#31 – David Whitlock & Jasmina Aganovic: Bacteria Makes Your Body Cleaner

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Episode Summary

Welcome to the Wealthy Wellthy Life with Krisstina Wise. David Whitlock hasn’t showered in 13 years — why? Because not all bacteria on your skin is bad for you. Sound a little crazy? Well, it isn’t. There’s a big difference between being ‘clean’ vs. being ‘sterile’. Through David’s company, AOBiome, he has developed a spray with ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and sells it for commercial use under the name Mother Dirt. This is how he’s kept clean for all these years!

Jasmina Aganovic is the President of Mother Dirt as well as the General Manager for Consumer Products at AOBiome. Jasmina and her team study the importance of good bacteria on the skin and its impact on our health. Through her research, Jasmina and David have come up with biome friendly products that do not kill the good bacteria on your skin. .

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What We Covered

  • [03:30] – Find out more about Peter and why he dropped out of highschool at 16.
  • [02:45] – Why do horses roll around in the dirt?
  • [05:35] – In trying to solve this question about horses and their love for dirt, David knew no one would want to fund the research for this.
  • [06:15] – What’s David’s background?[7:15] How did Jasmina meet David?
  • [09:45] – We are too clean! Bacteria is good for you.
  • [10:35] – The two companies, AOBiome and Mother Dirt, work hand-in-hand with each other.
  • [13:35] – What is the microbiome and why is it important?
  • [20:00] – Why is skin microbiome important?
  • [27:00] – A lot of our health comes from our exposure to nature.
  • [28:55] – How can we tell the difference between good and bad bacteria?
  • [30:10] – Why do some people have acne and others do not?
  • [32:45] – How do we know our skin isn’t healthy?
  • [36:55] – What’s so bad about traditional skin care products?
  • [39:25] – Preservatives have gotten better over the years, which isn’t necessarily a good thing for those trying to keep healthy.
  • [43:10] – It doesn’t take that much to get clean. Water does a fantastic job.
  • [47:50] – After using Mother Dirt’s products, some of Krisstina’s mastermind clients are convinced they don’t need to shower every day too.
  • [50:30] – Krisstina’s showers are two minutes now.
  • [52:35] – David speaks to the skeptics out there.
  • [1:01:55] – What’s a common myth both David and Jasmina hear on a regular basis?


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Links Mentioned

AOBiome Website
Mother Dirt Website
@JasminaAganovic on Twitter
@aobiome on Twitter
@Mother_Dirt on Twitter

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Read the Transcription!

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You are at the intersection of wealth, health, and happiness. Welcome to the Wealthy Wellthy Life.

Hi, I’m Krisstina Wise, and welcome to this edition of the Wealthy Wellthy Life, where I interview thought leaders who teach a counter cultural approach to money, health, and happiness, because great riches don’t matter if you’re sick, and good health doesn’t matter if you’re broke.

Today, I tackle health wealth with David Whitlock and Jasmina Aganovic. David is a groundbreaking chemist and the founding scientist behind AOBiome. His discoveries are changing the way people think about bacteria, cleanliness and skin health. Jasmina is the president of the consumer division of AOBiome called Mother Dirt. I use Mother Dirt products every day and I can honestly say that they are amazing. David’s breakthroughs have eliminated the need for people to use traditional soaps, shampoos, and sanitizers. Those products strip us of all bacteria including the good kind. His solution gives us the good bacteria we need to stay healthy.  The brand that Jasmina runs, Mother Dirt offers an entire line of affordable products utilizing David’s formula.

In this interview, we talk about the changing views on public health and rethinking what it means to be clean. They term microbiome, what it means and why it’s a crucial part of the broader health. The importance of bacteria and the difference between good bacteria and bad bacteria. Our country’s obsession with eliminating bacteria and why that is actually harming us in the long run and we talked about the science behind all of this and the evidence busting all the myths out there about being clean and sanitary. I hope you enjoy.

All right. I’m so excited to be talking with you both today. I’ve been actually looking forward to this. I think we’re going to have a fun conversation and introduce our listeners maybe to a new way to think about this thing called biome.

Today, let’s talk a little myth busting, a lot of education, and I’d love to even hear some story about how this product was founded. David, I really love so much of the story that your team told me about here in Austin during the Paleo f(x). I loved it so we’ll have to make sure that you share that to like your own discovery through horses of all things.

Right. Right.

Why don’t we go ahead and start there? Today, we’re going to talk about dirt and getting dirty. I think that’s a really fun intro, its for you to tell the story.

Yeah. Well, I mean it started when I was dating this woman, a fifth grade school teacher. She asked me why her horse rolled in the dirt in March. First, I said “Well, to get rid of insects.” She said “No, that’s before insects come out.” Eventually, I decided “Well, it’s to get the right kind of bacteria on the skin so that sweat over the summer wouldn’t putrefy. Half the solids in sweats are urea. Urea hydrolyzes to ammonia. Ammonia causes diaper rash, so ammonia on the skin would be bad. In the soil, the bacteria that metabolize ammonia are the ammonia oxides and bacteria. I kind of knew right off hand, then I started thinking that boy, if it’s important enough for horses to have evolved that behavior, I mean that’s got to be really important so I’m trying to understand why. Nitric oxide, it just been reported in the news, the Nobel prize and you know yada-yada-yada. I went to the literature and actually tried to understand this stuff better because I was trying to impress this woman and that’s the only way I know how to impress someone is by turning to crank and learning more about something.

Just to add a few pieces there, rounding out what David had said. So the bacteria consumed ammonia which we produce naturally through our sweat, and it’s irritating to our skin, so just the fact that these bacterias removing it is very important on its own but what it’s also doing is it’s converting it into two very beneficial things for the skin, something called nitrite and nitric oxide. In the scientific literature, these are categorized as an anti-infective and an anti-inflammatory. That was really what started to put this picture together for David that something that removes something that is bad and turns it into potentially helpful things is something that can be very good for the skin, and that was very much so the catalyst.

So, it sounds like David, to sum that up that you were trying to impress a girl and by virtue of doing that, voila came some of these products and the whole beginnings of Mother Dirt and what you were doing today. I guess it was a discovery process. The horses roll in the dirt and so you were trying to answer the question like why are they rolling in the dirt? What is this behavior? Through trying to figure out answer to that question is what started the research?

Yes. Yes. No one was going to fund research like that. I mean you apply for a grant to study why horses roll in the dirt. I mean they would laugh at you. That’s one of the problems that we face these days. Everyone is so hyper competitive that trying to find the next great thing that we miss what’s really important. I don’t know how to fix that.

I think you’re doing a good job. Just a little bit of background, a little bit, so I mean David are you a scientist by nature or?

I am an engineer. Engineer and in venture. I went to MIT, chemical engineer. Jasmina is a engineer too. I see physiology as a chemical plant. The most important part of a chemical plant is the control system. If the control system is not working right, nothing’s going to work right, so making sure that the control system is working right — If the control system is working right then everything else will work right.

It’s this idea that the body intrinsically knows how to take care of itself, and what we’re starting to see with modern living through our lifestyles, our food choices, personal care, we’re starting to interfere with this control system and we’re getting in the way of the body being able to maintain its own functions that it once knew how to do with ease.

Well said. We’re really going to dig in to that today. Jasmina you’ve got quite a background yourself. I would love to hear the story of how you took him together. Like David just said, you’re also a chemical engineer, an entrepreneur, an inventor and then more of the product side historically. Tell us a little bit about that and then tell the story of how the two of you came together to help get Mother Dirt out to the masses.

Sure. Sure. So, just like David said my background is in chemical and biological engineering. My career has been in personal care products. I found the industry to be vastly fascinating. I thought that the level of innovation was really interesting. I thought that it was really accelerated, it moved at a rapid pace and I thought that it was very creative. And so all of these things made me highly interested in it. The way that we got together was incredibly unexpected. I mean I always enjoyed the storytelling particularly for brands that have a more scientific and technical backbone but that need to be told in very specific way so that it resonates with more consumers or more users. I really enjoyed putting those pieces of the puzzle together. I was connected to the team here at AOBiome back in 2014 until I learned a little bit more of the context of how unexpected and unplanned literally everything you see associated with our company was after what David had just told. We were a small biotech, just a handful of people that was doing research on wound healing. That was really where we started and as we started to understand the potential importance of this bacteria on the skin and how easily influenced it is by our personal care products, we started to ask the question what would happen if we reintroduced it to the skin? We know that it once existed there, how would the skin behave if we reintroduced it?

In January of 2014, we did a small study where we had about 30 people abandon all of their existing products, take water only showers and then spray themselves with these live bacteria twice a day. The study was fascinating because it showed that we could reintroduce the bacteria and there are benefits that come along with introducing it? But everything changed for us in May of 2014, a few months later when one of the participants wrote about her experience and it got published in the New York Times magazine. We had such an overwhelming response to the work that we were doing, it resonated with people on such a fundamental level and it wasn’t just scientist, it was resonating with people all over the world around this idea that yeah we have been too clean. This makes so much sense. I’m struggling with XYZ and nothing has worked for me. That was really where we started to see how deeply rooted this entire personal care industry and our belief systems are that bacteria is bad and that we’ve been out war with the microbial world really believing that it’s out there to kill us when in reality it probably serves a very important purpose so we said why don’t we build a consumer brand, sell maybe a few hundred products, and try gather data so that we can better where to take our research. We sold out immediately and that was the beginning of a nine-month wait list.


So, we spent that next year really scaling up, building the brand that is now Mother Dirt and right now the two companies work very closely together, or rather I should say the two divisions. All of the data, and information, and all purchases for Mother Dirt go directly to support the research that we’re doing on the AOBiome side focusing on skin health. So, that was the roundabout unexpected, unplanned for surprise journey, but we’re really thrilled with where we ended up, and we have the general public to thank for that for sure.

Well, that’s such a great story. Well, I’m wearing my Mother Dirt shirt that I got at Paleo.


So, I love the products, but I have to admit. I was first introduced to the brand at last year’s bulletproof conference. So, Mother Dirt was there, and I saw the spray, and a few different things, but I have to admit I was a skeptic. I was thinking, “Oh brother, really? Like are we taking this biome trend a little too far?” So, I just passed it, and had my skeptic thinking in the background, and then — and being a little bit on maybe somewhat on the forefront as a consumer, but trying to be an educated consumer really focused on health, and wellness, and optimal health, and I’ve had to reverse my own gut bacteria. So, I’ve studied a lot about gut microbiome, and changed diet product, added pro biotics, a lot of supplements, changing foods, yada, yada, yada to really reverse my unhealthy gut so it could become healthy. So, I had that background, but that was my thought. Like really, are we going too far on this thing? But then understanding the importance of the good bacteria, but then I bumped in again to the Mother Dirt who was front and center at the booth at the Paleo Fex conference, which was a few months back, and your team was great. Just great energy, loved the product. I’ve been total ambassador, and fun, and you know we’re spraying and talking, but it gave me an opportunity to really dig in, and by the way they’re educated.

They created a convert, right? Someone that — I really look into things. I try not to just jump on something, and do my own research, but they were great, and really went into David’s story because I always love the story, like of the founder, and what spark the idea into passion. Then two, I really love that this science, and why — they did a great job of describing to me a little bit about what you just said, Jasmina, about what this is, and why it works, and the importance of it. I’m like great, that makes sense scientifically. Let me give it a try. I did just the shower only water test. My family did, my team did, and so it’s been really fun, and you’ve created — I mean my entire family now uses the product, and uses very little soap, and so on, and so forth. It works, so I totally love the product. I use it daily. But what I would love to start with is we’re getting a little bit more into the product, and what it works, but we talk a lot these days about the biome, and even on your website you say you’re a biome friendly product. So, I’m not sure everyone listening knows what biome means. So, can we break down a little bit? What is the microbiome, and why is it important?

Sure, we all know that — We don’t live in a sterile environment. There are bacteria on everything that you touch, and that every bit of food that you eat. Everything has bacteria in it, and that’s the environment that our ancestors evolved in. The only time there have been sterile environments have been in the last 50 years, 100 years where humans have used powerful anti-bacterial agents, and chlorine, and heat, and ultra-violent light. You’ ve got radiation and have sterilized things. Before the modern era that never happened. There was no way to do that. So, that’s a completely new, unique, never before experienced type of environment, and our bodies just aren’t used to that. It’s really a stress, and we don’t have words to describe what kind of a stress it is, but it’s a plucking out of your normal environment, and putting you into a completely different environment. That’s very different, so I think that’s understanding that you can’t just take something out of its natural environment and expect it to prosper. That just doesn’t work. The natural bacteria that we evolved with or our ancestors evolved with, that’s what we need. We need them in the gut. We need them on the skin. We need them everywhere to do a lot of the things that our bodies don’t do. So, we rely on cooperation from a microbiome to digest certain polysaccharides, and to keep our skin clean, and to do different sorts of, you know.

Is the word microbiome a replacement for bacteria?

It’s not just bacteria. It’s any microorganisms that exist in or on and around us. We’re most familiar with it in the gut, and that was really where our understanding of the word microbiome started to become popular. We realized that it’s a diverse ecosystem on its own, but what the gut microbiome and the research there also triggered was a fundamental reevaluation of the role of bacteria in our lives. That was a pretty dramatic, and immediate indicator that hey we need this stuff in order to survive, and it started to brought in the research community’s perception of bacteria not only internally, but everywhere else. So, biome in terms of a strict definition is an ecosystem of microorganism that could exist in your potted plant, that exists in your skin, that exists inside of you, that exists in your home, and these ecosystems need to be balanced in order for them to function the best way, and what we are learning is that the presence of certain microorganism per se is not the reason there are problems, but rather it is an imbalance in those ecosystems overall that is the true trigger for the problems that we’re seeing today and that are increasing with all of these modern lifestyle changes that we’ve created for ourselves at a pretty rapid rate.

Thank you. Thank you for that explanation. So, yeah, on the gut microbiome front when we’re talking about that I think what we’re learning is that we’ve really killed so much of this good gut bacteria through antibiotics, and through chemicals on our food, and through this lifestyle. Like what you were saying David, that our guts aren’t used to this. We’ve introduced a whole new ecosystem, and environment of just killing all this bacteria, the good with the bad. Now our bodies are suffering. There are a lot of health consequences as a result of this.

Yes, a lot of what keeps your body healthy. A lot of what suppresses an infection by bad bacteria is the good bacteria doing chemical warfare with the bad bacteria to keep you alive. Because the good bacteria. I mean, they got a great thing going. They got this niche where they get fed nutrients every day, and it’s warm, and safe, and they got a great thing going. They keep the bad bacteria out. They suppress them through chemical warfare, and you take antibiotics, and you wipe out everything. What grows back first are the weeds not the climax ecosystem that you want. It’s the weeds that happen to be there. The opportunistic weed. They happen to be there, and they grow the fastest, and they display stuff that you wouldn’t rather have, and that’s really one of the major problems. When you take antibiotics, it’s after the antibiotics are done that you get all these other disorders. You get yeast infections, you get C Diff, you get all these other things, and it’s because you’ve suppressed the immunity from your biome.

Yeah, so hopefully the public were starting to learn a little bit more about this, and maybe starting to back off from antibiotics a little bit more, and add probiotics. I know now my family we add probiotics in certain foods to our diet to really help the good bacteria flourish, and especially my daughter, for example, has been on many antibiotics over the years before I really starting learning about this, and destroyed her gut bacteria just because she kept getting these throat infections. So, anyway I think we’re learning so much, and it’s such great news, but it is becoming more understood, I think, or at least there’s more of an awareness when it comes to gut bacteria, but until stumbling upon Mother Dirt I would never have considered skin bacteria and everything that you’re doing. Like I said, we’re talking a lot about gut bacteria. You can’t even show up to any sort of new source these days without hearing a little bit about it, but let’s talk a little bit about skin biome, and how it’s important to overall health because I think just like what we’re doing now that I’m a Mother Dirt user, and done my own research with this, is that we’re understanding what we’ve done to our internal health. Like we talked about adding so many antibiotics in these different things, but we’re doing the same thing in our households that what are we doing? We’re creating these sterile environments, and we think it’s healthy to put anti-bacterial spray all over our counter tops, and all the anti-bacterial Purell, and sterile sterile environments. First of all, I want to know why did this start? Why did we all be convinced that we’re supposed to kill bacteria and we became these germ phobics?

I think marketing. There are circumstances where you do need to have a sterile environment: if you’re doing surgery, if you’re doing medical things, if you’re immune compromised.

Preparing food.

Preparing food, wash your hands before — yes those things. Cleanliness is important for those things, but every other time it’s the opposite of that, and the problem with some of these anti-bacterial soaps and stuff is that they foster antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics are one of the modern miracles of modern medicine that — something to kill a bacteria that’s causing an infection. I mean before antibiotics were available people died from infections. That just doesn’t happen now unless the bacteria is antibiotic resistant. It’s using an antibiotics indiscriminately, and using cleansing agents that contain antibiotic resistance promoting compounds. What’s worse than having — having antibiotic resistance bacteria all around means that if any of those weeds get into your system and get a toll hold there’s no way to get rid of them.

Yeah, and I’ll add. I understand David’s statement about marketing but it is also really important to note that no one started marketing anti-bacterial with a malicious intent. All of this evolved because we didn’t know better, and now we’re getting to the point where we do know better, and it seems like the public also is asking for it. We discovered that bacteria we’re pathogenic in 1870, and that was really the only data point that we had around bacteria, and so we judged all bacteria as pathogenic. That was really where the anchors started of the fact that we don’t want bacteria inside us, or on us. Since 1870, look at how much civilization has come, right? We have an entire chemical industry that has grown at a tremendous pace. We’ve urbanized to a much larger degree. So many more homes have running water now. It’s really tremendous to see all of these innovations that have happened just in the 1900s, and guess what? They’ve all been built around this idea that bacteria is bad because that for the longest time was the belief. Now, we’re learning that’s not maybe the case. Now it’s a matter of gathering the information. Really understanding the research, and starting to make different decisions.

So, If I’m listening to the sort of blend of what you both are saying, is that it’s not necessarily due to mal intent, it was based on a belief and some great discovery too that saved a lot of lives but then it’s turned into really good marketing, and that good marketing has convinced us even if it were for good, mal intent or not, that we need to have these sterile environments, and kill every piece of bacteria, correct?

Yes. The public health innovation of clean drinking water has saved many millions upon millions of lives, but I don’t think any — all of that benefit is from disease prevention through clean water not necessarily through washing your hands, or bathing every day. I think some of the perverse incentives of these chemicals, and the cosmetic products are relatively cheap to manufacture, but the manufacturer only gets money when they’re used. So it’s marketing is to push more and more use because that’s the only way that the manufacturer can generate profit, which –

Well, there’s certainly an agenda there for sure. I think two things are happening maybe is — and correct me if I’m wrong, one is that we’re really creating this resistance for our own bodies to be able to be its own anti-bacterial, bad bacterial device to be able to take good bacteria to help control the weeds, as you said David. There’s that piece. The other piece too is we’re adding chemicals. I think that’s another other thing that is an awareness that we don’t’ have that all these sprays, and soaps, and ingredients in some of these products are manmade chemicals. Again, we’re creating an environments that our bodies which are nature don’t know how to respond to unnatural things. So, we think we’re doing these things, one that we should have sterile environment. So, maybe that’s myth flaw number one. And number two we should add chemicals to kill those natural things. We’re really destroying our environment and thinking we’re doing the right thing. Would you agree?


Yeah. I think that there’s a lot of that. That’s certainly the case, and I think to take a really specific example of that. I think children, and infants in particular are a great example of this. Now, we’re at the point where one in six children have eczema, and that’s grown over 300% over the last 30 years. If you look at how parents raised their children, or how they are taught to raise their children now, or what conventional wisdom is now, it’s bath time every night but in realty what modern living has led to is the kid wakes up at home, stays in the house, gets into the car, drives to the next destination. Is it in the next destination inside, it’s back in the car, drives home. The child never actually gets dirty unless it pukes all over itself, or whatever, but it’s —

Well, and the anti-bacterial creams were going everywhere. So, they’re covered in oh, the Purell put more on, or if they go to school make sure you put that on all the kid’s hands.

Yeah, exactly. Then we bath them every single night with typically very strong surfactants, and so it’s no wonder that so many children are coming up with eczema. There’s a lot of interesting implications about allergies and asthma because we’re learning that the development of the microbiome, and the immune system happens pretty rapidly in the early stages of our lives. Especially, within the first two years that those are maybe some of the most critical times. So, exposing a child immediately to sterile environment, and then on top of that there’s less and less playing outside. A lot of our health comes from the outdoors, and exposure to nature, and that’s happening less and less. Our outdoors, and our environment has also changed a lot particularly in urban environment. There’s more playing of video games indoors then there is running outside, and getting dirty, and breathing the fresh air. That’s not lore anymore. Now we’re really understanding that there are potentially very important health needs for getting the kids outside and doing that. That ties a lot to our brand. That was a big inspiring factor for us with our brand name and our values.

Well, and there’s the lifestyle that we are going from inside to inside to inside to inside to inside, and then back inside, and bath, which like you just described. I think the corollary to that is we’re thinking that our kids shouldn’t be getting dirty like that’s a bad thing. Like, don’t keep them out of the dirt, and clean them and so it’s this combination of both those things, then you add some chemicals to it. I just keep thinking there’s so much illness, and our body is breaking down, and I love the way you say it, David, is that we just introduced whole new environments to our body that are unnatural, and my body just don’t know how to react. It doesn’t know how to adapt.



What’s the distinction or is there a distinction between good bacteria and bad bacteria. How do we know what’s the good, and how do we know to take care of the bad?

That’s a good question. There’s a lot of research being put into it, and the fact is we don’t really know. What might be good at one time might be bad at another time.

Right, and that actually touches on a point that we actually just discussed throughout a lot of this conversation. The fact that something in one scenario could be bad, and that at another scenario it could be good. To give you two specific, and very powerful examples of this I’ll use acne. P acne, which is the bacteria that for a long time has been associated with acne, and the bacteria that we’ve tried to get rid of as a means to cure our acne with a topical antibiotics, and benzoyl peroxide, and things along those lines, we have made that bacteria the culprit for it. Yet now when we’re looking at things we’re seeing that actually most people have the bacteria P acne on their skin, and yet some people exhibit acne, and others done. So, the question becomes ha, okay. So, it’s definitely not if you have P acne that you also actually have acne. What is the reason that this is different? Why do some people have it, and why do some people not? And what we’re learning is about the environment. That it all depends on the rest of the biome, and the rest of the ecosystem that typically if the rest of that ecosystem has a balance, and a system of checks and balances that the community is keeping that P acne in a way that keeps it in check. So, it’s there. It’s doing its thing, it’s surviving, but it’s not turning into a mob. It’s not starting to cause havoc, and problems, and it’s because there’s balance in the ecosystem, and they’re keeping everyone in check, and in order. Then another more dramatic example of this is Staph bacteria. Every single person has staph on their skin, and yet some people have staph infections and others don’t, and then you start to wonder why, and it turns out that it’s very likely that something similar is at work too where you have to look at the ecosystem, and the rest of the bacteria that’s there. They are the ones that are determining whether or not it becomes a problem or not.

I’ll give you another example. The bacteria in yogurt, the lactose bacillus that metabolize the compounds in milk and turn it into yogurt, which people eat millions of pounds a day, millions of people eat. Those bacteria can cause liver abscesses that in certain immunocompromised individuals they’ve had developed a liver abscess, they’ve done surgery, removed them, and have saved them. They are the same bacteria as the yogurt that that person was eating. The person was immunocompromised. Usually they were taking drugs either to treat cancer, or organ transplant, immunosuppression for organ transplant, and it is extremely, extremely rare for the bacteria in yogurt to cause an infection, but it can.

It’s taken this concept of balance to a whole new level. The nature it really is about the balance of — that it takes care of itself, and when it gets out of balance that tends to be when things start to break down one way or another.

That’s right.

I love that. When it comes to products like skin products, and health care – personal products, what are some of the dangers? Are there certain ingredients in products? Let me have a backup first before we answer that question if you can. What are maybe some signs, some tangible signs, some visual tangible signs that our skin is unhealthy. That something — I mean acne is a pretty obvious one at any age, but are there other signs that maybe our skin health is out of balance?

I would think of dry –

And hair for that matter too.

Yeah. Dry flaky skin, lots of itching, for example. Any patches of redness, or inflammation. Those i think are the main ones. There are other manifestations. Things like keratosis pilaris, which is like bumpy skin. It doesn’t itch or anything, but it’s small tiny red bumps on the skin. I think that those are —

Yeah, any kind of rash. Usually you can tell if something looks healthy, it probably is healthy. I think for the non dermatologist, that’s —

But it’s also important to point out this idea of beauty at least the direction that it’s going in now. What do we believe is beautiful, and really when it comes down to it we are looking to exude health, right? We want glowy skin. We want dewy skin, we want nice smooth even skin. A lot of what we talk about when we reference beauty is this perception of health, and so it’s very ironic that for a long time now we’ve been going down this path of feigning beauty. It’s so funny to me to see some of the makeup lines that are out there that are all about being non perceptible make up. It’s like no make up make up, and barely there makeup. Because people need makeup because so many of them are having trouble with their skin, but it’s all about looking healthy. And yet, we’ve created patch after patch after patch to cover things up whether it’s through the thing that were prescribed, or the things that we buy off the shelf from skincare to makeup. Nothing has actually looked at how do we pave the way back to the natural healthy state of the skin, and that’s really the direction that we’re going in. So, our products are not so much about help this specific thing, and help that specific thing. It’s more about restoring balance, and we believe that by restoring balance you are paving the way back to the skin zone natural way of doing things.

Yeah, I love that. You’re right. I think you’re exactly right. I hadn’t really thought of it that way. It’s getting back to nature’s beauty, and then everyone is beautiful when they’re healthy, and their skin glows, and it is so obvious. You don’t see people covered up in really thick make up or whatever when they’re really healthy, and their skin is healthy. I think part of what we don’t know also is this both sides of one is the importance of the good bacteria, and overall health, and we’ll continue to talk about that. You really opened up the other side of it is that so many of the products and make up let’s say that we put on our skin. We’re doing this to try to look better, or try to look beautiful if you will, but it’s actually maybe producing the opposite effect. It might look good once it’s all covered up, but underneath that, our skin isn’t healthy and we’re not thinking. We’re taught to think oh just put more product, and the better the marketing is –there you go David — for the product, the more we’re convinced that product will help us look better, but we’re missing the point that it’s not covering up to look better, it’s trying to do what it takes just to look better without it at all. Then we might use a little bit here and there for different reasons. I think that’s number one. Number two is I don’t think we realize all the crap that’s in all the products. Like the chemicals that are in the products that are damaging. Many times we go to our dermatologist to try to have better skin, but if it’s more traditional, conventional, dermatology then they’re giving us maybe some prescription to put on our face that is maybe continuing to do some sort of damage even though the intent is for good. So, can you guys talk to that at all? Some of these products, and what we’re doing.

I’ll take this one.

Okay, okay, sure.

The fact remains we have more options than ever before, and it continues to grow. We are cleaner than ever, and we have more problems with our skin than ever, right. Eighty million Americans have acne, and growing. One in six children have eczema, and growing. Sensitive skin is the fastest growing category in personal care. Anyone, the next time you walk through a CBS, or any sort of a drug store, go to the baby aisle, and it is tragic to see that the eczema, and rosacea products for babies take up at least in most of them two entire rows, and they are all prime placement. Now, all of a sudden infants have rosacea and eczema and it was not like that ten years ago. That’s one piece of information that is very odd, and I think needs to be addressed head on. The other piece of it is that people started observing these problems, and they started seeking other solutions, and exactly like you were saying they’re looking at all of this stuff that’s in our products, and wondering whether or not it’s actually good for us, and thinking we need to reevaluate it. So, the national products industry started to grow tremendously over the last ten years, and it’s very clear that this is a movement that is here to stay. I’ll hold the big CPG companies are making major moves into that space. This is something that users have been demanding, and they have so much more access to information now, and that has led to the growth of this industry. However, the trends are still going up. That makes us wonder okay maybe reevaluating chemistry, and reevaluating the things that we’re putting on our skin is the first step. We have started to look in the right direction, but maybe we need to reevaluate more fundamental things that we didn’t even think about. When you look at the personal care, and the cosmetic industry it’s so deeply rooted in the fact that bacteria is bad. I’ll give you a few reasons, and these were true life stories of problems that we encountered — raw materials when you buy them from vendors. So, let’s say you want to use a rose oil in your product, for example. So many vendors pre-preserve their raw materials so they come with a built in preservative. Another example is that preservatives over the last 20 years especially have gotten better and better, which means that they’re just stronger, and stronger, and better at making sure that nothing grows in the product, which sounds like something that we would want, but now when we look at it with a different lens we’re constantly lathering and slathering these things with stronger, and stronger preservatives. What effect is that having on this ecosystem that we have? Another example is standard recommended safety testing that’s done in the cosmetic industry, and it’s called challenge testing, and every has to pass these tests to ensure that no microorganism can grow in their products. Well, that’s all because of the preservatives. Well, guess what? That’s because they believe that any and all bacteria is bad. You have to make sure that it can sit on the shelf, and this is where we kind of handle things in the unique way because we have preservative preformulations, we use special packaging, we have expiration dates, but we can’t do that challenge testing because our products will fail with flying colors because they’re not meant to have preservatives. It’s meant to cultivate a healthy ecosystem.

Then lastly, there’s the regulatory side. The EU, for example, has their definition of what a contaminated product is, and it’s at 200, or 300 CFU per ML is their definition of it, but what if bacteria is the active ingredient. No one has ever gone there before. So, there’s these deeply rooted things across the entire industry from the raw materials to the operational to the manufacturing side that is built around this idea that bacteria Is bad. When we’re looking at these trends of inflammatory skin issues that keep increasing, we’re already starting to make better decisions. I think we are. We have all met people who have gone all natural. Who believe they are doing all of the right things, and yet they haven’t found the solution for them. So, it’s very likely that there is still layers of this onion that we have to peel away, and the area that we’re focusing on is this idea of bacteria. The fact that we’ve misjudged it and reevaluating our role with it is potentially a crucial step in taking things back to how they once used to be.

Well, and so let’s say we even used some of your product, and we spray, like I do, every day, and we’ll talk more about that too. But then, there is wanting to put on some lotions, and some moisturizers, and maybe some few things.


Just to address that a little bit, are there any ingredients in those products that you would recommend we stay away from? When you’re reading some of the labels, that just inherently the preservatives, or they may be doing more damage than good, but also that aren’t necessarily going to mess with the healthy balance that we’re trying to use maybe through the use of your products, or others like yours.

What we believe the most important thing to do is the following. It’s to stay away from anti-bacterial products unless you work in one of the environments like David had outlined. Outside of that it’s really completely unnecessary, and there are studies done showing that washing your hands with plain soap and water does just as good, if not even better, than antibacterial products. So, that I think is one thing totally agnostic to what we’re doing as a solid piece of advice. The second is this idea that less is more, and we really propagate this. Don’t think you need to do more, and more, and more to get better results. Often times doing less is better, and even if you are going to use lotion, or if you are going to use soap. Rethink about do I need to lather up head to toe. Do I need to slather it on head to toe, or can I just focus on key areas that actually got sweaty, or dirty, or however you want to define it. Often times it doesn’t take that much for us to get clean. Water does a fantastic job, and really just lathering up on a few key areas is often times really going to be completely fine. So, there are those two pieces. Lastly, the fact that we’ve lost this bacteria we believe is the most important and critical factor to rebalancing the skin microbiome. So, regardless of anything else that you use, we think that putting the bacteria back on is the most important step that you can take.

In a very extreme example, although, David I’m sure will cringe when I say this, but let’s say you are sterilizing yourself head to toe every day you take a shower, and you actually use anti-bacterial stuff head to toe. We don’t recommend it, but even if you do that. The best thing you can do for yourself is right when you get out of the show to spray yourself head to toe with AOBs. They are the peace keeper, so if you have an area that’s now been wiped clean because this anti-bacterial product as long as you restore the peace keepers first your chances of maintaining a balanced biome are much, much, much higher. But if you are using other regular products, and not doing something this extreme, apply the mist is the very last step, and it’s just an easy way to integrate it into your routine. You don’t need to change everything on it.

Yeah, I just had a thought that if you shower with just plain water, don’t use any soap, or any cleansers, or dirt soaps, or anything, you are cleaner than 99.99999% of your ancestors going back for forever. No one did that more than a 100 years ago, and they all turned out fine.

Right exactly, well I think that you made a really good point there. I love on your website. I love even the campaign, the marketing campaign on the business marketing side, really is rethink clean. I love that because part of even my purpose of this podcast is to help people rethink some of these conventional mindsets, or behaviors, practices that we’ve been in unknowingly really for thinking that we’re doing good, and starting to rethink and challenging some of these things that we’ve grown up with. So, I really — this totally fits with what I’m trying to like I said do to the Wealthy Wellthy podcast. With rethink clean, can you give some tips or advice like what do you mean when you say rethink clean? I know even — I’d love to start with telling a couple of stories. Like I said at the very beginning when I came across your product, I started using it, and my family started using it, then my team started using it. In fact, we have our bottles laying around, and we go through within 30 days so we don’t necessarily keep it refrigerated. I do have some refrigerated, but we’re going around and spraying it in each other’s faces, but it’s around all day long, and the entire team is using it. We’ve done some of our own challenges even within the team with just rinsing with water. One of your team members at Paleo (f)x said just really if you’re going to use soap –  I love how he phrased it. He said, “Just do it on your pits and your privates” but otherwise just rinse with water, and spray so we’re like I don’t know let’s give this a try. I’m very outdoorsy, so I exercise a lot. I run in the sun, and I kid you not. No deodorants, rinsing with water, using some very natural soap on the pits and privates, and then spraying – there’s no end to healthy diet too, but there’s really no odor. It’s crazy when I tell people I have not truly showered for months now. I mean other than once a week to really lather down because I feel maybe I still have to. I’m just saying here as my own case study, or my own hacker and tester. Not just me, my family, my team.

Science experiments, that’s what I call them.

Yeah, there you go. And then so much. you guys were so gracious and sponsored my last mastermind workshop so we had everybody, we put it in everybody’s wag bags. We had stuff laying around, and using it. This is very intense, driven, ambitious, highly successful type A group that’s pretty hard to convince, natural skeptics if you will. But anyway we had fun. We had this group chat for all the people that came, and then some of my private coaching clients. And so they started to do their own challenge and talk about it in this private text group. Anyway, it was really fun, and everybody has just gotten a big kick out of this, and they’re starting to be convinced like oh my gosh, I’m noticing I can go days and who knew. I don’t have to shower three times a day like I thought I did. So, it’s been really great, and I feel like I’m even doing a little bit of good just through you, and through what I’ve learned. I think this is what can trickle out, and help people just be more balanced. My goal is better health for everyone. So, there’s some of my story that’s really fun. I wanted to publically say thank you. So, adding to that when we say again this term rethink clean. What are some tips you can offer everyone to how to rethink this when it comes to maybe showering less, the products we use, and getting dirty. Like go play in the dirt, have your kids play in the dirt. What are some things that we can do to get back to maybe this more natural biome?

Well, I think we covered most of it, but there is a big water shortage in California and some other places. Reducing shower length and shower water consumption, I mean that’s a big important thing.

Yeah, so I think we’ve covered some key ones. Cutting out anti-bacterial products in your home, and during regular daily use, I think is an easy one, low hanging fruit that could have a very big impact. Less is more, really seeing where you could cut back or scale back. You might find that you don’t actually don’t need some of the things that you have accustomed to using for a very long time.

And that are very expensive. Those things add up so if you can cut back, it could save hundreds of dollars, if not thousands of dollars per year.

Yeah, absolutely. I think that those are the two biggest ones when it relates to rethinking clean. We came up with that phrase because we realized that somewhere along the way we confused clean with sterile, and we believed that going in that direction would bring us closer to healthy, and now we kind of pause, and look around, and think oh. We’ve solved lots of problems, but we’ve also created a lot of problems. So, what can we learn? What can we learn from this?

Yeah. To sum all that up, I think throughout the program we’ve exactly that, but maybe let’s cut down in some of this anti-bacterial soaps, sprays in our products, so on and so forth. I love less is more. I think that’s really, really important. Even less is more, David to your point to water, that if for no other reason let’s conserve our natural resource that we’re just exploited, and using, and so yeah. I mean seriously, I didn’t think about this but my showers are two minutes now. It’s really in and out, and it feels good to your point like I used to take these long showers, and you scrub your hair, and your body, and all these things. It’s truly pop in and pop out. So, huge water conservation that I didn’t even factor in that you’re right. The what about get dirty more? I mean really especially with our kids, Jasmina you said a little bit about that that we’re in these sterile environments going from one sterile environment to another, and our kids aren’t in the dirt. Do you have anything to say about that? Get out that and roll in the dirt like the horses did or do.

Totally, I think them playing outdoors is just very important if you are able to have some sort of an outdoor activity with the kids on a regular basis, or gardening, or something along those lines, it’s not a bad idea.

Horses are not the only animals that do that.

All animals roll in the dirt. Yeah, so dogs.

Well, it made me think. My dogs, I take my dogs out for a walk, and once I’m like there she goes. She’s rolling in it, and some of it doesn’t smell so great either. So, I’m like why is she doing that, but now I have a natural understanding like oh I get it now. Maybe I’ll go do some rolling too, but anyway I’m walking more without shoes even for the grounding effects, but really just to get some of the dirt, and not be so covered up and be okay with a little sweaty and dirty.

There you go.

All right, just to satisfy as we’re reaching the end of our time together today. So, really you’ve said a lot of this throughout the program, but we really haven’t talked about your product, and this is to go deep into it. This is designed to be an educational conversation for those that are interested. I am from a scientific point of view, and to really speak to maybe some of the skeptics out there like I was when I was first introduced to your product. You’re both engineers. You both come from more of a scientific background, so I think that speaks volume in itself, but from a scientific level. What’s happening? Talk to us about the AO mist, what it is, and why it works.

My hypothesis is that that’s how we evolved. That our ancestors evolved with ammonia oxidizing bacteria on their skin. Our ancestors in Africa never bathed, and living in a tropical place where you sweat every day. Sweat contains ammonia and urea. It would be impossible for them not to have biofilm of ammonia oxidizing bacteria. Once you’re — if you evolve in that situation you’re physiology will evolve, and adapt itself to use that resource, and to the point where you can’t survive without it.

So, what the bacteria is doing, and reiterating some of what we had talked about earlier. It’s consuming a waste product of your body, of your skin, what we’re sweating, and that sweat is adherently irritating to our skin, it has a high ph. Lots of disease states are associated with high pH, and accumulation of sweat can cause diaper rash like David had referenced early on. This is why babies get diaper rash. Their bums get really sweaty, and obviously it’s dirty in their diaper. So, just the sheer fact that the bacteria are consuming, and removing those irritating components, and bringing that pH down to a really good level, in and off itself is delivering some level of benefits. Then some items that they product what we have done studies on, and what we have learned is that those have a dramatic impact on the rest of the ecosystem of the skin. So, this is where AOBs gets their peace keeper reputation. It’s because we see the entire skin microbiome shift. We see the level of AOBs go up, but we also see the levels of other potentially problematic bacteria go down, and the example that I love to give are odor causing bacteria. So, we’ll use the underarm area as an example. So body odor is not a very sexy topic, but it’s one that we have become fully comfortable talking about. What AOBs are doing is they are consuming once again your sweat, these byproducts that they’re producing are pushing out the odor causing bacteria, and that on its own creates balance in the underarm area so that it is able to take care of itself, and there’s no odor from the bacteria that’s there, and this is why about 60% of our users are able to stop using deodorant altogether. It’s because they have rebalanced that ecosystem such that odor is not an issue in itself. This is dramatically different from how any other deodorant works because all other deodorants are either based off of anti bacterials. So, to kill odor causing bacteria which now that we’ve spent all this time talking about bacteria we know that just killing bacteria is creating more, and more, and more imbalance, and now people are finding that they smell worse if they don’t use deodorant. If they just skip one day they smell worse because their bodies have gotten so used to that super strong deodorant. Or it’s an antiperspirant to prevent sweating, but sweat is a really important biological function for us so stopping that is not really great for us either. That’s a little bit of what the bacteria is doing. Where the research is going is understanding how a shift in the skin microbiome can impact skin health, and that’s one of the things that we’re looking at here. This idea that we’re restoring balance to the skin microbiome could restore health. What Mother Dirt does is we find that people’s skin looks better, feels better. They can start giving up their moisturizer, they can wear less makeup just because they’re skin’s balance is restored. What the AOBiome side is doing is looking at more serious conditions. Things like acne, and eczema, pediatric eczema to be specific, and a few other indications. We’re entering phase three trials for acne right now so that’s the direction that the research is going in, and hopefully one day we’ll have a much better picture of how AOBs impact skin health overall.

Well, I just love how we’re really getting back to nature. Just truly back to nature and that balance, that adherent balance that nature has to get to become healthy again versus relying maybe more on chemicals, and products, and prescriptions, and these different things that we’re now leading to. So, just to make sure that I understand what’s happening here is that for example, we have these natural — our body does this natural elimination, and produces certain bacteria that produces odor, uncomfortableness, or whatever but back in the day we’d get dirty, and whatever we did that would be the good dirt, and everything filled with good bacteria that would take care of that. Let’s say bad bacteria to keep it simple. But since our lifestyles aren’t really – we’re not doing that anymore, and we’re trying to add more anti-bacterial practices, and products to it. It’s way out of balance, so we really do think we’re dependent on these other things to try and take care of those things, but really what your products doing is it’s introducing the good bacteria into the equation that we used to get out of the dirt, and being outdoors, and happen naturally that since that’s not the lifestyle anymore, we can introduce that same effect where we’re balancing this ecosystem of good bacteria and bad bacteria so our body can naturally take care of itself. We don’t have to depend on all these other things to try to help take care of the problem whatever the problem it is. Be odor, irritation, or whatever.

Yeah, yeah, it’s very much like an ecosystem like a rainforest. There’s many, many different species that interrelate and depend on each other. When you come in and clear cut everything down to bare soil. You wipe out all the climax ecosystem and what comes back first are the weeds. Then the weeds, we have lots of weeds, in a rainforest it may take centuries for the – to repopulate the climax ecosystem, or if species are gone they may never come back. I think that’s what these ammonia oxides in bacteria they’re very slow growing, and so if you bath a couple times a week you don’t have any because they’re gone. Because they’re gone, your body. You washed them off faster than they can grow back. So, putting the AOBs on, that kind of sets the baseline. Unless other compatible species co-exist with them, and together they can form a more robust climax ecosystem. That’s it’s really a —

So, it sounds like it’s not just a matter of adding the good bacteria, the spray. We’re probably just wasting product if we’re right after that, or before that going on and soaping up, and lathering. I is the combination of less is more, and let’s help balance these things out. So, that’s it. You even have beyond the spray that you do have the probiotic, I think the probiotic, but the shampoo, and the cleanser. So, if you do feel like you do need to shampoo every day, and clean every day, at least it’s not robbing the body of those bacteria’s, is that correct? The good bacteria. So when you use the spray it will continue to work.

All right. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Again we’re so looking forward to this, and it’s a really fun conversation. Like I said, so many great stories. Whether it’s personal stories and other stories, I’ve got a real kick out of using your product, and noticing the changes.

I was going to say that we have gotten a few notes from the participants at your event saying how much they like the product so I know we’ve —

Awesome, yay. I mean the more I’m learning the more I just want to get back to nature. So much of my life, and my environments, and my friends, and family, and it feels good to get back to nature. It’s like yes, and I didn’t even realize it. I started tapping into these things because I got so sick that I had to reverse my health so this discovery process for me just really became a little bit obsessive to try to save my own life, and figure out why was I sick when I thought I was healthy. So that was the first round of this, and now as I get deeper into it it’s just like life is so much better, and simpler, and more meaningful just getting back to nature, and so what you guys are doing is helping us do that. It is just making life easier. When you don’t have to do these long showers every day, and buy all these products, that’s just one more thing to simplify life a little bit. All right, to sum up we’ve covered a lot of these throughout our conversation, but I would like to see whatever you all land on, maybe one each. But in Wealthy Wellthy podcast. What I’m trying to do here is introduce people to break some conventions, to puncture some old thinking, and maybe behaviors, and really to do some mythbusting, so on every program I end with asking what is a myth that’s just believe to be true out in the world that just drives you  nuts where you are like “Oh my God, that’s just so not true. If people only knew.” I’d love to close with a little myth busting. So David, is there something that really stands out for you?

I think for me, it’s the myth that competition is good. That really cooperation is much more important than competition. We get so much more by cooperating with each other than by competing with each other.

That is so good.

Yet, let us not compete over things that are important, like you know food and housing and being safe and education. Let’s cooperate.


I love that. Thank you. Thank you.

Pay it forward.

Thats a good lead into what I was going to say. I was going to say about kindness. I think people who are ambitious in particular, it’s very easy to get caught up in a cycle of doggy dog. Ultimately what I’ve learned is that people that are truly kind and giving, they are the ones that really really  end up on top and like a very different stratosphere, it’s because of the good that they did along the way. And so this idea of kindness as you’re building your professional reputation and as you’re building your personal reputation, I think is incredibly important. As much as people talk about the bad that technology is doing, we are all so much connected so your reputations will travel so much faster than they once did. So the power of kindness I think is really important especially in light of everything that’s happening right now.

I love that. Everyone that I interview on the program, you know I’ve very selective with who I bring in the program, everyone that I talk to is what I call conscious business. That’s why I love to know the founder story. I know David you started this out of your own pocket. Like you said, there is not a lot of funding that goes towards answering the question why do horses roll in dirt, right. I just want to help get the word out that those like you, that is such conscious business and doing this for the true betterment of everyone and wanting this world to be healthier and people to be healthier and happier. So thank you for what you do. I mean that you just — I can tell that this is a movement that you’re connected to for the betterment of this planet.


Yeah, very much.

Yes, very much so. I mean I — quit my day job to pursue this because it was too important to not pursue.


Exactly. All right. Well, thank you so much. It’s been a total joy. I appreciate and value your time. I know how hard it is to carve out some time away from business as usual to do these kind of things so thank you again. Personally, I want to say how grateful I am for the work that you do.

Likewise. It was really fantastic meeting you. Thanks for the time as well.

I hope you enjoyed my conversation with David and Jasmina. If you’d like to learn more about them or pick up some awesome Mother Dirt products for yourself, all of these links are available for you at wealthywellthy.life/podcast.

One more thing, we have a special deal with Mother Dirt. Thanks to a good friend Robin from their team, we were able to hook you all up with a 25% discount off your order. Just make sure to type in coupon code robin 25 to get 25% off all the Mother Dirt products. Again, that’s robin 25,  r-o-b-i-n-2-5.

Next stop, I transitioned from an outer body and moved inward through a super fun interview with Ann Mowat, a close friend of mine and leading acupuncturist and healer. We actually recorded the interview while I was getting treated by her. Yes, I was having a conversation while being poked with needles at the same time. I think you’ll actually love this one. We had a lot of fun. Here’s to a Wealthy Wellthy Life, I’ll see you next time.

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