Ever since Gwyneth Paltrow declared via her healthy lifestyle site Goop that she drinks charcoal infused lemonade (yes, you read that right!), activated charcoal in drinks and in the form of a supplement has become the latest wellness trend. Health-focused celebrities have declared it the best way to rid your body of environmental and food-based toxins. Many fancy juice bars claim it has liver detoxifying properties.
It all sounds miraculous, but what does it really mean? And is it something you should be doing? I know that you know the liver plays a very important role in keeping us hormonally balanced and hormonally healthy and keeping PMS, cramps, endometriosis, PCOS, and ovarian cysts at bay, but is activated charcoal what the liver needs to do this work?
Activated charcoal – miracle or myth?
The way activated charcoal works is to attach to chemicals it comes across in the body and prevent absorption, and that includes any medications you might be taking and truly need. This is why it works extremely well if someone has overdosed or actually gotten poisoned by a harmful substance and this is why it is often used in hospital ERs. But used regularly, daily, or habitually as a assumed detoxifier, activated charcoal can actually make your healthy diet less nutritious for you and prevent your body from absorbing the vital vitamins, minerals and micronutrients good foods can give. Activated charcoal doesn’t know what your body wants and needs and what it doesn’t and it can’t discriminate in its process.
This is why I’m not one to follow this particular health fad. I take great care to eat well and in a way that supports my liver, large intestine, and lymphatic system so that they can take care of toxins the way they are naturally supposed to. These organs help my body get rid of excess estrogen, which is a central cause behind hormonal imbalance-related health issues. I want them to work efficiently. If my body can’t process toxins like excess hormones quickly this will lead to menstrual, fertility, and libido problems.
We live in an extreme world and we seem to search for extreme solutions. We don’t need to treat our body everyday like we’re experiencing a poison overdose on a ER hospital bed. We just need to gently, consciously support our liver and entire elimination system in doing what it wants to do best.
4 Foods for Liver Detox That Work Better Than Activated Charcoal
Fill your diet with foods that naturally aid the liver in the detoxification process.
- Eggs provide the most easily assimilated bio-available protein source. A two whole egg omelette or scramble a couple of times per week will give you a sufficient amount of protein. Protein is what the liver is built from and it is what will replenish the organ. The author of “Blue Zones” tells us that the populations around the world that have the longest, healthiest lives tend to eat a lot of eggs too! For more on protein, and specifically vegan protein sources, read this post.
- Glutathione-heavy vegetables like avocados, carrots, broccoli, spinach, apples, asparagus and melon. This antioxidant neutralizes free radicals, super charges the immune system and detoxifies the liver. This is the best way to remove chemicals circulating in your body from environmental and food-based toxins like pesticides. Just increase your intake of these vegetables and they will do all the work.
- Selenium-full foods such as oats and Brazil nuts. This mineral is a friend to your liver. Like glutathione it is also an antioxidant and boosts immunity strength. It protects the tissue of the liver itself from the effects of processing all these waste products.
- Cilantro contains a property called linalool that helps to cleanse the liver. Add it to smoothies and salads – cilantro smoothie anyone?!
My favorite cilantro smoothie recipe: Gwenyth should drink this instead!
Here’s a drink that could really claim to have liver detoxification properties. One of these smoothies even once a week is going to support your liver in a way that activated charcoal will not.
½ cup mango
½ a green apple
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1/2 cup coconut water
1 cup of cilantro and blend!
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!
to your FLO,
Good things come in threes:
I want to hear from you!
First, have you tried activated charcoal?
Second, will you try my cilantro smoothie? Share your pics with us on Facebook and Twitter #floliving
Third, everyone you know is hormonal – spread a little good ovary karma and share this article on social by using the buttons below 😉
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1 cup of Cilantro, yikes that’s a lot!
I would probably alter the smoothie to not make it so fruit heavy. It sounds delish as is, but from my understanding, the sugar, even fruit-sugar eventually breaks down to fructose, which can be bad as well (in excess), in particular if your liver not performing as well as it should. Is that correct?
What about betonite (is it the same as charcoal?) and the fact that insulin dysregulation is driving some of these hormonal imbalances. My daughter was prescribed metformin for PCOS (Yikes) and I also heard of something called Testoquench . Any thoughts on that? To me it sounds like it is not necessarily an estrogen problem that drives the conditions but more like a side effect of insulin being out of whack. No? Maybe? It’s all very confusing to me.
Is there an alternative to cilantro that gives the same benefits? I really hate the taste of cilantro and related foods like coriander!
over it says
parsley works too
Raquel Cloninger says
Thanks for this info… I love eggs and cilantro and crave them weekly… So yay! I will say I have used charcoal many times- it often turns my poop black but reduces my bloating if my tummy is really really struggling to digest things and I’m really gassy, constipated to the point of feeling nauseous (often due to eating gluten and dairy)- i feel it speeds up the process! I didn’t think twice that it could possibly absorb good chemicals too- I always understood it to absorb “toxins”, so I felt it was safe. It makes sense tho! Thanks:-)
I am spotting a week after having my period for the last 5 months. I tried the hormone balance drink of Celery, Parsley and Apples but it seem to affect my blood pressure, my head feels heavy and i can’t focus.
I am having a hard time losing 45 lbs after having my baby. she is now two. I am also pursuing a masters degree online so i cant manage a complicated program. I rarely exercise because i am too drained to follow up the day after. plus I have two weeks PMS and one week of spotting before my period actually starts to flow.
Can you help?. I can’t un-busy my life, it s just the way it is for now until my daughter becomes a little more independent of me and i finish school. I work 8- 5 pm Monday to Friday and my weekends feel like it will burst at the seam with chores to do.
HELP, I have ordered Forkselyn to try and lose some weight.
I get it, there is so much do to that we can’t always control! It sounds like you probably have adrenal fatigue, and losing weight while this is the case is hard. Exercise won’t really help as it will only make you more tired – support your adrenals with a supplement like Adrenal Health by Gaia Herbs, and try to get good sleep!
Sue Burch says
Exercise will not make you tired, it will give you energy :). Can you take your daughter for a walk anytime during the day? 15 min to let yourself breath. Do you have a partner that can take some of the load so you are not doing chores all weekend. If not, what about hiring* help every 2 weeks to clean? Can you look at your schedule to see what can be tweaked, changed, moved around? Do meal prep on Sunday night so meal are easy. Put veg and fruit in freezer bags for a shake before work so you just pull one bage from freezer, takes 5 min :). Sometimes we get so busy we do not have time for life but we need to sit down, breath, take a look to see what you can say no to and list in order of importance :). Good luck, you will get there.
Unfortunately, not eating gluten and being allergic to nuts, I am having an hard time finding food rich in selenium. I do not eat meat, so that’s not an option either. What would you suggest? Many thanks and kind regards.
Seafood, seaweeds, and mushrooms, especially Crimini!
Hi Alisa love your post and your books I have a question when in the phases of menstrual cycle you consider is best to do these type of detox in follicular nearly every day or after ovulation to get rid of excess estrogen.or?
Thank you very much.
Heya Alisa, any recommendations for a suitable mango substitution when it’s off season for mangoes?
I would love to try your smoothie as I’m suffering from hormonal imbalances. Do you have a substitution for pineapple? I’m allergic to both pineapple and bananas. Thank you!
P.S. I really enjoyed your webinar yesterday. I learned a lot and am looking into your program. Thanks again for being generous with your time
Berries are a good option, as are fruits like pears!
can you put in some good fat and protein powder to balance it out….blood sugar wise or does that defeat the detox?
Hi Robin, Great question! The extra protein and fat will compromise the liver cleansing action. We do not support eating on the cleanse for prolonged periods, just a few days! Expect to feel more tired and need more rest; do when you know you can take things slower.
Bianca Sadusky says
I really appreciated this post. So much good information.
Thanks for the info. I was wondering if taking cilantro capsules would have the same effect on my acne as eating fresh cilantro? Sometimes it’s hard to incorporate it into my meals every day.
Kate Bruck says
Intense insomnia (and breast tenderness, brain fog, headaches, irritability, anger, depression, intense fatigue, etc) has had me in a vice grip for 10 weeks now and I learned through a four-point saliva test that I have extremely high levels of estrogen coursing through my system. Just wondering about your opinion of fresh celery juice first thing in the morning is a powerful aide in liver estrogen detox? Is there anything as potent as cilantro for linalool? I am one of those people that tastes that nasty “soapy” taste with cilantro. Also, would taking a selenium supplement (vs eating Brazil nuts) be just as beneficial?
Trish Sanderson says
I am allergic to pineapple(but no other citrus fruit), does anyone know a substitute for pineapple?
wow..i might try that cilantro smoothie…my estrogen on day 3 of my cycle come back over 300…im having trouble breaking estrogen down…My FSH hormone was 13 and im 39 so i may never be able to have a baby but im grateful i still had 6 maturing follicles in each ovary this month but my breasts were a bit tender then normal this month….i will be adding more brazil nuts for sure and my white blood cell count was slightly low and i need to up my protein and going to get some organic eggs as i was trying to be vegan and never felt satisfied after meals….my naturopath is sending me Calcium D glucarate to help flush the excess estrogen…i hope it works but its always good to know more to help in the process….