Grains and Beans – Good or Bad?

Dec 4, 2020
Various grains and beans at a market.

I am frequently asked about grains and beans and whether they are “good” or “bad,” particularly when individuals are transitioning to a more healing diet. Whether or not people include these foods in their diets depends on many variables. Because of the potential for confusion, I wanted to take a moment to provide some information and clarity about these two foods so that optimal decisions can be made individually.

Are All Grains Harmful?

The simple answer is no. While wheat and corn DO feed pathogens, gluten-free grains do not. They also do not cause autoimmune conditions or inflammation, despite what you might have read/heard.

The best choices for nutritious grains include organic millet and quinoa. Gluten-free oats (while oats are naturally gluten-free, there can be cross-contamination) and brown rice can also be considered if you are not experiencing any issues/symptoms after eating them. As usual, you’ll want to avoid anything associated with GMOs.

Do I Need to Add Grains to My Diet?

The dietary fiber our bodies need for health comes from fruits and vegetables, so eating as many of these foods as possible is optimal for reversing symptoms. Grains also contain fiber, but it’s not required to be healthy. High-quality, gluten-free whole grains like millet, quinoa, brown rice, teff, gluten-free oats, and amaranth can be part of a healthy diet, so enjoy them if you like them, but they are optional and not necessary for good health.

Should I Reduce the Grains in My Diet?

Generally speaking, if your meals center around grains, it may be time to consider that while they don’t feed the pathogens/viral load, consuming grains might prevent you from consuming more nutrient-dense foods such as fruit and veggies. For example, if gluten-free oats are on the breakfast menu daily, there is little room for raw fruit, smoothies, etc.

While grains are nutritious, they don’t offer the healing phytochemicals, antioxidants, and trace minerals of a pint of berries, a pair of apples, or a banana. Most importantly, grains don’t offer antiviral antibacterial compounds; these compounds found in fruits, herbs, such as celery, leafy greens, vegetables, and sea vegetables are precious and help bring our lives back by reversing chronic illness. Anthony William – Medical Medium

Quinoa is a great grain to add to your diet.

Each time we eat is an opportunity for healing. Choosing LIFE CHANGING foods at every meal and snack is a great place to start. Grains can be used in moderation for most people, as long as you aren’t dealing with major health issues. If you are in a position health-wise where you’ve got to take a serious look at your diet to begin/continue healing, it may be a good time to reduce or eliminate grains, at least temporarily. Sometimes, it is advisable to go grain-free for a period of time. (This might mean grain-free days or weeks, not a life sentence!) Conditions/symptoms that might require the elimination of grains include strep, eczema, other skin conditions, and dental issues such as cavities.

Quite simply, this is a good time to consider how you feel! Some people feel good about grains, and some do not. It is highly individualized. If symptoms tend to flare up after eating grains, this is a good sign that a change might be necessary. Once the grains are removed, this does not mean you can never have them again! As you see your symptoms improve, you can reintroduce a grain at a time and pay attention to how your body reacts (or doesn’t react)!

Optimizing Grain Consumption

Suppose you choose to keep grains in your diet. In that case, Anthony from Medical Medium has shared that many foods and herbs make the grains work more to our nutritional advantage by synergistically working with grains and eliminating the potential of phytochemicals. Try adding celery (raw or cooked), cucumbers, spinach, watercress, arugula, sprouts, microgreens, parsley, cilantro, tomato, onions, rosemary, avocado, and/or garlic to your grains. More information about how and why these particular additions are helpful can be found in Medical Medium’s podcast, The Truth About Grains.

Also, be mindful that the body has a hard time digesting heavy amounts of protein while digesting starch at the same time. Similarly, people often experience digestive issues from combining radical fats with complex carbohydrates such as grains (for example, mac and cheese, pizza, avocado toast, etc.). As a result, it is best to eat grains on their own.

Try This Healthy Grain Recipe for Breakfast or as a Snack

Tired of the same old breakfast cereal? Not only do many kinds of cereal contain an overabundance of sugar, but they also tend to be highly processed, devoid of much nutritional value, and centred around less clean grains like wheat and corn. Why not swap your usual fare for these delicious quinoa apricot breakfast bars? Garnish with apricots, sunflower seeds, blueberries, and/or coconut flakes—whatever you have handy!

Quinoa apricot breakfast bars.

Should I Keep Beans in My Diet?

Like grains, beans do not feed pathogens directly, but they are not a powerful cleansing food. If you are experiencing digestive issues after eating beans or wish to complete a more structured cleanse, it may be a good time to eliminate them (again, temporarily).

It takes a stronger level to break down the proteins of beans, and most people are living with lower levels of hydrochloric acid, making beans harder to digest. – Anthony William, Medical Medium

It may be helpful to know that legumes such as lentils are easier to digest, particularly when sprouted (sprouted lentils, beans, and chickpeas are recommended over un-sprouted). Both lentils and chickpeas are lower in fat than other beans (e.g., red kidney beans, black beans, white beans, etc.) and are preferred choices when considering the liver’s workload.

Consider adding beans to meals filled with vegetables, such as soups and salads, to get the most benefit from them. Yum! Another thought is to substitute foods such as potatoes and avocados instead of beans when possible so as not to eat beans in excess.

Most importantly, monitor how you feel when including beans in your diet. A food diary might help you to see if any issues you experience might be associated with beans. Check out our most recent blog for digestive red flags you should be looking for. Like grains, as you see your symptoms improve, you can start reintroducing beans, and remember to pay attention to how your body reacts (or doesn’t react)!

Beans are best consumed in moderation.

Bean & Legume Recipes

Here are some recipes you might want to try to keep beans in your diet. Many of these could make great side dishes, lunches, or dinners.

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