Aunt Fannie's: Cleaning & Probiotics for Our Environment
The Oversterilisation of Our Bodies
To say that conversations on probiotics is oversaturated is an understatement. Talking about essentially bugs in our bodies over dinner is not a nuisance but a seemingly back-and-forth verbal tennis of tips: Take this brand! Eat this fermented food! But what about Histamine intolerance?! Anthropologically speaking, it’s as if we’ve migrated our evolution from fermenting foods for preservation and flavour to food technology boom of preservation’s amnesia of such traditional foods and then back to fermenting. The final and current destination not because of its original intention, however, but a sterile and automaton view of our bodies and food: consuming fermented and thus probiotic-rich foods or popping pills because it’s “good for us.”
Probiotic-rich conversations may have inoculated our guts with better bugs but simultaneously seem to have bugged our minds with a paradoxical preoccupation with what to eat or lack thereof. Hence the previously-mentioned sterilising view of our bodies, where our consumption mostly revolves around things, from rough fiberous foods to fermented accouterments, to scrub us clean.
But we’re not dirty and our bodies have their innate mechanisms—hello, liver, kidneys, and blood—to naturally detoxify themselves. This is not to negate probiotics, because they are essential and do play a far more significant role than science has the current ability to even catch up to understand. Longtime readers of The Thirlby know this through many of our articles and fermented recipes in the book.
No, my point here is that we need to take a look at the idea of sterilisation itself, and to move that away from our bodies to our environment.
The Over-sterilisation of Our Environment
As it currently is, we over-sterilise our environment. This is especially so the case in the medical field in which I’m in as a nurse-in-training at Johns Hopkins; Clorox can’t even touch the medical-grade cleaners used in such environments. Many households still use harsh chemical-ridden cleaners, such as bleach, for cleaning.
But such cleaners strip most of the bad but also the good. Recent research has been expanding the understanding of probiotics from our bodies to our environment. Investigating, as a result, the impact of probiotic-based cleaners
Effectively, this is called the Microbiota Ecosystem, and it is so definitively for a reason: we are organisms interacting with our environment. To have a sterilised environment in return affects our bodies and potentially fosters the growth or even the immunity of bad bacteria and other contaminants. Nosocomial or hospital-induced infections(HAIs) are a prime example of hyper-“clean” spaces fostering the opposite of its intentions.
Contamination of hospital environment by pathogens aren’t the only concern, similar cleaning practises we use at home can also foster drug resistance for bad bacteria and other pathogens. According to research, “routinely used chemical disinfectants show limitations in controlling pathogen contamination, due to their inefficacy in preventing recontamination and selection of resistant strains.”
That very study and others, however, have observed that innovative cleaners with added spores of non-pathogenic probiotic Bacilli are effective in “stably counteracting the growth of several pathogens contaminating hospital surfaces.”
Another study has found that probiotic-based cleaners are active “not only in controlling surface microbial contamination but also in lowering drug-resistant species, suggesting that it may have relevant clinical and therapeutical implications for the management of HAIs.”
Aunt Fannie’s: A Revolutionary Probiotic Power Cleaner
Currently, there are emerging probiotic cleaners but not all are created the same. Aunt Fannie’s uses a Lactobacillus ferment. The result is an extract of beneficial, shelf-stable bacteria. Their lactobacillus ferment is derived from a process that utilizes a fruit enzyme that lyses (or ruptures) the microbe's cell wall. This is a critical point as many probiotic cleaners advertise their products as having “live cultures” and being safe for skin contact, yet regulation doesn't allow for live cultures on skin contact for a multitude of reasons, one being potential overgrowth.
Aunt Fannie’s formulations are dermatologist- and allergy-tested and are hypoallergenic, which was essential to the family owners with a member diagnosed with autoimmune illness. The Multi-Surface Cleaners receive an “A” rating for safety by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which is thrilling to me as a past EWG employee. "They’ve also recently earned the EWG Verified designation for their Hand Soaps.
The Aunt Fannie’s team has been generous to offer The Thirlby readers with a coupon code to try their products. You can use the code “TheThirlby” at checkout on their site for a discount.
About the Author
Almila Kakinc-Dodd is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief of The Thirlby. She is also the author of the book The Thirlby: A Field Guide to a Vibrant Mind, Body, & Soul. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Nursing as a Dean’s Scholar at Johns Hopkins University. Her background is in Anthropology & Literature, which she has further enriched through her Integrative Health Practitioner training at Duke University. She lives in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area, where she regularly contributes to various publications. She is a member of Democratic Socialists of America and urges others to join the movement.