Beans, Beans, The Magical Fruit

Beans are a wonderful way to add high-quality, plant-based protein to your diet. They are high in iron, B vitamins and fiber, and are versatile enough that you may never tire of them. Dry beans stay fresh longer when stored in a cool, dark place (rather than on your countertop). Don’t use beans that are more than a year old, as their nutrient content and digestibility are much lower. Also, old beans will not soften, even with thorough cooking. 

If you are following the Bulletproof Diet the protocol is to Eliminate legumes such as peanuts, beans, and lentils.  However, if you must have your beans, soak, sprout (or ferment), and cook them.  Read below to learn the best way to do so.


Steps when preparing beans:

  1. Check beans for rocks and shriveled or broken pieces, then rinse.
  2. Soak for six hours or overnight, with water covering four inches higher than the beans. Small and medium size beans may require less soaking—about four hours should be enough. Note: If you’ve forgotten to presoak the beans, you can bring them to a boil in ample water to cover. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and let stand for one hour.
  3. Drain and rinse the beans, discarding the soaking water. Always discard any loose skins before cooking, as this will increase digestibility.
  4. Place the beans in a heavy pot and add 3 to 4 cups fresh water.
  5. Bring to a full boil and skim off the foam.
  6. Add a small piece of kombu (seaweed) and a few bay leaves or garlic cloves for flavor and better digestibility.
  7. Cover, lower the temperature, and simmer for the suggested time. Check beans 30 minutes before the minimum cooking time. Beans are done when the middle is soft and easy to squeeze.
  8. About 10 minutes before the end of cooking time, add 1 teaspoon of unrefined sea salt.
  9. Cook until beans are tender.

 Cooking Time:

  • Adzuki 45-60 minutes
  • Anasazi 60-90 minutes
  • Black (turtle) 60-90 minutes
  • Black-eyed peas 60 minutes
  • Cannellini 90-120 minutes
  • Chickpeas (garbanzos) 120-180 minutes
  • Cranberry 60-90 minutes
  • Fava 60-90 minutes
  • Great northern 90-120 minutes
  • Kidney 60-90 minutes
  • Lentils 30-45 minutes (does not require soaking)
  • Lima beans 60-90 minutes
  • Mung 60 minutes
  • Navy 60-90 minutes
  • Pinto 90 minutes
  • Split peas 45-60 minutes

 All times are approximate. Cooking lengths depend on how strong the heat is and how hard the water is. A general rule is that small beans cook for approximately 30 minutes, medium beans cook for approximately 60 minutes, and large beans cook for approximately 90 minutes. Be sure to taste the beans to see if they are fully cooked and tender.



Some people have difficulty digesting beans and legumes. They may develop gas, intestinal problems, irritability, or unclear thinking. Here are a few techniques for preparing and eating legumes that will alleviate most problems.

  • Soak beans for several days, changing the water twice daily, until a small tail forms on the beans.
  • Use a pressure cooker. This also cuts down on cooking time.
  • Chew beans thoroughly and know that even small amounts have a high nutritional and healing value.
  • Avoid giving legumes to children under 18 months because they have not developed the gastric enzymes to digest them properly.
  • Experiment with your ability to digest beans. Smaller beans like adzuki, lentils, mung beans, and peas digest most easily. Pinto, kidney, navy, black-eyed peas, garbanzo, lima, and black beans are harder to digest. Soybeans and black soybeans are the most difficult beans to digest.
  • Experiment with combinations, ingredients, and seasonings. Legumes combine best with green or non starchy vegetables and seaweeds.
  • Season with unrefined sea salt, miso or, soy sauce near the end of cooking. If salt is added at the beginning, the beans will not cook completely. Salt is a digestive aid when used correctly.
  • Adding fennel or cumin near the end of cooking helps prevent gas.
  • Adding kombu or kelp seaweed to the beans helps improve flavor and digestion, adds minerals and nutrients, and speeds up the cooking process.
  • Pour a little apple cider, brown rice vinegar, or white wine vinegar into the water during the last stages of cooking. This softens the beans and breaks down protein chains and indigestible compounds.
  • Take enzymes with your meal.

 © Integrative Nutrition

Gluten Free Cooking

A gluten-free diet is recommended to treat Celiac Disease and wheat allergies. You can find gluten-free pasta, cereal, bread, waffles, pancakes, and cookies at most natural foods food stores, many supermarkets, and some local grocers. 

Gluten-free foods

  • Potatoes
  • Buckwheat
  • Oats (*must be labeled gluten-free to avoid cross-contamination)
  • Corn/ maize
  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Amaranth
  • Teff
  • Millet
  • Beans
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Eggs
  • Fresh fruit
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Herbs and spices
  • Meats and fish purchased without sauce or seasonings
  • Home-made soups (avoid bouillon cubes, barley malt, and all types of pasta)
  • Juice (all-natural, 100% fruit juice)

Foods to avoid

  • Wheat
  • Kamut
  • Spelt
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Oats are generally avoided because they are almost always processed in mills that process grains containing gluten
  • Modified food starch
  • Barley enzymes (found in majority of breakfast cereals), soy sauce, and distilled vinegar (malt vinegar)

Tips for avoiding contamination

  • Clean out cutlery drawers; they are great crumb collectors
  • Replace old wooden spoons and cutting boards
  • Wash dish rags/sponges frequently
  • Use a new toaster for gluten-free foods only or buy toaster bags (do not use a toaster that’s already been used to toast regular bread)
  • Use squirt bottles for condiments like mayonnaise, mustard, jelly, etc. to avoid contamination
  • Mark containers with "GF" on the lid of gluten-free items.
  • Clean food prep areas
  • Dedicate shelves and cabinets in your kitchen and refrigerator to "gluten-free food only”


Gluten-Free Flour Mix (All-Purpose)

(Makes 12 cups)

8 cups rice flour (preferably brown)

2 2/3 cups potato starch

1 1/3 cups tapioca flour

Gluten-Free Flour Mix (Light)

(Makes 12 cups)

4 cups rice flour

4 cups tapioca flour

4 cups cornstarch

4 tablespoons potato flour


1 1/4 cups brown rice flour

1/4 cup tapioca starch

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar (optional)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

3 tablespoons butter; melted

 1 cup milk

In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients and then add the rest of the ingredients and blend well. Drop approximately 1/4 cup batter per pancake into an oiled, preheated griddle. Cook pancake on each side until golden brown and cooked through the center. Serve hot with maple syrup or fresh berries.

Apple and Pear Cobbler


.  cup sorghum flour

.  cup tapioca flour

.  cup potato starch

.  cup almond flour

1 teaspoon fine salt (or sea salt or kosher salt should be ground fine)

4 tablespoons sugar

.  teaspoon cardamom

.  teaspoon cloves, ground

.  cup sour cream

3 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Combine gluten-free flours and potato starch, sugar, cloves, cardamom, and salt. Add butter and cut in until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add sour cream and blend until dough begins to come together. Do not form ball.

Place the completed dough between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Form a large ball of dough between the sheets, and then gently flatten into a square. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.


 2 pounds crisp, fresh apples

2 pounds Bartlett pears

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

.  cup sugar

.  teaspoon cloves, ground

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375°

Transfer fruit slices to a pie dish or a 9” baking dish. Combine lemon juice and vanilla in small bowl. Pour over apples and toss to coat. Combine 3/4 cup sugar, flour, and cloves in small bowl. Sprinkle over fruit and toss to coat. Rearrange fruit to make compact and wipe rim of dish clean. Place dough atop fruit and gently tuck edges under at 3-inch intervals. Sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons sugar. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sliced almonds over top. Bake for 35-40 minutes. The cobbler is done when the topping is golden brown and the fruit bubbles around the edge of the pan.

 © Integrative Nutrition

Baking with Natural Sweeteners

You should limit your intake of sugar to between 6 and 9 teaspoons per day, but most Americans consume closer to 22 teaspoons(according to the Too much refined sugar can lead to weight gain, Tooth Decay, and increases your risk of hypertension, diabetes, depression and certain types of cancer.  Plus, it messes with your overall brain functioning and energy levels throughout the day. 

Replace 1 cup of white sugar with these:

  • 1 cup Birch sugar (xylitol) is one of the most Bulletproof artificial sweeteners just make sure it is not corn sourced.
  • 1 tsp. Stevia - You may have to experiment to get the ratio right.  Also Bulletproof.
  • ErythritolBulletproof as well.
  • 3/4 cup of Agave nectar and Lower oven temp by 25 degrees
  • 1 1/2 cups Barley malt syrup
  • 1/2-3/4 cup Birch syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups Brown rice syrup is Good for hard or crunchy baked goods
  • 2/3-1 cup Date sugar - Burns easily
  • 1/2-3/4 cup Honey: if no liquid, add 3 tbs. flour for each 1/2 cup honey. Lower oven temp by 25 degrees
  • 3/4 cup Maple syrup - Add 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup Maple sugar - Add 1/8 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup Molasses
  • 1 cup Rapadura
  • 1 cup Sucanat - Add 1/4 tsp baking soda

Most syrup works well in moist baked goods, but will soften crispy baked goods like biscotti or cookies. Experiment with these conversions, as they may vary from recipe to recipe.

So set yourself a goal!  Grab one of these alternatives and see how it works for you. 

© Integrative Nutrition