This is a tricky blog post to write because it is simply my personal experience that I am sharing. When I posted on Instagram saying that I cut out almost all raw vegetables I did get so many messages with those who could relate, so it isn’t just me I guess.
Here goes. Controversy, commence!
How It All Started
I used to eat a massive salad almost every single day. Lots of leafy greens, lettuce, spinach and so on. Obviously, there is an immense amount of research that says eating raw is the best thing in the world and it will make you live to be 105. Most people don’t have any issue with it at all! I didn’t even think I did.
Right before I flew to Dubai for Ramadan I came across a blog post online about how eating raw salad greens and certain vegetables like cauliflower, zucchini and carrots can be very irritant on the gut and cause bloating and gas. I thought “hmm, that’s odd. I eat salad greens every day, that can’t be true.” I disregarded it completely because greens are so good for you, DUH!
I got to Dubai and began Ramadan and fasting. Every meal is a full one starting with a soup, then salad with pastries followed by the main course. In Ramadan I become so strict with my food, I want to feel good, detoxed and super hydrated throughout the month and I thought “I wonder how I’d feel if I cut out raw for 30 days?” so on day one, I skipped the salad and had a slightly bigger portion of soup instead!
After about a week of this, I realized a huge shift in my body after eating. I noticed how quickly I was digesting my food. I would eat a very generous amount of soup and my main course which was almost always rice and a vegetable dish which would usually leave me feeling FULL in Ramadan, full to the point of discomfort. But that wasn’t happening. My stomach would be flat? Like I didn’t even eat. I felt full, but nicely full where it was just a normal feeling.
Side note: In the past I have suffered from severe bloating, no matter what I ate, which I naturally corrected with supplements that aided my digestion. Click here to read more about that in my E-book where I explain in detail. Ever since I corrected that over the course of two years, my stomach is now capable of digesting the food I eat on its own.
Usually in Ramadan, your body, digestive system, bowel movements all take a huge hit. It’s normally the biggest complaint from most people who fast, that they are bloated, constipated or lethargic after food. My body was actually working even better than on a normal day, which felt really good knowing that fasting wasn’t affecting me in any negative way.
How I felt
I continued on this 30-day challenge of mine, but I was mindful of my intake of greens. Every meal had to consist of some kind of cooked greens and other cooked vegetables, whether it be incorporated in my main dish or some steamed spinach on the side. I was strict about that because greens ARE extremely good for you!
I was quite shocked about how good I felt after eliminating most raw vegetables. I would still have avocado (which is classified as a fruit I think) and chopped tomatoes from time to time but that was it.
It was like all of this extra bloaty-ness I never even knew was there to begin with, disappeared. It felt as though I had dropped a few pounds in water weight. I don’t weigh myself, so I don’t know if I actually did? But, it’s how you feel that matters.
I started reading into it, there is very little research surrounding cutting out certain raw vegetables. Almost everything online is pro-raw diets, because that is what many doctors and nutritionists swear by and rightly so, the nutrients in raw vegetables are extraordinary, its just that my body can't digest some of them in raw form.
STEAM YOUR GREENS!
I did find out that steaming leafy greens, zucchini, cauliflower and other starchy vegetables allows our body to absorb all of their fantastic nutrients. In raw form our body struggles to digest them which can lead to bloating and gas.
The moral of my story is not to make you guys cut out raw vegetables, it is just to shed a different light on this raw diet train that everyone seems to be on all over Instagram and the blogosphere. I tested the waters and to be honest, I have not gone back because I have never felt better. I don’t bloat anymore. I don’t get stomach pains which used to happen occasionally before.
There is a reason that people who suffer from leaky gut and IBS shouldn't consume most raw veggies, it is irritant to the gut. Our digestive systems have to work double time to process and actually digest certain raw vegetables.
I will conclude this by saying that adding a small handful of spinach or kale to my smoothies has not bothered me or triggered any bloating at all, snacking on raw red/yellow peppers has also not triggered any bloating either. Everyone has to experiment to see what vegetables are irritant to their guts, or not! It is the process of elimination.
There are immense benefits to eating raw vegetables, just maybe not all of them, at least for me! The raw vegetables I know I cannot digest properly are salad greens, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and cucumbers.
I hope this ends up helping some of you, maybe experiment and see how you feel! I can't wait to hear how you get on. Don't forget to tag me in your posts on IG