Thursday, 7 August 2008

Do Raw Foodists' Poos Smell Of Roses?

Well, it was a red rag to a bull...on a raw food forum recently someone unconvinced about raw food made fun of raw foodists - 'they think their poo smells of roses!'. And, of course, I had to reply, and that reply was the seed for this article - one I've been meaning to write for a long time, but, yes, felt slightly nervous about possible reactions (hi, Mum!). And, yes, I mentioned this in my Bristol Vegan Fayre Talk, and promise that, once having got this out of my system (as it were...) that may (possibly...) be it!

First of all, a public apology to Dr Gillian McKeith. Dr G presented a show here in the UK called 'You Are What You Eat', and used to go into the bathroom after people had used it, and...sniff the air. I used to 'diss' Dr G regularly. I used to say 'That woman is disgusting! Fancy commenting on that. Everyone's poos smell!' I KNOW. I KNOW who, or rather what it was that was 'disgusting'. And it wasn't Dr Gillian McKeith.

It was what I was producing, daily, on a cooked 'fish+vegetarian' diet.

Yes, my poo pre-raw usually smelt bad. Most people would say that's 'normal'. And, of course it is. Most people's poos smell bad, and they're getting worse! Bathrooms come with fans installed and businesses are making millions selling (toxic) sprays and 'fresheners'.

But, here's the thing (and some of you will know)...

since becoming a raw foodist, and particularly in the last couple of months, after tweaking my raw food diet a little,

my poos don't smell bad any more!

About half the time they're odourless.
About half the time they're 'mild'.
Very rarely are they worse than mild.
Occasionally they smell pleasant.

So, yet again, I've found another way in which, since going raw, I'm no longer 'normal' - hooray!!

So, why does poo (usually) smell bad?

Well, I had a pretty good idea myself, but tried googling...well, you'd think with all the millions of words on various depravities we can find on the net, I'd have found quite a bit, but - no - seems people aren't very keen to talk about what comes out of every person every day (well, in most cases). Why? Because most people are aware, deep down, that what's coming out of them isn't good. But they don't like to think about it.

We trust our noses in every other respect. We smell something bad - we know it IS bad. But when it comes to the smell of poo, most people will try very hard to push all thoughts of it out of their conscious mind.

I'm going to suggest to everyone reading that smelly poo isn't something that's inevitable, and it's all down to the unnatural things we put into/do to our bodies, and everyone can do something about it simply by putting only natural, whole, undamaged (raw) foods into our bodies.

Why the whiff?

When food is eaten that takes a relatively long time to digest, eg flesh in the form of meat and fish, and even vegetarian foods such as large quantities of pulses and nuts, it hangs around, it rots, it putrefies (the body calls in bacteria to help - they make smells!) Other food piles in on top and, while its exit is blocked by the slower-to-digest food in front, it also rots, ferments...and, scariest of all, putrefaction creates toxins that can lead to disease.

The standard cooked diet includes abominable mixtures of digestively incompatible foods. Food A needs an acidic stomach medium for digestion, but the same environment inactivates the enzymes needed to digest Food B. Again, means certain foods hang around undigested, meaning our systems work sluggishly, leading to gas, and in some cases constipation.

One source suggested the fattier the food the worse the smell.

Ingestion of toxic substances (all the usual suspects - chemicals in non-organic and processed food, caffeine, alcohol...)

Is it natural for poo to smell bad?

A baby fed on breastmilk produces fragrant poo. When baby graduates to a little mashed banana, still no problem. But as baby eats more and more cooked (damaged) food, the nappies become more and more 'grown-up'. The TV advertisement (think it's for a spray) in which the little boy sitting on the loo says 'It smells!' is a sad indictment of what we are putting into our children.

No, it's not natural for poo to smell bad. A bad smell means BAD. If your poo smells bad, take notice of the huge favour your nose is doing you. And the healthiest thing we can do for ourselves is to take steps to do something about it, rather than trying not to think about it and trying to comfort ourselves with the fact that it's like that for most people. (Most people are unhealthy and will eventually succumb to all those diseases we are told are 'normal').

Now, for those who would pooh-pooh (sorry!) the above and say that, after all, a cow's poo, or a dog's poo smells, I'd ask you whether human beings have had any hand in those animals' diets (and, for the meat-eaters out there - note: dogs have a short digestive tract designed to digest meat quickly; we don't.)

Do raw foodists come out smelling of roses?

Oops - almost answering the original question.

Some raw food experts believe that we are relatively free from problems caused by 'putrefaction', which is decomposition of food by microorganisms, producing toxins and...unpleasant smells. Hannah Allen, ('A Course in Natural Health (Natural Hygiene)') says that when raw food is eaten, 'food wastes don't stay in the bowel long enough to putrefy. The transit time of raw food in a healthy body is 20 to 24 hours, while cooked food may take three days or longer.'

But, a raw foodist will nevertheless produce whiffy ones IF:

lots of foods are mixed together; if raw eating often includes multi-ingredient 'raw gourmet' recipes, high quantities of hard-to-digest nuts, cooked substances such as nama shoyu, nutritional yeast etc, and/or everything but the kitchen sink in the blender (the 'abombo-combo') On a raw diet in which this sort of food predominates, the odourless poo may indeed be elusive.

Over the last couple of months, my raw food diet has become simpler, and I've noticed a huge increase in the frequency of odourless poos with the adoption of a diet that's higher in fruit and leaves, and lower in fat. I also mix fewer ingredients together, often making a complete meal of just one or two foods, eg bananas wrapped in lettuce, or mango and spinach leaves. (Interestingly, I read that when people have cholostomy bags fitted they're given chlorophyll pills to stop odour...of course a diet high in green leaves will contain plenty of chlorophyll.)

And, of course, on such a diet, I go often - perhaps two or three times a day, but - no drama, as visits are quick and easy. On the occasions when mine have been a shade worse than mild, there's usually been an identifiable reason: multi-ingredient meals, greed (stuffing in food when the previous lot hasn't had a chance to be digested), and...ingestion of garlic and onion (interestingly, thought by Taoist monks and Natural Hygienists to be toxic).

So, to answer the original question...

Do Raw Foodists' Poos Smell of Roses?

I can't claim that mine smell of roses, but that's only because I don't eat roses. When I 'mono-eat' papayas, guess what they smell of! Quite pleasant actually (if you like papayas - not everyone does).

To end on a serious note (as this is SO serious)

It may be (sadly, tragically) 'normal' for poo to smell bad, but it's neither natural nor healthy.

Dr Gillian McKeith - will you forgive me? I honestly never realised...


Anonymous said...

I don't think that I can claim roses yet but one of my cooked friends told me yesterday that he often doesn't go to the toilet for several days at a time. Now THAT I don't understand ...

Debbie Took said...

'Often'?! Oh dear...can't be right, can it?

Anonymous said...

Wow Debbie, how brave of you, original and clearly leading-edge to dare talk about the 'untalkable'. But I fully agree, there is much useful insight in what you write. And we should all learn from it. Bravo again!

becoming whole said...

Awesome Post!

pythonesk99 said...

I hate to burst your bubble but I eat a low-carb high-fat diet and my poos are always perfect and not smelly at all, and they digest in less than 24 hours. My diet is 75% saturated fat, 15% animal protein, and 10% carbohydrate.

Debbie Took said...

They're always 'perfect', are they?

75% saturated fat. Each to their own.

Anonymous said...

Ya, I know this is an old one, but I've just discovered your site and have been completely engrossed in it the past 24 hrs.
When I first discovered raw five or six years ago (I haven't been raw the whole time) I was completely ignorant about it and ate only dry salads and oranges for six weeks. Well, and I know this is tmi, my sweat AND "vajayjay" smelled like ORANGES!

Anonymous said...

I had no clue about raw when I stumbled on it five or six years ago. I ate only dry salads and lots and lots of oranges. My sweat AND my "vajayjay" smelled like ORANGES! Natural, lovely perfume!

Debbie Took said...

I've never heard 'vajayjay', but I think I know what you mean! :-)