This is a silly question but one that I have wondered since going raw last year and hoping you experts can give me some insight.
How do you know how good your digestion is? How do you know if its bad?
This is what I think I know (kind of obvious i guess) Good digestion means good pooping! :) And no umcomfortableness after eating food? Bad digestion would probably mean constipation, stomachaches, gas. Is this correct? What are other signs/symptoms of digestion problems, or no problems at all?
It's hard to say. I can tell you what is not healthy - been there several times. Poor digestion is runny, greasy looking stools that fall apart, diarrhea, constipation, indigestion/heart burn, stomach or intestinal cramping, gas after meals, discomfort after meals, pain before eliminating, blood on the stools, or dark/tarry stools. Anything extreme is bad. I've been struggling with getting rid of c. difficile and candida for a time now and can tell you the stool falls apart and it looks dirty on the surface of the water.
It sounds like many of us "go green" on the raw diet and I'm not sure what the ideal consistency is, but it's something I'm striving for LOL. It's graphic, but I got the impression that the question was open to descriptive answers.
Thats too bad Cami, I hope you get some relief. I've read the best stool is long, and S shaped! I have a general idea of what a healthy digestion is, but I guess my confusion came from when people say they eat some nuts, or have oil, and they don't digest it well. Like how do they know? I guess just general discomfort. I am trying to get more in tune with my body and really listen to it, so thats why I want to know how people feel when they eat certain raw foods, so I can be more aware of my own body too.
When I follow the Food Combining rules carefully, there is clear evidence of good digestion: no stinks, because there is no rotting food waiting in the digestion queue or going the wrong way through the digestive system. But I need advice, without rigid dogma, on how to go mainly raw while maintaining good digestion. I suspect that my tummy just can't cope with a vast amount of raw food and lack of time and prejudice make me unwilling to do the partial fermentation. However, this is your conversation so I shall stop intruding and take this elsewhere.
I agree with camiheartsraw.
"Poor digestion is runny, greasy looking stools that fall apart, diarrhea, constipation, indigestion/heart burn, stomach or intestinal cramping, gas after meals, discomfort after meals, pain before eliminating, blood on the stools, or dark/tarry stools."
Seriously, my best poops are when it all comes out in one easy motion, it doesn't smell up the bathroom, it's solid but not hard, and doesn't fall apart.
I'd add to the list excessive odor. I mean, poop stinks regardless -especially if it's not your own-, but it shouldn't be to the point where the pooper notices, if that makes sense. lol. Also, I know I've digested something well when it comes out looking nothing like what it did going in. That includes seeing little bits of chewed up food (like nuts, broccoli, corn) and pigmentation. I used to eat beets every once in a while, and afterward I'd have beet-colored stool. But now, after going raw (I guess eating beets more often?) no more - everything is brown downtown. :)
To me- if you feel bloated and nasty digestion isn't good.
Gabriel 1- I know you don't want to "steal" this thread, but I think your question is good, and maybe it will start some good discussion that might help Kitty too. So, here's my opinion (I believe dogma free):
For me (might not be the same for you) I can eat fresh raw fruit without digestive issues. Sometimes, banannas that aren't really ripe can bother me, and sometimes when I try to stuff too much fruit (yes, you actually can do that) at one times I can feel icky for about an hour. (Fruit doesn't stay with me very long)
I do good with tender greens, as long as I add a little oil to them (or oil and vinegar). I tried the oil free dressings (fruit) and then the greens didn't set well for me. You may not have that issue though. Many people can eat greens with no oils and do well. I just try not to drown my salads:-)
I can add nuts to my fruit salads, and it's fine. Many people can't go that combo- so it's kind of a trial and error thing.
I like slaws from cabbage- but I don't overdo them. The raw cabbage can get rough on my stomach. Same with broccoli and carrots. I don't follow 100% raw (high raw instead) so I tend to eat my broccoli and carrots lightly steamed. Then my stomach is happy. If your goal is 100% raw, you may want to consider not eating tons of the rougher veggies. But, your stomach may react differently.
For me, having some cooked sets better with my stomach. When I go 100% raw (I've done it for a few months) I had to stick to mostly fruit, greens and some nuts and seeds. Many people follow that type of diet all the time.
In the end, don't go with dogma (as you mentioned), go with what works for your digestive system. Even if it disagrees with what everyone else says.
Thank you, sisterbecky. In addition to providing support, you have identified the problem and provided the solution. Raw broccoli, carrots and cabbage just don't go down well with (in) me. Shop coleslaw is a salty, creamy slop, so I make my own, but that always turns out as grated carrot and strips of cabbage in over-compensating quantities of mayonnaise. I also do a home-made hummus with raw carrot and broccoli, producing further protests from within.
The difficulty is in approaching raw food with great enthusiasm, tempered by moderation. I read the emails and the Shazzie newsletter things and become excited, but reality for me is trying to turn some lumpy vegetables quickly into an appetising and digestible meal after a day's work.
Do you have the lightly steamed vegetables with other, raw vegetables, or do you keep raw and lightly steamed apart?
I can eat steamed veggies, or a baked sweet potatoe with a big salad of greens and fruit. I have not had a problem combining cooked and raw. IMO, many times the problem is that when people "fall off the wagon" as far as raw goes, they may have highly processed stuff and that is what doesn't set so well. Of course, that's been my experience. It's possible that someone may not be able to eat cooked and raw, but if it's whole food cooked I don't think there is a "scientific" explaination for why you wouldn't combine them.
If it bothers your stomach, don't do it (whether you can explain it "scientifically" or not.)
Having wholefood (but cooked) such as steamed broccoli or cooked sweet potato WITH a salad of greens is a great way to transition if you are going 100% raw. Or, a good way to eat (IMO) if your aiming for high raw.
I've also had cooked oats (or cooked quinoa and oat blend) with a fruit salad for breakfast with no distress. You can, make raw version of the quinoa and oats by soaking or sprouting. I've not had good success with soaking or sprouting myself, but some people enjoy their food that way (and sprouting IS suppose to make many nutrients available).
I honestly never even experienced good digestion until this week when I started 80-10-10. that might sound ridiculous but it's true. my entire life I have struggled with gas, bloating, stomach cramps, fluctuating between constipation and diarrhea... I probably have what the modern medicine world would call "irritable bowel syndrome"--except that to me, if it can be solved with the way you eat, then it isn't a medical issue... it's a (food) behavioral issue.
Now it doesn't take me any effort to poo, it's not hard and it's not runny, it doesn't smell, and I don't feel gross for hours and hours leading up to a poo. I don't really have gas or stomach cramps either.
took me 23 years to finally figure out the key to good digestion! haha
Missc mentioned beets! I think that good digestion is when you can eat beets and you don't see the color in your stool. BTW, Boutenko talks about this... and says drinking green smoothies helps digestion.
And, I must say, proper food combinging certainly results in better digestion - less gas, less stink.
"When I eat beets or drink beet mixed juice the stool and urine are totally red for the whole day and even the next morning. Does that mean I have poor digestion?"
No, beetroot has a natural dye- it is completely harmless. Beetroot is one of the natural food dyes.I kind of find it fun lol. I remember I was volunteering on an organic farm in the 1990's and we had a huge raw beetroot salad and I ate lots- it was so yummy.I hadn't had it raw before. The next day I went to the loo and noticed...and went up to the farmer's wife and said "Er..can I ask you a question...does beetroot.."
"Yes!" She said. And then proceeded to tell me about a Japanese man who had volunteered with them in the past who didn't know what beetroot does to the doings and he went to the doctor lol.
"I can eat steamed veggies, or a baked sweet potatoe with a big salad of greens and fruit. I have not had a problem combining cooked and raw. IMO, many times the problem is that when people "fall off the wagon" as far as raw goes, they may have highly processed stuff and that is what doesn't set so well. Of course, that's been my experience. It's possible that someone may not be able to eat cooked and raw, but if it's whole food cooked I don't think there is a "scientific" explaination for why you wouldn't combine them.
If it bothers your stomach, don't do it (whether you can explain it "scientifically" or not.)
Having wholefood (but cooked) such as steamed broccoli or cooked sweet potato WITH a salad of greens is a great way to transition if you are going 100% raw. Or, a good way to eat (IMO) if your aiming for high raw."
I do that with some meals- salad with steamed sweet potatoes/spuds, salad with lentil dhal or bean and veg stew, salad and baked aubergine etc- works for me. When I was vegeterian I used to get indigestion quite often, since going vegan last year it was much less- since going high raw vegan/wholefood- my digestion is the best.
Of course, if you eat the golden or candy-striped beets, you won't have to worry about the purple dye at all!
Having ibs, good digestion for me is when there is no pain/pressure in my lower abdomen and I have regular bowel movements--as opposed to food coming out of me five hours after eating it and looking exactly the same as if I had just spit it out of my mouth instead of swallowing.
"Of course, if you eat the golden or candy-striped beets, you won't have to worry about the purple dye at all! "
I've never seen those! though I do love the red colour of the beetroot- it looks very vibrant and pretty on the plate!