Beware the Broccoli

No, there haven’t been any recalls that I’m aware of.  But let me explain.  Not long ago, I had a lunch meeting at a restaurant and I ordered an entree that came with two broccoli-2514165_640 (2)vegetable choices.  Broccoli being a choice.  Well, here’s the thing.  If it’s cooked (not raw, not steamed), I love the stuff and this restaurant cooks it soft and buttery, just the way I like it.  So I told the waiter to “double the broccoli”.

Here’s where things got a little weird.

Our waiter then proceeded to try and talk me out of ordering a double serving of broccoli.  Really!  He pointed out all the other choices on the menu. “No thanks.  I’ll just have two servings please.”   He actually looked distressed and I thought that maybe they were about to run out of the stuff and the kitchen manager was rationing it.  He caught on to the strange look we were all giving him and earnestly proclaimed “Broccoli will give you gas!  It’s a scientific fact.”  He then told us he had learned “the hard way how bad it was” and that I really needed to NOT have a double order.  At that point I politely told him, “Then don’t get in the car with me.”  I wanted my broccoli… all of it.

The Broccoli and Gas Effect

Ok dear reader, here’s your vegetable lesson.  Broccoli is a cruciferous veggie and members of it’s family include cabbage, brussell sprouts (yuck), cauliflower, and kale (double yuck).  These little lovelies contain raffinose which is a sugar that doesn’t digest until bacteria in your lower gut (i.e. large intestines) jump on it and start the fermentation process of breaking it down.

What happens with fermentation?  Well, if making wine… wonderful things.  If breaking down raffinose?  Bloating. Gas.  Flatulence.  Yep, the dreaded fart.  For those individuals who are really sensitive, the gas and bloating can be quite painful.  I assume our waiter was one of these sensitive types and, poor guy,  had a bad experience with broccoli.  I guess he thought he was saving me from the same fate.  What he didn’t know was that I’ve been eating the stuff all my life and haven’t yet sent anyone to the hospital from “gas exposure”, nor have I experienced any painful effects from it.  A surprise “pull my finger moment” or two, but nothing serious.

The Good About Broccoli

You probably already know this but let me remind you.  Medical studies have shown that “people who eat a lot of broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables have lower rates of cancer than those who don’t.”  I think that particular benefit far outweighs the worry of repeated toots in public or a little bloating…  at least for those of us who are not highly sensitive to the fermentation process after eating it.

So.  Got a serious problem?  By all means avoid it.  Got a medium problem?  Try Beano.  Got a slight problem or love the taste of broccoli?  Enjoy eating it and let things fly!  You can always blame it on the dog (or someone else in the room..  like I did one time in junior high English class).  One more thing.  If you have a youngster who refuses to eat it?  Tell them it will make them “pass gas”.  I haven’t met a kid yet that didn’t think farting was hysterical.




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