Goop and the Chronicles of Activated Charcoal

(No one else can resist a good clickbait heading – why should I?)

You’ve heard about “activated charcoal”, right? It’s fantastic stuff, that apparently absorbs all the rubbish toxins from your gut/liver/blood/spleen while delivering an excellent Instagram opportunity (image swiped from Eater):

If you, like me, tend towards both scepticism and hypochondria, and therefore rightfully distrust whatever thing you read, Dr. Google is here to help:

Now, the great news for anyone who also reads very carefully (cf. the third answer, above: “It will absorb anything in your gut, good and bad” – yes, the ice cream [bad], but also all the “goodies” that it shares a smoothie with [fuck you, Dr. Oz!]) is that the authorities in New York have recently banned this nonsense altogether, thanks to recognising that it may also contra-indicate the effects of important stuff like, say, oral contraception.

It’s sad for businesses like Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream, who were forced to dump about $3, 000 worth of the black stuff. But it’s sadly less likely to affect frankly more sinister operations like Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop, who of course also endorsed the stuff.

Why sinister, you ask? Should I be as generous to the Goopness as I am to an ice-cream shop who just wanted to be Insta-famous?

The Philosophe and I recently participated in a conference in the lovely city of Madison, Wisconsin, where he spoke about something suitably philosophical, and I on the topic of “superfoods”, and why people should be wary of the magical thinking that comes with it. I won’t rehearse those ideas here, but rather the more insidious bit that sometimes surfaces when snake-oil peddlers actually perform their deception in public, and openly take the piss out of everyone they’re taking the piss out of to build a not-insignificant empire on. A shameful spectacle.

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