and just plain unpleasant, but only
people who don't know how to eat well suffer with it. I don't mean to
toot my own horn here (sorry, I had to), but my drastically-reduced gas
smells like ....nothing. It's just air.
Before I figured out a dietary
solution to my colitis, I regularly went through periods of severe
constipation. One of the side effects of all this food trapped in my
intestines was unbelievably foul-smelling gas. The food, lacking an
exit, would ferment or putrefy in my intestines, mixing in with the
blood and pus which was the consequence of my irritated colon.
This mixture from hell produced a stench worthy of the record books.
This gas not only reeked, but also made moving more challenging because
I was always bloated with it.
Seeking a solution, I began researching the cause of gas.
There are several unusual causes - constipation being one of them - but
the vast majority of people have foul flatulence for a very simple
Foul Flatulence - The Corpse Conundrum
The human digestive system doesn't do too well with meat or other
animal proteins like dairy and eggs, and foul-smelling gas is often the
The problems starts when they arrive in the stomach.
Animal protein, which requires an acid digestive medium, is
with a starch, which requires an alkaline
digestive medium. These
mediums neutralize each other in the stomach, so meat, dairy and eggs
are often not broken down.
From here, the foods move on to the intestines, but because they
completely lack fiber, they pass through the digestive system at a
crawl. This mass of undigested meat meanders through the
dark, fetid interior of your body and starts to putrify.
At this point, the breakdown of the amino acid tryptophan begins and
indole and skatole -byproducts of protein putrification - start giving
your gas the standard rank odor. The root word of skatole - the Greek,
'skato' - means dung.
Protein putrifaction also produces hydrogen sulphide, the source of the
classic rotten egg smell.
The association between foul flatulence and animal protein has been
recognized for hundreds of years. Even Ben Franklin wrote about it
in his humerus, "A Letter To A Royal Academy," which proposed a
scientific search for a way of transforming the rank scent of
flatulence to something scented like perfume.
That we already have
some knowledge of means capable of varying that smell. He that dines on
stale flesh, especially with much addition of onions, shall be able to
afford a stink that no company can tolerate; while he that has lived
for some time on vegetables only, shall have that breath so pure as to
be insensible to the most delicate noses; and if he can manage so as to
avoid the report, he may any where give vent to his griefs, unnoticed.
- Benjamin Franklin, A Letter To A Royal Academy, 1781
Foul Flatulence - Can Meat Be Made Tolerable?
The main problem of rotting
meat and excessive gas production can be partially sidestepped by
food combining, but even if you separate starches and meat, you're
never going to completely prevent the smell.
Rotting corpses reek on the ground or in your intestines, end of story.
Foul Flatulence - So What About A Vegetable-Based Diet?
Vegan and raw food diets lack the animal protein problem, but still
have the potential for smelly gas if we make poor food choices or
poorly combine meals.
Check out the protein content of these foods:
Content of Food
Source: USDA National Nutrient Database For Standard Reference
Food (4 oz)
Percent of calories from protein
Grams of Protein
Any type of protein can cause problems for us, and as you can see, meat
does not have a monopoly on protein. Vegetable protein also contains
tryptophan and it can can putrify under the right conditions.
One of the major causes of gas on a vegetable-based diet is legumes
such as beans and lentils. High in both starch and protein, legumes are
hard for the body to break down in the stomach, and gas often results.
Beans are so notorious as gas producers that our children sing songs
about the relationship. In an attempt to deal with the problem, the
pharmaceutical industry has come up with products such as Beano, which
contain large doses of the digestive enzyme Alpha-galactosidase.
Alpha-galatosidase can break down the complex sugars found in beans and
However, this is a makeshift solution to a problem you only have if
you're eating foods we're not good at digesting.
It's clear that we do not require high starch and high-protein foods
such as legumes, and our health is better when we keep our total intake
of protein below 10
percent of calories consumed.
Foul Flatulence And The Raw Diet
The best method for ridding yourself of smelly gas is to eat a
properly-combined raw food diet.
Diets based around raw fruits and leafy greens naturally fall below 10
percent of calories coming from protein and are quite easy to
digest. They also contain much smaller quantities of starch.
My colitis has vanished under this regime, and my food
A man may break a word with you, sir, and
words are but wind,
Ay, and break it in your face, so he break it not behind.
-Shakespeare - The Comedy of Errors
Still, even a raw vegan can potentially have problems with flatulence.
Outside of poor
food combinations, I've noticed that fatty meals such as salad
dressings with avocado added can cause excess gas and give it some
Digestion is, of course, integrated into the rest of the body, and it
suffers when our lifestyle
does. Periods of high stress, not enough
sleep, or and other factors may play a role.