Legumes are one of our best friends, but also one of our worst enemies. When you don’t eat meat, you need to get your protein from something else. One of the easiest and cheapest options? Beans. The only problem with that is dealing with the aftermath of downing a bowl of the beauties.
It’s not uncommon to pass gas up to 25 times a day, but things can get a little more on the uncomfortable side — ahem, bloating! — after eating a fiber-filled dish. Luckily, there are some ways to take in the important nutrients without feeling weighed down. Here’s how to make this fruit a little less musical.
1. Don’t go overboard.
Especially if you’re a bean newbie. If you go from 0 to 100, eating beans frequently when you rarely used to, you’ll feel more weighed down than ever. But if you start slow and increase your servings from there, you won’t experience nearly as many problems.
2. Give yourself time to adjust.
Whether you’re a new vegetarian or vegan or have just started eating a lot more fiber, give your body time to get used to your new diet. You might feel bloated and gassy at first after eating more beans than you usually would, but after a couple weeks your digestive system will get used to it. Promise.
3. Give your beans a nice soak.
Oh beans — you’re so pampered. Just like we should be treating ourselves, beans need a long, relaxing soak once and a while, too. To help make them more digestion-friendly, stick them in water for 12-48 hours — changing the water 2-3 times a day — and rinse before you cook. You can also boil them if you’re running short on time, but they still need to soak for at least an hour afterward.
How does this work, exactly? Both soaking and boiling can reduce the amount of the nondigestible carbohydrates raffinose and stachyose in the beans, which in turn can help the bacteria in your intestines pass them through without causing excess gas.
4. Rinse your canned beans.
Canned beans are a great easy and affordable option, but if you use them often, make sure to drain the liquid and give them a rinse before you cook them up.
5. Pick your type wisely.
Not all beans are created equal in terms of the gas they produce. If you want an easily digestible bean, try black, pinto, and split mung beans. If you’re going for lima, kidney, or soybeans, just eat a little less than you usually would. (Also, it’s been said that the sweeter the bean, the easier it is to eat gas-free, which is a very good thing to keep in mind if you’re struggling with the menu during date night.)
Now it’s time to go about your bean-eating ways, no Beano needed. Start with these recipes:
- Black Bean Vegan Street Tacos (pictured above)
- Mexican Pinto Beans from Scratch
- Spicy Black Bean Soup
- One-Pot Cheesy Mexican Lentils, Black Beans, and Rice