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June 4, 2019
What is behind all these black foods?

The truth is I never expected that I would make recipes based on the black color. When we see this color on food, we most likely think that it was cooked longer than it should have, and it is actually burnt…So, not only does it not sound/seem tasty but, at the same time, it repels us from eating it… However, I found a way for you to make a totally black food -without adding dark, bitter chocolate or artificial coloring-, eat it, and then admit that what you ate was very, very tasty. How is this possible? By adding activated charcoal to your food, of course!

Its name alone does not sound very attractive. Also, if you do not know exactly what it is, don’t worry…I discovered it recently as well, and that’s why I thought of “exploring” it… All the recipes that I have prepared for you below have black as their main color, due to this black unscented powder. It seems that it has been primarily used by hospitals in cases of acute poisoning, as an antidote to treat or help the effective absorption of various drugs or toxic substances related to poisoning. In fact, I read that if it is consumed in time -within 5 minutes- since taking some drug, it can reduce the drug’s absorption by 74%. Very impressive, I have to say!

A few other reasons for which it has become so widely known recently, while there is actually not enough research to confirm them, are the following:

1. It seems to reduce total and bad cholesterol (LDL) and to increase good cholesterol (HDL).

2. It helps in the process of detoxication, that is, removing toxins from the body. As I have already told you, if you want to maintain a balanced body weight and have a healthy lifestyle, you should follow a balanced nutrition plan in combination with a workout program in your everyday lives. Relying on supplements or express diets is not a way that will help us keep a normal body weight and our energy levels – stamina high. More on what I believe about the term “detox”, I have told you here!

3. It reduces intestinal gas production. This is probably something that concerns those of you with constipation problems or other disorders related to digestion.

4. It also helps in reducing bloating and pain related to indigestion – that is, the difficulty of digesting certain foods.

5. Some people claim that it helps alleviate hangover symptoms provided, of course, that it is consumed within sort time.

6. It seems to help improve kidney function.

7. Some people also use it for teeth whitening and for better skin texture in cases of acne. Especially for these cases, there seems to be no research at all and they are simply personal experiences of people who tried it.

I can say that all of these sound very good… But I can’t tell you for sure if activated charcoal will offer something to your body, since there needs to be more research conducted in order to understand if it is, in fact, beneficial. Each person is different and the right thing to do is to always consult your doctor or another health professional when you want to take some sort of a supplement.

This will probably be the one and only time that I won’t tell you to eat many different colors, implying to add fruits and vegetables into your diet, as I usually do. But I guarantee you that the recipes I prepared for you apart from being black, they will also be very tasty and impressive, and their black color will definitely not make you…go back to black!!!

Vegan activated charcoal cookies

Vegan activated charcoal cookies by the Greek chef Akis Petretzikis

Black lemonade

Black lemonade by the Greek chef Akis Petretzikis

Vegan black coconut ice cream

Vegan black coconut ice cream by the Greek chef Akis Petretzikis


This article was written in collaboration with Kitchen Lab’s Sports Nutritionist Anna Maria Volanaki, MSc, BDA, SENr.

*The above information is based on published scientific studies.

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