Sunday, February 1, 2009

bread and beans

My friend Helene recently asked if it was possible to use leftover cooked grains in making bread.  The answer is most definitely yes.  It does change your proportions but adds a wonderful moistness to the loaf.  One great example is the receipe found here. Another use for leftover cooked whole grains is use them in muffins. This is actually my favorite way to use them because it's quick and easy. Unless you separate the egg whites and beat them it does make a denser muffin but we like them that way.

Her other question was regarding de-gassing beans, I'm pretty sure we all know what that means. Helene is hoping to avoid taking lots of beano. Let me start by saying that flatulence is a normal bodily condition. I don't think it's possible to completely get rid of gas and, of course, beans are not the only food that has this effect on our system; cabbage and broccoli are some others and many people have a problem with dairy.

Beans contain certain oligosaccharides that people cannot digest; we simply do not have the necessary enzymes in our system. One method of supposedly reducing the effect is to soak the beans overnight in warm water with baking soda. In the morning rinse the beans and cook. You can add baking soda to canned beans to reduce this effect however you need to use caution because too much baking soda will reduce the B12 in the beans and may leave a soapy taste as well. Another method is to boil fresh bay leaves with the beans. This has the added benefit of imparting a nice flavor. For cabbage dishes adding caraway seeds is supposed to help reduce the gassy effect.

Don't give up eating beans just because of the effect they may have. Beans are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber, protein, an excellent source of B vitamins and, depending on what kind of bean, lots of different minerals. Eat well, be well.

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