Tofu is a part of Asian cuisine that has nothing to do with vegetarianism. It is eaten by everyone, like the potato in Oceania. Still, for American vegans there is always a bit of irony when they are looking for something to eat only to find an Asian tofu dish, but with meat. The sentiment is “What is the point?”. Not fair, but maybe it is as far as Asian restaurants in the U.S. are concerned. Out of the Americans likely to be interested in tofu dishes many of them will be vegans and vegetarians. I think the owners of the restaurants simply aren’t informed.
The sentiment is similar with “Beano” a non-vegetarian American product that prevents the gas some people get from eating beans or cruciferous vegetables. Here the “what is the point?” sentiment is not mistaken as with tofu. Most Americans don’t eat either of these foods regularly enough to bother to buy “Beano”. The Americans who do eat these foods regularly are likely to be vegans or vegetarians. The people who will not use “Beano” because it contains fish gelatin (reported as of 4 years ago):
However, there is “Bean-Zyme” a vegan product which does the same thing as “Beano”:
There is also the vegan “Peaceful Digestion” by VegLife. It is a general digestive aide, but it is supposed to help with beans:
To be honest I haven’t tried either product.
I find that I get used to cruciferous vegetables if I eat them on a regular basis and cook them longer. I also get used to legumes if I have them on a regular basis.
However, the world isn’t perfect and sometimes I find myself having to get used to legumes again, after not having eaten them for a while. There is a great free method for de-gassing beans that I learned years ago from the PCRM:
1. Soak the legumes over night
2. Dispose of the water the legumes were soaked in.
3. Boil the legumes in a fresh change of water for 1 minute.
4. Change the water again, and continue cooking regularly.
I’ve written away to several vegan nutritionists about this method. No significant nutrition is lost by tossing the stock, even if you change the water several times. What goes down the drain is mostly the tough to digest gas producing sugars in the legumes. You can also repeat step #3 multiple times to get more of the gas producing sugars out. I have found that using a pressure cooker also helps.
Cooking beans with baking soda or the seaweed called kombu helps too, but I like the method above as I do not have to buy anything and it does not add anything to my food.
If you want to help fish and other vegans you can write to Beano telling them you would like to use their product if it was vegan:
I just emailed them to ask them if they still use fish and to suggest to them that they can get more customers by making Beano vegan. Stay tuned.