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My #beanfluencer dreams have come true, pod fam! 

Some of you might remember me posting on IG back in May about how adding beans to my diet has straight up changed my life. The richest food source of soluble fiber, beans are having a serious moment in 2021. 

To get to the bottom of this “magical fruit,” I welcomed the creator of The Bean Protocol™ herself: health coach, founder of You’re Great, and author of Your Tastebuds Are Assholes, Unique Hammond to the pod. We’re talking all things beans, fiber, hormones, stress, and healing yourself through food. Let’s make beans sexy again (or maybe for the first time). Time to get juicy!

How Unique discovered the magic of beans…

Unique, like many of my guests, suffered for years from a debilitating chronic illness. When she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease—an autoimmune disorder that attacks the small intestine—she was basically handed a life sentence. Her symptoms ranged from 15–20 bowel movements a day to horrible menstrual cycles to constant pain and discomfort. 

Knowing that she didn’t want to just throw medication that wouldn’t address the underlying cause at it, she turned to food. During this time, she trained as an AIP (autoimmune protocol) coach and tried elimination diets—getting rid of anything potentially aggravating or inflammatory. But there was a key element missing, she realized: how are we restoring the microbiome? The AIP approach focused only on taking away and not addressing how to nourish and restore the body back to homeostasis. 

Amidst the suffering and trying to get better, a friend had the intuition to bring her a book: And They Said It Wasn’t Possible by Karen Hurd, which talked about consuming beans for healing. Until this point, every doctor she’d been to had told her no beans; it’ll destroy you. With Karen as her mentor, Unique began to heal, thanks to the nutrients and fiber her body so desperately needed. 

So, how do beans contribute to healing?

Beans are the richest food source of soluble fiber of anything in the plant kingdom. When we think about fiber, there are two main types: 1) dietary fiber, which helps bulk and bind our stool, and 2) soluble fiber, which is kind of a magic ingredient for bile removal. 

Why is bile removal so important? Bile is a (gross on its own but totally necessary) fluid that helps our body break down food and absorb nutrients. It also helps remove toxins from the body. Lots of good stuff! So, your liver makes bile, your gallbladder stores it, and then (if everything is working as it should), the bile gets excreted—along with all the excess toxins and hormones your body doesn’t need. 

But here’s the thing…in order for bile to do its thing, it needs soluble fiber to help bind it to waste and pull it out of the body. Without that binding agent, the bile doesn’t really have a way out, so it can actually get recirculated throughout the body. And if that happens, we’re not only basically swimming in our own waste, but now we’re dealing with excess hormones and toxins just wreaking havoc on our body. 

So, beans = soluble fiber = bile removal = elimination of excess toxins & hormones = reduction in inflammation, hormonal balance, etc.

What is The Bean Protocol™?

Beans made such a difference in Unique’s life—she’s been in remission from Crohn’s disease for years—that she knew she had to share their power with others. For many people, simply adding a small amount of beans to your daily diet can help support detox, but for those with chronic conditions—like IBS, Crohn’s disease, hormonal imbalances, gut dysbiosis—a more intense version may be necessary. The Bean Protocol™ is not a one-size-fits all approach, so the type and amount of beans will vary from person to person. But it might look like eating a tablespoon of beans six times per day, for example.

But…what if beans don’t agree with me?

Here’s the thing—beans are probably the least sexy food most of us could come up with on the spot. They’re associated with gas and bloating and intestinal discomfort. BUUUUUUT that’s only because most of us have been eating them wrong. We’ll go weeks or months without eating beans, and then suddenly, we eat a bowl of chili or a big burrito with beans and get constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, pain, etc. It’s uncomfy because our bodies aren’t used to breaking down that quantity of fiber. Here are a couple tips from Unique on introducing beans into your diet without the discomfort:

  • Start slow—don’t try to eat a whole can in one day at first 
  • Try one bean at a time; variety is great, but you can work your way up to that  
  • To aid in digestion, soak them, cook them well, and chew them fully 

You heard it here, pod fam! Beans are truly magical—and they’re delicious and so, so versatile. As always, tune into the episode for allll the juicy goodness in this ep! And be sure to share your thoughts with me on our NEW IG, @shoporganicolivia

xoxo,

Olivia

Shop my favorite Jovial-brand beans at Vitacost:

Cannellini Beans

Borlotti Beans

Connect with Unique Hammond:

Visit the You’re Great website

Follow @uniquehammond on IG

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