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Broccoli Sadness

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We have been getting piles of amazing looking broccoli with our CSA the past few weeks. However, when I eat broccoli, I get a horribly painful stomachache and nausea (seriously, it's miserable). It's been this way for 10 years+. So my husband has been eating some and I've been giving the rest away. *sigh*

I'm curious though, does anyone else experience this or am I the lone freak who can't eat broccoli? I know some say it makes them gassy, but this is much more than that, like curled up in the fetal position to endure stomach cramps that feel like the stomach flu, only worse. I experience this with no other food that I am aware of, including cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables. What's the deal??

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Broccoli is known to cause increased volume of liquid and gas in the small and large intestine causing abdominal pain, gas, and bloating in some people. It is a high FODMAP food and I counsel my patients with IBS to avoid it. So, no you are not the only one!

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I feel really stressed and anxious when I eat some things like that- though I have heard that eating only the florets (no stalk) well cooked is supposed to be better.

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Yes! I'm on day 16 of my first Whole30. I feel so much better and tolerate vegetables so much better that I tried a big serving of steam broccoli on day 8. I had horrendous bloating and trapped gas and was miserable for about 10 hours. I was so upset, I thought that was the end of being able to tolerate vegetables. But I've avoided broccoli since and everything is back to "good."

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I hear ya sista! This sounds crazy but broccoli actually makes me DEPRESSED! It's like a fog comes over me (within the hour) and it lasts for 24hrs. Full depression. It's so weird. And like when u go to the dentist and they numb your face it wears off in the same way down to the 24th hour. I've tested it many times out of disbelief am proven wrong every time. I avoid broccoli like the plague. I also get instant bloating, I used to live off meat and veg - mostly broccoli and could never understand what was upsetting me until I ate plain organic beef with nothing else on it and steamed broccoli and within 30mins I looked 3 months pregnant. Have since eliminated cauliflower and all the cabbages and am so much better. I have fructose malabsorption though and follow low FODMAPS. So no, you are not alone, and ppl might think I'm crazy but at least I'm not depressed anymore!!

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Ani,

I have fructose malabsorption, too. I was diagnosed a year ago. I am so glad to hear I am not alone with the veggie thing. I've actually felt ashamed that I can't down a plate of hard core veggies like other people. I have felt depressed, too, but I thought it was the combination of physical pain and dread of the hours passing and my strange self-inflicted shame.

Oddly, I can eat sauerkraut and brussel sprouts. I've never tried eating them both at the same sitting... I'm not crazy!

I also can't eat raw bell peppers or carrots but can tolerate them cooked.

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Hi Bicky145,

I was diagnosed about 5 years ago so I've come a long way since then with what I can and can't tolerate and been on elimination diet after elimination diet but still find myself in denial about a lot of veggies. I just can't accept that such healthy foods can be bad for my system! Haha I mean they are just vegetables right? Although this is what I've found I DO tolerate:

Almost all greens - spinach, bok choy, rocket, lettuces, silver beet, chard - jury is still deciding on kale though

Carrots

Tomatoes

Cucumber

Celery

Avocado

Green beans

Turnip

Swede

Sweet potato

Small amounts of garlic

What I Do NOT

Eggplant

Onions

Leeks

Broccoli

Cauliflower

Green capsicum

Artichoke

And then the iffy ones I play with all the time:

Red capsicum

Pumpkin

Mushrooms

Kale

Snow peas

Cooking seems to help my digestion and not eating too many salads in a row.

Hope that helps. :)

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I'm in shock. You just described my reaction to broccoli to a T. I've never met or spoken with anyone who reacts to it as violently as I do. People usually don't believe me so I don't talk about it much and just push the broccoli aside. 

 

The only explanation I've found is I'm sensitive to salicylates. Weirdly, I do not react to all foods and products that contain salicylates, but I've found that broccoli is by far the worst. Others sometimes give me a hint of feeling ill, but nothing that makes me totally averse to them. Maybe you have this sensitivity too? Here's a little more info.  http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/salicylate-allergy 

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I will add my voice to the "broccoli is BAD for me" chorus.  I can't figure out why either -- other FODMAPs are not an issue for me.  And in the incredibly weird category, broccoli that is in Chinese food doesn't bother me in the slightest.  Regular steamed broccoli, or broccoli I stir-fried at home?  Oh the pain.

 

This has gotten somewhat better since I have been doing Whole30 stuff, and also since I learned that I am lactose intolerant.  Very small amounts of broccoli are okay (they still give me a little gas, but not agony).  That's really the only veggie that does it to me.  I used to eat it all the time, too, and had a sudden transition to OMG Bad.  

 

ThyPeace, it was a pretty funny way I found out, in retrospect.  But not at the time.

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If your husband has his broccoli cooked, you can chop the broccoli into even sized florets and blanch, then freeze on parchment paper on a sheet pan, then place in large freezer bags.  I find it keeps very well, and are good in things where you use cooked broccoli.  its important to not over blanch in order to preserve texture.   I know it doesnt address your specific issue, but at least its an economical way to deal with the broccoli you are paying for.  Just a suggestion to consider!

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My husband is allergic to broccoli (actually the entire brassica family - broccoli & cauliflower being the worst offenders). Or he was diagnosed with it as an allergy as a kid so that's what he calls it. I think it is more a severe intolerance exacerbated by being forced to eat broccoli when he was a kid, even when it caused him to vomit after. Cabbage on occasion as a coleslaw seems okay but as a rule we avoid all of it. I'll buy broccoli for myself on occasion just cause I love it so much.

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Omg, thank you for this post!!! About two months ago I suddenly had a horrible headache and nausea out of nowhere. I felt like I was having a migraine, my period, and the flu all at once! It lasted for several hours and then suddenly went away. I couldn't think of a single "bad" or weird thing I'd eaten or drunk, and chalked it up to not having had enough protein that day. Today, similar thing but even worse. Ended up puking in the parking lot of Trader Joe's! (Sorry, guys.) Then it hit me: both times I had had broccoli for lunch. I steamed it in the microwave but it was still a little raw. I thought that couldn't possibly be the problem until I Googled around and found this post. The weirdest thing, though, is that until two months ago, I've never had this problem in my life. (I'm 37.) I'll never touch the stuff again, though! 

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17 hours ago, world2candace said:

This happens to me and I didnt know it was the broccoli until today im hurled over cramping and that was all I ate with some chicken raw broccoli. 

You might have better luck if you make sure your broccoli is cooked. Obviously, everyone is different, but some people find that they can handle some vegetables better cooked than raw. Even if you can tolerate cooked, you probably don't want to make it something you have every day, you'll have to figure out how often/how much you can have, if you want to continue to have it. There are obviously tons of other vegetables, so if it makes you miserable even cooked and in small quantities, you still have plenty of other options.

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Yeah, count me in on the same problem with broccoli causing doubled-over, nauseated cramps. I only experience it with broccoli, not with any other food around the world I've ever tasted. It's even happened when it was cooked into something I ate and I didn't recognize it until after the fact.  

I know this is a bit of a stale thread, but does anyone have a method/food/medicine for reducing the impact of the reaction when you have eaten broccoli (accidentally)?  Some was snuck into my meal last night and I'm looking around for options.  Thank you.  

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My husband has a severe broccoli allergy.  His reaction is similar to others on this thread.  He doubles over in pain with severe cramps and he also sweats from the intense pain. Even some cross contamination with broccoli has caused a reaction with him. He has had it for at least 12 years. 

 

What we have found works for him is to take Beeno.  He has to take it before he eats it.  If he accidentally eats it and then takes the Beeno it doesn’t work.  But if he takes it before than he is ok.  So whenever we order Chinese food or Thai food he will always take Beeno before just in case.  Now he can even eat broccoli as long as he has Beeno before.  So what we have come to understand is that he doesn’t have enough of the particular digestive enzymes throughout his colon needed to break down the broccoli.  

I hope this helps people because we had just avoided eating out or certain kinds of foods like Broccoli for so long.  Not I keep a bottle in my purse and one in the car Incase.  Happy eating!!!

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1 hour ago, NSK said:

My husband has a severe broccoli allergy.  His reaction is similar to others on this thread.  He doubles over in pain with severe cramps and he also sweats from the intense pain. Even some cross contamination with broccoli has caused a reaction with him. He has had it for at least 12 years. 

 

What we have found works for him is to take Beeno.  He has to take it before he eats it.  If he accidentally eats it and then takes the Beeno it doesn’t work.  But if he takes it before than he is ok.  So whenever we order Chinese food or Thai food he will always take Beeno before just in case.  Now he can even eat broccoli as long as he has Beeno before.  So what we have come to understand is that he doesn’t have enough of the particular digestive enzymes throughout his colon needed to break down the broccoli.  

I hope this helps people because we had just avoided eating out or certain kinds of foods like Broccoli for so long.  Not I keep a bottle in my purse and one in the car Incase.  Happy eating!!!

Interesting, @NSK, thanks for sharing!

 

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This is an old and ongoing post, but as I was searching for "broccoli allergies, severe pain" this popped up! So nice to know I am not the only person, because it literally doubles me over in extreme pain for up to 24 hours. I accidentally found out in my mid-twenties, after consuming broccoli twice in one week, it used to be my favorite vegetable, and now I can't ever touch it. I am going to try the beeno one of these days and see if it might help! I would be so happy to be able to eat it again pain free. :)

 

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I am so glad to find I am not alone in my reaction to broccoli. The only way I can eat it is if is “well done” :), that is, completely cooked, as in broccoli soup. The only other foods that cause this same reaction (intense abdominal pain and cramping for several hours) are peanuts and soy products. Avoid them all. I would like to be able to use broccoli rabe, but don’t dare to. Is it a problem for those of you with broccoli intolerance?

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