As reports of parasite contamination extend to more and more of our favorite stores and fast-food franchises, you may be a little worried. These nasty buggers are something you only hear about in far, foreign places or in disturbing, yet highly entertaining National Geographic specials.
They’re scary, but nothing that we ever have to worry about, right?
In reality, they can be a lot closer than you think. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that infections don’t only lurk in marginalized and low-income countries — they also exist in the US.
So, what can you do? Well, you always want to consult with your doctor if you feel you might have encountered a pesky, unwanted visitor in your body.
But how do you know if you’re at risk?
Signs of Parasite Infection
There are a variety of these bitty critters, and with them, a variety of symptoms as well. Be careful! This list is enough to make every hypochondriac gasp in terror. But remember, just because you exhibit one of these symptoms, it doesn’t necessary mean you have a parasitic infection.
Here are just a few main signs.
Signs of infection might be visible on the skin. More obvious potential signs include:
- blisters inside of the mouth
Signs may not be as conspicuous sometimes, showing through irritation and itching in areas like the nose, eyes or more intimate places.
Sometimes infections might cause irregular digestive and/or gut activity. That will vary person to person. Generally, this might include:
- abdominal pain
- unusual gas and bloating
Some nutritionists and experts also believe parasitic infection can result in mood change. Does this mean you will turn into a parasite-controlled, zombie-human?!
Well…no. You have a great imagination, though!
More commonly, it is believed that other associated symptoms can lead to anxiety, fatigue or more general mood changes.
One example of this can be seen with toxoplasma gondii. Scientific American reports that the microscopic T. gondii was associated with its hosts being more extroverted and reckless in one study.
This study tested men and who were infected and those who weren’t, with a personality questionnaire. Results showed that the infected felt more social; however, they felt less conscientious. Researchers theorize that the parasite could potentially increase hormone levels, changing dopamine concentration.
But, don’t fret. These studies are far and few between, and even then, they are not the most conclusive. It’s still an interesting idea and we hope more research is published one day.
Fever or Flu-like Symptoms
Healthline reports that fever or flu-like symptoms may signal an infection. This may include:
- swollen lymph nodes
- muscle aches
- hot flashes
Remember, don’t freak out if you’re experiencing these symptoms. They do not always signal parasitic infection.
So, you know the symptoms and you’re more prepared.
But are you prepared to move to a foil-covered home in the isolated frozen tundra? Because you’re about to be.
Just kidding! But we are going to talk about potential risk factors now. So, pay attention.
How exactly can someone contract a parasite? Common risks include:
- undercooked foods (sushi!)
- unclean water supply
- traveling, especially in tropical regions
- working or coming into contact with feces on multiple ocassions
Our friendly pet companions can also carry parasites, picked up from infected rodents and birds outside. This has been observed more in cats than other pets.
No, you don’t need to kick out Mittens. Just make sure his immunizations are current at his yearly check-ups and always wear gloves when cleaning his litter box!
But there is one thing you should be wary about.
Having a weak or compromised immune system puts you at an elevated risk of contraction. So, make sure you’re getting your check-ups, too!
How To Rid Parasites
Okay, so let’s say that you’re interested in getting rid of potential critters overstaying their welcome in your body. What exactly can you do?
Some nutritionists recommend going on a parasite cleanse based on a few plant-based supplements. In a US News & World Report article, one naturopath explains that popular cleanse ingredients include black walnut hull, wormwood and other extracts.
This is a little controversial, because currently, research is lacking.
That’s normal — conventional medicine does not always line up with more traditional, plant-based ways. But we hope that changes one day soon.
Until then, here are just a few ingredients and their purported benefits.
Black Walnut Hull
Black walnut hull is said to be one of the best ingredients to help cleanse out unwanted bugs in the body. Part of the reasoning for this stems from the wild. Some invasive bugs can’t multiply on the black walnut tree bark, as the wood is resistant. There are tons of anecdotal evidence for its effectiveness in ridding parasites from the body, but not as many in scientific study.
Wormwood is associated with treatment for a variety of digestive ailments. When combined with black walnut and cloves, this mixture is said to be one of the best ways to cleanse out those little pests.
Psyllium is also another popular ingredient in treatments for digestive and gut issues. It is said to help encourage release, with its helpful fibers. It is often paired with other plants to help facilitate cleansing.
Pure Planet’s Parasite Cleanse
Pure Planet’s own Organic Parasite Cleanse contains black walnut hull, wormwood, psyllium husk and other plant-based support. With an organic blend of foods and fibers, Parasite Cleanse helps gently encourage peristaltic action and support parasite elimination. Plus, it has a sweet pineapple taste!
NOTE: ALWAYS remember to consult with your health professional regarding your concerns about these bugs. Its better to be safer than sorry.
Craving More Pure Planet?
Looking for more products to help you live healthily? Check out more at PurePlanet.com.
With Labor Day just around the corner, we are ever closer to September and the end of summer (cue: cries of despair).
It’s okay. In our opinion, there’s always an excuse to kick back and channel our summertime vibes. But we know that some fun can only be had while the sun shines hot.
So, here’s one last taste of summer before it is gone for good. Enjoy one of these 4 refreshing vegan smoothies that can help you soak up every last bit!
Mint Chip Treat
For the mint-chocolate fans out there, this Kale and Caramel has you covered.
With frozen banana chunks, spirulina, mint leaves, cacao nibs and dark chocolate shavings, this is sure to please your sweet tooth.
Pure Planet Alternatives
This recipe calls for dairy milk, but we think you’ll be just fine using almond (or hemp, oat, cashew, etc.) milk. And we think our Choco-Mint Spirulina blend will mix smoothly for a mouth-watering result.
Coconut Water Refresher
What’s better than some coconut water on a hot summer’s day? How about a twist of pineapple?
This Yummly recipe only needs 5 ingredients and takes about 5 minutes to create. Got peppermint leaves, pineapple, ginger, coconut water and ice on hand? Great! Then slip into a sleepy afternoon with this relaxing and hydrating vegan smoothie blend.
Pure Planet Alternatives
Our Organic Coconut Water – Rehydrate mix contains hibiscus and ginger, plus rooibos extract and electrolytes. Subbing this in for the plain coconut water and ginger scoop will help you feel even more lifted. Bon vovage on your trip to afternoon bliss!
Chocolate Cherry Vegan Smoothie
When you have a hankering for cherry-cola, this Texanerin Baking recipe could do the trick! With tart cherry. cocoa powder, banana and vanilla extract, this is the perfect treat after a long week.
Pure Planet Alternatives
Our Organic Tart Cherry extract could be an easy swap for the tart cherries, especially because it’s much easier to get your hands on during off-season. This recipe also calls for sweetener, to offset the tartness of the cherries. For people sensitive to stevia, you may want to avoid that part and swap for a more natural alternative, like honey from your local farmer’s market.
Strawberry Beet Smoothie
Us health-nuts know beets are super good for you, especially for cardiovascular and liver health. Why not add them to a mouth-watering summer smoothie?
This recipe calls for beets, berries, ginger and cinnamon, so you know you’re getting nutritious antioxidants and vitamins. Kick back and jam to the groove of the beet!
Pure Planet Alternatives
Our Organic Power Beets – Berry Blast complements the recipe well. Power Beets works great as a pre-workout drink, so adding it to this delicious treat could help avoid dessert-grogginess after you’ve finished.
Have you tried out any of these recipes? Do you have any of your own? Let us know in the comments below.
Most of us have been raised on wheat bread. It has often been touted as the “healthier” whole grain compared to other types. Thinking back, we can all probably remember our parents making us sandwiches and grilled cheeses with bread from this grain. Let’s also not forget those comforting morning cereals that are also loaded with this stuff.
But is the grain really as good as it is suggested to be? And are there other whole grains that can work as a wheat alternative?
The Truth About Wheat
Are you comfortable? Because you’re in for quite the story. You see, while you might grab a bag of bread in the store or add it to your online cart without question, there’s actually a huge debate happening between nutritionists and experts.
To begin, wheat comes in many different varieties, much like our favorite ice creams. With that being said, the grain we know and love (or despise) has not always been the same throughout the years. In fact, it is quite different than it used to be.
Que the conspiracy music! Okay, maybe we’re drumming this up a bit, but that’s only because this is important.
The processes used to create the grain nowadays are different from, let’s say, the 1950s. Obviously. But that actually yields a totally different, more refined wheat — one that varies nutritionally from older grains.
That’s not all bad. Refined wheat can be created cheaply and at a greater quantity, which means it’s easy attainable. We don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for it either.
However, the older grains, like Emmer, Enkorn and Kamut, are all more nutritious than the grain used today. Healthline reports that the most popular wheat grown today is high-yield dwarf wheat.
And that makes us a little sad. Why? Because this type of grain is a weird hybrid. It was developed using crude genetic manipulation and cross-breeding.
Just how nutritious is modern wheat compared to older grains? One study published in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology suggests that grain produced from 1968-2005 is 19-28% lower in concentrations of minerals, such as zinc, copper, iron and magnesium. Coincidentally, that’s around the time modern grains were being crafted. Another study suggests older grains also contained more Selenium. These minerals and nutrients are essential to total body function.
Some nutritionists also point out that because the genetic compositions are different, modern grains can do much more damage to those with Celiac disease. Celiac disease is a harsh form of gluten intolerance that causes many people to adhere to a strict, non-gluten diet.
Additionally, one study found that older grains caused less adverse reactions than modern strains, that may be due to specific gluten proteins.
While gluten-intolerance is pretty widely known these days, not many people know that gluten is more than just one protein — it’s actually several. One of these proteins, Gila-α9, seems to be the biggest trouble-maker, potentially wrecking havoc on the body.
And guess what modern wheat is filled with? Yup, Gila-α9!
Because of this protein, it is theorized that modern grains have contributed to the growing cases of Celiac disease and gluten intolerances among the general population. More study is needed, but it’s definitely an interesting perspective.
Barley: The Wheat Alternative
If you want to give wheat a break, there are a few options. You can still find older grains thanks to the wonders of the Internet and in some specialty health stores. But we’d like to spotlight one of our favorites.
We’re talking about barley!
Barley happens be to an older cereal grain and one of the most cultivated. But what makes it different from wheat?
Well, it’s minimally processed. Considering wheat could be highly processed, we’ve already leveled up here.
On top of that, it contains natural minerals and antioxidants that aren’t present in refined and enriched grains. With a small of fat and calories, this is the perfect swap.
This grain can offer an array of benefits. According to Healthline, Barley can help support:
- Healthy blood pressure, with potassium, calcium and magnesium
- Bone health, with vitamins and antioxidants
- Heart health, by helping reduce cholesterol and fat
- The body’s response to inflammation, with choline (a phytonutrient)
- Weight Management
We love barley, which is why we use it for our Organic Just Barley juice blend. Specifically, we use the leaf (not the grain), grown in pristine, mineral spring water. But don’t worry, the leaf still holds chlorophyll, B-Vitamins and minerals.
This green juice can help support energy, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Ready To Make the Switch?
Like what you’re hearing? Try switching out wheat for barley. Plus, try our Organic Just Barely Juice, which can be integrated into any daily health regimen.