Activated Charcoal Solves All of My Problems — Even My Digestive Ones

Belly bloat sucks, and you'd be hard pressed to find a woman who doesn't have to deal with it. I certainly do; whenever I scarf down a plate of pad see ew or a pint of hard cider (and even sometimes when I haven't eaten anything more innocuous than a salad with light dressing), my stomach swells like a balloon, and it can be hours before I can wear a romper without showing off my inflated tummy.

I know all the things I'm supposed to cut from my diet to potentially keep my belly bulge at bay (sugar, salt, gluten, dairy, alcohol), but as clean as I try to eat, some things I'm just not able to relinquish for a happy belly — I'd even be willing to eat nothing but that vile dried seaweed my fiancé snacks on so long as I could keep consuming the three great loves in my life: chocolate, cheese, and copious amounts of rosé.

Post college, when my belly bloat started becoming less of an occasional bother and more of a persistent issue, I tried cutting down my dairy intake with veggie cheese and almond milk, as though that might counteract the pint of ice cream I consumed weekly. Unsurprisingly, my bloating persevered, and since I wasn't willing to make drastic changes to my diet, I knew I needed to find a supplement that would keep my body in check despite my diet. I've experimented with probiotics, fiber bars, and extra doses of fruit, but none of these things proved powerful enough to counteract the intestinal war my body was constantly waging.

It's not a huge surprise to me that activated charcoal tablets finally worked as my secret weapon against belly bloat — it's already my go-to for everything else. I swear by ateeth-whitening charcoal powder, and I can literally feel the impurities lifting from my face when I use my charcoal face mask (though I can't say I've ever tried a charcoal cocktail). Because activated charcoal had served me so well already, I tried charcoal tablets on a whim, and it brought all the relief Pepto-Bismol promises but rarely actually delivers to my body.

After heavy meals (or even milder meals that leave my belly swollen and painful regardless), activated charcoal is my first choice for relieving gas, aches, and bloat. I even starting taking it before meals to preempt the discomfort — not even Mexican food is a match for me anymore! An added bonus: activated charcoal is designed to filter and eliminate toxins, so I've even found it brings me relief when I experience the rare stomach bug (or the not-so-rare hangover) by helping to settle my stomach.

It may leave me with a diseased-looking tongue (like Pepto, it can turn your tongue and stools black!), but it's totally worth finally having my personal bloat-vanquishing solution.