What’s shakin? I’ll tell you what’s up over here. At the time that I’m starting to write this post, I’m in Germany on a layover to Barcelona (where I’ll be for 2 weeks) and it’s about 9am. I left NYC at 5:30pm yesterday and I haven’t slept a wink yet…so let’s just say I’ll be in rare form when I land in Barcelona. 🙂
FYI, even when I’m not blogging here on the site, I’m ALWAYS “mini-blogging” everything I do on instagram, so make sure to head over there and click “follow” to get my daily snippets of mostly-healthy fun.
(At the time the post is finished, I’m chilling on a terrace in Barcelona. Beautiful city!!!)
I’m having a really good time with the travel though, even with the lack of sleep. I watched “Gone Girl” on the flight (my 2nd time watching it on a flight) and I must say I felt very differently this time about the ending of the story. The first time I watched it I was totally on Ben Affleck’s side and was shocked about how it ended. But this time I was kind of like, you know what, Amazing Amy? You are KIND OF an insane badass. I mean really, you gotta give the girl a little bit of credit. A LITTLE. Don’t judge me for saying that.
Let’s get to the point.
I’m gonna talk about a supplement I’ve been taking pretty regularly for the last 2 months whenever I eat food or drink anything of any questionable quality (i.e. at restaurants) and I can genuinely say it makes a HUGE difference in how I feel.
I actually have it in my bag right now and I’m carrying it with me all throughout my travels. I pop a couple capsules at almost every restaurant. It makes me feel way more even keeled no matter what I’m eating.
Note: Do not use this supplement an excuse to eat crap (no!!!) — it’s not gonna “cancel out” unhealthy food, but it definitely helps a TON when you’re eating out, to rid your body of the toxins more quickly.
It’s called ACTIVATED CHARCOAL and it’s my new favorite thing in all the land!
How did I find out about activated charcoal?
A few months ago, I was listening to a Bulletproof podcast about mold toxins (exciting things I do while taking long walks). One of the things Dave Asprey mentioned on the podcast was that if you have mold in your house/apartment building, it can cause you to have very vivid dreams/nightmares. At the time, for some reason I was having unsettling, vivid dreams every night in a row for a period of about 5 days. I live in a super old brownstone building in Brooklyn, so my brain clicked when he said the thing about the mold. Is there mold in my apartment building? I have no idea, but I ordered my first bottle of activated charcoal anyway. Watch the “Moldy” documentary for more on mold.
I bought the big bottle (240 capsules) which I can’t find on the Bulletproof site anymore, but they still offer it on Amazon. I use it all the time, so the 240 capsule bottle is worth it for me. I’m not sure if they’re discontinuing it or what…
The Bulletproof store has the 90 capsule bottle here.
I didn’t know much else about activated charcoal at the time of my order, but I started taking it for the bad dreams, thinking there might be mold toxins entering my brain.
When I take activated charcoal
Personally, I’ve been taking 2 capsules of activated charcoal anytime I eat at a restaurant that I’m unsure of the food quality or what kinds of oils they’re using. I can SERIOUSLY tell the difference — I feel great after a restaurant meal now, instead of feeling tired or getting a stomach ache or just generally feeling “affected” by the food.
I am usually the type of person who feels extremely affected by EVERYTHING (I just have a lot of feelings) so this charcoal is a serious miracle in my life. I love it. (I also don’t have the bad dreams anymore but that could have been a combination of other things too. Who knows).
Fast forward a couple days – this morning I woke up at 7am in Barcelona after having a questionable meal in touristy Las Ramblas of multiple kinds of tapas AND a dulce de leche gelato…but I took 2 capsules of activated charcoal with the meal…and I feel like a spring chicken! HAHA. What is a spring chicken? Let’s just say I feel pretty much fine when normally I’d want to slam my head into a wall after eating that. I don’t feel as great as I would have if I had something healthier, and as I said, this shouldn’t be an excuse to eat crap…but it certainly helps when you do.
What exactly IS activated charcoal?
I started doing more research into activated charcoal and found the following.
From the Upgraded Self site:
- Activated charcoal is a highly absorbent material with millions of tiny pores that can capture, bind, and remove up to 100 times the charcoal’s weight in toxins. The porous surface has a negative electric charge that attracts positively charged toxins and gas to be carried easily out of the body.
- Activated charcoal is made by burning a source of carbon such as wood, debris, or best option = coconut shells. The high temperature removes all the oxygen and activates it with gases like steam. What is produced is a highly adsorbent material with millions of tiny pores that capture, bind, and remove poisons, heavy metals, chemicals, and intestinal gases which have thousands of times more weight than the charcoal itself.
- Activated charcoal has been used for 10,000 years in Chinese Medicine, Ayuredic Medicine, and Western Medicine to soak up poisons and improve intestinal health.
- Chronic exposure to toxins from low quality, processed food and environmental pollution produces cellular damage, allergic reactions, compromised immunity, and more rapid aging.
- Activated charcoal is used for detoxification, digestion issues, gas, bloating, heart health, and anti-aging.
Even if you assume the restaurant you’re eating at is using only the best quality of everything, you really never know. The other day I ordered an omelet at a place where I would have believed they were serving healthy food (in fact, the menu was catered towards health/wellness professionals!!!), and I watched as the chef sprayed a THICK layer of soybean/canola oil spray ALL OVER the omelet. I shrieked and embarrassed my friend who was with me, and he re-made it for me with olive oil. Ha. I know it happens everywhere but I don’t always see it happening so I had to take action. You just don’t know what’s being added to your food unless you make it yourself and that’s the damn truth!
Dave Asprey says:
“My family and I take activated charcoal whenever we eat at restaurants. The difference is dramatic. It often prevents you from feeling bloated and tired after eating a big restaurant meal. When I feel unusually moody or suddenly tired, activated charcoal helps me get back in the game within minutes.
When my young kids (4 and 6 years old) suddenly drop into uncharacteristic fits of whining or tantrums, especially after snacks at a friends house, activated charcoal brings them back to normal within about 10 minutes. It is amazing to watch.”
When to take activated charcoal:
- Take it when you eat out at restaurants or eat low quality foods
- Take it with bad quality coffee
- Particularly helpful to take when drinking alcohol
- Take it if you suddenly feel moody or tired
- Open a capsule on your toothbrush and brush to whiten teeth
- Helpful for jet lag
When you should NOT take activated charcoal:
- With any other supplements or prescription drugs (the charcoal can interfere with absorption). I would wait at LEAST an hour after taking other supplements or drugs to take the charcoal.
- With a superfood green smoothie or something similar (you wanna absorb all of it!)
- With a healthy meal you’ve made for yourself with high quality ingredients
- At a restaurant that is known for being super serious about food quality (such as Hu Kitchen or Gingersnap’s Organic)
Ok, as you can tell I am super pumped on the activated charcoal. It helps you detox, it can whiten your teeth, it can basically turn a Snickers bar into a piece of organic broccoli. KIDDING!!!! Don’t quote me on that! Sheesh.
(As a side note, I also just found out that I have a double mutation of the MTHFR gene (woo! mutants unite), which can prevent you from properly detoxifying – I believe this could possibly be part of the reason I feel so good on the charcoal. More on that to come in my next blog post)!
P.S. The Bulletproof site says it’s fine to take on a daily basis. Feel it out for yourself.
(Or you can get it on Amazon which still currently has the bigger bottle).
Have you guys had any experience with activated charcoal? Let me know in the comments!