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Beans and Gas

Hi, all;
        There's been some discussion on what to do to enhance the
digestibility of beans.  It's the complex sugars (oligosaccarides),
naturally present in beans that cause some folk discomfort (these sugars
arive in the large inestine intact and are a tough nut for the enzymes there
to break down).  Of course, _Beano_ helps most people with this problem.
Kombu's been mentioned, in both a postive and negative light; I've used it
successfully but your own experience will dictate whether or not it's a
worthwhile measure.  I thought I'd list a few other options...

* Discarding the original soaking water.  Although you lose some nutrients
this way, as they leach into the water while the beans are going through
their initial soak, you also lose a good deal of the complex sugars, too.
Most folk already do this.

* Adding the herb savory to your bean pot at the beginning of the cooking
cycle.  This adds a nice flavour, too.

* Adding a small potato to your bean pot at the beginning of the cooking
cycle (and then discarding it at the end).  Someone mentioned using an apple
this way, too.

* Never salt beans until the end of the cooking cycle.  This toughens their
skins and makes them less digestible.  The high sodium in kombu may, indeed,
be what poses a problem for some people who've tried adding a strip of the
seaweed to their bean pot to improve digestibility.

* Try eating a smaller portion of beans than you would another 'heavy' food
(like grains), or eating them only with veggies.  Combining beans with rice
can be a problem for *some* folk, as they place a heavy burden on the
digestive system.  For those vegans who are looking for a combination of
rice and beans for protein, but feel a little discmfort as a result; eating
beans and rice within 24 hours of one another, but not at the same meal,
works just as well.