I love it, but it makes me smell
January 14, 2008 7:50 AM   Subscribe

I was going to post this as myself, but I bottled out. I can be contacted on cabbagebreath68 @ googlemail.com. What can I do to limit the amount of gas produced by eating foods such as beans, cauliflower, radishes, etc?

Backstory: I can't get hold of Beano where I am. I chew, chew, and then chew some more. I cook with a pinch of bicarbonate of soda. But I still suffer from flatulence after eating such foods. I don't suffer from it at all, normally. It's only when I eat "high gas" foods that I get it. I really enjoy them, though, so I don't want to cut back on them. I want to be able to eat them, and just not fart so much afterwards.

Actual question: What I'm looking for are things that I can do/take at home to help with the problem. Things like drinking camomile tea after meals. Eating papaya. Different cooking techniques (I mainly steam). Or massaging the digestive tract. Things like that. I'd rather steer away from OTC remedies such as antacids and such.
posted by anonymous to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
My Mum swears by Live Yoghurt as part of dessert when eating foods like the ones you mention. My Father (sorry Dad!) has been known to experience the same (ahem) issue.

Also Lactobacillus Acidophillus in tablet form from a health-food shop is pretty good too - basically just helping to balance the natural flora and fauna of the gut.

Bon appetit!
posted by Blacksun at 8:01 AM on January 14, 2008

Also, you may find Peppermint tea better than calmomile for this.
posted by Blacksun at 8:02 AM on January 14, 2008

Mexicans put epazote in their food to cut down the gas.
posted by brujita at 8:10 AM on January 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Full disclosure: I'm an all powerful, superdeadly fart machine. Of doom.
I've tried Beano, but it doesn't work for me. The only thing that has ever come close is a mexican herb called epazote (and it typically only works with beans, for me).

I also maintain a very high fiber diet which, while contributing to extreme gassiness, also helps to push things through my system faster, so that death-cloud emission periods, while voluminous, are temporally minimal.

For painful, bottom of the gut trapped gas, I find the best thing to do is to lie flat on my stomach and pull my knees up under me with my butt high in the air, all the while wiggling and rocking.

I hope this helps. (You have helped me to realize that I may actually be good at something in life: gas relief.)
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:17 AM on January 14, 2008 [2 favorites]

anis, caraway, and fennel seed, e.g. the mix you get when leaving an Indian restaurant, just eat a spoonful - or use the seeds when cooking said vegetables.
posted by meijusa at 8:17 AM on January 14, 2008

Seconding Blacksun's suggestion for Peppermint tea. In my case it worked somewhat.
Also Anise (licorice) tea is said to help as well.

Peppermint capsules help to soothe the lining of the digestive tract (or so they say). If anything, this might help soothe your stomach.

Others say that taking activated charcoal helps; I think it just absorbs all of the gas, but I don't know if that can have an affect on the absorption of other nutrients. And I am sure it colors your poo.

Also check out my question here. It might contain some helpful hints.

Finally, I know you said you can't get Beano where you are, but I have to say that it has been a LIFESAVER! If you can by any means get it, get it! A bit expensive, though (I get it for $16 for 60 tabs. 2-3 tabs per gassy meal...).
posted by bitteroldman at 8:19 AM on January 14, 2008

Nth epazote. My mom used to buy it from Penzey's Spice catalog, and it really helped with some of the gassier foods.
posted by Robert Angelo at 8:21 AM on January 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Chewing on a few fennel seeds is common in India, but I think a tea would be nice - fennel seed, peppermint and ginger would be good and quite tasty.

Here is a yoga asana to help you fart.
posted by goo at 8:22 AM on January 14, 2008

Ha! Should have previewed.
posted by goo at 8:23 AM on January 14, 2008

when i cook cabbage, i add a chunk of ginger (remember to take it out after cooking) and that seems to work in reducing the wind output at the other end
posted by dnc at 8:25 AM on January 14, 2008

When I was a vegan I had such bad gas that I would pollute whole apartments. I read about using juniper berries to treat it, and I tried it and it worked. I'm a skeptic, but I can report that without doubt the change was drastic (other people noticed). Nothing else in my diet changed, although I won't rule out the placebo effect.

Here's how the book I read described it and what I did:

Start with 1 berry once a day, increase by one berry once a day until you've gotten up to six, then work back down a berry a day until you're back down to one. One is the maintenance dose.

Good luck.
posted by OmieWise at 8:44 AM on January 14, 2008 [2 favorites]

I didn't know about the fennel thing, but I do note that many cabbage recipes are seasoned with fennel seeds.
posted by OmieWise at 8:45 AM on January 14, 2008

Use dry beans. Bring to a boil the night before the day you want to eat them, and boil for two minutes. Let soak in this water. The following day, refresh the soaking water a few times (use cold water now). Boil again in fresh water without salt, for two hours (depending on your beans). Discard foam while cooking. (Add salt afterwards, if you like).

Small beans digest better than large beans. Sprouting is also really helpful (you can cook them after sprouting).

I also second the herbs and spices that others mentioned.

Maybe there is an alternative to Beano, like Bean-zyme, where you live, or available online?
posted by davar at 9:35 AM on January 14, 2008

I've heard that adding a little vinegar to your food can help, and I believe it. A little balsamic in the lentils, for example (maybe 1 TBSB to a half-full 2-quart pan, or to taste). Personally, I like vinegar on my cabbage, too.

Also - be sure they're cooked enough! I know that "lightly steaming" your cruciferous veggies is "healthier", but if they're not cooked enough, you may not be able to extract all the nutrients anyway. So, you might try cooking the heck out of them, and at least see if it helps your condition.

Mmmm. Southern soul food. Could be awful, but I think you could make it work. Maybe just avoid too much oil with the veggies (as in, cream sauces).
posted by amtho at 10:04 AM on January 14, 2008

Use kombu to help with the digestibility of beans. If you are looking for precooked beans, Eden Foods cooks their beans with kombu.
posted by chrisroberts at 11:41 AM on January 14, 2008

chlorophyll is a popular and apparently very effective solution for all kinds of body odor. lots of people take it to lessen their underarm odor, but it's also supposed to reduce the stench of urine and feces. I've read about it being fed to pigs when neighbors complain about the stench.
posted by buka at 2:31 PM on January 14, 2008

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