Beans, beans, the magical fruit. The more you eat, the… less you puke? My experience with the “Beans for Pregnancy Nausea” morning sickness cure.
When I read about Karen Hurd and her bean cure for pregnancy nausea, I almost tracked down my husband then and there to see if I could get pregnant and test it out.
What if the months and months of vomiting and unrelenting, 24/7 nausea I felt in all my pregnancies was as easy to fix as… eating beans?
Oddly, I often craved Mexican food while I was pregnant, and eating it made me feel better. In my 5th and 6th pregnancies, I craved and ate bean burritos for months. Perhaps beans for pregnancy nausea really do work.
Beans for Pregnancy Nausea
I took a pregnancy test first thing this morning and it was positive. I ate beans several times today.
Why do beans help with pregnancy nausea?
According to Karen Hurd, a nutritionist who writes about the bean cure here, the nausea a pregnant woman feels is due to the impact of hCG on bile production. (HCG is the hormone pregnancy tests are looking for when you pee on a stick.) HCG is responsible for sustaining the pregnancy. That’s why women who experience nausea are less likely to miscarry – it’s a sign of “good strong hormones”.
HCG increases bile flow. It’s the bile that makes you feel sick. As bile picks up more toxins in your body (that’s its job, by the way, to help you digest fats and clean out your innards), those toxins keep flowing through, making you feel worse and worse.
From Karen Hurd’s website:
“Bile is used in the digestion of the fats that we eat. Bile is also the vehicle that the liver uses to rid the body of fat-soluble toxins.”
Beans contain a lot of soluble fiber, which BIND to the nasty bile and take it out, courtesy of your poo. Pooping isn’t particularly easy during pregnancy thanks to our other friend progesterone, which slooooooows everything doooooown. This is so your body can get the maximum “oomph” from the food you eat, but it also has the effect of making you constipated. Beans can help with that too!
What kind of beans clean the bile and help pregnancy nausea?
“They are pinto beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, white beans, navy beans, black beans, lentils, split peas, black-eyed peas, and lima beans, to name just a few.”
(From this page on Karen Hurd’s website, about gallbladders. Also highly recommended reading. By the way if you’re curious about Karen Hurd, her education and credentials, you can find that info on her website.)
As soon as the nausea hit me this time (literally the day after I got a positive pregnancy test) I started eating beans. I usually feel better within minutes.
Y’all might be thinking this is the placebo effect. Honey, I DON’T CARE. If it works it works. Besides, during my pregnancies I’ve tried every “morning sickness” remedy known. None of them worked for me. Some took the edge off a little, but nothing made me feel instantly better like eating beans has.
How to eat beans to help ease morning sickness
By this point, I’ve been eating beans about 6 times a day for 3 weeks. Honestly, they’re the last thing I desire or crave. But beans have become my friend because they really do help with the nausea.
The nausea gets pretty bad if I go too long without eating any beans. My mouth keeps filling up with spit the way it does before you vomit. The extra spit triggers more nausea.
At this point, I’m not vomiting. I’ve never NOT vomited at this point in a pregnancy. So it’s likely the beans are truly helping me feel better.
So, to recap the bean cure for pregnancy nausea:
- Pregnancy makes you produce hCG
- hCG makes you produce more bile
- Extra bile makes you nauseated
- Dirty, recirculating bile makes you even sicker
- Soluble fiber in beans binds to bile
- Bile is pooped out with soluble fiber
- Beans have far more soluble fiber than other foods
- Eat beans = cleaner bile, less bile = less nausea!
The page on gallbladder disease recommends eating 3 cups of beans daily, spread out into six 1/2 cup servings. The point of this is to keep the soluble fiber in the body at all times so it can soak up and bind with the dirty bile. Eventually there will be only clean bile!
I’ve been eating beans as soon as I wake up (around 5 am), then again every time I eat. I eat about 1/4 – 1/2 cup at a time. When I run errands, I take a commuter coffee cup and… fill it with beans.
I bought Katie’s Everything Beans book to get more ideas on incorporating beans into my meal planning. It’s fine to just sit down with a bowl of beans, because thankfully I love beans. But as the pregnancy progresses and my food aversions get stronger, it will be more difficult, I’m sure.
Here are a few more tips for eating beans for pregnancy nausea:
- Try a variety of beans. I’ve found that my favorite is pintos. If I eat one variety too often I begin to develop an aversion and eating them isn’t as pleasant. So mix it up. Limas, blackeyed peas, butter beans, white beans, black beans, kidney beans, pintos… there are plenty to try.
- Add spice to your beans. I find that a dash of Tabasco makes my early morning beans much more palatable. The vinegar in the hot sauce is pleasant when I’m pregnant.
- Eat hummus (it’s made from chickpeas). Buy the plain (no garlic!) variety and dip raw veggies in it.
- Skip the onions and garlic. While the addition of those two ingredients normally makes beans yummy, most pregnant women are sensitive to them during the first few months.
- Hide the beans. Eat them with chili, with huevos rancheros, in soups, in pasta (blend them with sauces), even in brownies! Yes, you can hide black beans in brownies. There’s a recipe in the Everything Beans books! You can even hide white beans in a smoothie. Or brownies. Or “cookie dough”. Chocolate Covered Katie has several dessert recipes with hidden beans.
- Add chips. The salty and crispy crunch of a tortilla chip to scoop up beans gets them down a little easier.
- Legumes, le fumes? If you’re worried about gas, get over it. Pregnant women fart a lot anyway. Your body will adjust to the extra beans in a day or two. And you can reduce the gassiness by soaking your beans for 24 hours and then cooking them slowly in a slow cooker.
- Just do it. Force yourself to eat them if you have to. Distract yourself while eating beans if you must. I often eat my beans while I’m reading or browsing something interesting online. I promise you’ll feel better. Isn’t it better than vomiting?
At this point in my pregnancies I am typically nearly incapacitated with severe nausea and vomiting. I didn’t leave the house for weeks, cooking was almost impossible, forget cleaning or keeping to any kind of schedule.
The bean thing is definitely helping me. I wish I could say that it’s a cure, and Karen Hurd seems to imply that it is on her website, but it isn’t – at least not for me.
I still have nausea in the background 24 hours a day, and sometimes it’s severe, but eating beans makes me feel better. I’m able to clean, cook and do school with the kids. This is a definite blessing for me!
Another bonus about beans: the constipation that plagues many women during their pregnancy? Let’s just say that it is definitely NOT an issue when you’re eating all these beans!
Have you heard about eating beans for pregnancy nausea? Did you try it? What else helped you deal with pregnancy nausea and vomiting?
Part two: beans for pregnancy nausea: final thoughts