Parasite panic.

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Did you know that everyone is FULL of parasites? 90% of us have “Candida”, nearly everyone is constipated “whether they know it or not” and an undiagnosed virus is sapping your vital force right now! You are toxic and every single problem you have is due to this fact. Unless it’s due to planetary mis-alignment, of course.
At least, that is what the internet says.
And it is very easy to debunk these claims. Because we are actually full of bacteria, yeasts, viruses and IT IS FINE. We are participating in a lifelong dance of waste elimination, our body usually has this under control and we are actually co-existing with most of our critters. In fact, a lack of symbionts can be as bad as an excess.
“Viruses are the most abundant obligate intercellular entities in our body.”-Pubmed.gov
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And it is easy to make fun of this stuff too.There seems to be a confusion between living with our natural symbionts and suffering from antagonistic parasitic or viral imbalances–which do happen but are not common and are not the source of all evil, and can usually be corrected.
There are some truly extreme claims being made in the world of parasite panic:
You get parasites from a handshake?
Parasites slowly eat away at your internal organs and poop toxic waste into your system?
ALL cancer is caused by an intestinal parasite?
THEY don’t want you to know!!!
Yeast overgrowth is keeping you drunk!
A dirty colon poisons the body from the inside out and makes us all… walking zombies?
Some of this stuff is literally just made up.

But here is the thing. There is a reason why this stuff resonates with so many people. The cleansing, detox and parasite-a-noia products are selling, at least some of them. And if we do not change the conversation, shed some light, open this issue up and air it out the rhetoric of Original Sin will continue to drive people to strive towards a delusional ideal of intestinal purity. Just like a parasite, health delusion thrives in silence and darkness.
So let’s observe the way our body is commonly framed in discussions about alternative healthcare.
Often the context is based on the idea that there is something WRONG with the body. The body is broken. You have fallen from health-grace. You are a victim.
The paradigm is based on the idea that you need to take something. Are you tired? “Sluggish”? Have a little gas? Do you have an itch or indigestion? Imperfect skin that doesn’t glow enough? Feel a tad grumpy? Take this!
These are not necessarily pathologies. These are normal reactions to having a body.
But often the entire business plan is built on promoting a fear and loathing of the body and its functions.
The people who wish to sell us these harsh cleanse products use our deepest fears, our discomforts and our individual and cultural misunderstanding of Science, Anatomy, Bacteria, the process of elimination and the way our body achieves homeostasis and balance to manipulate us into buying their products or clicking fearfully on their links. They promote a fragility mindset in which we must constantly be guarding against evil entities that are trying got destroy us.
It is exhausting.
The blog writers and Senna salespeople seem to know more about Psychology than basic Anatomy and use their knowledge of human behavior to induce PARASITE PANIC!!! and bring you into the CLEANSE CULT!!! “It’s God’s medicine! It’s health freedom! The medical system doesn’t want you to be well. “They” are covering this up. They will tell you this is wrong but I know it, only I have the truth!”
(But I have absolutely zero citations for my allegations!)
And unfortunately there are some real examples of the medical system causing harm or seeking to make money over caring for individuals, but to imply that no alternative healthcare practitioner would ever do that is just bizarre. Business exists, no shit.
And the fact is, their cleanse products and protocols suck.
A Super Tonic that you have to take every 15 minutes for several weeks?
Purgatives to get all the feces out with 3-5 bowel movements every day?
Oil of Oregano daily as a preventive?
A month-long juice cleanse?
Avoiding ALL carbs to starve parasites?
“mysterious Ancient Chinese herbal formulas”?
These products show a fundamental misunderstanding of the body and how it works as well as a shocking lack of basic problem-solving skills and a laundry-list of logical fallacies.

“But these products are natural!” Listen, I am a fan of natural. I love nature. But the definition of natural is very much open to interpretation. Not everything natural is good, and not everything “unnatural” is bad, this is a false binary that we shout about when it feels convenient and there is NOT always agreement on what is natural. For example,  “YOU’RE NOT AN ANIMAL SO DON’T HAVE SEX LIKE ONE!” Sometimes our ideas of what is natural and unnatural are a direct reflection of our personal or political hang-ups.

(And why are we so darn obsessed with poop anyway?)

Abusing natural herbs to fix non-problems which are allegedly caused by nature, which viruses and parasites certainly are, nature that is, feels like a huge red flag to me.
And natural products can absolutely do harm, induce side-effects, and damage the beneficial bacteria and intestinal lining.
Oh, and we can’t alkalize our way out of a prison of self-loathing.
If needed, a few doses of standardized medicine may take care of a problem that would take a month of high doses of herbal medicines–herbs are not always the best solution for every issue, and certainly not without a downside. Herbs can be abused, too.
So let’s talk about what is really going on here.
Your body is always eliminating waste. Occasionally a little support is needed and that is fine. Eat some fiber, great. Movement and hydration are the 2 easiest ways to keep things moving and flowing. Trust the process while gently moving stagnation. Sleep.

But if 85 or 90 percent of a given population “HAS” something, such as parasites or cellulite or wrinkles, it is NOT an epidemic. It is normal. I’d be more concerned with the freaks who don’t have it. What’s their deal?
You are not broken. Sticky feces are not currently destroying your life. These people say they promote health freedom, but you cannot be free if you are chained to self-loathing. You cannot be free if you fear your own butt.
This is not a battle between good and evil, my friends. You don’t win points with God or some mysterious forces for your intestinal purity. We don’t need to project fantasies of sparkly cleanliness onto the places that depend on moist darkness to work properly. We can’t purge and punish our way out of reality.
So let’s put aside the desire for an easy answer and get real.
Let’s admit that we are full of wonderful, delicious bacteria and viruses and symbionts and yeast and it is totally  normal.
And maybe instead of dissing those who are joining the cult of cleanse we can all examine how people are sometimes dismissed by standardized medicine, and how that feels. Let’s look at what drives people to seek out alternatives, for better or worse, and let’s note that Parasite Panic fills an emotional hole that is real.  Like joining a cult, people often seek answers out of a sense of desperation, out of disconnection, fear, confusion.
Let’s note that many of the symptoms that marketers attribute to parasitic attack are extremely similar to the symptoms of poorly managed stress and fear. Is it possible that we are inducing our own indigestion by dwelling in a fear state, constantly looking for signs that our colon is under attack?
Is it possible that our confirmation bias helps us feel GREAT that we are finally doing something–anything–about all the “toxic poison” collecting in our duodenum and ruining our “purity”?
Are we seeking a sense of identity, of belonging, or trying to correct greater cultural ills by exerting control over something in our own life? Are we trying to prove a point about health or behavior or conspiracy theories?
Ideologies can create realities. But true self-love means loving all of ourselves, inside and out, including the less shiny bits. We do not truly accept our body if we cannot accept that the colon stores feces.
And to me, a lot of these blogs and articles and ads have a terrifying lack of a sense of humor. Our body and its processes are fun and funny! Our symbionts are delightful and interesting and heck if we can’t see humor in poop then we really can’t see humor anywhere.
And parasite fear (for example) may point to a deep inner discomfort with our animal nature, an evolutionary fear of certain frightening insects or antagonists, an ancient obsession with belonging and “the other” and a misunderstanding of our basic intimate processes and desires.
There is no battle between good and evil being fought in your colon, but there just may be a marketing battle preying upon our ancient brains.
Some marketers claim that their cleanse will help you lose weight–even as much as 10 pounds overnight! But the best weight loss you might ever achieve is losing the weight of eons of shame over having a fabulous dirty body…and losing the fear of the symbiotic flora and fauna you live with.
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One thought on “Parasite panic.

  1. True as ever and always, Traci. But I did a double take as I lifted an ale to my lips and read, “Yeast overgrowth is keeping you drunk!”

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