View Full Version : I can't eat greens! HELP!
01-26-2012, 05:35 PM
I was 100 percent raw for 3 years straight and had a little difficulty with lettuce/leafy greens, but not as much as I do this time around. After I was raw the first time, I ate cooked food again for about 3 years (still vegan, mostly whole foods) and now I'm trying to switch back to raw. But I still have this problem with lettuce! When I eat it I am bloated for the whole day... and it always comes out looking like, well... chewed up lettuce (sorry, gross.) Any type of lettuce does this - romaine, baby greens, butter, bib, etc. I don't even try to eat kale or collards anymore because I found out the first time around that I can NOT digest raw cruciferous vegetables.... they make me burp up sulfur for hours and cause extreme bloating.
I am a runner, and if I run after I eat a salad (even the if it's the next morning) it causes a lot of pain in my abdomen. Sometimes I come home from a run and have to lie on the floor in agony until it passes... I've passed out from it a few times. The combination of strenuous exercise and eating greens seems to cause IBS-like symptoms as well..... It doesn't matter how I eat the greens either, smoothies do the same thing. And yes, I only buy organic greens.
So my point is: I'm wondering if any of you have trouble digesting lettuce or other raw veggies? (Sometimes apples are a problem for me too.) I thought I might have an allergy, which would be really unfortunate, since greens are the main staple of a raw food diet...
Which brings me to my other point/question: If I can't eat greens, how can I survive on a raw food diet? I'm not a fan of eating too many nuts or fats.... and greens have all of the nutrition in this diet.... Does anyone have any suggestions? Is it possible to eat a healthy raw diet without eating greens?
01-26-2012, 06:36 PM
Have you tried juicing the greens? Would be a lot easier to digest that way.
01-26-2012, 08:08 PM
How about adding some live fermented food to your diet? Pickles, sauerkraut, pickled veggies like cauliflower, broccoli. Pineapple and soaked raw oat groats blended into a mash also aid in digestion. Also, if you wanted to, you might want to take a good quality probiotic to boost the good bacteria in your digestive tract when you eat.
01-26-2012, 08:19 PM
maybe try growing / juicing wheatgrass to replace greens
and if not eating greens ide load up on other sources of calcium / vita a / iron in attempt to replace them
01-27-2012, 10:52 AM
Maybe a digestive enzyme?
01-27-2012, 02:07 PM
I tend to lie on the side of eating intuitively. If your body can't handle the lettuces, don't force it. Find other food with the nutrition you need that you can eat. I know it's a bit of a simple answer, but everyone is different. You need to eat what's best for your body.
01-27-2012, 05:42 PM
Thank you everyone for your helpful advice... It's good to know that calcium, vitamin A and iron are the main important things that we get from greens on this diet. I do take a multivitamin, but I will double check to make sure I'm getting enough of those nutrients. Juicing greens and wheatgrass is a good idea too, although it's time-consuming and I don't have a wheatgrass juicer. I have a Greenstar, so I can do greens. I would have to really try to make it a regular part of my lifestyle though if I were going to go that route. The juicer is a pain to clean.
I've tried fermented foods before and they didn't seem to help much... but maybe I didn't eat them regularly enough. I've suspected that some of this has to do with an intestinal flora issue. Pro/prebiotics might be a good option. Do any of you have any suggestions about good brands of probiotics or prebiotics?
I've tried digestive enzymes from Metagenics. They didn't agree with me - they gave me stomach pains and dry mouth. There were 5 types of enzymes in them though (amylase, protease, cellulase, lactase, lipase) and I think I only need the cellulase, since vegetable fiber is really the only thing that's hard for me to digest. I'm fine with proteins and fats, and I don't need to take lactase since I don't consume any lactose. But it's impossible to find digestive enzyme supplements that only contain one or two enzymes! You can't get [I]just[I] cellulase. But maybe I'm way off here and don't know enough about how digestive enzymes work... My reasoning is simplistic.
Let me know more of your thoughts! Thanks again for your help!
Raw Angel Mom
01-28-2012, 02:15 AM
When you say you cannot eat green! Do you mean, that you have an allergic reaction or you simply get turn off by them.
If you get turn off, eat them in smoothie form. I couldn't stand eating salad, it gave me nausea but i have no problem doing green smoothie. Now, i can eat salad no problem. It took me a long time to get there.
If you have an allergic reaction, introduce different green in very small quantity, your body will change. Green and fruits taste great. If you have a green star, blend them with apple (need to be firm other wise it won't work good with the juicer that you have). You can try parsley, cilantro or different herbs too.
01-29-2012, 05:48 PM
After living on cooked food for a few years, I suppose greens are not very attractive.
For me I felt the same. I guess, after coming from the cooked food the body first wants to "cleanse" out all the junk. Greens though are a building food which then may not be too attractive in the beginning.
After a mostly juicy/acidic fruit-based cleansing diet for 2-3 weeks the greens became suddenly much more attractive. In the beginning I didn't like my pure green juice made of Pok Choi, Spinach, Kale, Parsley, little Celery, sometimes Lettuce and others. After giving the body a proper cleanse I just love it. So I would not force it in the beginning if you first "clean" your body a bit from the inside they will naturally become more attractive.
the greens you mention are quite cooling, maybe contributing to some dampness? TCM language. Maybe you can take in more heating or yang foods to complement. Still though as what happened to me I just could not eat too many greens because I already had cold damp in my body and perhaps I had way too many bitter foods before that it could have overstimulated my stomach.
02-01-2012, 01:16 AM
Juicing greens and wheatgrass is a good idea too, although it's time-consuming and I don't have a wheatgrass juicer. The juicer is a pain to clean.
Juicing greens can be SUPER SIMPLE!!! Throw the greens in your blender with some water and then strain or "milk" through a nut milk bag and voila!, FRESH GREEN JUICE!!!
02-03-2012, 05:15 AM
You're not alone. Cruciferous vegetables are very difficult to digest. Eating them raw doesn't necessarily give us more nutrients out of them because although they're packed with nutrients and enzymes, they're locked into the hard fibers. That's why they sit in the gut causing bloating and pain. I usually juice my greens and other cruciferous veggies as I get much more out of them that way. Also green sea vegetables such as nori and dulse are great too. I also take the odd spiralina drink if I'm rushed and can't be bothered juicing as it's nutrient dense and high in protein but if you take spiralina, make sure it's grown in a reputable organic farm and not in Asia as they don't follow stict regulations as they do in certain western countries. I sometimes have greens in a salad but I shred it really really fine and add lemon juice to it. I let it sit for while so it goes a little soggy and then I add the rest of the ingredients. It helps a lot so you may want to try that. I suggest if you're stuggling to digest a certain food, don't persist with it because if it's sitting in your stomach getting spoiled then it's spoiling any other food you eat as well. If you're in that situation, just have juice until your stomach clears and take your multivitamins. Give your system a chance to catch up. Avoid those vegetables for a while and later introduce them back into your diet slowly in very small quantities but shred or blend them finely. Remember that if you're not digesting them, you're not absorbing any nutrients so compensate with something else. Hope this helps a little :)
I have a hideous time wtih cruciferous vegetables! I am talking almost non-stop trots. Very painful, and I was so ill, 1/3 of my hair fell right out. It didn't matter if I ate only small amount, or if I juiced them, or added them to smoothies. I just cannot handle them. I actually had people telling me on another board that this was just "detox" and to stick it out. Two year of "detox"? I don't think so! No hair and my joints swelled up like golfballs in my fingers. I still don't know what was going on.
Recently, I decided to add a greens suppliment and a multivitamin to my diet. I feel sad that I can't eat like other raw eaters, but I can't think of what else to do. As long as I put mostly raw food into my body, I figure it's better than nothing. :excited:
This may be a bona fide intolerance and/or it may also imply hepato-biliary insufficiency. (also note that cruciferous vegetables, celery and lettuces are high in silicon and cellulose, so they are somewhat indigestible from the outset, regardless of how good one's digestive function happens to be. Good for sweeping the bowel, and muchhealthier in that respect than lectin-rich and phytic-acid-rich foods such as unfermented grains, commonly consumed as breakfast cereal or bread. See Konstantin Monastyrsky's work for more on this).
I'd look into improving the function of your liver, gallbladder, pancreas and bowel if I were you, and a good place to start that is to improve bile flow, as this has a positive knock-on effect on all these things.
here's a post with relevant material, to get you started; the forum search tool will identify others for you:
Also bear in mind that consumption of too many unsoaked nuts and seeds may be counterproductive for the efficient functioning biliary system, and too many fruits+too few greens may potentially undermine levels of stomach acidity (too much potassium, not enough sodium, amongst other various minerals).
In the meantime, as others have suggested, you could try supplementing with a good digestive enzyme ('Enzymedica Digest Gold' and 'Doctor's Best' are decent potency), and a good probiotic can actually improve digestion to some degree, too (Ohhira's, VSL#3, etc.). Also consider your levels of stomach hydrochloric acid - celery is rich in organic sodium which supports this, and herbal digestive bitters can be helpful for stimulating gastric secretions, if you can tolerate them. If you tolerate them, fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut and beetroot are also good for the liver and bowel, and support good digestive function in general, provided you don't already suffer from an inflammatory bowel condition (their lactic acid content can be problematic for such patients).
All the best to you
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