So, this happened this week:
We're fostering these two little Jindo mix girls until they are ready to be adopted, which could be a month, or ten months. They were previously at a kill shelter here in Korea. Thankfully, we got in touch with an organization that finds foster families for the dogs that are there. We've already fallen in love with them! Fortunately, all three couples that work at Hans have dogs, so we've already talked of play dates and dog-sitting.
Anyway, this week's "Health, Naturally" post has nothing to do with puppies. I just like showing pictures of them. We're actually going to talk about food poisoning, which is anything but cute and cuddly (how's that for a segue?).
Before we came to Korea, I researched remedies for food poisoning, parasites, and other things that always tend to happen when one travels overseas. I was finding that the best remedy for parasites is oregano oil capsules, however it was hard to find a solution for food poisoning that you could take on an empty stomach. Sorry, but I'm not going to eat a meal in the middle of expelling my previous one.
I finally found some information about activated charcoal, and after a few hours of obsessive research, I purchased some for the inevitable, dreaded food poisoning. We've used it three times, with great results. Folks, there's no quick solution, but activated charcoal can help your body get rid of the toxin much faster, which means less sick time for you.
One of the things I love about charcoal is that it doesn't stop you from getting rid of the toxin, it simply binds it up and passes through when you use the bathroom. I avoid taking things like Imodium, since it stops your body from getting rid of whatever is bothering it. Charcoal can bring relief, but does so by soaking up the toxins. It turns out that hospitals keep this stuff on hand for food poisoning as well
The first time we tried using charcoal was when my husband decided to try some pork ribs, which should be fine, but for some reason every other time he had pork ribs he would be up all night getting sick. We're not sure what exactly it is about BBQ ribs, since he can have bacon, and he can eat BBQ. Ribs never sit well with him. He decided to take a chance and have them again, and within a couple hours was feeling horrible. I promptly gave him two capsules of charcoal, and a full glass of water. After he took it, he felt relief within a half hour, and never got sick. Now we just stay away from barbecue ribs.
Now, I wouldn't say he had experienced food poisoning, but the situation at least showed me there was something to using charcoal. I decided to bring it with us to Korea, and a couple weeks ago I couldn't have been happier that I did.
For dinner we tried some new Korean food, which tasted great, but later that night I awoke and found that Nate had been getting sick for the past half hour, and my stomach was starting to feel terrible. It came suddenly, and was obvious that food was the culprit. I made some peppermint tea for both of us, and then we both took the activated charcoal.
Like I said, there is no instant fix for food poisoning, but the charcoal definitely lessened our symptoms. I had caught mine in time, and never got sick. After Nate took the charcoal, his vomiting stopped, and he was able to go back to sleep. Compared to being sick all night, it was much easier to deal with.
It's really important that you drink a lot of liquid with the charcoal, or else you won't pass it through as fast. Being hydrated helps it work through your system, and soak up the toxins in your stomach and intestines. Like I said, the charcoal will pass through your body (it will not absorb the charcoal), so don't be alarmed when there is, um, evidence, of charcoal in your stool.
Some people choose to mix the powder in some water or food, but I prefer the capsules so I don't have to taste it.
Here is the short and sweet of what to do you if you start to feel food poisoning coming on:
1) Sip a mix of organic apple cider vinegar and water if you are able
2)Take two capsules of activated charcoal, with a lot of peppermint tea, water, or other liquid of your choosing
Personally, I have a hard time drinking the apple cider vinegar if I am feeling ill, but if you can stomach it, the vinegar will really speed up the process. The day after we got the food poisoning, we stuck to just eating things like rice and homemade chicken broth .
Of course, don't avoid going to the hospital if things get serious or if you feel too dehydrated. However, taking the charcoal can turn a few days of misery into only a few hours of sickness. It definitely has a permanent spot in my medicine cabinet.
What do you do at the onset of food poisoning? What have you found to be most effective?