I have something to come clean about….
Literally, all kinds of beans.
Not just because they are yummy, but because they have changed my life.
(I’m going to get graphic here with hormone and period talk, so if you aren’t into that, just skip down to the recipe!)
Over six years ago, I came off of birth control because Brian and I were ready to start a family. To say things went a little cray is an understatement.
My period (which had always been on the heavier side) became nearly unbearable. Not only did it double or triple in volume, I also started having huge clots. I became so exhausted because I was losing upwards of 400 milliliters of blood during my period. Compare that to the 10-80 milliliters of blood that is average and you realize it’s kind of excessive.
Not only was I losing too much blood and many of them were clots (both of which were a sign that something was really off with my hormones), but it led to extreme fatigue, skin issues, brain fog, dizziness, and PMS symptoms that were severe. I also would get the occasional debilitating cramp, but fortunately only a couple throughout my period.
Simultaneously, Brian and I started trying to have babies and it was a big struggle. I went through multiple surgeries and lot’s of failed rounds of IVF. If you want more info about our journey, you can listen here!
My digestion had been a struggle in the past, but had improved with some food and lifestyle changes, but something was still, clearly off.
I started working with naturopaths to try to heal, and while some things made it a bit better here and there, nothing really, truly fixed it.
About six months ago I was listening to my favorite podcast (What’s the Juice) and they had biochemist Karen Hurd on. They were discussing how healing beans can be. This was not news to me. I have helped my clients heal their digestion with increasing fiber (beans are the best source) and I myself had made some headway with my digestion and hormone levels by incorporating beans daily.
If you have signs that your hormones are off- PMS, irregular periods, heavy or really light periods, hormonal acne around your jaw, cramps, thyroid issues, PCOS, endometriosis, etc.- getting rid of excess hormones is critical. The best way to get rid of excess hormones is with beans.
Beans have the highest amount of soluble fiber in any food. Significantly higher than the second highest food which is oats. The best way to get excess hormones out of our body is by consuming soluble fiber. The soluble fiber binds to excess hormones and helps push it out of our body. So, so crucial.
As our body is producing hormones all day, every day, using soluble fiber to escort these excess hormones out of the body just once a day isn’t enough. It needs to happen multiple times a day to really reach hormone balance.
Karen goes through a number of other things that are important to support healthy hormone balance (minimizing sugar, caffeine, and dairy, getting in adequate animal protein, sleep, etc.) but upping my beans sounded easy enough.
I have been pretty good about getting a 1/2 a cup of beans in 3-4x a day. I’ve worked on managing my blood sugar (super important for hormones), minimizing sugar and dairy consumption, and doing my best to keep alcohol consumption low. I’ve always prioritized sleep and we have become a household of minimal toxins, all contributors as well.
Though my period isn’t perfect yet, it is sooo much better. I now only have two heavy days and the rest are really manageable. I have very minimal PMS symptoms and my energy is a bit more stable (though still low during my period, as to be expected). I’ve only been incorporating this for three months, and if I’m honest, haven’t been 100% with it by any means. But, even doing this protocol 60-70% of the time has made a huge impact and has truly changed my life.
I truly believe they are one of the most healing and beneficial foods we can consume. I have for a long time, but this new experiment with my hormones has solidified that for me.
If you have beans and feel super gassy (easy to fix) or are worried they will be inflammatory for your system, or if you just want to learn more about the Bean Protocol, I highly recommend this podcast episode. I have shared it with some of my clients and their lives, like mine, have changed because of it.
When thinking about eating beans 3-4x a day, I wasn’t sure what that would like like for breakfast. But I was shortly thereafter introduced to the idea of breakfast soup and I’m totally hooked!
I generally eat this soup for breakfast with two fried eggs on top, but it could easily be enjoyed on its own anytime of day. I have thrown a homemade meatball in it and loved that as well. The options are endless, but anyway you eat it, you will be satisfied.
Takes about 90 minutes, makes about 6 servings
Yummy optional toppings (not all at once): Fried eggs, meatballs, goat cheese, pepitas
Gluten Free and can be made vegan
Meal prep tips: This makes a large batch. Make it at the beginning of the week and pull from it whenever you need a meal. You can also freeze this in portion sized containers, thawing the night before you want it.