Vegetables are good for you. They are high in vitamins and minerals, and they help you lose weight. They give you energy and most of them taste very good. Vegetables are often served as a side dish or as a garnish, but sometimes they are the main course. I love vegetables, maybe that’s my problem.
One of my favorite vegetables is cauliflower. I like it boiled, baked, steamed or stir fried, but my favorite way to eat it is raw. Mario Battali calls the raw vegetables “crudo,” and maybe he’s right, because some of the sounds that come out of you a short time after you eat them are very crude. I think cauliflower rivals some of the “big gas” vegetables such as cabbage or beans in the ability to cause gas, but it’s so good that I don’t want to stop eating it. It’s good for you and it works with a lot of other foods. However, very soon after the cauliflower I begin to feel a rumbling in my stomach and intestines. No, it’s not Chinese food and I’m not hungry again, it’s the gas building up in my digestive system. This gas is caused by the amount of cellulose (a strong starch that gives the vegetable its structure) and other starches in the vegetables, and cauliflower has a lot of them. There are little bacteria that live in our intestinal tract and help us digest these starches. When they chow down on it they produce methane gas. This comes out of the bottom end of our intestines as flatulence.
In addition to cauliflower, I also like a good salad. Lettuce, celery, cucumbers, carrots…..all gas-producing vegetables! But, the biggest salad culprit for me is the onion! Onions are deadly because, not only do they cause gas, the gas smells kind of like onions. In addition, your breath smells like onions for quite a while after eating them. I love onions in my salad because they have a tangy, spicy flavor, but maybe I should stick with the green onions (scallions) in the future….they cause less gas!
One vegetable I will not eat is peppers. Peppers give me the absolute worst gas. It is worse than with cabbage, beans and cauliflower combined. Pepper gas stays with me for about 24 hours, so I pull peppers out of dishes that have it. I take them out of my salad. I pull them off pizza when they are on it. I can not eat peppers! Sometimes a slice of pepper gets past me and I regret it for a long time. I love spicy peppers, but I use them extra-sparingly in my food because they are still peppers, and the gas comes soon after.
Releasing gas from the intestines is a natural occurrence that everyone must deal with. Those happy little bacteria tell you when they like something you’ve eaten by releasing methane into your digestive tract. Everyone has these bacteria, so everyone produces gas. The bacteria exist in many animals as well, and the break-down of cellulose and other starches causes their bacteria to produce methane too. It’s gotten so bad that the methane produced by ruminant animals, like cows and sheep, is contributing to the increase in global temperature (methane traps heat in the atmosphere).
There are some products out there that can help. One is Beano, which claims to help people by not allowing the gas to build up inside them. What it really does is release an enzyme into your system that helps break down the cellulose and other starches before they get into the small intestines and meet the bacteria. In essence, it starves the bacteria so they don’t produce the methane from their breakdown of the carbohydrates. I’ve tried Beano. As a scientist I had to see if it works. I took the recommended dose and then ate a plate of green peppers. I have to admit that it lessened the amount of gas that came up later, but it didn’t eliminate it. Gas-X, Phazyme and Mylanta are also medicines that are used to treat gas, but they are mainly for the pain caused by excessive gas, and do not reduce the amount of gas. They cause the gas to form larger bubbles in the stomach and intestine so it’s more easily passed out. These work differently than Beano, however, and are not taken until after a person has eaten and is experiencing gas. In all, Beano works, but only to a point.
I like vegetables, and I’m not going to stop eating them. I know the ones I need to keep away from, however, and I will do my best to do that. Nobody wants a flatulent friend around them, and I don’t even want a flatulent me by myself. Sometimes the air becomes a little dank! I’m sorry for the disgusting post today, but I tried to make it as “tame” as possible. For more information on flatulence and intestinal gas, please check out this website: http://www.medicinenet.com/intestinal_gas_belching_bloating_flatulence/article.htm.