for developing the process pasteurization. Pasteur discovered that when wine went bad, it was because of the growth of microorganisms. This is why he developed pasteurization and why we’ve now come to blame many diseases on microorganisms.
But what most people don’t realize is that before, during and after Pasteur, counter-arguments to the germ theory emerged with some very compelling arguments.
For example, in the mid-19th Century, French physicians Pierre Jacques Antoine Béchamp and Claude Bernard disputed Pasteur and argued that bacteria, rather than being the cause of disease, actually sought out diseased environments because that is where they thrive. Once there, these microorganisms would give off toxic waste products (again, a product of a diseased environment) that then made the host ill. Essentially, a sick person attracts bad bacteria, who feed off their sickness, and their sickness causes the bacteria to give off toxic byproducts, which then causes more sickness.
Clearly, our society’s approach to medicine went the way of Fracastoro and Pasteur and cast Béchamp and Bernard aside. Now we’re dealing with an antibiotic overprescriptions, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, superbugs, disinfected world, people-in-bubbles society.
Fairly recently, the idea of the microbiome and “good bacteria” has caught on. Interestingly, as I type this, the word microbiome is being underlined by my word processor, indicating just how new of an idea this is.
But at this point, it would be difficult to dispute the existence and importance of the microbiome. Holistic health practitioners as well as researchers and MDs are seeing too much evidence to ignore. Our body is COVERED and FILLED with bacteria. And yet, we’re not all sick all the time? Wait, what? Germ theory would have us believe–considering the fact that the amount of bacteria on us and in us would fill a half-gallon container–that we would all be terribly ill right now.
The microbiome is, in essence, the community of bacteria that live symbiotically with you. They help you with digestion, immunity and mental health in the gut. They help your skin regenerate and eat the decaying cells that cause you to emit body odor.
The role and importance of bacteria in actually PROMOTING your health cannot be understated. And yet, we do everything we can to destroy them.
Antibacterial soaps, antibiotics in both our medication and our food, sterile homes and cleaning products, and not exposing ourselves to the elements is destroying humans’ natural microbiome and, as a result, making us weaker as a species WHILE making dangerous bacteria stronger as they are forced to evolve and survive in an evermore hostile environment.
So what do you do?
How do you make yourself stronger? Follow Béchamp and Bernard’s disease theories and actually encourage bacteria in your life rather than running from it like (pardon the pun) the plague.
- Ditch the antibacterial soap and disinfectant – This will allow the microbiome on your skin to regenerate and thrive while also increasing your exposure to other types of bacteria. This not only makes you stronger in the face of pathogens, but gives the bacteria less of a reason to evolve into superbugs
- Avoid hospitals if at all possible – 15% of all superbug infections start at a hospital. Why? Because everything is disinfected and antibiotic – bacteria in hospitals evolve or die. And considering they are very resourceful little creatures, they evolve.
- Get outside and get your kids outside – The earth, the soil, the plants, the water and the air contain the bacteria you need for a healthy microbiome. And the world in general is not disinfected, so when you spend time outside, your body figures out a way to not get sick with all of these so-called pathogens around. I swear, video games, TV and helicopter parents are as detrimental to public health as anything else.
- Eat fermented foods. Foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, grassfed yogurt and cheese, lassi and kombucha replenish and repair your microbiome.
You are attempting to cultivate a healthy environment where bacteria are your friend, not your enemy. Follow these steps and see for yourself.