Thursday, October 4, 2012

Less Tootin' Tea

Confession: Recently I've been having a tooting problem (translation: farting problem). Not only were they of the SBD (Silent But Deadly) persuasion, but they may have killed small rodents if trapped in a confined space. This may have been acceptable still, but for their frequency. I chose to laugh rather than crumble away and slip into the 5th dimension from embarassment. However, the situation became dire quick. Being a teacher, I couldn't let my students associate a rotten egg smell that could be used for chemical warfare with the English Language. Something had to be done. So, I made some tea fit for emergency:

Less Tootin' Tea
(note that I love flexible recipes)
3 tablespoons dried peppermint leaves, or 3 peppermint teabags
1 tablespoon of crushed fennel seeds (not crushed if you're lazy like me)
3-5 strips dried ginger, or 1-2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger if you don't have dried root pieces.

Put all ingredients in a large tea strainer, or directly into the pot with another straining method available. Pour hot water over the top (I made about a quart with the aforementioned ingredients this morning), and let sit, covered, for 15-30 mins. The tea should be dark brown, and stronger than your average tea (note the word choice of "emergency"). Drink one full cup now, and save the rest in the fridge, or take it to work in a thermos (as I did the morning). Drink up to 5 cups that day. You should see a difference after the first cup.

This recipe is good for other digestive complaints as well. These three herbs combine to help indigestion, heartburn, IBS, the toots and a overly large or rich meal sitting heavy in your stomach. Or if you want an after-dinner tea, you can make it less strong and enjoy it every day.

More about tooting that everyone should know:

1. The major causes of tooting:
- Not chewing enough or swallowing too much air
- Food allergies (esp. gluten, dairy (lactose intolerance))
- Potentially gas-causing foods like kale and cabbage
- Consuming beans, especially ones not cooked correctly. In this case, bacteria in our gut digest the indigestible bonds in the carbohydrates that we don't have the enzyme for, and the biproduct of the reaction is gas.
- Flora imbalance (the wrong bacteria hanging around)
- Candida yeast overgrowth.
- Stress can combine with any of these causes and make them worse. It's possible that you always eat beans and tooting isn't a problem. Then one day you're stressed AND you eat beans... well you know the story.

2. Different kinds of tooting
- Regular, voluminous and loud farts are not as smelly, and not necessarily bad. Everyone farts daily, and its part of a balanced system.
- SBD farts tend to be the product of bacteria, and are hot (heat being a biproduct of the bacterial reaction) and silent when they make their exit. These are the MOST smelly of them all, because the bacteria make crazy smell compounds (usually short chain, volatile gases.) It is these farts that indicate something may be wrong.

3. Advice for the chronic tooter:
- Make the tea above as a quick fix to buy some time to make your next move.
- Discover the cause by making changes and observing results. For example- stop eating gluten for 3 days and see if the toots stop. Stop eating cabbage and kale. Stop eating dairy. Stop eating beans. Chew your food really well.
- Invest in some probiotics to help the right bacteria grow in your gut. I always recommend the same brand, because many probiotics don't even work, and I KNOW that this one works from personal experience.

3. Are farts really flammable?
Yes, according to this website, one in four people who attempts to ignite their fart gets burned. Don't try this at home.

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