Myth: Charcoal is the best way to remove toxins from your body
I have said it before but I will say it again and keep on saying it…. Your liver and Kidneys are all you need.
A few years ago, Charcoal was the hottest new fad supplement to add to your food. Now we still find it in burger buns, smoothies, juices…. You name it!
There are a few reasons this really upsets me. Once again, we are not trusting our liver and kidneys aka our personal detox system to do there work properly. But charcoal is much more dangerous that….
Fact: Charcoal binds to all nutrients and removes them
Here is the science and evidence-based facts to remember the next time you find yourself reaching for charcoal.
Charcoal binds to all the ‘good things in your food. Charcoal isn’t picky. It can’t determine if something is a toxin or if it is a vitamin or mineral. It binds to it all and removes it from your body.
Charcoal binds to medications. I used to work at a juice bar – that served charcoal, it killed me a little bit!!! But I used to have so many people come in that were sick and order a charcoal smoothie or juice because it would ‘make them better’ or ‘remove the toxins’ that were making them sick. However, charcoal also binds to medications. This can be really dangerous. It can bind to anything from basic pain medication, antibiotics, blood thinners and even birth control.
It only binds to what is in your stomach and intestines at the time. So, if you decide to have a charcoal juice hours after a night out binging on alcohol and an early morning kebab think again. If hours have passed these will already have been absorbed into your blood stream, so the charcoal won’t assist with removing these.
Studies have found that is can slow down your bowel movements and is also known to cause nausea and constipation. This could be explained as it binds to all of the nutrients and good things that your body needs to function properly!
Charcoal supplements have gained a lot of traction and you now have to fork out a lot of $$$ for just a small tub of charcoal.
I touched on this in my first #mythbustermonday all about detoxes, but with everyone out looking for quick fixes the detox market has gone to astronomical sizes and is highly misleading.
There is a belief that our daily lives and dietary habits cause toxins to build up in our system, but there is no product, supplement or diet that can impact this. A lot of the hype behind these products and diets exist because of large marketing budgets and selective reading when it comes to ‘proving’ the benefits of it.
Food isn’t toxic, but that is what these supplements and diets try to sell us. So instead of making your food less nutritious by adding an unnecessary, indigestible compound save your dollars and instead focus on your relationship with food, and what foods really does for you.
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Finding the truth on the interest about this, what might seem like, simple topic is like finding a needle in a haystack… Near impossible. But lucky for you, I am going to break it down and tell all.
So let’s start with the truth…
That’s it, plain and simple. But let’s break down why?
The mechanisms of the Liver and Kidneys in your body:
There is good reason that the liver has been nicknamed the detoxification organ. The liver works in two phases to remove unwanted chemicals and other toxins from your body.
The reason some most toxic chemicals are difficult for the body to excrete is because they are fat soluble, meaning they only dissolve in fatty or oily solutions. The liver has the ability to break down every chemical, pesticide, hormone and any other toxin you can think of through specialized enzyme pathways. Essentially the liver has the ability to convert these fat-soluble chemicals into water-soluble compounds (metabolites), which can then be passed through the kidneys and removed via urine.
Phase I – Oxidation, reduction and hydrolysis
This phase of detoxification is catalyzed by enzymes in a group called Mixed Function Oxidase enzymes (MFO). Basically these enzymes live in the liver cells and their activity can be induced by exposure to certain chemicals. Essentially this phase allows the body to convert toxin chemicals into less harmful one (a reminder that everything in your body, everything that you touch etc is made of chemicals – not all of them are toxic!).
These toxic chemicals are converted through processes such as oxidation, reduction and hydrolysis and during the process free radicals are formed. Antioxidants then attached the free radicals neutralising them and the less harmful chemical can be moved through the kidneys or colon to be excreted. If there is a high level of toxic chemicals in the body it activates phase II to assist with the removal.
Phase II – Conjugation
‘Conjugation – The formation of link between existing things.’
Just as the definition suggestions this phase involves the liver attaching a substance to the toxic chemical or drug to make them less harmful. This joining of another substance forms a water-soluble compound so it can be excreted through the kidneys in urine, or the colon in bile.
The only time a health professional might recommend a medical detox be when your liver and kidneys are not working properly, but it takes a lot for this to happen. Did you know you could survive and function normally with only half your liver and with only 1 kidney?
Yes it is possible to over load these detoxification in your body, but at this stage, no amount of celery juice or ‘skinny tea’ is going to help you. By the time your body is overloaded, you would require medical intervention. If you are experiencing headaches, hormonal imbalances, severe fatigue or any other symptom that may be worrying you it is best to seek the advice of a doctor to discuss your options as you may end up doing yourself more harm though ‘home remedies’.
So why then do we have so many products, programs and health bloggers preaching that we need to detox?
Well as with most things that are popular, there is some clever marketing being done behind the scenes. There are no regulations in the social media world on what is put out there. Dieticians, and some health professionals need to be registered. But at the moment nutritionist do not need to be. Someone can finish a 6week course and call them selves a nutritionist; meanwhile it took me 6 years at one of the top Universities.
Companies that sell juice cleanses, ‘skinny teas’ and diets sell you a whole lot of empty promises. The main reason you will see results for these are they are calorie restrictive, so you may lose weight OR they work on a laxative effect that can show short term effects but used in the long term can be quite detrimental to your health.
These Diets and Cleanses are not sustainable and will do shit all for your liver and kidneys. The only thing you will lose is a whole heap of money.
There are some things you can do to assist the high functioning of your liver to detoxify your body. So the All you need to do to support your liver and kidneys is to eat a wholesome diet of vegetables and good sources of proteins and increase your water intake, particularly when you are on medication.
Nut Butters are all the rage, and rightly so! Nuts are high in healthy fats and minerals that are a fantastic snack. Nuts are also a great source of protein to add to your favourite foods, to keep you fuller for longer!
To make the perfect nut butter the trick is to roast your nuts. You can make your butter with any type of nuts, though my favourite still has to be the classic peanut butter. Roast your nuts in a moderate oven for about 5-10mins. Making sure to keep an eye on them as the roast process helps to extract the oils – but also makes them burn easily.
During roasting the nuts will start to get a shiny coating which is the oils being extracted from the nuts, this is the perfect time to take them out. These oils are what will create a deliciously smooth and buttery flavour.
I usually just keep it simple with just nuts, but you can add a whole range of flavours – like coconut, vanilla, cinnamon, salt – you name it!
SERVES: 2 small Jars
1 kg Peanuts or almonds or cashews
Prep TIME: 10mins
Cooking TIME: 10mins
Preheat the oven to 180C. Spread the nuts over a tray and then place them in the oven for 5-10mins. Keep watch to make sure they don’t burn. The nuts should be slightly browned in colour. Allow the nuts to cool for 5mins.
Add the nuts to a food processor or high-speed blender. Blend for 5mins until the oils start to extract and the mixture starts to press against the sides. Use a spatula to scrape the sides and blend for another 5 mins until the mixture is really smooth and buttery! Store in glass jars in the fridge!
Yep, this week this I said no to meal prep – something I do every single week!! I was going back to work after my tonsillectomy (ouch!!). And I just didn’t have it in me. I have still had the really low energy this week, the surgery really threw me about a lot more than I thought it would. I had had a week and half of hardly being able to eat, so going back to work – to a very busy week was about enough for me to face.
But then EAT FIT FOOD came to the rescue. Someone else did the cooking for me.
No, I am not talking about takeaway in the post, instead I am going to be sharing my thoughts on the new trend of healthy meal prepped meals delivered to your door.
I never thought I would be someone that would want this. I love cooking and my sister and I always dedicate time on a Sunday or Monday night to meal prep for the week. But the request to try this new brand came just at the perfect time.
I knew I was going back to a really busy week back at work – we are starting to implement all of our projects so I would be rushing about. But I also knew going back to a busy week after a week and half of the recovery I would be struggling for energy by the time I got home from work.
And I was right. I am halfway through that week now and I have Zero. Zip. Nothing left in the tank by the time I get home. So this week meal delivery has been a lifesaver.
I have been trying out the new vegan menu for Eat Fit Food this week. Yum. All of the meals have been delicious. They are really fresh, seasoned well and cooked well. I always worried about these meals in the past because you have to ‘reheat’ them and that could make them all mushy. But they are still super fresh!
My sister has been helping me eating the three-day menu – simply because some of it is slightly too crunchy for my recovering throat and she has loved them all too. That’s big; she is an even harder critic than me.
What I love about these meals is that they are all nutritionally balanced and prove that eating vegan can be flavoursome, delicious and nutritious – something that is often forgotten by common meat eaters. All of the meals are designed by a dietician and cooked by a chef to ensure the high quality is maintained.
While I won’t be giving up my meal prepping ways anytime soon – let’s be honest it takes work, but it is a hell of a lot cheaper. Eat Fit Food will be a great back up for me when things just get a little too much like they have this week.
‘Fail to prepare and prepare to fail’ – we see that quote floating around Instagram a lot. But unlike a lot of things I see on Instagram these days, this is one I wholeheartedly stand by.
Every week my sister and I write out a little meal plan so we know what we are making for lunches and what we will be having for dinner!
A few things we have noticed:
It saves us time: we know what we need from the shops for the week, so we only need to make ONE trip
It saves us money: like above only one trip means buying things in bulk, and not have mid-week temptations that hike up the bill of your groceries – it also stops us from getting takeaway when we can’t be F*ck’d
It takes out all the effort: back to the point I just made, when we can’t be bothered (yes that happens to foodies too) – the decision is already made for us. We don’t need to think about what we are making, we don’t need to go to the shops to buy ingredients, it is all there – and yes mid-week we often stick to simple recipes!
It keeps us on track: planning what we are going to eat ahead of time, means we can be sure we are getting in the macro and micronutrients our bodies need! We always balance our meals with a good level of protein, carbs and healthy fats.
To take the effort out for you, I thought I would write a little meal plan for you… this is a typical week for us –, especially in summer. Come winter we ditched the salads for veggies.
Leftovers from all of these make for the perfect lunches as well!
Thailand, what can I say, it was amazing. The streets dead quiet in the morning came bustling to life at night. It was a strange phenomenon to us. We are used to getting up at 4.30am for the gym, rushing to work and then home for a quiet dinner at night – but things are never the same when you travel. I guess that is the beauty of leaving the borders of your country and explore something new.
It has taken me a while to get this blog post together. When I got back from my trip I hit the ground running with work and getting content developed for my website to be ready for another bit of leave in March – not quite as fun as Thailand though, I am getting my tonsils out – feel free to send me any of your recovery suggestions!!! I am a little nervous about it…
Any back to what you came for, why do I always do that? I always manage to get off topic when updating you on all things my life.
I travelled over to Phuket Thailand with my sister, it was our first overseas trip without parents (and my sisters first time overseas in 10 years!!) – I was honoured she wanted to do it with me. BUT then again we get on more like best friends than sisters that are almost 3.5 years apart.
Why Thailand? We wanted a place that would completely take us out of our usual life, away from work and allow us to completely relax. This trip definitely lived up to our expectations. We ate amazing food, ate a little more, explored some of the famous sights of Phuket and spent our days roaming the quiet streets and lazying by the pool before going out to explore markets and finding hidden restaurants in the bustling night.
We based our selves our at Patong beach but one of my favourite days was easily our trip of to Phi Phi Island. We spent the day on a speedboat, stopped for a delicious lunch of traditional dishes before we stopped off at Monkey Beach. We snorkelled in crystal clear waters of Phi Phi Don, and then jetted over to the Maya bay – THAT PLACE IS STUNNING!!!! On the way home, we stopped by Khai Island – it sure was a packed day, but I still couldn’t get over the beautiful sights.
One of our other big day outings was a hike up to the Big Budha. We decided to forgo the tuk-tuk up the mountain, and instead got dropped off in Karon beach. We then tracked up through the town past a local village and then to our surprise the road turned to a narrow dirt track and we had to trek the rest of the way through the jungle – well it felt like that anyway. At points we had to pull ourselves up by trees and rope that had been strung between them – I may or may not have slipt and got covered in mud.
The main thing that both my sister and I enjoyed the most was the food!!! There are no words to describe the aromatics that hit you when you walked down the streets. The flavours were intense and nothing like the Thai food you find in Australia. It was INCREDIBLE. We ate traditional curries, pineapple fried rice, pork sausages and grilled corn off street vendors and so much fresh seafood – I am pretty sure every second restaurant had No.1 Seafood in their name somewhere… As simple as it is I think my favourite thing was all of the fresh fruit. on every corner there was a fresh fruit stall, they would cut it up for you and you could eat it as you walked along the streets – I don’t think I have ever eaten so much pineapple in my life.
There are really no words that describe the trip, the food we ate, or the sights we saw so I decided to put together a little video – watch it below!
Thailand was definitely a country to tick off my bucket list. What countries are on your bucket list?
Food and Nutrition are my absolute jam and bringing them to you is an easy, bite sized way is what I live for!
I am the clumsiest person you will ever meet, often finding myself on the floor – usually a result of tripping over my own feet. This might have something to do with the fact that I am 6’3 (or 190cm) aka a giant amongst most of my friends.
I love to make a mess in the kitchen, writing isn’t really my thing, but I have vowed to get better so that I can share my journey and passion with all you of amazing people!!