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Restoring Your Health

Bean Bliss: The Secret to Eating Legumes Gas/Bloat/Pain-Free!

Updated: Feb 29

I adore beans. Anyone who knows me knows I loved devouring a bowl of my homemade hummus in absolute delight. My dad used to shake his head, calling it the "poor man's lunch" (referring to the Armenians in America during the Great Depression). "Lucky them!" I'd retort, savoring the flavors of tahini, lemon, garlic and chickpeas.

Although my diet for the last decade primarily consists of fruits and vegetables, I've found it increasingly difficult to enjoy any type of bean due to discomfort. Despite my love for these luscious legumes and their versatility in dishes, the physical pain associated with eating them has become unbearable.

Until NOW!

Why do beans cause so much gas, pain and bloating? The discomfort from beans is attributed to oligosaccharides, a complex carbohydrate our bodies struggle to digest. When these carbohydrates reach the large intestine, they ferment, producing gas and causing bloating and cramping.

I've become an exceptionally sensitive food eater. Anything I consume that isn't a fruit or a vegetable usually causes a great deal of inflammation in my body—and many times a great deal of discomfort. But sometimes I want to eat something more than just a fruit or vegetable.

I made a white bean soup in January and while the flavors were exceptional, I was left regretting it for hours after that. I didn't sleep. However, I couldn't get this soup out of my mind because I realized that if I tweaked a few ingredients, it would be the perfect vegan version of Cream of Wild Rice soup. Anyone from the Midwest, especially northern Wisconsin, knows how exceptional a creamy wild rice soup is. So, I was adamant about making this vegan version regardless of how terrible it made me feel—which I did two days ago.

Except…I had no issues. Nothing. No pain. No bloating…I woke up in the middle of the night expecting to find a mound of air in my belly. Completely flat. So I decided to do some more research.

What is Wild Rice??

Wild rice technically is not a grain but rather a grass-based food (yay!) that grows best in cooler climates, like Minnesota and in parts of Asia. It likes to grow in small, shallow lakes and has been an important food source for Native Americans. The nutty flavor of wild rice makes it a favorite of mine.

Wild rice contains certain chemical compounds that can help alleviate gas, bloating and cramping. These compounds may aid in digestion and promote gastrointestinal health--the Chinese have used it exactly for this for centuries. Specifically, wild rice contains higher levels of certain nutrients and bioactive compounds, which may contribute to its beneficial effects on digestion.

One such compound found in wild rice is resistant starch, which resists digestion in the small intestine and instead ferments in the large intestine. This fermentation process produces beneficial short-chain fatty acids, such as butyrate, which can help nourish the cells lining the colon and support overall gut health. Furthermore, wild rice contains antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that support overall digestive function and may help reduce inflammation in the gut, potentially alleviating symptoms of gas and bloating. Overall, the unique nutritional composition of wild rice may contribute to its ability to prevent gas and bloating and promote digestive health.

Wild rice will now remain a staple in my diet since discovering I can order it online in Italy (my friend in Florence gifted me a bag when she learned I was on the hunt). I'm surprised it took me this long to uncover its benefits and I'm eager to share this discovery. I hope this revelation allows some of you to revisit your favorite legume dishes without discomfort and I'm elated to share my VEGAN CREAM OF WILD RICE RECIPE with you!

Can't wait to indulge in a bowl of hummus now, knowing that a serving of wild rice beforehand will likely prevent any discomfort. Cheers to enjoying legumes again without the unpleasant aftermath! And yes, I devoured the entire pot of the wild rice soup in 24 hours!

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