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Bean cramps

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My husband and one of my friends both have a very difficult time with dried beans. It isn't just the flatulence issue, which can be a bit unpleasant, but both of them have painful stomach cramps which keep them awake at night if they eat the wrong kind of dried beans. It seems to be intermittent, and sometimes happens, sometimes not. Does anyone have any kind of solution for this problem? (Both of these folks like beans, but are very nervous about eating them much of the times - as who wouldn't be?) Beano helps a bit, but isn't totally successful, and there is something kind of weird about having to take a "medicine" with the beans. I have also cooked the beans with a seaweed called Kombu. That helps my husband, but not my friend. Anybody know what this is about? I wonder if it has to do with how old the beans are? Some types of beans are worse than others, for example, pintos.

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  1. Sounds to me like you aren't cooking the beans long enough.

    I'll get severe cramps in my chest if I eat underdone beans (I've done it to myself too! They taste done at the pot, but by the time you get them to your plate you think...why in the WORLD did I pull these? It can take hours to do them correctly, and an overnight soak is always better than the 'quick soak' method, that makes gas worse.

    1. Soak them longer. I do 24 hours. Change the water twice.
      Kombu should help. Also consider ginger.
      I don't consider Beano to be a medicine any more than the above things. It merely gives you more of an enzyme that you are lacking.

      1. From what I;ve read, it is the flatulence issue. Many beans have a type of sugar that is poorly digested. The usual recommendation is to put the dry beans in water, bring it to aboil, then drain off the water and proceed as normal. However, it may be best that you just avoid beans. Quite a few people have foods they avoid.

        1. Walking or exercise can help move the gas along so it can be passed. Maybe Beano?

          1. Have you tried epazote ? It is supposed to relieve the flatulence issue and cramping. It's a standard in bean heavy diets. I haven't tried it because I don't have a huge problem but as soon as my Penzey's order comes in I'll give it a try.

            1. From drmirkin.com

              If you're bothered by gas when you eat beans, try this simple cure for your problem. Put the beans in a large pot and cover them with water. Bring them to a boil and take them off the heat. This breaks the capsules surrounding the beans and allows stachyose, verbascose and raffinose, the gas-causing sugars, to escape into the water. Stir a teaspoon or so of baking soda into the water (to make it more alkaline) and let the beans soak overnight. Drain the soaking water off the beans and rinse them several times. (If you eat the soaking liquid, you will cause unbelievable discomfort for yourself and those around you). Then proceed with your recipe to cook the beans.

              --- Save your money on the beano. This works great and will tend to soften them up a little more.

              1. Add mineral oil when cooking the frijoles and drink more beer!

                1. OP- Regarding the beans with kombu working for your husband:

                  If you are interested in canned beans, Eden Organics prepares theirs with Kombu. If you are in the SE, Earth Fare's self named house brand beans do too...I think they are actually made by Eden.

                  1. I just tried a recipe from Cook's Illustrated for a Tuscan Bean Stew. I think the issue was sometime in 2008. They wanted you to first soak the canellini beans in a gallon of water that had 3 tablespoons of salt dissolved in it. I soaked them for almost 24 hours. Then you cooked the beans first on the stovetop until they came to a simmer, then in a slow oven, I think it was 250 degrees for several hours. This was quite a good recipe and ended up not afflicting anyone. The skins were quite tender, too, which I really like.I think Their theory was that some of the calcium and magnesium ions in the bean skins are replaced by the sodium ions in the soaking water. I wonder if the bad things in beans are somehow defanged by the addition of salt to the soaking water. Maybe those difficult sugars live mainly in the bean skins? You don't add salt to the cooking water, just the soaking water, and then rinse the beans before you cook. I thank everyone for their comments. They have been most helpful!