The Way to BE

How to Eat Your Vegetables Raw (With No Gas or Bloating!)

Many people assume that all raw vegetables are good for them. But raw vegetables are only beneficial as a food source if you can digest them, which is more of a widespread issue than most people realize.

There are some vegetables that you will always want to consume cooked or fermented.


You can use the Veggie Culture Starter to ferment vegetables to enjoy at each meal. Eating cultured vegetables will help you to get even more benefits out of the raw vegetables you eat!

Additionally, some raw vegetables are better than others, so be careful with what you munch and learn to choose the best raw vegetables of the bunch.

Vegetables are nature’s most perfect foods and are also the most abundant foods on earth. They are alkaline-forming and rich with the vitamins and minerals needed to heal your body.

Raw vegetables are said to be enzyme-rich and are therefore widely believed to be an excellent source of enzymes that aid digestion. However, many people’s digestive systems are simply too weak to digest raw vegetables in spite of all their natural enzymes.

Are You Digesting Your Raw Vegetables?

For many, digestive distress like gas, bloating and abdominal pain are common reactions after eating a meal that includes raw vegetables. Tune in to your stomach the next time you eat a raw vegetable and see how you feel.

Poor digestion of raw vegetables is more common than you might think, yet the popular raw foods movement has many of us convinced that we must eat raw foods to be healthy.

Yes, raw foods do contain enzymes, but raw vegetables also contain cellulose, a fiber that is poorly digested by humans. Though fiber has little nutritional value, it is very important for intestinal health and for helping form a healthy stool. But unlike cows and other ruminants, humans simply do not have the enzymes in our bodies necessary to properly digest the fiber in vegetables.

The enzyme needed to digest cellulose is called cellulase and it’s produced by intestinal bacteria. Cellulase enzymes break cellulose fiber down into blood sugar. Since humans cannot digest cellulose, taking a digestive enzyme like the specially formulated Assist digestive enzymes is not only necessary but vital for healthy cells. Fermenting raw vegetable is also key because this process breaks down or pre-digests the fiber.

What the Ancients Knew about Raw Vegetables

The ancients were well aware that raw vegetables were difficult to digest; in Chinese Medicine, for example, it is well known that raw foods are best eaten by someone with strong “digestive fire.” A major cause of poor “digestive fire” is that our adrenals and thyroid are both poorly nourished and taxed by toxins and daily stress. It takes energy to digest foods but they are not doing the job.

The Body Ecology system of health and healing focuses on creating this “digestive fire” by creating a healthy inner ecosystem; the foods recommended on the diet are teeming with friendly microflora (good bacteria) that reside in our intestines and keep us healthy and strong.

Until your inner ecosystem is healthy, you may have trouble digesting raw vegetables.

For this reason, we suggest cooking your vegetables by baking, simmering, sautéing or lightly steaming them to make them more digestible. Simultaneously focus on strengthening your digestive fire by eating cultured foods. Cultured vegetables have an abundance of enzymes and contain beneficial bacteria that are very helpful at digesting all the foods eaten in your meals.

Fermented foods like raw cultured vegetables will provide you with important plant enzymes and healthy microflora to populate your inner ecosystem to build your digestive fire. The Body Ecology system of health and healing provides many other solutions to heal your digestion and create energy and vitality. Following the 7 principles and adding fermented foods and drinks will get you on your way to strengthening your digestive fire so that you can get the most from that raw vegetable platter.

Beware! Some Vegetables Should Always be Cooked

Eventually as your digestion improves, certain raw vegetables can become a part of your daily diet.

However, there are some vegetables that you will always want to consume cooked or fermented. This includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collards and brussel sprouts — all members of the cruciferous family that in their raw state are considered to be “cooling” and suppressing to your thyroid.

Again, it is very important to ferment or cook these very nutritious vegetables. (When we added collards as one of the many super-nutritious ingredients in our Vitality SuperGreen Drink, we went to the extra expense and effort to have them fermented.) Remember, when you ferment any food, you increase its nutritional value.

Meanwhile, here are a few vegetables that most people can comfortably handle raw. But remember you are unique, so see if they work for you:

  • Cucumbers
  • Celery (a high-fiber vehicle for your favorite dip)
  • Carrots (still difficult for some)
  • Red, yellow and orange bell pepper (not green, which is typically immature and difficult to digest)
  • Summer squashes like yellow squash and zucchini.

Whether raw, cooked, or fermented, Donna Gates, creator of The Body Ecology Diet, says, "The most important foods you will eat are first and foremost vegetables. We're very fortunate today because we have vegetables that come from all over the place. We have all kinds of variety, beautiful colors. Vegetables if you really, really think about it are kind of miraculous foods. And when you study the genes, and when you study the microbiome, you'll see that they're the most important foods you can possibly eat."

What To Remember Most About This Article:

Here’s a recap of some key ways to make digesting raw vegetables easier:

  • Include fermented foods and drinks (our Vitality SuperGreen Drink contains fermented collard greens) in your diet so you can build a healthy inner ecosystem. A gut supported by beneficial bacteria can help you digest your food and assimilate the nutrients. Cultured vegetables allow you to get all the benefits of fermented foods and raw vegetables at the same time.
  • Chew your vegetables completely — at least 20 times per bite.
  • Bake, simmer, sauté, or lightly steam your vegetables to make them more digestible.
  • Blend your vegetables in a raw vegetable smoothie.
  • Take Assist Enzymes to boost your digestion at each meal.

According to the Body Ecology Principle of Uniqueness, your digestion may behave differently than anyone else's -- so watch and observe how your body responds to the raw foods you eat. Most people are able to comfortably enjoy vegetables like cucumbers, celery, summer squashes, and red, yellow, and orange bell peppers when eaten raw.

Want more articles like this?

Sign up to receive weekly articles. You'll also receive a 15% off coupon, weekly articles, and tips from Donna and her team.

I'm most interested in:

47 thoughts on “How to Eat Your Vegetables Raw (With No Gas or Bloating!)”

  • Александр Коршук May 19 at 7:00 am

    Does celloluse beceomes more digestible if veggies are cooked? Or not really?

  • Michael Servetus May 13 at 8:59 am

    Interesting article.
    Can you provide any references with data that certain vegetables "cool" the thyroid?
    What is the basis of this "cooling"?

  • Nutritional health can be extremely individualized. If you have no digestive problems, bully for you! This article isn't meant for you, eat raw and prosper. This article is meant for people like me with IBS or IBD, who live and eat healthy and want options for eating a wide range of vegetables WITHOUT it eating away at my quality of life.

    I've had IBS my entire life, when I moved away from the States and to the Middle East, thereby adopting a primarily "Middle Eastern diet" and preparing most of my food myself, I lost a lot of weight, felt better overall, but my IBS didn't go away, it didn't even improve. If I want no stomach issues at all, red meat and potatoes are what I need to eat, no pain with them at all as cooked meat is incredibly easy to digest. However, onions, cabbage (any kind), cauliflower, garlic and hummus are amongst my nightmare foods, even when thoroughly cooked, not because I don't like them, but because they rip my guts apart and I lose hours of my life to the bathroom. Knowing that broccoli is an option for me when prepared correctly is good to know, I would like to claim the vitamin C and iron from it on a regular basis.

  • I did raw for a year with supplemented (dairy based) probiotics and ended up with SIBO. I am an athlete, no kids and have always has a flat rock hard stomach. Now I look like I'm pregnant with half a banana in my small intestinal area. We are doing a lot of experimenting with food which is great but I just wanted to share my nightmare because it's been 2 years and no medical professional, MD or ND or diet has been able to help me reverse it and the blogs and stories I read reveal most people are at the 2 and 3 year mark with no luck either. For those wanting to try new things i suggest consulting a healthy certified nutritionist.

  • Mike Antonsen Jul 22 at 4:05 pm

    What the hell is wrong with you people?! Lol. I eat raw and cooked anything, whenever i want to with no problems. Put down the tripledouble and chips my friends.

  • Another way is also to drink water with a tablespoon of raw unpasteurised organic apple cider vinegar
    It helps the digestion , acid reflux, constipation , acne and weigh loss
    Best brand : Bragg

  • Jamin Weidenaar Jun 2 at 12:36 pm

    I have been doing all raw organic for 4 years now and yes there is going to be a transition period after years of the highly processed food mostly all people eat and give to there little children so unknowingly negligent. So when you make any drastic changes to your diet isn't it logical that after years of treating your body so poorly your body is going to have to lean what changes it needs to make to get back to eating the foods human were intended to consume. All things like intestinal discomfort poor digestion low probiotics and enzyme count is all in response to the years of abuse you've put on yourself considering all the garbage you've been consuming as food your whole life. In essence people need to keep a list of what aliments ones having and search out whats needed to fix the individuals problem. You can't tell me that cooking your food is ever whats best, sorry bro but thats just not the case and you should not eat the same foods everyday like yes you can eat green smoothies everyday but you can change the fruit and greens of choice so everyday is totally different with exceptions like avocados. Sorry Barb W but fruit yes you can eat with greens, Fruit just doesn't go with root vegetables and avocados.

  • This article makes raw kale sound bad for you, that is wrong. "Lightly baking or saute-ing" removes all the nutritional value. It is pointless to eat cooked kale. Pointless. Just juice it or blend it, I had terrible gas the first few months of being vegan. I just wanted to know if I could eat raw squash and ended up reading this bs. Raw kale is the best veggie for you.

  • Everyone has a different reaction to eating certain foods. You have to listen to your body and eat only those raw veggies that agree with your system. Maybe someone that is primarily a meat eater would have a problem adjusting to immediately eating a plant based diet. I know that for me I eat mostly a plant based diet ( I'm not a vegetarian) , and if I eat too much meat my body doesn't react well. Raw veggies do heal. Check out Dr. Wahls great story. She cured her MS by eating four cups of raw greens.

  • I think this is hilarious! In my attempt to become healthier, I found that making raw kale salads was a simple way to get my veg in daily. It had immediate impact on hair and skin. 2 weeks later my stomach got hard bloating and this morning I woke up to nightmarish painful gas. I researched away and lo & behold. It's the kale. I haven't eaten it for 2 days. My stomach is starting to soften up and I've been burping a bit all day.

    I read that raw kale should be kept at a minimum of 1-2 per week, tops and it's wise to hand massage it. Cooked kale seems like it's ok daily. Now, I'm just going with my gut here (pun), I'd say it's best to eat a variety of veg as the week plays on. I'm going to add sweet potatoes tomorrow. Painful lesson, but now I know. Eating the rainbow through the week from now on. Sautéed kale one day, sweet potato next, beets the following, avocado over mixed salad with onions the next, etc.

Leave a Reply
Community Poll

What Health Topics Are You Most Interested In?


Information and statements regarding dietary supplements/products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information on this website is provided for informational purposes only and is a result of years of practice and experience by the author. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your healthcare provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read on this website.

Please wait...

Continue shopping
View cart & checkout
Continue shopping
View cart & checkout