Spill the Beans: Are They Healthy Or Not?

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“Beans, beans, good for your heart…”

You probably remember that little chant that was popular among second graders, at least at my elementary school. It lightheartedly reminds us of the cardiovascular benefits of eating legumes… among other things!

Turns out that there may be some truth in the old nursery rhyme. While it’s true that beans contain certain heart-healthy benefits (and on the downside, yes, they can cause flatulence as well), the health benefits of beans are not quite so cut and dried.

Why Are Beans Controversial?

Vegans and vegetarians often rely on black beans, lentils, and other bean varieties as their main source of protein. However, diets like Paleo and keto avoid beans entirely because they contain controversial compounds called lectins.

There are also different grades of beans. While chickpeas (or garbanzo beans), navy beans and many others are a good source of B vitamins, most Americans get their fill of beans from unhealthy soy products, which are devoid of such beneficial nutrients.

Peanuts are also technically in the bean family, as they’re classified as a legume (and not a nut). Sadly, allergies to peanuts are on the rise, especially among children.

Here’s the lowdown on the pros and cons of eating certain types of beans, and how you can prepare them to maximize their nutritional value.

The Pros: Health Benefits of Beans

There are quite a few nutrients packed into the humble little bean. They’re rich in dietary fiber, they’re a great protein source, and they contain vitamins like folate and iron.

They are also generally low-fat and contain few calories, making them a staple in the Mediterranean diet and slow carb diet.

It also turns out that the second graders in my class were right: Beans may, in fact, be good for your heart health! One study found that pinto beans, in particular, helped to reduce LDL cholesterol, lowering the risk of heart disease.

Another study showed that eating baked beans helped reduce risk factors for type 2 diabetes, while other research finds that eating kidney beans can help reduce inflammation in the colon. And if you’re trying to lose weight, good news: yet another study found that bean consumption is associated with smaller waist circumference, lower body weight, and even reduced blood pressure.

But before you go crazy eating high fiber beans for every meal, we need to understand their risk factors, and how to mitigate it.

The Cons: Can Beans Be Unhealthy?

The biggest problem with beans is that they contain lectins, which are also present in high amounts in grains. Lectins essentially act as thorns do in rose bushes — as a protective measure for the plant. Instead of prickly deterrents that harm our skin, lectins assault our digestive systems, prompting predators (or consumers like us) to stay away.

One of the experts I look to most on this topic is Dr. Steven Gundry, renowned heart surgeon and author of the book The Plant Paradox. He explains in our podcast interview:

Lectins are a sticky plant protein, and they’re designed by plants as a defense mechanism against being eaten. These plants don’t want to be eaten… so one of the ways they fight against being eaten is to produce these lectins, which like to bind to specific sugar molecules in us or any of their predators. And those sugar molecules line the wall of our gut. They line the lining of our blood vessels, they line our joints. They line the spaces between nerves. And when lectins hit these places, they are a major cause of leaky gut. They can break down the gut wall barrier. They’re a major cause of arthritis, they’re a major cause of heart disease, and they’re a major cause, in my research, of autoimmune diseases.

We can understand from this that some lectins are more toxic than others, but all lectins have some effect on the body. This is the reason that grains, beans, and other lectin-containing foods cannot be eaten raw. In fact, ingesting even just a few raw kidney beans can cause vomiting and digestive problems.

Another problem with lectins is that they can contribute to obesity and diabetes. Lectins can bind to any carbohydrate-containing protein cells, including insulin and leptin receptors, desensitizing them. Without proper insulin and leptin function, problems like metabolic syndrome can emerge.

How to Reduce Lectins in Beans and Grains

Fortunately, it’s possible to reduce the number of lectins in beans and grains by using certain traditional cooking methods. Sprouting, fermenting, soaking, and pressure cooking are all useful ways to cut down on lectins, but keep in mind that none of these methods will remove the lectins completely. You can also buy certain brands that have taken some of these steps, so you don’t have to do any of the prep yourself.

You may choose to avoid beans entirely, but if your body isn’t too sensitive to lectin, you can reap the beneficial fiber content with these preparation methods. Start by enjoying a half-cup or so at a time to see how you feel. You might also want to get your cholesterol levels checked before and after you try these methods!

How to Soak Beans

The easiest way to remove lectins prior to cooking is to soak dry beans overnight. For best results, cover the beans completely with cold water, and add a little baking soda to help neutralize the lectins further. Since the lectins will release into the water, try to replace the soaking solution at least once or twice. Drain and rinse a final time before cooking to ensure you’ve removed as much as possible.

How to Sprout Beans

If you want to take it a step further, you can sprout the beans after you’ve soaked them. To do this, its best to use special sprouting seeds, which are free of any bacteria that would be killed if you were simply boiling them as usual.

After the soaking process, put the beans in a mason jar with a sprouting lid, or a cloth secured by a rubber band. Invert the jar over a bowl, and set it on the kitchen counter out of the way. You should see sprouts within a day, but you can keep sprouting them for a bit longer if you prefer. Just be sure to give them a rinse once a day. For more details on how to sprout individual legumes and grains, this is a great resource.

How to Ferment Beans

If you like your beans a little funky, fermentation might be the way to go. Like the sprouting process, you’ll want to start with rinsing and soaking your beans, except this time you want to cook them.

I recommend boiling them for at least an hour on the stovetop, or throw the soaked beans into a slow cooker and set on low for six to eight hours. Next, add seasoning (like garlic or salt) and a culture, like kombucha, yogurt, or a culture powder you can buy at the store. Mash them up a little to get more surface area fermenting, cover, and store in a warm place for several days. Open the lid slightly every day to release the excess gas, then set in the refrigerator when done.

Serve your fermented beans as a side dish, or enjoy them as a refreshing side dish!

Use a Pressure Cooker

Another easy way to reduce and almost completely eliminate lectins is to cook foods in a pressure cooker, like an Instant Pot. This greatly reduces the lectin content of beans and is an easy and fast way to cook them.

As with the other preparation methods I mentioned above, I recommend soaking the beans overnight in several changes of water, then pressure cooking according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Buy Safe Brands

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of soaking and cooking the beans yourself, Dr. Gundry recommends Eden brand beans. They’re pre-soaked, cooked in pressure cookers, then stored in BPA-free cans. Go ahead and eat these beans straight out of the container for the ultimate low-lectin convenience!

What Level of Lectin Consumption Is Safe?

This is a difficult question with no single answer. Keep in mind that many foods contain lectins, not just beans and grains. We can’t avoid them completely. The key is finding a workable balance that minimizes the worst sources.

My personal recommendation is to soak, sprout, ferment, or pressure cook foods high in lectins, like legumes, seeds, nuts, and grains like barley, oats, and wheat.

Nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplant also contain lectins, and these can be reduced by peeling and pressure cooking.

What I Do to Avoid Lectin

Personally, I avoid grains and legumes unless properly prepared, soak nuts overnight, and avoid all processed and commercially prepared foods, grains, and soy.

When I was actively working to halt my autoimmune disease, I avoided lectins much more carefully. Similarly, if you are overweight or attempting to lose weight, a more stringent avoidance of lectins might be helpful.

For many, avoiding lectins for a year or so can help soothe the intestinal lining, improve gut bacteria, facilitate weight loss, and reduce allergy symptoms. If you or your children are suffering from unknown allergies or gut problems, try removing beans entirely from your diet to see if that helps.

The Bottom Line

While many people in the United States don’t sprout or ferment their beans and grains, it might be worth trying. After all, beans are proven to lower cholesterol and fight cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, if your gut health suffers when you eat beans, or your kids have a strong reaction to them, you might want to avoid them a bit more stringently.

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Lauren Jefferis, board-certified in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor or work with a doctor at SteadyMD.

Do you eat beans? If so, what kind(s)? Share below!

  1. Afshin, A., Micha, R., Khatibzadeh, S., & Mozaffarian, D. (2014). Consumption of nuts and legumes and risk of incident ischemic heart disease, stroke, and diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 100(1), 278-288.
  2. Monk, J. M., Zhang, C. P., Wu, W., Zarepoor, L., Lu, J. T., Liu, R., … & Power, K. A. (2015). White and dark kidney beans reduce colonic mucosal damage and inflammation in response to dextran sodium sulfate. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry, 26(7), 752-760.
  3. Papanikolaou, Y., & Fulgoni III, V. L. (2008). Bean consumption is associated with greater nutrient intake, reduced systolic blood pressure, lower body weight, and a smaller waist circumference in adults: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2002. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 27(5), 569-576.
  4. Winham, D. M., Hutchins, A. M., & Johnston, C. S. (2007). Pinto bean consumption reduces biomarkers for heart disease risk. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 26(3), 243-249.
  5. Winham, D. M., & Hutchins, A. M. (2007). Baked bean consumption reduces serum cholesterol in hypercholesterolemic adults. Nutrition research, 27(7), 380-386.
Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


208 responses to “Spill the Beans: Are They Healthy Or Not?”

  1. Maril Avatar

    Does anyone really eat uncooked beans? How? Beans are not bad for you at all, if fully cooked. Beans do contain a toxic chemical when raw, but again, who eats raw beans? First time I hear that.

    1. Lisa Avatar

      yes, I do – well, sort of. Dried beans start off as garden green beans. When small, the pod is eaten. When they get bigger, you can eat the pod and the soft ‘pea like’ beans inside. Once fully mature the inside beans are hard, but still green. They have to be hung to dry (or machine dried) to harden into a ‘dried bean’. The mature, green but not yet dried beans are delicious; I used to eat them frequently (I grow my own). Now that I learned about lectin, I don’t anymore.

    2. Lisa Avatar

      In addition to the comment I already made, I should add that raw beans aren’t the only problematic beans. As stated in the article: “undercooked beans may be more toxic than raw beans” – so if beans are slightly undercooked they will have more lectin than beans that are raw!

  2. Laura Avatar

    Thank you for this article. Very informative! I just started down the paleo road and there’s so much to learn. Your blog has been so helpful! Thanks. 🙂

  3. Ashzarate Avatar

    I had been some form of vegetarian (vegan, raw food, etc.) for about two decades. I was sick a lot of the time and eventually found out that was due to celiac disease. I started a gluten free vegan diet and initially I felt better but was still constantly fatigued and also developed psoriasis. I then started eating meat (not a lot, a bit) –and I felt better. During that time, I was traveling and mostly eating veggies and meat and all my symptoms disappeared. When I came back, the chronic fatigue, inflammation, and psoriasis came back. I blamed my meat eating but the real culprits were the grains and legumes I introduced back into my diet. My flare ups are worse with legumes than with grains (but both cause symptoms to appear again). Listen to your body, healthy food isn’t healthy for everyone. I definitely think beans and other foods can be healthy for people that got lucky with the genetic lottery in life. If you have an autoimmune condition – I would definitely scrutinize the “healthy” foods in your diet. Even superfoods like spirulina had to go to the trash.

    1. Earl Avatar

      Listening to your body doesn’t always work, because eating health promoting foods often will induce a Herxheimer reaction, as has been known for many years (by those who know). The Herxheimer reaction is commonly thought to last for only a few days or a few weeks, but as I have proven to my own satisfaction at least, it can last for years, depending primarily on how long you have been ill. In your case, a., the spirulina may have induced a Herxheimer reaction. I deliberately induced a Herxheimer reaction in myself, which lasted for about three years before my high blood pressure was cured (as I commented above on 4-20-14). So, I deliberately took a known fact and carried it one step further and made it work for me. It didn’t happen accidentally. I am not one of those who won at the genetic lottery in life, unless it was a perseverance gene that I inherited.
      I found that I had type 2 diabetes when I was 25 years old, and I cured it by the time I was 40; but not the circulatory damage which had resulted. That took a lot longer, but now my circulation is almost normal. Ten years ago I was about to die from cirrhosis of the liver, but after years of searching I found the supplement that turned it all around. I still take it, even though my liver condition was cured almost ten years ago. And I’ve had a lot of other near fatal conditions, but they’re pretty much all cured now. So in my opinion a persons genetic inheritance is less important than what one does with that inheritance.

      1. Lisa Avatar

        Healthy foods are not the cause of herxing. Herxing happens when a large amount of bad bacteria die off suddenly and the amount of dead bacteria in the body is more than the body can keep up with eliminating and it causes a mild toxic effect. This happens mostly with antibiotics, but can also occur with certain herbal remedies – especially the herbal detoxes or cleanses that specifically target bad bacteria. Eating something healthy isn’t going to cause a mass die off of bacteria. Healthy eating adds nutrients to your body, but an apple or spirulina isn’t going to target and kill off anything and isn’t going to lead to hex symptoms.

  4. Earl Avatar

    I don’t think beans or other legumes such as peanuts could be harmful, because after eating huge amounts of beans and huge amounts of peanut butter (among many other healthy foods and food supplements of course) for about three years my extreme high blood pressure of almost 50 years duration has been completely cured for more than 6 months now. That’s right, after being on the highest dose of Lotrel available for about 10 years I suddenly found that my blood pressure had normalized and I haven’t required a single dose of blood pressure medication during the past 6 months. My systolic pressure now remains between 110 & 120 almost all the time without any treatment whatsoever.
    Most weeks for the past three years I’ve cooked a 6 quart crockpot full of beans with 2 chopped up huge onions and 1 four ounce link of thinly sliced beef sausage for flavor. I’ve also eaten between 1 & 2 twenty ounce jars of no salt added peanut butter almost every week. (high in monounsaturated fat for anyone who cares). So how is that for loading up on the legumes? I cook my beans for 12 hours. It makes a nice thick soup. Tasty. I alternate between pinto beans, large butter beans, and blackeyed peas. They are all equally delicious. I also add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (also high in monounsaturated fat for anyone who cares) to each 16 ounce bowl of beans, and some black pepper as well right before eating.
    I eat a lot of other things which probably had more to do with curing the high blood pressure, but I’m just saying that eating a lot of beans and peanut butter did not prevent my health from making a large improvement, and in my opinion they contributed greatly and in a positive way. I have nothing to gain here. I’m just reporting the true facts.

  5. Goyangi Avatar

    Why would one not soak beans overnight, I mean it is even written on the package? (I just wonder, why this need to be point out, it is also mostly written on the recipes containing beans.)

  6. Murph Avatar

    I actually switched to a pretty standard diet: I eat beans 2-3 times a day. In the beans, there will be just a touch of hamburger meat, alot of jalapeno peppers, bell peppers, onions, chili peppers, and tomatoes. My snacks are basically apples, peppers, bananas, pistachios, and sugar snap peas. I also drink a “Amazing Grass” once a day… which contains different vegetables and grasses (3-5 servings of dark greens per scoop). I feel absolutely amazing now that I’ve switched my diet. Yes, before I was eating a typical American diet.. high in sugar..high in animal fats.. I am by no means against eating meat, just trying to do so in moderation.

    Again, I feel amazing. Pinto beans 2-3 times day… awesome… I’m losing weight. I’m staying full. My fasting blood sugar has gone from 93 to 78 in 2 months. My healthy cholesterol is up.. my unhealthy is down.. triglycerides are way down. I’ve lost weight. Obviously, you would expect that weight would drop when you start to eat healthy..but, all of my blood work is better… And to top it off, my bowel movements are as close to normal as they’ve ever been.

  7. Andrew Russo Avatar
    Andrew Russo

    My apologies to the author but this post is a pile of misleading and possibly harmful nonsense. You have a point about ricin, really nasty stuff and heat resistant to an extent. So don’t include castor beans in your diet. Kidney beans can be nasty too, unless you thoroughly and properly cook them which denatures the lectins and leaves behind a well rounded portion of protein, fiber, resistant starch, and beneficial vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. Certain beans may have detrimental health effects but I do not believe many of those are commonly found in the human diet. Other beans, and possibly whole unprocessed grains, may cause problems if consumed raw or undercooked. The vast majority of legumes consumed by various cultures around the world, if properly prepared, are nothing but good for you, unless you have an allergy or some other clinical sensitivity.

    In fact, a little over a year ago I switched from a standard western diet to a more plant rich and definitely legume enriched diet and plunged my blood glucose from over 400 to under 100 without the use of medication.

  8. Linda Troxler Avatar
    Linda Troxler

    I have been researching the idea of lectins now for about six months, and Wellness Mama is correct; her claims correspond with the reading I have done, both with credible web sites and scholarly journal articles. Basically, lectins are carbohydrate-binding proteins that are natural defenses in plants, and have been intensified by modern food processing methods (to make the plants even more insect and disease-resistant).

    Lectins can damage our intestines, and then can move into the bloodstream. I have gone on a low-lectin diet, and the foods I do not eat are wheat, barley, rye, corn, soy, all legumes, dairy, tomatoes, white potatoes, eggplant, and all kinds of peppers. This diet also cuts out all processed foods, since they contain soy and grains. I am still undecided about rice; it is a grain, but I am still reading about its properties.

    What is left is pure meats, eggs, some vegetables, and some fruits. I use olive oil as a salad dressing and for cooking. Since I have been on this diet, I have lost weight, and my stomach and intestines feel better than they have in many years. I have had stomach and intestinal issues as long as I can remember, but I can live now without pain and digestive issues. I am still continuing to read and research the subject.

    1. Dave Avatar

      Likewise – beans absolutely nail me – causing inflammation and digestive upsets that disappear a week or so following their removal. Diagnosed a celiac, I turned to legumes as a source of protein – absolutely loved them but my health actually went downhill until I moved to a low lectin diet.

      I’m sure many people have no problems whatsoever with lectin in the diet as we humans have adapted to eat a wide variety of diets, so if you can cope with beans and grains then go for it, but for those with digestive issues and inflammation that just won’t resolve, try a low lectin diet for six weeks and see if it makes a difference – it has for me and many others.

  9. Mae Bari Avatar

    You’d think this article was about politics or religion given the emotionaly charged comments. And then to think, this article is just about beans, *BEANS*……hysterical, thanks for the laughs. (But really I am scared)

  10. Chase Johnson Avatar
    Chase Johnson

    what is science? a study conducted by humans. what is psychology? the study on human patterns and behavior conducted by humans and machines. what is a belief? a feeling through your entire body that trumps both science and psychology. since both science and psychology are simply observations that become a belief.

  11. Donna Gates Avatar
    Donna Gates

    I found that my family lost weight only after giving up beans, grains, dairy and nightshade vegetables. After years of eating how our Dr said to eat we discovered that because of the inflammation our bodies were under because of the reactions we had to the foods above we were nutrient deficient. This article is right on the mark. No it’s not for everyone but it’s no beans for us. Why torture your body over a bean? If you can’t eat it raw don’t eat it.

    1. Lorraine Avatar

      It’s just like that acidic and alkaline balance huh?
      Beans are listed as acidic as well as grains 😉 so alkaline foods (I think that’s how you spell it. Silly phone changing it) are simular to what this article is talking about. It weighs up with that.

  12. Christy Avatar

    I know this is an older article, but I couldnt agree more. I love your website it has so much useful information. I recently cut beans out of my already all natural and organic diet and I feel so much better. Whenever I ate any type of beans my stomach would just feel horrible, like the food would immeadiately start to ferment. So cutting beans out of my diet has been a great decision for my overall health and well-being. To me your article makes perfect sense! 🙂

  13. Marissa Avatar

    There is no danger from PHA lectin in properly cooked beans, including anything canned.

  14. John Lee Avatar

    I think the implication (about beans being good for the heart) has built in the assumption, that beans are replacing a proportion of one’s diet that would been filled by meat products (i.e. commercial meat). I also think it relevant to point out the relative health of a country like Japan, who’s cuisine is built upon soy products (much of which is fermented, I grant you). In any case, I think our greatest guide (when it comes to diet), should be human history. Beans are an economical, practical, and more humane source of protein.

    I have no dog in the fight; I eat both meat and beans. But I do consider eschewing something like beans, as a sign that people being too spoiled when it comes to what they eat. Historically, beans are a poor man’s food… We ate them because it was just cheaper. But nowadays, people don’t eat beans. I go to Chipotle, which features burritos, bowls with rice/beans/meat as staples. So it annoys me when I see people eschew beans–for double meat. Or just refuse rice. These people don’t realize the role these things have in human history (if nothing else, it was to fill one’s belly). Imagine your grandparents (maybe in 1910 New York City, or from their country of origin) turning down a nice bed of rice and beans… It wouldn’t happen. Because people appreciated food.

  15. Ian Brown Avatar

    So now nuts,pulses , wholegrains , pasta and rice is bad food, as I lift weights I consume a fair amount of meat and protein and need fibre . What are the healthy options left? Working 11 hour days and then hitting the gym leaves little time to prepare huge bowls of vegetables to eat all day to get the calories I need. So when I go to the supermarket for a lunch , I am completely stumped!

    1. Sybel Avatar

      I emphathize because unless you are willing to give up and be a 96 pound weakling, you will need to eat a variety of foods many of which have some issues. The key is to try to determine what may be safe limits of each. I’d could definitely benefit from 3 cups of beans per day if there were not any possible issues with that. But I currently hesitate to go over the 1 or 1.33 cups.

  16. Chels Avatar

    While lectins in beans may lead to health problems, you state that it is only suspected that it may lead to insulin and leptin resistance, which again may contribute to diabetes, obesity and heart disease. What I adamantly disagree with is your theory that lectins are more dangerous than saturated fat. Look at the obesity and health crisis plaguing the USA – this is a result of high fat, highly processed diets, not eating beans. Many Americans have probably never even tried eating beans.

    As well, lectins are destroyed when beans are cooked. Anyone who has ever eaten raw beans or undercooked beans can tell you that they spent hours in the washroom – it’s a lesson quickly learned to cook your beans completely before eating them.

    Traditional cultures have lived for thousands of years with vegetables, grains and beans (legumes) as their primary diet, with meat reserved for special occasions or affluent members of that society. They survived and thrived – why is it once they switched to a traditional SAD diet (Standard American Diet) did they develop comparable rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease similar to that found in North America?

    1. Jessica Avatar

      I am not sure what happened to my previous comment. You make some good points. It is interesting to read all the differing views. I have struggled with my weight and pcos for many years. I am considered obese. Recently, I was diagnosed with diabetes.

      I switched my diet to plant strong and vegan foods. In a little over 2 weeks my blood glucose range went down from the 300’s to normal ranges. I have also lost 25 pounds in 2 months. I eat vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes. I eat some kind of beans every day. My energy levels are higher than ever before. I am looking forward to improving my health and reaching my goal weight.

      With that being said, I think any information regarding nutrition should be weighed out carefully. If people are persuaded to eat or not eat certain foods, they could be missing out on very important benefits such as disease prevention.

  17. Phil Wells Avatar
    Phil Wells

    How about just eating a balanced diet, exercising, and getting proper rest? Things my great-grandma new worked pretty well. Some of your stuff is correct. Some……well, – debatable. I think it’s hilarious that, my entire life, people going into “health food” stores and decrying the evil of such-and-such foods or praising the glory of other foods, are usually the most unfit people I’ve ever seen.

  18. Scott Purser Avatar
    Scott Purser

    Your internet research is wrong. Legumes are part of any healthy diet- indeed, the cultures which exhibit the highest life expectancy all have diets based around legumes. When you cook food, you destroy toxins like lectin. What I’m trying to say is that you’ve wasted both your time and ours.

  19. Izzie Avatar

    This article would make sense if a person was eating raw beans, but given that most people follow the directions and wash/soak their beans, prior to consumption, this article is useless. Study after study, (which is why I am guessing you don’t cite any), clearly state that beans must be cooked, heated, and/or washed, in order for the lectin to be removed…

    Iyiyi… I really hate it when people have just enough information to hurt themselves, and others! I really hope people do their own research, because this article is utterly ridiculous.

    1. Ron Littles Avatar
      Ron Littles

      I really hope people listen to there body and note how they feel, think, and behave. If all the answers were in these so called credible studies, there would be a lot more health and less disease.

  20. Leah Avatar

    Goodness, you sure are taking some heat here, Wellness Mama! I guess by commenting I am sure to get some too?:) This is my first visit to your site and you have a lot of great information. I have also studied health and herbal medicine for a while, but I have had very different results when switching to meats, fats, and no grains or beans.

    I end up feeling very sick when I have done this, and even little amounts of animals fats and oils can make me feel very ill.

    On top of it, I cannot digest gluten or dairy. Whenever I deviate even a little bit from a low-fat, gluten free vegan diet, I start to get sick again. (Think flu-like symptoms without the flu:(

    I only wish it weren’t true, but I have self-tested many times! Even digestive enzymes and probiotics don’t help. I can have small quantities of lean chicken and some fish once in a while, but not much else.

    I have also observed that other people feel better when switching to a vegan diet like mine. They are healthier and the results of there lives prove that out.

    On the other hand, there are people who do horribly going vegan and do much better with meats, and little to no grains, much like that gentleman in your comments who ended up with diabetes.

    My family is split in the middle between being vegan and being more of carnivores with very little grains. We have all self-tested over a period of time. My oldest daughter does lousy with too many grains and not enough meat, and so does my hubby. My youngest daughter is like me, and my son seems to be able to eat everything-and boy does he ever! 😀

    I am sharing this because I have seen far too many blogs that push a one-way-only-type of eating plan for everyone, (whether vegan and grain-based or the opposite) and simply put, it doesn’t work for everyone.

    My advice to all is to test and see which foods work for you body and pay attention over time to how you feel. A healthy balance of all whole foods is best, in moderation, unless your body tells you otherwise!

    1. Pad Avatar

      This is something I am learning as well Leah! Thank you for your comment! Everyone is very different! I use to could eat anything in the world and it never hurt me. But now that I am older and have experienced so much hard stress, I developed hyperthyroidism and have digestive issues. I know that I am gluten intolerant and have to avoid dairy…it seems that from common sense, I eat beans very sparingly. I take several tablespoons of virgin coconut daily and I have my hyperthyroidism under control. I no longer eat grains or sugar and avoid msg -which is added to almost every food in restaurants. I am still praying and learning and God is leading me. He has shown me a lot in these past two months since I learned I was hyperthyroid. I take a lot of supplementation and juice cruciferous vegetables etc….

    2. Georgia Avatar

      I agree with the poster below and above–different strokes for different folks! It’s horrible that people are attacking a free, informative, and well-intentioned source of reading material–I mean, you’re not paying for it, you’re not forced to believe anything, and you’re not forced to follow any of the advice given! Put it in your think-tank and see if it might make sense for your personal situation!
      Leah is spot on because, much like I’d never follow the diet of a professional athlete because his/her lifestyle requires different nutrition than mine, to follow Wellness Mama’s advice exactly and assume your results will exactly emulate hers, without listening to how your body reacts and adjusting your use of available information and resources accordingly, defeats the purpose of gathering information to apply to your particular lifestyle and health circumstance.
      Pad is right because your body changes over time and your dietary needs at 2 are different than at 12 and again different at 21 and on down the line. Your health is not a stagnant thing! It changes.
      Which leads me to a third observation–sure, if you don’t react to beans, you could continue to eat them without negative impact for years to come. Or, just maybe (and this is not in any way intended to be a scare tactic, more a rephrasing of ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’) a slight health issue such as gas (which usually indicates something is happening that normally doesn’t–gas is not an isolated event) could slowly turn into something more complicated. Perhaps it might be beneficial to just see, for a little while, if your body works better without beans (for ‘beans’ you can substitute a variety of foodstuffs whose healthiness is debated! Try going without ‘milk’ or ‘wheat’ or ‘meat’ etc. and see if it helps).
      I used to eat the HECK out of some grains. I used to drink the HECK out of some beer. I used to be a pastry chef, for pete’s sake! Elbow-deep in breads and pastries all day, every day! Eating my way through a wall of deliciousness! And then I found out that the reason I’d been sick for eight years was because (dum-da-da!) I had celiac disease, like my mother and my grandmother before me. Oh, the irony!
      So, my swollen white-lined throat and lymph nodes? The high fevers? The body aches and exhaustion that lasted for weeks? All that stuff? Something I never, in a million years, would have connected to grains. And neither did the many, many, many doctors I saw during the eight years I was sick.
      To get back to the article, yes, ‘beans’ might not be a ‘problem’, but I assume that if you’re using this site, you’re looking for alternative ways to improve your health because what you’re getting from doctors isn’t quite bespoke enough for you. I repeat, not a single doctor, for eight years of crazy-town, ever suggested I had celiac disease (all my symptoms mimicked strep, mono, etc. No gas, no diarrhea, no nada! But I was allergic to stuff like, ah, cold weather (oh, the hives!) and I had crazy vertigo, which isn’t too fun when you work around ovens and knives. My mother, also celiac, is deathly allergic to a particular kind of bug found in our back yard and is under house arrest for eight months out of the year. Back when she was diagnosed, this was not a ‘medical community supported’ symptom of celiac disease).
      Anyhow, I had to figure it out for myself. None of my symptoms matched the ‘celiac disease’ profile or ‘medical articles’ of the time (other than the one that links wheat and schizophrenia, which I randomly read, before I knew I had celiac, in the interests of my schizophrenic uncle. Because eating gluten when you have celiac can make you feel crazy and depressed). Now, I live in France, where the medical community is SUPER skeptical of celiac disease and regard it as some kind of fancy American export. I like to think that this is because French status quo/medical articles/supported ‘sources’ haven’t caught up to American ones, or perhaps that the disease is less prevalent here than in the US (which leads to the interesting and not exactly far-fetched idea that disease is a conflation of factors, much like your own body, and therefore several health factors contribute to any one malady or disease or intolerance, etc.). The status quo/medical articles/supported ‘sources’ vary from country to country, from culture to culture, from diet to diet and from lifestyle to lifestyle.
      My overall point is that bashing people for providing their opinions/research/experiences doesn’t help this conversation expand to include all available information. It is not Wellness Mama’s responsibility to maintain your health for you, much like it is not a doctor’s duty to understand your body better than you do and be 100% right every single time. Neither W Mama nor doctors are living inside you. They are not superhuman. Understanding your body is YOUR responsibility, and getting angry at people for offering their point of view, for free, is counteractive and counter-intuitive, if everyone here wants to live the healthiest, most well-informed life possible. Which I assume everyone does!
      Thanks, Wellness Mama, for the loads of research, personal opinion, and experience. All of which is valuable!

      Some links, for the trolls but mostly for interested parties who like reading things and making up their own mind about it:
      https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/559747_1 (beans may not be an obvious ‘problem’ for you, but if you think they might, don’t wait to check it out because to do so puts you at greater risk for serious illness!)
      for the point below: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/keyfacts.htm
      GMOs were, for a long time, government-approved and 100% recommended by the FDA as a way to cope with food shortages. Now, it’s this: https://responsibletechnology.org/glutenintroduction/ In short, ‘government approved’ cannot be considered infallible.

      and, just a thought: for all those people advocating the ‘normalness’ of consuming beans or grains or any food item, if supposed ‘scare tactics’ are empty threats, why is it such a problem to extend this line of thinking towards the nature of ‘normal’, ‘recommended’ food consumption? Who dictates what we eat? It’s not dictated by what’s growing or hanging out in our backyard, it’s dictated by companies with a vested material interest in promoting their product in the most appealing light. That’s why information regarding the same food item will change over time, to appeal to whatever current health trend (or new information) is influencing consumers to spend more money on one type of food over another. Usually, the promoters of changes and fads have a vested material interest (money, honey!) in promoting this fad/change and companies who control our food sources jump on the money-making bandwagon by restyling their product as a perfect fit in this new fad/change of direction. How do they restyle their product? By hiring a medical professional to find a way to prove their product’s ‘perfect fit’. Because the medical community is infallible, right?
      Therefore, always, always, always assume that ‘normal’, ‘recommended’ or ‘FDA approved’ or ‘healthiest’ items or ways of consumption might have a factor other than your best interests propelling them. The food pyramid? 6-11 servings of pretty much anything is kinda, well, a lot. Whose idea was 6-11 servings? Whose interests are represented by the current food pyramid? Why was I repeatedly given antibiotics when I had no viral infection and informed the doctor(s) that antibiotics only made me sicker? Whose interests were being served?
      WMama is not scare tactics any more than the flu shot (TAKE A FLU SHOT OR YOU AND YOUR GENETIC LINE WILL ALL DIE GARRR! Once again, whose interests are being served? Instead of bashing the makers of flu shots, take the information (a flu shot might be a good idea for some people) and apply it to your particular circumstances).
      Because by bashing providers of information, we limit the available information we can then discuss, think about, and decide whether or not to implement. Despite a doctor using ‘sources’ and ‘supported evidence’ or ‘peer reviews’ from parties whose interests might or might not be the greater common good, I’ve started to consider and sometimes discard certain medical-community-supported activities advocated by medical professionals–such as several French doctors’ advice to put myself back on a gluten-rich diet in order to be tested and registered by the French medical community as a sufferer of la maladie coelique, which was diagnosed by my American doctor via means not supported by French doctors, regardless of the fact that reintroducing gluten after years of a gluten-free diet not only undermines the progress I’ve made in repairing my health but also puts me at risk for new complications and diseases. However, instead of telling the French doctor that s/he is a raving idiot whose sources of information obviously aren’t viable or medically supported, I can take his/her advice and apply it to what I already know to be true about my own body. Which is that, as a person who has celiac disease, I should not eat gluten.
      Same logic applies to beans! If they don’t work for you, don’t listen to those who want you to eat them, no matter how supported their research. And if beans work for you and you have no doubts, don’t listen to those who don’t want you to eat them.
      Anyhow! Keep the information coming, I say! And apologies again for this post being forever long. Thanks again Wellness Mama. Cheers!

      1. fiona Avatar

        Georgia, I don’t usually read the really long comments as they’re usually self- congratulating rants but yours grabbed my attention right from the start and I very much agree with it.

        I am horrified by the close to abusive comments here. I have followed Wellnessmama’s blog for quite a while and while not everything fits into my eating plan, the blog is well researched and informative and has gone a long way towards making my family’s lives more healthy.

        Seems there are angry and frustrated people who troll the ‘net looking for places to disagree rudely.

        If you don’t agree with the information here, simply don’t follow the advice given. Most of us are not interested in your foot stamping and, as our bodies are all different, we can experiment for ourselves to see if the advice works for us.

    3. Elleye Avatar

      A sensible approach. deepak Chopra explains that in Ayurvedic medicine we have different bodily requirements and we are catagorized accordingly. Some do well with meat, some don’t.

      Truly one man’s meat is another man’s poison.

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