Constipation & Hemorrhoids While Transitioning to a Raw Diet
by Saswat Kumar Dash
Q I have been slowly transitioning to raw food diet over the past 2-2 ½ months. Now I eat 70-80% raw. I started mainly due to hypertension, pain and extreme stiffness in cervical area of my pain as well as lower back pain. I get a load of cervical and head pressure due to my neck. I have tried a five days juice fast successfully. I feel quite calm nowadays but the neck and head condition is almost the same.
I get very hard stools after changing my diet and this has caused my hemorrhoids to flare up again. I had soft stools and once a day before this diet. I take one apple, one banana, salad once or twice a day(beetroot, carrot, cucumber, romaine lettuce, mint leaves, parsley leaves, pomegranate, radish, apple and red peppers all mixed in equal proportion), juice once/twice a day (5 carrots and one green apple or grape juice), raw coconut water and pulp once a day. Sometimes I have melons instead of salad. 3 or 4 days in evenings of a week I have vegetables, pulses, rice, bread and occasionally chicken. All other meals I stick to my raw diet.
I also had the hard stools and constipation when I stuck to 7 days only raw fruit and vegetables diet and also during my 5 days juice fast. When I go back to normal food my stool becomes soft and I have no constipation. I drink 2-2.5 liters of RO water a day in addition to 2 glasses of juice every day. Now I am trying to increase my water consumption to around 3+ liters/day. Why is this happening and how can I continue my raw food regimen without going back to old food style of cooked food.
A This is a great question and there may not be an easy answer as everyone’s body is different and we are not in a clinical setting, but I will explain what I can. Most people will not have this experience when they start a raw diet, but it is fairly common. I’m guessing your activity level is at least moderate if not more because you are having one stool per day.
Your old style cooked food diet is one that takes water from the body and if you eat three meals a day and only have one bowel movement per day there is probably and endless mass of food being pushed through your body to make room for what’s being added at the next meal. So perhaps the colon either is unable to do one of its main jobs to recoup water or is not efficient at it on that diet.
A raw diet is water rich and gives up water to the body which might be desperately in need of it, thus making the stools drier in spite of the additional fiber.
Frequency of Bowel Movements
Most people think they are regular if they have one bowel movement each day when in fact this is a constipated condition. If a person is eating three times a day they should be eliminating three times a day. It might not coincide exactly with each meal, but the feeling to relieve one’s self should generally come after the first water, juice, or meal of the day and then after each following meal. This contributes greatly to an efficient and regular working digestive system. As the digestive system heals and functions as intended by nature, your energy should increase and the foundation for optimal health set in place.
What Can Be Done about Constipation & Hemorrhoids While Transitioning to a Raw Diet?
I think that over time your problem would work itself out so to speak, however because of the painful consequences I’m sure you’d prefer a more immediate solution.
I would recommend including copious amounts of prunes in your diet to soften your stools and get you regular again. Other high fiber fruits like apricots, blueberries, mangos, jujubes (Chinese dates), and fresh figs will do a good job too. Cabbage and beet juice are also great cleansers known for their ability to move the bowels. Once things are moving you can regulate the intake to keep things moving while your body adjusts to your new raw diet.
Having a colonic treatment or two done would be great for cleaning things out and giving you a fresh start as they say. You could give yourself an enema, but it is not as thorough as a deep colonic. One enema might do it or it could be one every day or every other day for a week.
I didn’t notice any fats on your list of raw foods, which are very important for a well-balanced diet. Raw fats are the lubricant of the intestinal track and assist the peristaltic motion in the movement of the stool. Avocados and ground flax seeds are good for this.
Re-establishing good gut flora, another thing that will happen over time with the right diet would also be a good idea. This can be done with fermented foods or with high quality probiotics.
There are more harsh treatments to clean out like whole leaf aloe juice, but if you can it's best to do it with the foods you'll be consuming on your new diet.
With a little experimenting on your part I'm sure you'll be back on track in no time at all.