Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Out of Gas?

This is not the euphemism you are thinking of...

I wish I was out of gas, unfortunately it is one of those things I must deal with on a daily basis. I could handle being the gassy, "old fart" if the exterior aspect was all I had to handle. What many people never think on is the interior aspect of gas, especially the effect it has on those of us that have Crohn's or have had some form of intestinal surgery. The sad truth is that someone can be in remission and still experience discomfort or pain due to gas.

Gas in our bodies occurs due to fermentation caused by incomplete digestion of food. The reason your body isn't absorbing the food doesn't matter, just the fact that it remains for opportunistic bacteria to feed on. The gas accumulates in your system. It causes pressure. We are already tender in so much of our digestive tract that the gas pressure only exasperates and magnifies any pain that may be present. It can actually create discomfort, potentially pain, in those of us that may not show any visible symptoms.

Fibrous foods are a very big culprit of gas. Grains of any kind and dairy will produce unwanted gas. These are all facts that many should already know. What many don't realize is that many vegetables can also contribute to your pain. I can hear the commentary, "Duh...veggies have fiber." It is more than that, though. Some vegetables are just difficult to digest. A great example of this is the onion. A raw, yellow onion is very difficult for anyones body to digest regardless of the fiber involved -- a double-whammy food. If you can handle the flavor, try eating some raw onion if you don't believe me.

That last sentence isn't meant as a dare, but it does hint at a way to mediate some of the causes of gas. The most obvious way is to abstain from consuming the offending item. Unfortunately, that would restrict our diets to the point of air and water. A more realistic approach would be preparation of that item. I love onions as a food, as an example, and as a metaphor since they have so many layers -- I can now add pun to that list.

Preparing a food item can be so much more than just rote methods. Changing the form and size of an item may make the difference between hazardous and safe for your body. Soaking an item can change the consistency or remove indigestable components. The depth of cooking can be the difference between pain and no pain. Let's go back to the onions. Raw onions are harsh on anyones system. The way most people cook the onion is simply to get them warm or hot in a couple of seconds. When I cook onions, I let them cook for quite some time; onions are translucent when I am done with them. I no longer have issues with onions.

There are many foods that become edible if at least one of the methods above is used. Unfortunately there are certain foods, like dairy, that will cause issues no matter what you do. Keep gas in mind when you are eating. It will change the way you eat.

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