When I first came across the Karen Hurd Bean diet for detoxing your body I was a bit skeptical. I had not ever come across the use of beans to this degree for detoxing before. They can cause digestive problems for many people so I set out to find out more about it.
Turns out it’s not just a diet but a complete protocol developed by Karen Hurd, a biochemist, that she maintains helps liver detox. The human body is self-cleansing. The liver helps make this possible by neutralizing the chemical toxins that get into our bodies from the environment, as well as those produced internally, through various enzyme processes.
However, not many people know that the liver needs some extra help for optimal detox function. This is due to the amount of toxins that get into our bodies and lack of the specific vitamins and minerals needed for the detox system to work efficiently.
Related reading: The Health Effects of Toxins in the Body
What is the Karen Hurd Diet?
The Karen Hurd Bean diet is a diet that incorporates the use of soluble fibers found in beans, unsaturated oils, healthy salt, pure water, exercise, and sufficient sleep. Karen came to this discovery after almost losing her 18 month old child after she was poisoned with an organophosphate pesticide which had been used to treat a bug infested carpet.
Her daughter developed many distressing health issues and after treating her with a number of drugs doctors told her they could do nothing more for her. Karen eventually discovered that having soluble fiber in the diet boosted the liver’s ability to detox which would help to detoxify the pesticide.
Why soluble fibers?
Soluble fiber, just like the name denotes, are fibers that are easily soluble in water. They dissolve to form a gel that helps to lower the blood cholesterol and glucose levels to the recommended range.
Examples of foods containing these soluble fibers are; beans, lentils, oats, barley, nuts, peas, apples, berries and psyllium. Of these foods beans contain the highest amount of soluble fiber.
The Liver, Bile & Soluble Fiber
The liver is one of the most versatile, yet complex organs of our bodies and we can’t live without it. The liver manufactures bile, which is essential for the elimination of toxins that it processes as well as the digestion of fats.
The bile with the toxins travels through our intestines and gets eliminated in the stools or should do. Unfortunately, the bile and toxins that it carries can be recirculated back to the liver if it is not eliminated promptly. This is where the soluble fiber comes in.
When you have enough soluble fiber in your diet it binds to the bile in your digestive tract so that the toxins are excreted and not recycled back to your liver.
When doctors had no solutions for Karen’s poisoned child she researched medical books in a medical library and came up with idea that the best course of action was with what she calls the “alternative method of nutrition”.
Well, I’ve never thought of nutrition as being alternative. It’s pretty basic isn’t it? We eat to live, right? Our bodies function on vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals which we get from our food. I suppose she means that it’s an alternative to the drugs that doctors prescribe.
Through her research she came up with a concoction of natural vitamins and minerals above the RDA (recommended daily allowance), proteins and soluble fiber for her daughter. She had to get the detox mixture into her daughter with a syringe to stop her rejecting it because she didn’t like the taste.
The treatment paid off and within two weeks her daughter started to improve and in 6 weeks she was apparently a different child. Doctor’s were amazed as they thought nothing more could be done for her and it would be only a matter of time until she died.
After this Karen went on to complete a degree in Comprehensive Nutrition and a masters in Biochemistry. She then started to use the protocol to help other people with various conditions and found that it helped them too.
You can read the true stories of people who suffered with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel difficulties, and rheumatoid arthritis whose conditions were reversed through the bean diet in Karen’s book : “And They Said It Wasn’t Possible: True Stories Of People Who Were Healed From The Impossible“.
What is in the Karen Hurd Bean Diet?
Here is a breakdown of the protocol:
• A cup of lentils or beans three to six times a day.
• 3 – 5, 1/2 cups of vegetables per day, or 1 1/2 cup servings of leafy greens. Potatoes and corn and are considered starches and not vegetables so are not allowed.
• Three servings of lean protein every day. This includes organic/pastured eggs, free range and organic poultry, wild caught fish fish, and grass-fed meat.
• Drink one gallon of purified of water every day. This is about 16 x 8 oz glasses. This ensures that your body remains hydrated even after detox.
• Maintain a healthy, eight-hour sleep schedule.
What you have to avoid:
• Sugar and sweeteners of all kinds including fruit
• Dairy products. Some people are allowed fermented dairy depending on their condition
• Gluten: I didn’t see any mention of avoiding wheat or gluten but I would recommend it. Modern wheat is higher in gluten than the original wheat and we don’t have the enzymes to digest it fully which can cause problems for many people. I also see that Karen includes recipes for using bean flour on her website.
• Saturated fat
• Fragrances of all kinds including natural ones. Karen says that the body does not recognize the difference,
What are the benefits of detoxing your body using the Karen Hurd Bean Diet?
When you detox, your body can digest food more easily. Bloating and the pain associated with bloating is eventually tremendously reduced. If you are not used to eating beans then you could get bloating and gas to begin with. Many people have had to start with a small amount of beans and work their way up to the suggested amount.
• Detox reduces cholesterol, which reduces the risk of developing atherosclerosis and the health issues that come with it.
• Regulates sugar levels hence maintaining normal body energy levels.
• A pure body means glowing skin. Impurities in the blood usually show first on your skin.
• Helps maintain a healthy body weight.
• Normalizes bowel movement and maintains a healthy bowel.
• Reduces sweating as the body is no longer overworking itself as it carries on its normal functions.
What are the signs that your body needs to detox?
When the body is full of impurities, and the liver is unable to perform its detox duties efficiently, the body cries out for help. Below are the signs that your body is ready for detox;
• Abnormal dark colored urine. A little yellow is allowed, but when urine turns dark brown or red, it is a sign that something is wrong.
• Skin breakouts such as pimples.
• Constant fatigue, even when not highly active.
• Stress and mood swings.
• Weight gain.
• Mind fog and forgetfulness. You forget things or unable to think clearly.
• Foul and unusual body odor.
This bean diet for detoxing your body is not one of those quick fixes. It can take several months to see improvement depending on what condition you have. Many people have found that it improved such diverse conditions such as IBS, Crohn’s Disease, SIBO, histamine intolerance, infertility, inflammation, diabetes, autoimmune disease and more.
Once you get used to avoiding sugar, caffeine, dairy and gluten as you do in any good detox program it’s not hard to do. You should not be hungry as there is plenty to eat. If you want some recipes to help with the diet Karen has complied over 300 recipes in The Bean Queen’s Cookbook.
In this cookbook you will find recipes for appetizers, soups, salads, main dishes, snacks, hummus and spreads, side dishes, and bean breads and more.
Human anatomy is a complex subject, especially when it comes to things we should allow into our bodies. Still, nature has graced us with a range of products to help in metabolism to enhance a healthy lifestyle. The Karen Hurd Bean Diet is formulated to help you detox your body using this natural protocol. Her own success story with her daughter as well as many others is a testament to its efficiency.