Can't eat beans? What it means and how to fix it

Can't eat beans? What it means and how to fix it

Beans, beans, the magical fruit…

You know how this ends.

Legumes and grains can be the arch nemesis of digestion for many people. Rather than dismiss your symptoms when you eat beans, it's important to understand what they mean and how improving overall gut health will help you to digest beans and all soluble fibers with ease.

Today, popularized paleo diets can lead to relief from bloating, pain, and weird poop. These diets cut sugar, grains and legumes, reducing the foods that are fermented by our gut microbes. Reduced fermentation means less gas and inflammation and if this is you, phew, we are happy you found some ease. But before you say goodbye to these foods forever, it’s important to know what these symptoms are telling you.

What is dysbiosis and why should you care?

The inability to tolerate soluble and fermentable fibers is a sign of dysbiosis, a state of imbalance in your microbiome. Low levels of healthy microbes and high levels of inflammatory microbes can wreak havoc on digestive homeostasis. And while we’ve all heard the saying, “you are what you eat”, it turns out, you are also what your microbes eat. You should be able to eat some fruit, grains and legumes without misery.

Research indicates that symptoms such as gas, bloating, cramping, pain, diarrhea and constipation (cumulatively known as irritable bowel syndrome) are associated with changes to the microbiome that can often be resolved. The three interventions listed below can rebuild intestinal and microbial health over time:

  • Therapeutic grade probiotics and fermented foods
  • Anti-inflammatory support with quercetin, curcumin and omega-3
  • Appropriately dosed food-grade soluble fiber supplementation

The trick is “over time”. Many of Megan’s clinical patients have tried an all-or-nothing approach to removing or reintroducing fibrous foods and they pay the price. Our microbiomes adapt every time we eat, but the improvements that lead to tolerating fermentable foods takes time.

If it ain’t broke, why fix it?

You may be thinking, “if I can eat meat and vegetables skip the beans and feel fine, why would I ever want to reintroduce grains and legumes”? Because the various soluble fibers found in the highest levels in beans and grains are essential for heart health, cognitive function, blood sugar management, detoxification, hormone balance, weight control and more. Soluble fiber is a superfood!

But, don’t start with food, it’s too hard to measure. Megan quite literally formulated Florasophy to rebuild the gut health of her patients. Why? Because you can measure and increase slowly over time. Florasophy blends are one aspect of restoring a healthy gut balance and for some, this means ⅛ tsp per day until they can tolerate more…slowly…surely…day-by-day.

If you’ve thrown in your hat with fermentable plants, bean and legumes, we suggest you consider reconsidering. If you can’t eat beans, use that as a gauge for your gut health and find a trained clinical nutritionist or healthcare provider to help you design a path back to the magical fruit (minus the toots).

About Megan Barnett, MS, CNS

Megan Barnett, MS

Megan Barnett, MS, CNS is a clinical nutritionist, research writer, public speaker and educator with over ten years in the field of nutrition science and functional medicine. She co-owns BioLounge, a functional medicine clinic in Portland, Oregon, and she is the co-founder and product developer of Florasophy organic soluble fiber blends. She sits on the board of directors for the American Nutrition Association where she supports the credentialing and professional development of her colleagues while providing leadership in the treatment and prevention of disease using evidence-based nutrition science.