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Mar 2, 2009 12:47 PM

Natives Raised Eating Legumes:Unaffected by Gas?

I dare ask this question in the CH community because I feel comfotable that it will be taken seriously and in stride. I have been eating/cooking alot of South Indian food lately, which is a cuisine dominated by legumes/dal. And I have simultaneously been experiencing a lot of gas. The same thing happens when I eat alot of Latin bean foods and Japanese tofu dishes.
So I'm guessing that when a people is raised from babyhood eating these foods, they are not afflicted with gas. Does anyone actually know about this? Thank you.

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  1. TONS of fresh (grated or crushed) Ginger tossed in while cooking lentils alleviate such issues for me. And going easy on ginger returns the symptoms, YMMV.

    2 Replies
    1. re: amhutap

      Doesn't TONS of ginger make the lentils too spicy to eat? It would be for me --I like it in small quantities. Too much is torture.

      1. re: neverlate

        Can make it spicy of course, I rather enjoy it especially in colder months. You'd have to tune it obviously to your taste. What I do know is that crushed ginger in a jar adds spice..and does not help much beyond least for me.

    2. The more often you eat them the less problem you will have digesting them

      3 Replies
      1. re: scubadoo97

        second this. Your system will adjust to them if they become a regular part of your diet. In the meanwhile, there's beano.

        1. re: BeaN

          Yes, beano works really well.

          There are a number of ways of soaking/rinsing/cooking the beans which purport to reduce gassiness. I haven't tested them.

          1. re: Louise

            none of those methods have any significant benefit in the long run

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            1. re: alkapal

              interesting article, alkapal -- esp. this bit:

              "The soaking helps denature phytic acid, and gentle cooking makes the vegetable protein digestible, especially if served with digestion-enhancing spices (typical of Indian cuisine, for example), pickles, chutneys or fermented dairy products such as yogurt or sour cream."

              (i had no idea that pickles and yogurt helped with gas!)

              1. re: cimui

                Pickles most likely refer to Indian style pickles which contain spices that help de-gas (e.g. cumin, ajwain, fennel, etc.). Yogurt contains various bacteria which help with digestion and may help with digesting beans specifically.

                The thing with soaking is that it's usually the "whole" beans and dals that are soaked, not the 'split' ones (e.g. sabut moong vs. moong dal etc.) I don't know too many recipes that call for soaking the split dals, unless it's to grind them into idli batter or something.

                Some information for the OP: when introducing solid foods to babies (e.g. age 9 months and above), when Indian mothers start introducing pureed dals, very often they prepare an infusion like a 'tea' of spices boiled in water: fennel, ajwain, cumin are the most common. A few drops of the water are either mixed with the dal or given to the baby to sip, as an anti-gas measure. Oh, and the dals are usually boiled soft with a pinch of salt, turmeric, and hing. This is the first step in making most dal dishes for the rest of the family, so at this stage a little is taken out for the baby, and spices are added to the remainder according to the recipe.
                We start with the 'easiest to digest' daals: moong and masoor, moving on to toor. Chana dal, and the whole beans are considered less digestible and given to babies much much later.
                I did this with my kids, learnt from my mother.

                1. re: Rasam

                  thank you rasam. i really appreciate your taking the time to tell me about dal acclimation for babies. while i eat alot of yoghurt w/ my indian food, maybe i should drink a spice infusion as well. The wonderful udipi restaurant that used to exist here near boston- served a tea-less spice tea w/ all their feasts; maybe now i know why.

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    You're welcome

                    BTW: Indian babies are given yogurt also when they are given dals etc. Not necessarily at the same meal, but increasingly so, until you converge to the adult style meal of rice or roti + dal + sabzi + yogurt.

                    For yourself, the spices would likely be *in* the dal: most dals or beans are cooked with some combination of the following: hing, cumin, fennel, ajwain, ginger, etc. But if you want to sip a spice infusion with your food, why not, plus you say the restaurant served it ...

                    Also there are the after meal digestives / mouth fresheners (sugar coated fennel; betel nut shavings, etc. : mukhvas).

                    For seriously gassy people, there are the home remedies - turned pharmaceuticals or herbaceuticals: e.g. Dabur Pudin Hara (mint based antacid anti-gas from Dabur Pharmacy);

                    Various choorans (ground spice balls) - seriously addictive (delicious) digestives; dozens of varieties ranging in tastes from sweetish (e.g. rose petal based pellets) to sweet sour (e.g. tamarind + cumin balls) to flat out spicy (e.g. dried ginger slices dipped in lemon, black salt, long pepper, etc.)

                    Some have evocative names like "lakkad-hazam" (digest wood) or "patthar-hazam" (digest stone). :)

                    Different conditions call for different choorans, but they are delicious enough to eat as a ... well, not a snack or a nibble, but like spicy mints maybe ....

                    Pudin Hara caplets, chooran, mukhvas, etc all available at your nearest Indian Grocery Store.

                    Choorans and mukhvases are a whole other topic. Sigh.....

                    1. re: Rasam

                      boy do i wish you lived next door! i will look for those this week. where are you from in india?

                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                        On the internet, we are all next door :)

                        I am Southern (see my chow-name), lived all over the North, so am comfortable with foods and languages of most parts of India.

                        ps: in my previous I forgot to mention the whole post-prandial betel leaf packet thing (paan supari).

                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                          ps: are you mostly interested in Southern Indian cooking, or other regions too? tx.

                          1. re: Rasam

                            i am interested in Southern Indian foods, specifically the desserts and tiffin that use various dal. Uppama and wada are my current passions! I have always made my wada w/ urad dal only but now i'm going to try using other dal as well. I want to try Adai too. After searching for a so. indian cookbook with more unusual offerings, i bought Vegetarian Samayal of So. India but it is small for the cost and I may return it.

                2. re: alkapal

                  Thanks for that link! Who knew that Boston baked beans are the descendant of cholent?
                  Maybe some of the nutrition scientists on the board can clarify - if the gassiness is from undigested sugars, is it better for diabetics (I am borderline type 2) NOT to soak beans or use Beano? Perhaps it is best not to do anything to break down those complex sugars.