My friend Zoey and I spent the weekend camping, drinking, and dancing our hearts out to a variety of different bands in the hot, hot sun. WayHome is a music festival about an hour north of Toronto that happens every July featuring a number of amazing artists from Flume to Imagine Dragons.
Sometimes spontaneous, last minute plans end up being the best ones especially on a gorgeous summer weekend! With summer being so short I think it’s important to take any opportunity you have to spend time with amazing people in the sunshine creating memories.
I follow a healthy lifestyle but I’m also a big believer in balance so sometimes I’ll let loose, have a few drinks and not follow healthy eating 100% (without beating myself up over it). That being said I believe we also need to follow everything in moderation. On weekends like these I don’t restrict myself but still, try and make healthier decisions. Whether it’s bringing my own nutritious snacks or mixing my alcohol with soda instead of pop or juice.
One of my favorite ways of preventing a hangover and detoxing during and after weekends away from home is using Activated Charcoal. Some of you may have seen me post about this on Instagram. I get a lot of questions asking about what it is, does it actually work and what else does it do.
What is Activated Charcoal?
Activated Charcoal is used as a natural healer that has been used in ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine and can be made from a variety of sources. When selecting Activated Charcoal you should find one made from coconut shells or bamboo. Activated charcoal traps toxins and chemicals in its millions of tiny pores, that’s why it’s typically been used for alcohol poisoning and drug overdoses.
We live in a world where toxins are a big part of our everyday lives, that’s why Activated Charcoal has become such a buzz. I’m going to talk science here for a second: the charcoal doesn’t absorb the toxins, it goes through a chemical process called ‘Adsorption’ which means it binds to the toxin rather than absorbs it. It is then (toxins) flushed out by the body. Activated charcoal has a negative electrical charge that causes toxins with a positive charge to bond with it.
I buy my Activated Charcoal from a local company called CRBN (you can buy online here).
Activated Charcoal is the end result of a two-stage process:
Step 1: Carbonization
Virgin coconuts are heated to ~750*C in a chamber without oxygen.
Step 2: Activation
During this step, oxygen is introduced via steam induction at a temperature of temperature 900*C. The steam erodes the internal surfaces of the charcoal providing it with its adsorptive properties.
Top 5 Activated Charcoal Uses
1. Teeth Whitener
If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ve probably seen the scary videos of me brushing my teeth with black stuff. I have always had very sensitive teeth so using whitening strips always caused me extreme aches and pains in my teeth and they’re not the healthiest or safest option. When I discovered activated charcoal I was over the moon, a natural solution that didn’t hurt?! I was all in.
I try to do this minimum once a week. Buy a cheap toothbrush, wet it and dip it into your charcoal (word of caution: charcoal can get really really messy so protect your counters before use). Brush teeth as you normally would, rinse and spit until the charcoal is all gone. For added benefit, I have also used coconut oil and charcoal for oil pulling. Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique that involves swishing a tablespoon of oil (I use coconut) in your mouth for around 20 minutes. This draws out toxins in your body, primarily to improve oral health.
2. Prevents Hangovers
This is my favourite way to prevent hangovers! After this weekend I’ve been carrying around a bottle of charcoal water. It works best if you drink it before you start drinking your alcohol but also works the morning after.
The activated charcoal does not absorb the alcohol but it removes the toxins that are typically consumed with alcohol such as artificial sweeteners and chemicals. I’ve had it work and you can read many other people online that have said when activated charcoal was consumed before or during drinking people woke up feeling normal as opposed to hungover.
You can buy activated charcoal pills but I prefer to have a bag of charcoal handy to be used for many things. I usually mix a teaspoon of charcoal into a reusable glass bottle (make sure it’s not one you’re attached to as it will stain, I usually use a reusable juice bottle) with water and a few drops of doTerra Grapefruit Oil.
3. Healthy, Clear Skin
Without knowing many of us get acne due to an inflammation in our gut. A leaky gut is caused by a build up of toxins and chemicals that rupture your intestinal wall. Our body becomes inflamed internally and this can be seen externally through signs like acne and rashes. The activated charcoal binds with environmental toxins and dirt that contribute to acne. It draws out impurities to detox your skin. CRBN has a charcoal face mask I like to use here https://crbn.io/products/detox-face-mask or you can make your own. You can mix a teaspoon of charcoal with half a teaspoon of water, green tea, honey or yogurt and apply for 10 minutes. Once again this can get messy so proceed with caution!
4. Give Your Digestive System a Cleanse
As I mentioned we live in a very toxic environment, we build up toxins in our bodies from the pesticides on our food, the products we use on our skin and to clean with and the pollution in the air. We begin to build up these toxins in our body which cause inflammation, allergic reactions, oxidative damage (leads to aging) and a poor immune system (to name a few). Activated charcoal binds to these toxins and removes them from your system which can increase energy and mental function (I’ll leave that for another blog). It’s important to cleanse our digestive system on a regular basis.
5. Alleviate Gas & Bloating
If you suffer from gas and bloating this might just do the trick! If you take activated charcoal before eating it can bind with gas-producing food by-products which prevent intestinal gas. Try drinking a glass of charcoal water an hour before you eat a meal that typically upsets your stomach.
Things to Keep in Mind
If you find the activated charcoal is causing you any issues or sensitivities stop using. Make sure to drinking plenty of water if you’re ingesting charcoal as it can and will dehydrate you. Activated charcoal can interfere with your body’s absorption of nutrients, supplements, and prescription medications, therefore take it 90 minutes before meals, supplements or medications.