3-Month Bean Protocol Recap
Back in May, I was taking a walk with my friend Jess with my daily iced coffee in hand. On our walk I was complaining about my skin going absolutely nuts ever since Jackson got back from the vet. If you’re new around here – my dog Jackson had neck surgery in late February then had post-surgery complications and almost died. After 16 days at 2 different vet facilities, he was finally able to come back home. But then a pandemic began, quarantine was put into effect, and every day I was worried something might go wrong with him. All this to say – I was stressed AF and the stress hormones had obviously taken a toll of my body and skin. And I didn’t know where to turn. Everyone on instagram was saying I should take a ton of supplements, different products were recommended, and it all felt like this same hamster wheel I had been on for most of my life dealing with different bouts of cystic acne. Then my friend Jess told me about the Bean Protocol, which she had just found out about on episode 83 of the Expanded Podcast. So she sent me the podcast and I listened that day.
In this episode Unique Hammond shares her experience with Crohn’s disease and her body that was deteriorating with each day. She felt like nothing would ever help her and was at a loss…until she tried the Bean Protocol. After a year and a half on the Bean Protocol, she was in remission from her Crohn’s and finally had her life back. It’s such an inspiring story that you need to hear. But something that intrigued me even more was her conversation about the Bean Protocol clearing up acne (selfish, I know). Since I’ve eaten mostly paleo for almost 10 years, I never understood why I had skin issues, and I definitely never ate beans. So this concept was pretty foreign to me. But I thought – what do I have to lose?? It’s simply eating real food…why not try it? So I jumped in that next day!
- I’m going to give you my own simple breakdown of the Bean Protocol, but I’ll be sure to share links so you can get even more information on it!
With the Bean Protocol, you’re simply adding beans into your daily routine because the beans contain soluble (and insoluble) fiber, which clings to toxins in the body so you can excrete them and get rid of them. When you have toxins/excess hormones in your body, but you aren’t getting enough soluble fiber, the body simply recycles those toxins instead of excreting them. Example – I have excess stress hormones in my body, but before the Bean Protocol I wasn’t eating enough soluble fiber so my body continued to recycle them and the body would purge those toxins through the skin – aka acne.
When you’re following the Bean Protocol, you’ll want to consume lots of legumes, leafy greens, onions, garlic, cabbage, and more – these foods help your body detox the toxins out. And you’ll obviously still eat lots of your normal veggies, animal based protein, and healthy fats. But you’ll also want to remove the foods/drinks in your life that cause a hormonal or histamine response. That means removing –
- Sugar & sugar substitutes
- Processed foods
- Factory farmed meats
When I started the Bean Protocol, I went balls to the wall and removed everything at once. I stopped drinking coffee cold turkey, I removed all sugar and alcohol which luckily wasn’t hard because I don’t eat or drink either very often, I stopped eating any processed meats like prosciutto or pepperoni, etc., and cut out all dairy (another one that wasn’t hard). I don’t eat gluten so that was fine. But cutting out caffeine cold turkey was BRUTAL. And that was so surprising to me because I normally only had 1 or sometimes 2 coffees a day. I never felt addicted, I just thought that I liked my routine. But turns out, I was DEFINITELY ADDICTED. Within a day, I was having withdrawal and detox symptoms. I had a constant headache for at least 3 days, I had full body aches for 5 days, and my abdominal area around my liver ached for almost a week. I couldn’t really work out and I could barely get off the couch for a few days. I never understood alcohol or drug addiction until this experience. It was no fucking joke. And now I understand why people go back to caffeine when they start to feel this way. It was really tough, but after a week I was already feeling better.
For 2 months of the Bean Protocol, I was SUPER strict. No sugar, no caffeine (no, not even decaf), no alcohol, no nothing. I ate my beans, my protein, and my veggies. And with each month, I continued to see results. It’s fucking bananas. I understand that people will say that it’s just from cutting out caffeine or cutting out sugar, and I promise you – it’s not. I’ve cut out caffeine in the past to no avail. I’ve cut out sugar many many times to no avail. And that’s because I have excess hormones in my body that need to be excreted, but I wasn’t getting enough insoluble fiber to help my body get them out. By simply adding beans to my diet, I’m able to finally get rid of those toxins/hormones. Yes, cutting out those things helps so much, but the beans are what have really changed my skin. Please don’t try to act like you know more about my body or my experience. You know who you are out there, you judgy judgers.
Now before I get into my experience with each month, I wanted to show what some of my meals look like. I honestly didn’t change a whole lot other than simply adding beans to my normal meal. The thing I found the hardest at first was removing fat from my meals with beans. Fat clings to soluble fiber and then hormones/toxins can’t cling to the fiber, so you’ll want to consume your beans without fat. I’ll add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil to cook a large amount of veggies in (and broth, if needed) and I eat leaner sources of protein. Fat is in all the delicious sauces and it makes meals tastier, so that was a little hard to leave behind at first. Then it wasn’t hard anymore after a couple weeks because I just stopped worrying about it. Things always feel like a big deal in the beginning.
Here’s a little breakdown of what my days look like on the Bean Protocol –
- Breakfast with resistant starch, animal based proteins, and beans
- Snack 1 – beans
- Lunch with resistant starch, animal based proteins, and beans
- Snack 2 – beans
- Snack 3 – beans
- Dinner with resistant starch, animal based proteins, and beans
- If I’m still hungry after dinner, I’ll sometimes have some sort of fat like a couple tablespoons of peanut butter
Below is what my breakfast often looks like – aka what every meal looks like throughout my days. I’ll normally have some sort of resistant starch like oats or rice, animal based protein, veggies, and then beans! Before my days of eating paleo, I thought breakfast HAD to be sweet, but these days I just want something that’s fast and easy, which means I eat a lot of leftovers.
And below are photos of what I eat for lunch and dinner. Taco Pasta Salad, Lentil Tabbouleh, Turmeric Rice & Beans, and Stewed Beans are some of the recipes I made at home and then shared on the blog. You’ll see me use mostly black beans, pinto beans, and lentils because those work best for my body at this time. And you’ll see lentil pasta used from time to time when I’m just over eating normal beans. Lentil pasta was definitely my saving grace when it came to not going completely crazy or feeling too restricted every day.
Now let’s get in to my experience throughout the last 3 months! Below is a photo I took the day before starting the Bean Protocol. My skin was breaking out with small white heads and big cystic zits throughout my face and neck. It was brutal. Not only was I in pain, but I was feeling completely lost and depressed every single day. I felt like I was doing everything right with my skincare…but as I know now, that really isn’t as important.
Then this photo below is just one month on the Bean Protocol. After the first week of my brutal detox experience, I felt surprisingly good! I did experience a purging stage where my skin actually got worse, probably 2 weeks in, but it got better as the month went on.
Next is 2 months on the Bean Protocol. I stayed really strict through month 2 and my skin continued to get better and better. At this point, almost all the cystic zits had cleared up and I even found that my melasma and other dark spots got better.
But I don’t want to act like this healing process was completely linear. It’s definitely been up and down throughout each month. Something I’ve found incredibly important on this protocol is tracking my period and ovulation. I ALWAYS break out around both and by tracking my period and ovulation, I know exactly when that is going to happen so I can begin to up my bean intake 2-3 days before my period and before ovulation. When I up my bean intake, I will eat 2 tablespoons of beans every hour. This helps deal with the influx of hormones and getting rid of them. Below is a photo I took during month 2 and the breakouts I experienced around my period when I didn’t up my beans.
And below is a photo of 3 months on the Bean Protocol. Month 3 was really hard for me, honestly. Because I have a history with eating disorder behaviors, telling myself I can’t have something makes me go a little crazy. And after 2 months of saying ‘I can’t have that’ I found myself binging by month 3. And I haven’t binged in YEARS. Years ago I found that my personality type doesn’t do well with extremes – you tell me I can’t have something, I want it 10x more. I’m very childlike. So telling myself I couldn’t have sugar or caffeine or really anything fun for 2 months led me to get a little crazy by month 3. I found myself binging on granola, sweetened popcorn, and really anything that I wasn’t supposed to have. Since my skin was improving, I decided that it would be best for my longterm health to back off some of the strict parts so I could have more of a balance. That just meant if I really wanted a decaf latte, I would have it. If I really wanted a smoothie bowl, I would have it. If I really wanted a spicy margarita, I would have it. Then the other times, I would eat my normal bean meals. Telling myself I could have anything I wanted made me feel less restricted and less obsessive, which meant I was back on track pretty quickly. Just a little food for thought, in case you have a personality type like mine.
There are two HUGE things I didn’t expect to experience while on the Bean Protocol. First, I saw a massive improvement in my period symptoms. Ever since I started following the Bean Protocol, I have had NO CRAMPS whatsoever. My mood also feels more balanced during my period and I don’t get cravings liked I used to. I’ve also been told that the length of my period will begin to shorten with time. I haven’t experienced that yet, but I am hopeful! And the second things is sex drive!! I got off birth control over a year ago for a multitude of reasons, one being sex drive. It improved somewhat after getting off birth control, but the Bean Protocol has improved it drastically. No joke. These beans are fucking awesome!!
Now I want to talk about the things I don’t normally talk about on here – poop. And farts. But that’s a really important piece of the Bean Protocol and it’s the question I get the most. When I cut out coffee, I was pretty scared I wouldn’t be regular anymore, but luckily that wasn’t a problem WHATSOEVER. With the amount of fiber you’re consuming on the Bean Protocol, you are regular AF. I’m clearing out those toxins multiple times a day, if you get my drift. Now for the farts – if you’re not used to consuming beans, get ready to blow the place up. I’ve never had gas issues in the past while eating paleo and these beans LIT ME UP. It was bad. At first, you really need to figure out the beans that work best for you. Like I said before, black beans, pinto beans, and lentils work best for me. Garbanzo beans? Hard no. But now that I’m 3 months in, I have no gas whatsoever. It’s completely gone. And now I’ve been able to start adding in a small amount of garbanzo beans with no issue. It’s all about finding what works best for you and getting through the fermentation process at the beginning.
Over the past 10 years of eating paleo and gluten free, I’ve always feared beans. I’ve always been warned about lectins and the harm they can do to the body. Soaking beans overnight and rinsing them reduces that, just FYI. But at the end of the day, veggies have phytates and leafy greens have oxalates, and we continue to eat those things because the benefits outweigh the negatives. Beans are a part of many different cultures and diets, they are even a main food group in blue zone areas (areas of the world where people live much longer). I don’t think I’m an expert in this stuff in any capacity, but I do believe that we continue to learn more about the body and I think it’s small minded to not be open to different ways of eating. I hope to live a long life and I know I’ll continue to try new things along the way in hopes of making that life as healthy as possible.
So…would I recommend the Bean Protocol to others? Short answer – FUCK YES. Does it suck cutting out caffeine? Absolutely. Is it worth it? 100%. I will definitely still have decaf coffees from time to time, but I try to stay away from it as much as possible now. After experiencing those withdrawals, it really makes me wonder if caffeine will be one of those things that we look back on in the future, wondering how people consumed coffee every single day. Almost like smoking. I’m trying to look at caffeine more like sugar now – it’s something I’ll have from time to time, but it won’t be something I have daily.
If you want to learn more about the Bean Protocol, here are the resources I used:
- Episode 83 of the Expanded Podcast with Unique Hammond
- Episode 75 of the Expanded Podcast with Karen Hurd
- Unique Hammond Bean Protocol Ecourse – use code PALEOMG to get $30 off!
- I really loved this Ecourse and it has SO MUCH more information in it than this post. She includes so much background about what the body needs and doesn’t need, a meal plan, meal prep video, and you can even book phone calls with her. I’ve chatted on the phone with Unique twice so far and it’s so nice to have someone to answer your questions throughout so you know you’re on the right path.
- Karen Hurd Acne Ecourse
I shared a HUGE question and answer instagram story on IG – you can find a full recap in the Bean Protocol Highlight.
I track my periods with this ovulation tracker. I LOVE it! Highly recommend it for so many reasons, but especially if you suffer from acne.
But just FYI – the Bean Protocol doesn’t just help with acne, it helps with SO FREAKING MUCH!! Acne, eczema, arthritis, fibromyalgia, lyme disease, menopause, anxiety, asthma, hashimotos, toxic mold, infertility, diabetes, depression, and more. It’s all about getting toxins out of the body so your body can thrive. In 3 short months, my skin is better, I sleep better, my PMS symptoms are gone, my sex drive is up – if that’s not proof of the body liking beans, I don’t know what is!! I hope this post helps you and let me know if you have any questions I might be able to answer or lead you in the right direction!
Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.
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149 thoughts on “3-Month Bean Protocol Recap”
Hi Juli! I’ve loved watching/hearing about your journey with the Bean Protocol. I too have cystic acne prone skin and have been doing paleo for the last almost 10 years. stress fucks my skin up as well! What helps my skin a lot is meditating. I look forward to trying the bean protocol next year when I’m no longer pregnant or breast feeding! Thanks for sharing this post!
Hi Juli, thank you for sharing your story. This has been great to read and follow your journey the past few months. One question I have..does the bean protocol only work if you cut out the sugar, alcohol, dairy, etc. In other words, if I added beans to my diet (and took fat out during those meals) but kept everything else the same, would the beans still do their job of removing toxins?
i’m sure it would still help to some capacity, but it’s important to decrease your toxic load. the more toxic load you have within your body, the harder it is process those toxins out. i don’t know what your health concerns are and in what amount you’re consuming sugar, alcohol, dairy, etc., but the less you consume those things, th better just in general! and then the beans can more thoroughly do their job!
Thanks Julie. I was trying the bean protocol but it has be backed up and so bloated I can’t stand it anymore. I guess everything works for each person differently. I do have IBS so beans have always been incredibly hard to digest for me. I did remove coffee and have to say that made a huge difference on its own as well as sugar. You do so much for your skin that although the bean protocol probably helps how can you be sure when you do such extensive skin work?
i actually cut out all skincare products during my 3 months of the bean protocol. i only used a wash, toner, vitamin c and spf. i used WAY more that was supposed to help with acne when my skin was at its worst. skin issues come from gut, digestive, and hormonal issues. you can use all the products in the world and see an esthetician constantly, but unless you have fixed what is going on INSIDE, you won’t see the full improvement outside.
Makes sense. Thanks for answering. I will keep going wish my body responded as well as yours did but maybe I just need a bit more time. Thanks again for sharing the post and the recipes. I actually found just taking some beans and adding a tablespoon of no sugar/no fat salsa in them taste quite delicious.
how long have you been following the protocol?
Yes!! Thank you for noting that skin issues and healing come from the inside out. Most of these issues have to do with leaky gut and once that is healed, the benefits are enormous.
Thank you for this I am excited about all the benefits of beans. Do you used canned beans? Thanks so much!
yes! canned, unsalted, then I drain and rinse
Liza for constipation the bean protocol changes to beans WITH fat (olive or avocado oil). That leads to soluble fiber for bulk and oil for lubrication. I’m on that protocol.
thank you for sharing this Mori!!!
Thank you Juli for all the information!!!
Hi Mori – Which protocol are you following?
Hi Mori I would LOVE to know more ab the protocol for constipation!!! I’m dying to take the course but it’s so expensive 😫😫
This is happening to me too. I have IBS as well, has it gotten better for you?
Liza if you listen to Karen R. Hurd she talks about other ways to do this if you cannot do the beans! Definitely worth listening to. I just started my journey with the bean protocol and I am slowly cutting things out and adding in the beans. I have never ever been able to stick to anything so I pray this will work. I don’t have any specific health concerns other than a lingering headache which I think is stress induced but not certain. I feel the bean protocol could really only help things, so here’s to all the gas!
So after seeing your results, I informally started doing the bean protocol with just the complimentary consultation with Unique!! I was terrified of eating beans because CARBS!! Oh and to have to give up chai twice a day I thought would kill me!! But my hormones have been weird the last 6 months giving me skin issues, digestive issues and zero libido, so I thought let’s try this!!
One week in my face looks amazing, my digestive issues gone and I’ve even lost weight! The withdrawal was brutal but after day 3, I was fine.
I’m going to be doing the protocol in September with Unique but just wanted to say it totally works and thank you for the intro to beans!!😉
YES!! i lost weight, too!! man, those withdrawals are seriously insane. i’m so happy the protocol has worked for you, too!! that’s amazing!
Hi! I just wanted to ask you about the weight loss- because I was carrying about 15 lbs more than I wanted, Unique suggested cutting out all other grains and potatoes – but I was left feeling really hungry and/or unsatisfied. I’m curious if you ever felt hungry and how much fat snack you were doing (I was given the protocol of beans 6x a day and 1.5 cups of nuts or about a cup of nut butter a day) I felt great but gained weight wahhh…Any tips?
well fat is higher in calories compared to protein and carbohydrates, so you’ve most likely just gone into a caloric surplus with the amount of fat you’re eating. i would pay attention to how you feel. if you don’t feel satisfied without those carbs, increase them and try reducing the fat. it’s all about playing around with your diet and finding what works for you. tracking your food may also help with that, as well!!
Did you do anything to help with the headaches? I’ve quit coffee before with more intake and not felt this bad. I’m miserable. It’s day 3.
Julie, I immensely appreciate you sharing your story! My acne seems to be identical to what you describe yours is and I’ve had a major flare up (stress induced) that last few months also. Literally I feel like my conversation, thoughts, and all in between is solely focused on my acne; it is life consuming! I don’t think you realize how much it affects your mental health at first. I may of missed this in the blog post, but do you have to eat a resistant starch with your meals/beans? If so, why?
I’m so sorry, Juli***
With having a unique name I should of known to check spelling twice!
no not at all, i just do!
Hi Juli, great post as always. One question, can you do it while pregnant? Thanks!
Hi Juli – just wondering if you still took collagen products during this process. I luv my collagen and would hate to give it up. 🙂
no, i cut out all supplements during the protocol. i’ve heard collagen can cause acne so i just removed it all together for now
Thanks again for sharing! I’m not doing full on bean protocol( my brother is getting married in 3 weeks and I’m definitely having champagne and cake that day) but I have started incorporating beans into my diet and I’ve already noticed a difference!
that’s amazing!! so happy to hear that Kari!!
Juli! Do you do canned beans or dry beans that you cook? I’ve read that canned beans have less fiber and that the aluminum cans have some shit in them that gets into the food. Ugh. It’s always something, right?! PS you’re the best.
i do canned beans because i’m lazy, but you can use any kind of beans you want!!
Thanks SO much for sharing. I’m 5 weeks into the bean protocol for my cystic acne thanks to you and my acupuncturist and I’ve seen amazing results. Very similar to yours! I was already doing all this shit (except the beans) and nothing helped my skin. So adding beans is truly the easiest and most effective thing ever for my hormone issues. SO much easier and cheaper than all the damn supplements and herbs I’ve been guzzling for 2 years trying to fix the acne. Excited for you!!
YAS!! it’s so frustrating to me when people think it’s just removing all the other stuff. been there, done that. it’s the freaking beans!! and the cheapest thing EVER!! so happy you’re experiencing great results, too!!!
Thanks for sharing! I heard about the bean protocol on your Instagram page and started it about 6 weeks ago. I definitely noticed improvements with my acne right away. I have tried literally almost every other diet out there. Paleo, keto, low FODMAP, specific carb, elimination diets etc etc. I know it’s not just the sugar, caffeine, dairy and alcohol because I’ve tried ALL of that. I have struggled with staying super consistent after the first few weeks and I did notice some more breakouts after a particularly ‘cheaty’ time period. It’s such a relief to find something that actually helps after spending thousands upon thousands on endless supplements, testing, and ND appointments. Thank you so much!
YES!!! that’s exactly how i feel about it!! it’s amazing to find something so simple, so affordable, and so natural that actually WORKS!!
Hi Juli! This is so fascinating. Thanks for sharing. I wanted to recommend a book to you called “brain over binge” by Kathryn Hansen…you may have heard of it and it sounds like you have that part under control since not being so restrictive, but that book really changed my life and my thoughts around binge eating and my disordered eating habits, so I thought I’d share. ☺️
Have a great day!
thanks JJ! i haven’t had issues with binging in probably 6 or more years. it’s only when i tell myself i can’t have something, that’s when i feel restricted and go a bit crazy. but as long as i don’t do that, i feel great and food obsession is never on my mind!
Juli might not need the book recommendation but I am going to check it out. Thanks a bunch for sharing. On the struggle bus again over here.
I’m trying out the protocol and quit caffeine almost two weeks ago. The withdrawal definitely sucked, but what I didn’t anticipate was how challenging it would be to get up and get going in the morning and focus of my work. Have you had any issues with focusing without caffeine? The last semester of my doctorate program may not have been the best time to drop caffeine, now that I think about it.
it took me probably a month to actually have my energy back in the mornings and be able to focus again.
I’m so grateful that you shared the Bean Protocol with us! It’s insane that something as simple as beans can make such an impact, but I’m so here for it!
I’m just curious if you have any fruit or natural sugars, or if you’ve cut those out too.
no, for me with my acne issues, i cut out all sugar including fruit.
wow, this is so great to hear you found something that works really well for you! I decided to start eating beans as an afternoon snack because I’m just not ready to go all in, but I do see a difference even just doing this.
I am so excited to read this and give it a try! My sex drive is basically nonexistent and the OBGYN I’ve gone to is useless to me!
i felt the exact same way before
In all that you have learned about the Bean Protocol, do you think it would help with gastritis issues or stomach pain due to acid build up? Seems like even just upping bean intake in general is beneficial.
yes! karen hurd has an ecourse about that! https://karen-r.mylearnworlds.com/course?courseid=heal-ulcerative-colitis-and-crohns-disease&_ga=2.14956534.1977153165.1597782072-1176265736.1597782072
Well done Juli! I have followed you for years and remember your past struggles with acne. It’s horrible.
You sharing your experience so honestly will help many people. I personally used to eat Paleo which definitely helped me with different things, but I do believe there isn’t enough diverse prebiotic fibre in that diet for the gut microbiome. I’m a Naturopath-Nutritionist and I specialise in the gut microbiome. I bet the new foods you’re eating have really increased your microbiome diversity and increased the levels of anti-inflammatory substances produced by healthy bacteria, such as butyrate. Essential for hormone balancing.
So wonderful you’ve found something that works so well for you 😀 The improvement in period pain is also very heartening!
Thanks so much for sharing. I’m 1 month in thanks to you. Beans! Who would have thought it?!
right?! so crazy!!
Juli, Thank you so much for all the info. The bean protocol is something I am going to look into because my hormonal acne has been out of control for the last few years. Question, can the protocol be done even if one is still on birth control?
yes, you can still do the protocol while on birth control. i don’t know how the birth control will effect the outcome of the protocol. that would be a great question to ask unique!!
Amazing results! I heard the same podcast a few months ago and started the protocol last week (for a post-pregnancy sluggish thyroid). I’m weaning myself off coffee – half a cup a day for the next week – but I’m wondering about the fragrance part. Did you go totally fragrance-free? I have some serums (sera?!) made of just plants, nothing heavy, and I wonder if I have to give up my beloved Vinter’s Daughter (oh, the trials). Thanks for your story and the recipes. Mixing it up seems like it’ll be key.
i didn’t go too hard with the fragrance. i had completely cut my skincare routine down to barely anything, so i didn’t really worry about it. and i use unscented lotion.
I know you are not supposed to have fat with the beans… Is that butter, oil etc.? Or does it include whatever meat your eating? So basically do you have to stick to super lean meats?
correct, it’s talking about fat of any kind – oils, avocado, nuts, etc. for the 2 months i stuck with super lean meats and only used 1 tablespoon of olive oil whenever i cooked up veggies
Juli, you look fabulous!
Reading some different sources on the bean protocol…one says not to exercise. 😵 I can’t imagine not exercising for 3 months. Did you? And you still got great results?! Thank you
yes, i still exercise, but i haven’t been doing any sort of high intensity for over 3 months now. i continued lifting, but nothing crazy strenuous
Do you know if one could safely do this protocol while pregnant? I have been really, really struggling this pregnancy with bowel issues and I am 85% paleo blah blah blah.
I did a Google search and couldn’t quite find an answer.
as far as i know, it’s fine for pregnant women. i would highly recommend booking a call with Unique to talk through that so you know you’re doing what is best for you body!!
Hi, Beano is not the cleanest supplement but it does help with digesting beans. Also, Eden brand beans are prepared properly (soaked, pressure cooked with kombu) which makes them lower in lectins and more digestible. I have found that with chickpeas, if you remove the skin it makes them more digestible. It’s super tedious, so just do it while watching a show.
i know that there are supplements to help with the gas, but i just prefer to let my body go through the fermentation process naturally, instead of adding anything extra to my body
Thank you for sharing! I suffer from flare ups regularly due to my autoimmune disorder and I feel like nothing has been helping right now. I am two weeks into this and hope to experience some positive results by three months in! Your skin looks fantastic by the way.
i hope you do, too!!
This is so well written and helpful! Thank you!
Thanks so much for sharing your experience—it’s so crazy to come across this post, just as I’m getting ready to set out on starting the Bean Protocol, myself, in hopes of eliminating my autoimmune disease. I’m planning on purchasing one of Karen Hurd’s Ecourses but in the meantime wanted to read up on other people’s success stories with this lifestyle shift. I’ve read and listened to a lot of information at this point, but am still a little unclear about the removal of fragrances. I read that fragrances stimulate phermones, which can then contribute to hormonal imbalances. Regardless of whether or not I’m able to remove all the fragrance in my life (*sobs as I throw away all my beloved scented candles*), I don’t know how it’s possible to avoid them when outside of your home; did you have any issue with this (or maybe this is something you didn’t eliminate)? Perhaps Karen goes more in-depth with how to do this in her Ecourse or maybe it’s ok in moderation [like with your setting more relaxed restrictions with yourself after a few months.] Anyway, thanks for any input you have and, again, for this post—it gives me a lot of hope after 4 years of immense struggle!
oops sorry—I just saw the other comment asking you essentially the same thing!
Thank you for sharing your story and for being such a “real” sort of lady, I appreciate your honesty and you are “true” to thy self!
I am a Fit-Pro and Nutrition Specialist; I myself Carb-Cycle and I’ve learned that the “key” to enjoying carbs is not adding the added fats. When I add my healthy fats, I will cut my carb intake. My question that I would like to ask you, do you have certain days that you will cut your car/bean protocol and add your healthy fats, up your protein intake? If you do, can you please share with me what a day of eating would look like for you?
Yours in Fitness,
i do not. i don’t follow that type of thing whatsoever. if i’m craving more fat, i eat more fat. if i’m craving more carbs, i eat more carbs. and same with protein. i truly just listen to my body and what it’s telling me each day and try to listen the best i can
Thanks for sharing. This is great insight. Do you know if sugar alternatives, such as stevia or monk fruit are allowed?
they are not
Juli, thanks to your information sharing of the bean protocol, I’ve nearly cleared up my endometriosis pain. I used to have to take time off work each month due to birthing-like contraction cramps. My skin actually glows, my ear piercing holes cleared out these weird nodules inside *can easily put earrings in again*, my high metabolism loves the slow burning carbs, and I’ve been really cheerful most days of the week. It has also reduced my periods; hoping my doc approves soon. Sometimes I feel crazy because it’s hard to believe beans have changed my life, but they have! Ftr, I don’t follow it strictly. I just eat a tbsp of beans with each snack or meal, 3-6x per day. You have no idea how much I’m thankful for you. 😍 Good vibes only!
I love your willingness to branch out. I have a long and annoying history with acne too and I absolutely fucking hate when people act like they know my body and experience better than I do. Glad you’re tuning out that noise.
I’ll be trying this to aid me in a candida cleanse and I’m so grateful for these recipes and resources. Thank you!
I’m a bit worried about the no fat thing. Does it have to be literally zero fat? If you’re having even lean proteins alongside the beans, there’d still be some fat… so I’m guessing those small, unavoidable amounts are negligible?
you’ll want to stick with leaner meats. you just don’t want extra fat, such as dressings or sauces or avocado, etc.
I find the bean protocol very intriguing. Any time I have been hungover or had a stomach flu all I ever want is beans, usually refried which contain fat, but still it was the first thing I would want and I would feel better a few hours later.
that’s amazing your body craves that!
I’ve been reading this and following since you started. I have a similar problem with cystic acne, but the main reason I am thinking of trying this is to see if it helps with weight loss in my belly. I suffer from bad anxiety and am in a constant state of stress. I’ve tried other things to help with stress control but I still suffer with weight loss even working with professional nutritionist.
I have this weird round belly pouch that just won’t go away and I’m 99% sure it’s because of stress. Do you think it will help?
eating beans can help with many things, but you also have to deal with the stress at hand. for example, if i am having a stressful week, i remove or reduce my workouts because i don’t want to add more stress. i also don’t consume caffeine because it just makes me anxiety worse. the beans help with ridding the body of excess toxins and hormones, but if you continue to add more fuel to the fire, the beans can’t work to their fullest potential.
Hey Juli! I’ve been following you for a long time so it’s crazy and cool to see you changing it up!
I’m curious, do you track macros at all through this or just do what feels right?
i’ve never tracked macros before so i didn’t track macros while following the protocol
Do you know if it’s something that could still work if you are fasting and have a 4 hour eating window?
Hi! I have been following you since I went Paleo 7 years ago and you have been such a big help for me. Despite Paleo, I have continued to struggle with cystic acne, hormone imbalance and GI issues. My question is: is the bean protocol lifelong/lifestyle change? Are you re-incorporating fruit/honey, etc.
the strict piece of the protocol isn’t going to be a lifelong change for me, but i will continue to stay away from foods that can cause a hormonal or histamine response, and that means staying away from sugar (fruit and other sources) and caffeine as much as possible. these days i have a decaf coffee once a week and if i want to try a dessert i make, i will. but i try to not overindulge in those things because it just screws things back up.
Hey! Thanks for sharing! I heard about it through expanded as well! I just started today! Question, since you’ve already been through it. I’ve found quite a few bean recipes (dips, burgers, etc) but they tend to have some sort fat in them (olive oil, sesame oil, tahini). Do you find that those smaller amounts of fat interfere with excreting the toxins? Should I omit them from the recipe altogether? Or is it fine to just leave them in? I worry the recipe will turn out dry without but I don’t want to lose the benefits.
i think it depends on what type of health issue you are going through. for me with acne, omitting that fat was key at first and made a huge difference in seeing results quicker! depending on what health issue you’re going through, it may be worth talking to Unique to find out what the best course of action is for you!
I would love to know more about the protocol when you have cronic constipation. Is there any way I contact you? Thanks in advance!!
hey mónica, you should definitely contact Unique at youregreat.com! She is the best contact and specialist in the bean protocol world!
Thanks for the post! SO I have never been a big bean person and pretty much avoid them except black bean burgers once in a while. I rely on coffee for the poops (tbh tmi) and I just started a few days ago and got a bad headache for like a day and a half, but I haven’t become regular yet (it’s been like four days), I know you said you didn’t have a problem but was it gradual becoming regular for you or instant? I don’t think I have been overdoing it with the beans like probably one-two cups a day although it’s the main part of my diet aside from kimichi which I started mixing in with the beans to hopefully digest the beans better. Do you have any insight?
for me, it probably took a week or so to get back on a schedule. my new routine includes drinking 40oz of water as soon as i wake up then i drink Athletic Greens. without the caffeine from coffee, you need to make sure you’re getting enough water to help flush you out. i’m not sure what you are doing the diet (if it’s for acne or for other health issues), but sometimes beans paired with fat can be helpful for clearing things out. As well as getting psyllium husk in. Since I didn’t have issues with digestion, Unique said I didn’t need to worry about psyllium husk, but i know she recommends that for many of her clients who have digestive issues
This was so informative!! Thank you Juli! Do you think that decreasing the amount of healthy fats (aka oils) that you regularly consumed prior to the protocol made a difference for your acne? I have acne very similar to yours and consume 3-5tbsp of healthy oils per day, and after reading your post and thinking that maybe the over consumption of oils are possibly straining my liver and detoxifying Is not an easy thing for it to do with all that oil 🤷🏼♀️ Thoughts on this?
it might have, it’s hard to know for sure. but i don’t think it’s hurt and it has probably played a part in my acne recovery. i definitely don’t see fat as much of a staple as i did before
Hi! If you don’t like beans could you just use a fiber supplement?
i don’t think a fiber supplement helps in the same way. with beans, you’re eating them multiple times per day to help attach to toxins and excess hormones and get them out of your body. beans also have great nutrients to help with the gut, so a fiber supplement just isn’t exactly the same
I find this fascinating and am sitting here staring at my coffee cup wondering if it’s time for us to break up. I’ve been an addict since I was 13! Anyway, I wanted to say that the Blue Zones Diet cookbook is amazing for beans. Most of the recipes are bean centric, and the minestrone recipes from Sardinia are so good. All of the Blue Zones have heavy bean centric diets.
i’ve heard great things about that cookbook!!
Thank you so much for sharing your story. You have no idea how comforting it is to know you’re not alone when dealing with acne.
I’m on week one of the bean protocol. My question is.. can I still eat fat throughout the day as long as it is 90 minutes after my meal with beans?
yes!! but just FYI, I’ve found that my acne has been better with a slightly lower fat diet. not saying it will be the same for you, just keep that in mind!
What about the anti nutrients that block mineral absorption from the beans and also flush/chelate out minerals from the body?
there are antinutrients in everything, including most of the fruits and veggies we eat. i haven’t heard anything about the beans flushing out the minerals in our body, though. i would recommend asking Unique Hammond that question on IG because she would have a knowledgable answer for you!
Were you still able to workout the same while on this?
i haven’t been doing high intensity or cardio for 9 months, so i stuck with the same workout routine. but if you’re doing high intensity, it’s recommended to cut that out while you heal
Hey!! First of all I always love what you post!! I love that you’re real and don’t beat around the bush LOL
I struggle with hormonal acne and am so interested in this! I have been seeing an esthetician and it has kept my acne at bay until the period months of course, but I’m going to give this a try!
Would you suggest doing beans you make yourself? Soaking and then heating them up? Or from a can? I know you shared some recipes of beans, but if I were to just incorporate them as a snack to start out with, what have you found is the best way to cook them?
Thank you so much for sharing your story!!
you can!! i always do beans out of a can because i’m lazy. i just make sure to buy good brands such as Eden Organics, unsalted, and I rinse them, as well!
I am looking forward to jumping into this! Thank you for bringing the bean protocol into my life ☺️. Question for you… In some of your pictures it looks like you have sauces with the meals. Can you share some of those recipes? I love sauces of all kinds but prefer to make my own to avoid all the junk in store bought ones
the only “sauces” you may be seeing is either pureed beans with broth or my cauliflower alreado recipe which you can find here: https://paleomg.com/cauliflower-alfredo/
Thank you fo sharing this, Juli. I love reading your blog because you always make me laugh. I am very interested in trying the protocol myself, and am appreciative for the all the info and resources you linked.
Thanks a bunch!
SO! I want to share that maybe you CAN have coffee? So, I just found out recently that coffee is one of the most HEAVILY CHEMICALLY SPRAYED crops in the world! SO, I switched to organic and OMG, the difference in my period and cravings after my caffeine wears off is huge! So maybe you CAN agave your cake and eat it and have your skin LOOKing fabulous, too!
Btw, I just ran into your site and have to say, I love it! I love how you write and appreciate how you just get to business, show detailed results and don’t over blab in fluffy ways. FULLY appreciate that, and also that you drop the F bomb. Am a subscriber, now.
Oh, also, an easy , SUPER FAST, and quick garbanzo flour savory crepe/ pancake recipe for your bean protocol.
Put about a cup of garbanzo bean flour in a blender with enough water to make a very wet and loose batter( like a crepe mix.) you can always add more flour or water.
Add 1 tsp tumeric and salt, pepper& cayenne to your taste.
Pour a thin pancake in a hot oiled pan ,( I use coconut “, olive or sunflower) throw on some chopped scallions or fresh herbs or chopped peppers. And flip when the sides look golden brown.
You can dip in a coconut curry or put greens on it, eat it with veggies stuffed in it or an egg. Endless ideas.. enjoy!
I love this! Paleo/whole 30 taught me the importance of real food. For me, I do best when I add in beans, oats, and occasional grains. Less restriction and higher fiber!
I do struggle with acne, and I’m very intrigued by this post! I came back to your site after a long break looking for your top whole 30 recipes. I’m excited to see you changing things up. I truly believe there is no perfect diet, no one size fits all. We need to listen to our bodies and be open to new information- what works now may not work for us in the future, or vice versa. We can’t get too stuck in one way of thinking!
i totally agree! you gotta be curious and try different things to find what works for you!
This is awesome, thanks fro sharing. After weaning my babe and my period came back I’ve had the most horrible acne that I never experienced pre-child….so frustrating. And I’ve been eating paleo for 8+ years, never had issues, always felt great. Going to give this a try, BUT, Random ass question—what the hell DO you drink in the mornings instead ?!
just water, honestly! i’ll drink 40oz of water then finish it up with athletic greens!
I read you can gain weight on the bean protocol. Do you know? I’ve done every WOE but never heard of this one till today!!! I was paleo for 3 yrs, done keto, carnivore, low fodmap, blood type, raw vegan, starch solution, fruitarian!!!! On and on!!! I have chronic constipation and bloat. Plus some sleep disturbances which constipation contributes to!! But beans bloat me SO bad. I used to have such chronic stomach pains when my diet was made up of mostly beans. That’s why I went paleo. But of course, it wasn’t THIS high in beans and still had other factors.
Will you add coffee back in? I gave up coffee for raw vegan for 8 months. The detox was BRUTAL, but I never got over feeling ‘deprived’. I just really love that one cup a day. So, I went back 😬
But would love your feedback on the weight gain!! Thx!
i did not experience weight gain whatsoever. i actually lost weight. what causes weight gain (mostly) is excess calories. so if you’re consuming an abundance of calories, yes, you will gain weight. but if you’re looking at what you’re consuming and how much, and staying within your caloric needs, that shouldn’t be a problem. obviously this can depend on many factors such as stress, sleep, etc., but most people gain weight because they are consuming more calories than they are burning. and i’ve gone back to decaf coffee a couple times a week. i no longer crave it or feel like i need it, i just enjoy it from time to time. but i know i feel better when i’m off it completely!
Thanks for sharing your experience! I’m about to embark on this myself now 🤪 Just wondering about how you returned to a ‘normal diet’! Do you still eat beans without the fat for example? How long did you stay on it in total?
Just the sex drive alone is enough for me to add beans… after I finish this year’s W30.
Hi Juli!!! I know that every body’s metabolism is different and yours is probably very high because you are so fit and extremely active. I also believe that you are taller than me, so your calories also need to be a bit higher. But can you give me some idea of the daily volume of beans that you consume? Do you aim for 1/2 cup per meal, and then a certain amount for all of the snacks, or what. Just trying to get an idea of about how many cans (or cups) per day you are personally doing, and I can extrapolate to my own body from there. (FYI, I am 5′ 4.5″ and ~118 lb)
Also, when do your fats get consumed? I read your comment about nut butter after dinner if you’re still hungry. Also about a bit of oil in a veg sauce — and there are you saying that it’s such a small amount that you don’t worry about consuming it alongside the beans, or what? For example, when would you eat some avocado if you’re supposed to avoid it with beans? Just trying to figure out the macro combos and how to work in some fat. Like a couple of your readers noted, I battle IBS constipation and I do find that fat helps.
Last question: fruit: are you no longer consuming any fruit, like berries, etc? And if you are eating them, how do you incorporate them alongside beans?
Beans really are the magical fruit! I’m the same way with telling yourself that you can’t have anything. I’ve been on a sugar detox for 3 months now, and I tell myself, “I can have whatever I want, I choose not to.” Gives me more self power and people think you’re a badass then.
I’m going to tell some friends with infertility issues about the bean protocol!
Just wanted to share that I’ve been on the bean protocol for almost 4 months now. I started it because of reading your post. I have been plagued with migraines my entire life. For the first time ever, I actually think something is helping. It didn’t happen overnight. It’s a slow and steady race. They’ve decreased by 67%, and the intensity has decreased significantly. So thanks for putting this out there. Would love to hear how your doing at the year mark.
that’s absolutely amazing! and i love the idea of a 1 year follow up post. i’ll definitely share that come may!
I am working with Unique now for cystic acne, currently 6.5 weeks into the protocol and my skin is continuing to purge and get worse. You mentioned this happened to you, can you share how long was yours “worse” before improving?
it was a couple months of getting better than getting worse. it definitely wasn’t linear! it wasn’t until probably 6 months that i really started to see more of a linear progression with only smaller breakouts here and there
Thank you, that is helpful to hear. I keep seeing the success stories but no one is really talking about the “it gets worse before better” and that’s definitely what I’m experiencing. Hoping to come out on the other side.
Wow. I saw you through IG and you talked about beans. I was like, “Ooh, I love beans!” It makes sense to me, because I am half Mexican and lived in Mexico. I grew up on pinto beans. I love charro beans. I am 43 years old and they still make wonderful comments about how nice my skin is. Some people thought I was in my 20s or 30s. It just never occurred to me there is a connection between skin and bean until I read the rest of your articles regarding bean protocol. It also explained why my period is normal, nothing severe. My half sister (she is not Mexican) is not into bean stuff and had lots of menstrual issues that forced her to go to ER many times. She even had pre-cancerous uterus. And it was decided easily she finally had full hysterectomy. We just are totally opposite. I will try to convince her to try bean protocol, but I am not sure she will listen. Actually, when I was a weird kid, I used to be addicted to pinto bean and cheese. That was all I wanted to eat and eat, nothing else. It drove my mom crazy. I did try paleo and primal for about two years and lost weight, but it just did not work for me because I found myself hungrier. I am glad you mentioned bean protocol, because it makes sense to me. I will add pinto bean to my breakfast again.
I don’t judge anyone who drinks alcohol in front of me. I really don’t care. I used to practice LDS when I was young. I used to work in galleries for years and spent a lot at gallery receptions where almost everyone drinks alcohol beverages. It just never bothers me at all, but it did bother a few people that I just don’t drink. I just ignore the looks and move on. That’s all you can do. I tried coffee and decaf, but it was too bitter. I tried alcohol when I turned 21 and my experience was bad. That was my first and last time in my entire life. Last time I drank soda was over a year and half ago. That was hard, but I am glad I did it. Glad it is working out for you.
Hi Juli! Hopefully you haven’t answered this already but I didn’t think I saw it above anywhere.. do you take any vitamins or supplements? I currently take multivitamins and iron (for low iron levels) but in the podcast she recommends to stop taking all supplements. I’m a little nervous to stop but also want to follow the protocol!
One other question, did you feel really bloated when you first started? I’m only a couple days in and noticed after eating beans with a meal I feel extremely bloated for a while after. Super full, which is good, and not exactly gassy, just bloated.
Thanks!!! So glad I found out about this through you and that I’m finally taking the plunge to try it!
i take athletic greens every day instead of other vitamins. and when i was first starting the protocol, i cut off everything for 3 months, including my multivitamin! i personally didn’t get bloated, but that’s very common. your body goes through a fermentation stage (from what i understand) with the beans which creates bloating and gas, but that subsides with time AND making sure you’re eating beans that work best for your own body!
I am fascinated by this bean protocol! I am 45 and have struggled with acne that looks so similar to yours! I always knew it had something to do with toxins and hormone buildup rather than diet but couldn’t figure out why. Now this makes so much sense.
I am so interested I am wanting to purchase a course but I’m wondering the reasoning on no dairy. Gosh. That would be so hard for me to give up because I love some select dairy for the protein and general deliciousness.
I was thinking I could keep dairy in the fat meal category. I.e. I love Greek yogurt with chia seeds and berries.
Do you consume coconut milk or coconut oil? I’ve heard that is not good for you now from the Karen Hurd interview. I can live without it, but I was curious if it makes sense to others.
dairy is pretty common for causing acne so i would definitely take that into account if you are trying to get rid of it. i don’t do much coconut milk or coconut oil unless i’m having indian or thai food!
The issue with coconut oil is the way it’s bonded. It’s very hard for the body to break it down. Karen describes it as being more dense fat than beef lard. Thus it just creates a sludge in the body. It’s lazy basically and doesn’t want to react with the body. Topically, it’s great bc it holds in moisture—just not injested.
Do you have credible proof to back up this claim?
“It’s lazy basically and doesn’t want to react with the body”
I’ve used lots of coconut oil over the years and it seems quite beneficial to my body for its antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties.
Hi, I am wondering what you do after the 3 months? Do you just go back to eating Paleo or consume the same amount of beans with the Paleo diet? I have been struggling with Cystic acne for years and I’ve tried everything and nothing works!
i’ll be doing a full blog post recap later this month of what it looked like after the 3 months!! i definitely haven’t gone back to eating paleo, i’ve stuck with eating beans!
I’m new here. Wondering, based on your most recent posts, what happened that made you go off the bean protocol? It seems like you’re more into the metabolic way of eating now, so curious if the beans stopped working, or?
just constantly learning and trying different things! I still eat beans on a regular basis, just not every day or multiple times per day
Thank you so much for the amazing info, I love your blog! I’m about to start the Bean Protocol and am wondering when you up your bean intake before your period, how many hours in the day are you taking 2 teaspoons of beans for, and also do you continue this into your period? 🙂
2 days before and i try to eat 1-2 tablespoons of beans every hour
Love this post! Thankyou for sharing, this is truly helpful. I listened to the podcast too and was inspired, grateful I found your little corner of the internet to share your experience. I started yesterday, loving it straight up. Meal one was nourishing, I miss fats but that will pass. Thankyou!
Your results are so super impressive. Congratulations on that.
Do you have any idea if beans (maybe the starch?) can cause extensive stomach pain? I started with a lot of beans (maybe 500g throughout the day) on my daily diet because i have already been eating a lot of fiber in the past but i will now have to step down a bit because my stomach is hurting from time to time. Almost no gas at all from the start, but the stomach pain scares me a bit.
Thank you very much and good luck in the future with your diet!
that definitely can happen! everyone processes food a little different so i would try reducing down and you can always try working your way back up to more over time!
What if you DON’T have ENOUGH hormones? Is this protocol only good for people with excess hormones?
i’m not totally sure!!
Wow this was an interesting read. We have similar stories i think! Im 31, still have acne – over it! I eat clean. Used to be full paleo but now have more gluten free grains – brown rice mostly and GF bread/pasta as i want to. I too have steered clear of most beans. Lentils are fine but chickpeas etc make me so sore! I feel a little apprehensive about giving this a go, but the logic behind it does make sense… and maybe i just need to get through the ouchy fermentation process. I would miss coffee… but…. to have clear skin for the first time since i was 15 would be worth it. Thanks for the tips re if prone to ED behaviours – that was me in the past too! Interesting read.