As health practitioners, we strive to get our clients to eat more greens —leafies, brassicas, sprouts, sea vegetables — because they are brimming with nutrition and antioxidant protection.
Most of the time, the extra greens result in increased energy, a reduction in pain and inflammation, and improved hormonal balance. But sometimes, rarely, but often enough to make it worth talking about, due to biochemical individuality, your client might actually get worse when you increase their greens. Below I share few clues as to what might be going on.
Here are a few possible reasons. We'll explore each of them in a separate post over the next few weeks.
1- Oxalate sensitivity: oxalic acid is found in many green vegetables. While most people excrete it very nicely, those with leaky gut and a genetic predisposition have difficulty getting rid of it, and it causes a myriad of symptoms. For some folks with oxalate sensitivity, taking calcium citrate with high oxalate foods can be helpful.
2- A genetic polymorphism that makes it hard to excrete sulfur or to utilize it in beneficial ways.
3- Sensitivity to isothiocyanate, found in cruciferous vegetables. For some people, they can't properly break it down due to impaired detoxification pathways, and the buildup of isothiocyanate can impair thyroid function. By the way, supplementing with iodine and/or sea vegetables rich in iodine can counteract this.
4- Leaky gut and inflammation in the intestines. The fiber in raw greens can be like sandpaper to an inflamed gut, and a month on lightly cooked blended greens and green juices can help heal and repair while providing lots of nutrients.
5- Low stomach acid makes it hard to break down the cell walls of greens. Blending and juicing can be very helpful.
These are the most common causes of greens intolerance. If your client tells you that their green smoothie hurts their tummy, then take a look at possible causes, and one by one, like a good detective, you can narrow down and intervene.
If you have a passion for solving even the toughest health cases, download my Practice Success Kit HERE and check out my Nutritional Endocrinology Practitioner Training. It's a certification program, and is by application only.
You can apply for a FREE strategy session HERE to determine if the program is a good match.
With love and appreciation,
Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo
I had a client who said his stomach hurt and got constipated from green smoothies I was making for him. This article is helpful and I will send it to him. Also, I always find it a bit interesting that in Chinese medicine and Ayrveda, they want foods to be cooked and don’t believe in raw vegetables. When I had a consultation in India, I was advised to reduce the portions of salads that I reported I was eating. i like the lightly steamed idea.
Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom! A year ago I realized I have had ‘leaky gut’ my whole life & rarely ever felt better after eating even a few bites of any kind of foods. One 3 month time period,2 years ago, I blended raw (not organic) celery,spinich,cucumber,watercress,kale,broccoli & coconut oil as my main food. 2 years later I still cannot tolerate green raw drinks. I assumed it was because I did not have access to organic, so just poisoned myself. I did figure out the oxalates & low stomach acids, but as my bones & muscles deteriorate from lack of nutrition, I mostly just live on 2o minute steamed cruciferous then blended, to pretend I had actually eaten a few bites a day. Now I have more solutions to work with. Thank You!
I cannot believe there are not 100’s of comments. People eat such volumes of junk. I am 60 & never weighed over 110 pounds, now at about 90!
Wonderful! Thanks for your feedback Leigh, and we’d love to get Dr. Ritamarie’s message to more people, so feel free to share this post so others can learn and take charge of their own health. Wishing you wellness and vitality!