Digestive Issues

Q. I’ve been on a mostly raw food diet for almost a year now and I am still experiencing digestive discomfort, mainly gas. Am I doing something wrong or is this diet just not for me?

A. First off you’re not doing anything wrong, you’re asking questions and that’s a good thing. Knowledge is power and in this case the path to digestive relief.

Experiencing digestive stress and gas when first embarking on the raw food diet is not uncommon due to the poor condition of most digestive systems from years of abuse. Generally those that are younger will able to be get their digestive systems back into good working order quicker than those who have been breaking all the tenets of good digestion for decades. There are of course exceptions and also many other factors that affect digestion.

Food combining, which means eating foods together that digest well together, can help immensely with digestive issues. A quick internet search should provide you with a chart on food combing.

Over eating fruit can cause digestive discomfort in the form of gas and bloating as well. It might be too much sugar in your system or for some, the inability to process fructose. Some fruits like oranges, figs, bananas, and dates have a favorable ratio of less fructose and more glucose which can help with this. For people having problems metabolizing fructose, say from a history of Celiac disease, doctors generally recommend no more than 15 to 25 grams of fructose per day.

Quite often those over 40 will have low Hydrochloric Acid (HCL) which can be a definite cause of digestive stress. Drinking green juices and green smoothies should help with elevating HCL levels and improving digestive energy overall, but an HCL supplement may be required at least for the short term. You can try taking digestive enzymes with meals to see if that makes a difference for you. Low enzyme levels, low B12, low vitamin D, and low levels of essential fatty acids can all contribute to poor digestion. You can experiment with supplements, but I would recommend you get tested to find out what your current levels are.

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