Bean-only diets are meant to help people reduce gallstones and lose weight. Beans are a good vegetarian source of protein and a high-quality health food. These little treasures contain omega-3 fatty acids; folate; calcium; iron; vitamins A, C, E, K, B12 and D; and other minerals. Kidney beans are particularly nutritious.
Eat a Wide Variety of Beans
Buy beans (also called legumes) at the grocery store. Select a wide variety of beans—there are many different types of beans to satisfy any palate. The most common types are lima beans, kidney beans and navy beans.
Some beans are higher in certain vitamins and minerals than others. For instance, lentils are a good source of vitamin A and potassium. Pinto beans are a rich source of calcium and phosphorus. The most popular beans are soybeans, navy beans and garbanzo beans. However, you can also pick from azuki beans, anasazi beans, black turtle beans, black-eyed peas, mung beans, edamame, fava beans, chickpeas, black beans and split peas. Beans come in a wide range of colors, including brown, pink, green and even spotted.
Eat one cup of beans six to eight times per day; avoid eating other foods while you're on the bean-only diet. Drink plenty of pure water each day. Your body needs water to transport nutrients to your cells. Most people need six to eight glasses per day, but if you work out, you may need even more.
How to Prepare and Cook Your Beans
Cook your beans or eat them raw. Some beans, like garbanzo and kidney beans, can be eaten raw, but you'll need to cook beans that have a hard shell. These types of beans will need to soak in pure water at room temperature. This will soften the beans, making them easier to cook.
If you have time, soak your dried beans in eight to ten cups of water for one hour. Cover your beans and refrigerate them overnight. You can also hot-soak your legumes by putting them in a pot with water, letting it come to a boil for a few minutes. Remove from the stove and let cool for two hours.
Before cooking your beans, rinse them again with pure water. You can add spices, herbs, garlic or oils if you like. Boil your beans for a few minutes and then reduce heat, allowing them to simmer for five to ten minutes, depending on how soft you want them. You'll know they're done when they can easily be mashed with a spoon. Beans will get larger and plumper after cooking.
How to Eat your Beans
Chew your beans slowly. Take the time to eat your food so that you feel fuller sooner. You may get bored if you eat only one type of bean all of the time, so mix it up a bit.
The bean-only diet is a temporary diet to lose weight or rid the body of gallstones. This type of diet should not be a long-term diet because the body needs nutrition from other types of food (a healthy diet consists of a variety of foods, including colorful fruits and vegetables). The bean-only diet can be implemented for long periods of time, but once you achieve your goals, slowly start adding other foods back into your diet (continue to eat beans—they're good for you).