The short answer is: on phase 5. The longer answer is… it really depends on how well your gut is able to handle raw food.
I recently wrote a bit about raw vs cooked fruit and vegetables, the conclusion being that raw is generally ill-advised during flares, and also for those with severely damaged guts.
Before my UC diagnosis, I worked desperately with a nutrionalist in the hope of healing my ‘runny tummy’ without having to go back to hospital, where I’d have more of those horrible tests, more blood drawn, more inconclusive diagnoses, more frustration and fear.
While I eventually found myself back in a hospital ward after all (and thank goodness for that, because without my highly trained physician, I’d probably still be in the dark about my disease), my nutritionalist helped me very much, and one of the things she advised me against was eating raw vegetables. A favourite snack of mine, for example, was raw carrots laced with salt. Oh no, she said when she spied it in my food diary, that’s got to stop.
I love(d) salad. LOVE(D). I use the past tense because I haven’t had it in three months, and I’m not sure I’ll eat it in large quantities in the future. How do you feel after you eat a bowl of salad? I feel bloated, tight in the belly, uncomfortable, gassy and ‘stabby’. Now, knowing the state that my GI system has recently been in, I realise that every mouthful of salad was an assault on my belly, especially given my tendency to eat too fast and chew too little.
This is a pity, because salad is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. Plus, it’s an easy option (no cooking!), it’s extremely versatile and it’s just plain yummy. Are there specific ingredients that agree with me more than others? I’m not sure, but I’ll have to test to find out. Perhaps protein-heavy salads with veg I’ve already tested safely, like spinach, is a potential solution.
If you’re doing SCD, raw foods may only be introduced on phase 5 – and phase 5 comes around at a different time for everyone. Some people breeze through the phases in about 2 weeks each, while for others, it takes longer.
I’ve spent roughly three weeks on each phase (some shorter, some longer), but I’ve also erred on the side of caution, especially when it comes to raw fruits and veg. As you know, I only introduced seeds and thin skins – cautiously! – a few weeks ago.
If you’re coming out of a flare or some serious GI damage, be patient. I know there are so many wonderful foods you want to reincorporate into your diet, and you will in time. Right now, just stop, think about the healing you’re doing, and take it slow. It’s not worth rushing through the phases or cheating just to set yourself back – not after all the hard work you’ve put in. Trust me, the rewards are worth far, far more in the long term than a regrettable moment on the tongue.