Like most children, I hated Brussel sprouts, which were soggy, bitter and terrible tasting. Indeed, they come in first in a UK poll on the most hated vegetable.

But they are a source of Vitamin C, and in places like Great Britain they are part of the traditional Christmas dinner.

But now, to the horror of sprout lovers everywhere, it has been reported that the lowly sprout has been banned from one of Her Majesty’s ships. There are reports that the captain of the HMS Bulwark has banned the nasty thing from his ship, calling them “the Devil’s Vegetable”.

When horrified sprout lovers first heard this, the Captain backpedaled and insisted that he merely banned them from the captain’s table, but a closer inspection found that the entire ship had become a “Brussel sprout free” zone.

One has to sympathise with the Captain, since not only do many people hate Brussel sprouts, but they have an unfortunate side effect that can be undesirable in the crowded quarters: they cause flatulence.

In one aquarium, after being given brussel sprouts as a treat, some Turtles who ate the spouts passed so much gas that the owners brought in divers to find the source of the obnoxious gas bubbles coming from their tank. In another incident, monkey flatulance once caused a similar problem at a zoo.

Keeper Michael Riozzi said:“We’ve started feeding the gorillas Brussels because they are packed with vitamin C. Unfortunately, an embarrassing side effect is that it can cause bouts of flatulence in humans and animals alike.”

The stunned zookeeper added: ”I don’t think any of us were prepared for a smell that strong.”

The cause? Raffinose...a sugar that isn’t digested by humans. So the undigested sugar tends to ferment on the way out, causing a lot of terrible smelling gas.

Which is why the plan to grow (and eat) them in space colonies is a bad idea. If the odor is terrible in a large monkey house, imagine if one had to live with it in a small space ship.

Actually, if cooked properly, they can be tasty, and some people, such as Prime Minister Gordon Brown, actually like this vegetable.

Just remember to keep the windows open after eating, and enjoy!

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She never eats Brussel sprouts. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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