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4 Raw Food Mistakes That are Giving You Indigestion

Tummy TroublesA healthy raw food diet does not cause gas, bloating, constipation or any other form of indigestion.

In fact, discomfort and smell-free digestion is one of the major benefits of eating raw!

But of course, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go raw. Here are 4 common raw food mistakes that are likely giving you indigestion:

#1: Improper Food Combining

You know all those gourmet raw food recipes that taste so good? You know, the mock meat loafs, cheesy cheese-less soups, and raw brownies?

Well, it’s time to stop eating them because they’re giving you gas!

You see, most raw food recipes like the ones I mentioned are comprised of two main ingredients: sugar and fat.

The sugar can come from whole sources like fresh fruit or from refined foods like dried fruits and agave nectar. The fat can come from several sources as well, typically avocados, nuts, seeds, oils, and coconut meat.

So what’s the big deal?

Simple carbohydrates like bananas take much less time to digest than high-fat foods such as nuts. A large fruit meal takes under an hour to fully digest while a fatty meal takes several hours.

So when you eat both sugar and fat together in moderate to high amounts, the fat inevitably slows down the digestion of the sugar which can lead to gas and bloating.

In addition, many poorly combined raw food recipes are too complex and contain too many dried ingredients.

It’s more difficult for your body to digest a dish of several ingredients, even if they are raw. And eating too many dried foods like dried fruits and nuts (or a recipe that has been dehydrated in its entirety) requires more water from your body to digest and can lead to constipation.

#2: Eating Too Much Fat

So you now know that fat takes longer to digest than sugar. But did you also know that fat stays in the bloodstream several hours longer than sugar does?

Here’s an example.

Let’s say that last night you ate a raw burger recipe followed by some raw chocolate cake, both of which were full of avocados, nuts, and seeds. This morning, you ate a simple fruit smoothie of mangoes and blueberries and soon after experienced tummy troubles.

Is the fruit to blame here? Nope, it’s the fatty meal you had the night before.

As Dr. Douglas Graham says in his book The 80/10/10 Diet, if you eat a diet high in fat:

…the bloodstream always contains an excessive quantity of fat, and more is coming in at almost every meal. Essentially, even when you eat a fruit meal alone and wait hours before eating fat, those sugars are likely to mix in your bloodstream with the fats you ate the day before. (pg. 35)

This means that even if you are combining your raw meals properly, you may still be experiencing digestive upset simply from including too many fatty foods in your diet!

#3: Snacking Between Meals

Properly combining your foods AND limiting your fat intake yet still suffer from gas and discomfort? It’s possibly because you’re snacking between meals.

Even a small snack of a few apples shortly after a large fruit lunch of mangoes can affect the digestion of the mango meal. Rather than passing into the intestines and eventually reaching your cells, some of the mangoes may remain in your stomach, leading to fermentation and gas.

Can’t stop snacking? You need to eat bigger meals. Try adding just one extra piece of fruit to your meals each day until you no longer feel the urge to snack between meals.

#4: Eating Too Fast

Do you burp/hiccup a lot after your meals? It’s likely because you are eating too quickly.

When you eat too fast, you swallow more air. Burping and hiccuping are ways to expel this air. So stop wolfing down your meals and you won’t be so gassy!

I’m really speaking to myself on this one because I eat way too darn fast. But fruit is just so delicious that I can’t help myself! :)

Your Raw Food Experience?

As I said, optimal digestion is one of the main benefits of eating a low fat, high fruit raw food diet. Vastly improved digestion has definitely been one aspect that has kept me so enamored with this way of eating!

What about you? What fantabulous results have kept you coming back to raw foods again and again?

Leave your comment below! :)

Go raw and be fit,


P.S. Looking for properly combined, nutritious raw food recipes to help you go raw the right way? Check out my 100% raw recipe e-book…

“Low Fat, Fruit Filled, High Fun Raw Recipes”

Delicious and Healthy Raw Vegan Favorites for Every Meal



1 Angelika { 05.31.11 at 2:17 am }

Thank you Swayze for your Infos, you help me a lot!
Well, eating Monomeals, 12 bananas, watermelon…… in the evening huge salad, with many greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, sometimes Avocado or walnut, 1 oz., the most 3 times the week, I have got this tummy, it does not disappear, just in the morning, it is oky. I also drink enough water, 2-3 liters a day, do Jogging, 30-60 minutes every day…
Thanks again for your answer:)

Swayze Reply:

Hi Angelika,

It is completely normal to have a “belly” after your meals because of the volume of raw food needed for satiation. It’ll return to normal overnight.

2 Michael { 05.31.11 at 5:01 am }

Nice article! :)

I just wanted to ask though; if a “large fruit meal takes under an hour to full[y] digest”, surely snacking between meals can’t be a reason for indigestion (assuming of course that you are waiting at least an hour after your last meal before snacking!)?

From personal experience I have no problem with indigestion from snacking between meals, but can certainly relate to the other 3 reasons. ;)

Keep up the good work!

Swayze Reply:

Hi Michael,

It depends upon what the snack is and how close to the meal the snack is consumed. Plus, many people new to raw foods have compromised digestion so it’s often better to stick with meals and avoid snacking.

But if you like to and don’t experience any indigestion, I say snack away! :D


3 Patricia { 05.31.11 at 12:55 pm }

Hi Swayze… one thing that seems to give me gas is not chewing my food thoroughly enough… the only thing I can figure is that unchewed seeds, sprouts, etc., pass through the digestive tract faster.

4 Nick { 05.31.11 at 5:55 pm }

Your right Swayze, Since going raw, I really never have any digestive problems. Plus I never get headaches and all the aches and pains I use to have are gone. Including back pain , knee pain Pain in my wrist, Its really amazing !

Thanks for the info, and good to hear your back is feeling better.

Swayze Reply:

Thanks, Nick! Rest and heat have certainly done the trick. Those Thermacare heat wraps are amazing! :)

5 stillewaters { 06.01.11 at 11:38 am }

Digestion improves tremendously when :

- you don’t mix fruitsalads , fruitjuices , smoothies with fat , and not with liquid plant-oils , nor seed-oils , not even with nuts
( i prefer to use nuts at the end of a cooked meal or a vegetable soup )

- when i use some fat or fruits high in lipids , it will be always at the very end of a meal ( never mix it closely with food from the start )

- the only time i use some oils not sparingly ( and then it is also measured in small teaspoons-sizes, not big-sized spoons ! ) ,
is when i make “feast” out of cooked big tomatoes and/or carrots
(this way the absorption of the antioxidant “lycopene” in it , is much greater than in a raw meal and without oils or fat )

6 stillewaters { 06.01.11 at 11:48 am }

what i have noticed is that coconut-oil digests very fast

it has a scientific reason behind it :

for a full explanation one can read the very good article by a philippine MD/cardiologist CONRADO DAYRIT

title : “coconutoil : atherogenic or not ? ”

( in simple words : do we have to worry that coconut-oil is bad for the healthy condition of our arteries ? )

from what i understood from it , is that a high satured fat from a vegetable source does not cause health problems for your arteries ( unlike a saturated fat from an animal source which is bad for your arteries )

link :


7 stillewaters { 06.01.11 at 12:04 pm }

on pages 7 and 8 of the pdf-file one can read ( more or less ) :


MCFA = medium chain fatty acids

LCFA = long chain fatty acids

coconutoil consists of 75 % MCFA and 28-30% LCFA

These MCFA are metabolized differently from LCFA

MCFA are rapidly absorbed in the intestines , even without pancreatic lipase

MCFA ‘s , unlike LCFA’s , do not enter the cholesterol cycle

LCFA’s , on the other hand , they need pancreatic lipase for absorption

…. ”

so , what i understand from it , is that coconutoil is very high in these MCFA , which digest and absorp very fast , without intervention of the liver and galbladder

on the contrary , if one uses the usual liquid plant-oils , these need a much longer effort and much complexer cycle to digest and to be absorped , because they all have very high content of LCFA ! That is why i always will use plant-oils very sparingly !

stillewaters Reply:

have written my text too fast :
2/3 is 66 % and not 75 % ,

correct text = coconutoil contains 66 % of MCFA

8 stillewaters { 06.01.11 at 12:19 pm }

i am aware that saturated fats have been blamed , in a stuck record mantra-like mode , for decades to cause serious artery-problems , and that one needs to use the “healthy” unsaturated plant-dirived cold-pressed liquid oils ( in fact these liquid oils are completely much too much concentrated )

i had to read many times this article from this philippine cardiologist , before i started to “dare” to use coconut-oil

now i use liquid plant oils very sparingly !

if there are any people here , which may not be of the same opinion , but have above all some personal experiences with coconutoil and/or palmkerneloil , would love to hear from them

anyone who has tasted coconut-oil , knows that one has to refrain from keeping eating it
( it is the only oil which tastes delicious ! )

9 stillewaters { 06.06.11 at 10:27 am }

my experience : by leaving out :

- all dairy products ( like yoghurt, cheese, milk ,.. )
- almost all cereals , also in their normal appearance in food stores ( even the gluten-free cereals and the gluten-free pseudo-cereals i use very rarely , just to bring some variation into the diet, not really out of any cravings for them )
- all soya-products
- no sugar at all ( use sometimes honey very sparingly in tea )
- (did i forget something ?)

one can understand that food combining becomes extremely easy if one is “left only ” with fruits , vegetables and some nuts

i just mainly have to take care not to mix acid tomatoes with starchy food , and not to mix food with fats/oils much too closely

10 stillewaters { 06.29.11 at 10:06 am }

By coincidence , i found in a book the reasons why acid fruit , usually listed as having alcaline effects on the PH-levels of blood , can sometimes have acid effects instead of alcaline effects

If one eats much too much acid fruit , it is digested very badly
in the stomach and starts to ferment in the intestines ,
and will produce an alocohol-like intoxication

It seems wild elephants , when they eat too many fruits from trees , and later drink water , they become alcohol-intoxicated,
becoming extremely dangerous and destructive

Some nutrition-writers recommend not to eat too much acid fruits ( although they “forget” (?) to tell you that acid fruits in limited portions have alcaline effects on blood )