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Help with spices?

I am new to the list and also fairly new to meatless low-fat
meals.  My wife and I are having trouble with many of the spices
used in various recipes.  You see, in the past we rarely used
spices at all.  The natural flavors of cooked vegetables always
seemed to be enough to enhance basic meat-and-potatoes meals.
Now, I am trying to substitute bean dishes for meat, and the
spices are giving us digestive grief, at least when the recipes
are followed exactly.

We have also tried to use the recipes without the spices or with
greatly reduced quantities.  That eliminates one problem but adds
another.  The stuff doesn't taste very good.

Can we gradually build up tolerance for spices?  I would 
appreciate some advice and also would like to see a general
discussion on spices and their use.  We had never even heard of
some of the spices called for in these recipes.  Thanks.