Lesson 7: What the Flatulence?

It is a socially accepted fact that boys have problems with gas and girls don't. Really, girls don't. Ever. I'm a girl. I don't become flatulent. Accept it as truth, or else I will have to kill you.

It is also true that farting has become a sport for many boys, especially the teenage variety and quite more so, the old man variety. In fact, I think all boys have an arsenal of tools ranging from the humble match to the brazen gas torch with which to create the ultimate in human methane fires. I know, you know, we all know... as, at one point, at some sort of summer camp along the way, we witnessed the laughter and explosions near the woods with certain nervousness of the start of a forest fire. Oh, the boys. How they love to fart anywhere and everywhere. Woe to the girl who must enter the car of the boy who has trapped the aroma of his consumed and released amusements. Even if the girl is the Mommy and the boy is a giggling little 4 year old. I call this experience "Pandora's Vehicle." I knew I'd have fun with the post, what with my inherited juvenile sense of humor. I'm sure, if I didn't have to get to the food preparation part that is relevant to a cooking blog, I could regale you with many a story of boys I have known and other boys my girlfriends know... and even stories that have become legends in the annals of the flatulence tales among my crowd of friends. I'm sure you, being fan of my page, and reading as far as you have, you probably have a few tales of your own to share. (I'd love to hear them in the comments section if you're brave). So, we are all familiar with the issue.

While some boys are proud of their musical toots, I know there are many gentleman out there who would rather avoid the beans and save themselves undue humiliation in front of the ladies that, as you remember, never ever have flatulence problems.

It's a shame really, to have so many people avoid the beans, especially
as they offer so many benefits. They are a great source of soluble fiber, which is the kind of fiber that turns into a gel and attaches itself to cholesterol (rather than letting the cholesterol into your bloodstream) or something to that effect. There is a big long scientific explanation for soluble fiber on many websites but, fundamentally speaking, eating beans will reduce your cholesterol. It is also one of the foods that is highest in folate, an essential B vitamin for which many people are deficient (folate deficiency contributes to heart disease, cancer, depression and allergies). Lastly, it is a food that is considerably high in protein while being low in calories, which means belly happy with no calorie regrets. A win win if you ask me.

The good news is that beans can be prepared in ways that don't give you boys too much trouble and us ladies, absolutely none what so ever (of course).

It helps first to understand why beans are troublesome in the flatulence department. A carbohydrate called oligosaccharides (I'll just call 'em oligos for short) is a sugar molecule put together in a very funky way. So freaky in fact, that the enzymes in our guts don't know what the hell to do with them. Also, the glue that holds the cell-wall to the innards part of the bean also generates the same amount of carbon dioxide and hydrogen as the oligos. So, it's like putting two diet cokes with mentos in your belly. (If you've never watched an episode of Mythbusters or heard about what happens when you drop a mentos candy into a bottle of diet coke, I highly suggest you look into it for sheer entertainment value - or try it at home - just, don't try it in your belly).

In order to cut the flatulence problem, soak your beans in water for 6-8 hours or overnight and then discard the soaking water. Then rinse and cook as directed. Rinsing canned beans before you prepare them also cuts the soda pop effect. Why it works: those oligos I was telling you about are water soluble. The soak leaches those bad little oligos and cell wall glues right out! Yay! Unfortunately, a significant amount of nutrients and antioxidants also get washed away. Not ALL of the nutrients get washed away... and I prefer that no one in my house has a gas problem, so I soak my little beans anyway.

Also, what you could do, to save those nutrients and antioxidants, is just cook your beans long and slow. Ever notice that baked beans don't bother you very much while the bean salad Aunt Liddy made will have your butt trumpeting the national anthem for five days? Yeah, me neither. But I guess it happens for some people. So, the long cooking process breaks down those pesky oligos and bean cell wall glues into simpleton sugars that your body can digest.Yes, your indignant intestines actually prefer idiots for molecules.

Lastly, the song you are familiar with, Beans, the Musical Fruit, isn't entirely true. The last verse should sing "The more you eat, the less you toot!" Your body actually adapts to dealing with them. So eat your damn beans. You can even make muffins out of them. I am not kidding you. Sweet delicious muffins with icing. All manner of bean haters can find a way to get them in. No excuses. Do it. ..unless you want me to get my pioneer woman on and chase you around with my cast iron skillet trying to spoon feed you the pan of sloppy, lip smackin, maple, smoky, bbq baked beans I just made.

And if you're just that gah dam stubborn, I'll be making a crispy herb crusted juicy roast chicken for dinner sometime this week. A'right? There's a trick to that too but thankfully, it doesn't involve trying to solve flatulence problems.

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2 Response to "Lesson 7: What the Flatulence?"

  1. I love beans and to solve flatulence, the best way is to have ginger tea. It gets rid of it quick and easy.

    I have to credit my ma for this tip. :) She's very good at this whole Chinese herbal thing...

    Thanks for the tip Michelle! I have not heard of that! I will definitely make a note of it in my final report on beans. :)

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