bean protocol

Bean Protocol discussion from a Ray Peat Inspired perspective

Interesting topic raised in our private facebook group about the Bean Protocol by Karen Hurd. A member asked if anyone had tried it and discussion ensued about whether they had or hadn’t, and what they thought of it.

Now bottom line, this “diet” is completely contradictory to everything Ray Peat says.

Basically its beans 6-8 times a day, copious amounts of nuts and nut butter, polyunsaturated fats,  leafy greens, 12 cups of water and lean meat including seafood. (The last item is the only thing common in the two diets.)

No dairy, caffeine,  saturated fat, fruit or sugar is allowed in this bean frenzy.

3 months only

It is supposed to be a 3 month protocol to assist the liver to detox toxic bile by way of soluble fibre. (So not an ongoing healthful diet by any means.)

I am all for people experimenting and figuring out what works for their body. At the same time though, ideally everyone should be learning WHY Ray chooses certain foods over others. What the potential downsides are to each food or absence of that food, for their overall long term health.

Otherwise, we are just doing what we did 20-30 years ago bouncing from one fad diet to another completely clueless and just ending up with worsening health as we go along. (I’m looking at you Keto, Vegan, Carnivore, Starch Solution etc)

So from just the above outline alone I can tell it’s not a diet I would even attempt.  And just to clarify, there is a HUGE difference between adding a meal here and there of beans because you fancy it or find that it helps you poop, and this complete ‘about-face opposite to everything we have recently learned about health from Ray Peat’ protocol.

So let’s start learning…WHY doesn’t Ray like beans?

Phytoestrogens – increase estrogen levels in the body

Lectins—in their active state can cause some digestive problems, like nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, and diarrhea. Blocks the absorption of iron, phosphorus, zinc, and calcium. (Cooking properly removes these apparently but all of them? Some of them? Who knows?)

Oxalate – cause kidney stones

Phytate – blocks mineral absorption

Trypsin inhibitors – impairs digestion

Starch – inflammation & bacterial overgrowth and many more issues

Goitrogenic – negatively impacts thyroid


Ray has called beans “powerful anti thyroid agents.”

Grains, beans, and other seeds contain fermentable fibers that can promote intestinal irritation.” –Ray Peat, PhD.

Generally complex carbohydrates that are fibrous, contain resistant starch and are anti-nutrient will eventually ruin your gut.

Basically high consumption of beans causes hypothyroidism.

I raised the merits of the high level of fruit in a Ray Peat diet providing the soluble fibre necessary to do any detoxing required and one commenter raised the point that beans contain beneficial galactooligosaccharides* – which is a prebiotic – and claimed that fruit doesn’t have this.

I didn’t dispute it at the time because I didn’t know whether this was true or not. However I looked it up and in fact certain fruits actually do have oligosaccharides as well:

Nectarines, watermelon, pears, blueberries, sour cherries, currents, raspberries, cantaloupes, figs and bananas.

They’re called Fructooligosaccharides and as well as the pre biotic effect, they have additional benefits of low carcinogenicity,  improved mineral absorption, and decreased levels of serum cholesterol, triacylglycerols, and phospholipids. So that’s all the benefits without the negative downsides.

You know what else has oligosaccharides?


So make no mistake, Ray Peat has thoroughly researched the foods he prefers, and fruit and dairy were held up as the most beneficial with the least downsides. So beans may have some benefits on paper, but they’re far outweighed by all the negative stuff going on.

The main issue too is with long term health. It seems to have the same long term outcome as the Keto diet in that it slowly will ruin your thyroid function and grind your metabolism to a halt. Blocking of minerals too is a big worry, which will have a myriad of negative effects throughout the body.

Give it a trial anyway?

So perhaps if you believe toxic bile is your issue and this bean protocol might assist despite its many downsides, then a super short stint of it may be the trick before it causes too much damage. One way to monitor this is to closely watch your waking body temperature.  Your thyroid will tell you soon enough when it’s heading south.

I used this method to monitor my super low fat diet experiment as well as various intermittent fasting time frame variations, and my body would soon tell me when it was struggling. Definitely test and measure, so you can stop before your body is in real trouble.

A better idea though

The main point though is if you really knew the purpose behind the ideas around the Ray Peat style diet, you would be able to dismiss these type of diets/protocols instantly. If you’ve been following a Ray Peat style diet for a while you should know the answers to these questions/statements:

  1. Why drinking 12 cups of water a day is a bad idea.
  2. We minimise leafy greens for a reason.
  3. Why beans are not in the diet line up.
  4. Dairy is included in the diet for very important reasons.
  5. Why complex carbs are not ideal.
  6. What are the negative effects of polyunsaturated fats?
  7. Why nuts, except macadamia nuts and coconut, are excluded.
  8. How does coffee assist the thyroid?
  9. The benefits of saturated fats.
  10. The benefits of sugar and fruit over starch.
  11. The many issues of starch.
  12. Why grains are excluded.
  13. Which macro assists the liver to detox?

If you don’t know these things, then best start reading and learning.

A few ways I can assist:

1/ Read all articles on my blog

2/ Sign up for my free 7 day email course—here.

3/ The ZEN Beach Diet has a great easy to read summary of the factors in a Ray Peat style diet. Available here. 

4. Join the private Slimbirdy – One Ten Toned – Eating Peaty group so we can all discuss it further.

Always learning!

Kristy x


* Definition: Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) are prebiotics made up of plant sugars linked in chains. They’re found in dairy products, beans, and certain root vegetables. Prebiotics act as food for “good” bacteria in the intestine.

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lower protein

Lower Protein – Ray Peat Inspired

Ray Peat has shocked his followers by declaring on some recent podcasts that he has been experimenting with lower protein. (Date for reference July 2022.)

The amount he mentioned was 50g being the minimum for health and he was at about 60g at the moment. He found that if he reduced his protein to this amount, he was able to use less of his thyroid supplement and stay in good health.

The comments section exploded:

But what about the recommended 80g to 100g?

What about at least 100g for optimal liver function?

I thought higher protein was better, as long as it was sufficiently supported by carbs?

Is Ray going vegan?

What the hell is going on??



Ray is just doing what he encourages us all to do, which is – experiment to see what feels better to you.

He just found that because he is 85 years of age and doesn’t exercise much at all, he felt better reducing to lower protein. It seemed to improve his thyroid function when he did this.

His original 80-100g recommendation was based on a study from the military, which consisted of 18-25 year olds who exercised a lot every day. However age and lifestyle definitely come into play when it comes to working out what adequate or optimal protein is for you personally.

The optimal liver function side of lower protein was my first big question and sticking point. No-one could answer it for me, but I think I’ve worked it out. Ray has said in the past that adequate protein was required  for the health of the liver and other organs. It’s also very necessary for estrogen detox.

Originally he based his definition of adequate protein on this military study. So in his revision for himself, adequate protein for one person may be 60 grams and for another it may be 130 grams. So it’s not a particular number that matters for liver function, it is whether that number is adequate for that particular person!

I don’t know about you, but I think this is a big relief!

If I feel like it, I can have a lighter protein day with just some fruit and dairy as long as I’m at least 50g (as this was the minimum for all adults.) Then I don’t have to feel guilty that I might be damaging my liver and other organs by not giving it the previously required 100g of protein. (Or what we THOUGHT was required.)

This is wonderful to know.

I know some people in our Private Facebook Group were struggling to get their protein to 100g, and try to do this every day.

Some other points to come out of the podcasts:

  • For someone middle age or older and who’s metabolism is slower, 90+ grams of protein may sacrifice longevity more so than 50 grams of protein. This is due to the anti metabolic effects of methionine, tryptophan and cysteine, and the mTOR activation caused by methionine.
  • He said a study showed that “adequate” protein is 13.8% of your calories, so with a 2000-2500 calorie diet, that’s around 80 grams.
  • (So for our 1,800 calories in the ZEN Beach Diet that is 62.1 grams.)
  • Best not to go under 50g however because protein deficiency increases muscle breakdown, which inhibits thyroid via certain amino acids. This lowers metabolic efficiency of liver and therefore messes with its detoxification abilities.

Working out your optimal protein level

So for those of us who are not 85 years old yet and exercise a bit, if you feel fine and healthy at 100g or more of protein, then stay there. If you don’t, then it’s time to experiment and find your own personal optimal amount. If you are not eating sufficient carbs with protein, you will be wasting protein anyway. So always aim for at least 2g carbs for every 1g of protein.

However one point I would make is that if you reduce your protein amount, make sure you replace it with CARBOHYDRATES and not more fat, because carbs will increase your metabolism and fats are likely to slow it down.

Some body signs along the way to help you determine your appropriate protein level:

Symptoms of protein too low…

  • Lowers thyroid function and therefore lower body temperature
  • Skin, hair and nail problems
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Bigger appetite and increased calorie intake
  • Fatty liver
  • Weak immune system & therefore Increases severity of infections
  • Weakness & fatigue
  • Low blood pressure & low heart rate
  • Slow wound healing
  • Weaker bones
  • Poor sleep
  • Increase in body fat

Symptom of protein too high…

  • Intestinal discomfort and indigestion
  • Dehydration but also needing to pee a lot
  • Exhaustion
  • Nausea
  • Irritability & mood changes
  • Headache
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Weight increase (this is usually because the protein chosen has high fat as well)
  • Bad breath
  • Kidney damage
  • Temperature decrease too due to low thyroid function
  • Overload digestive system, liver and kidneys
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen legs or ankles
  • Muscle cramps

Thyroid Function

So as you can see, it affects temperature and thyroid function if you go too high AND too low. This is why it is important to find the just right amount for you.

I know for the small amount of exercise I do, the 100g of protein has worked well for me. My hair is growing well, skin is good, I don’t get overly hungry, I’m the weight I want to be. The only things in the too much protein list that I get occasionally are constipation and muscle cramps, which I fix with magnesium spray. And there’s nothing in the too low protein list.

So how about you? Do you think you will experiment – up or down?

Always learning.

Kristy x

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sun health weight loss

The Sun, Health & Weight Loss

A person online was asking about the ZEN Beach Diet and said “does it involve laying on the beach in the sun?” I think they were trying to be funny but it may have shocked them a little when I replied, “absolutely it does!!”

Many people are really not aware of the importance of sunlight and light generally, when it comes to their health. It is actually critical for both physical and mental health and should be a regular part of your lifestyle. That is, if your health is important to you.

Here are some of the benefits of sun exposure:

UVB is needed by the skin to convert cholesterol to vitamin D

(Vitamin D is necessary for Calcium absorption, so the sun supports healthy bones & teeth)

Assists with depression

Improves immunity

Stimulates metabolism

Reduced incidence of cancer

Daylight stimulates our ability to use oxygen for energy production

Kills bacteria

Improves sleep

Anti stress effect

Regenerates thymus gland (responsible for white T cell formation to fight infection)

Supports glucose metabolism

Reduces inflammation

So then without adequate sunlight and daylight, excess melatonin is produced in the body which makes the brain sluggish, turns off thyroid and progesterone production, and suppresses immunity and fertility.

How much do you need?

The rule of thumb is 10 minutes full skin exposure on both sides. So 20 minutes all up.

However shorter sessions of only a few seconds of bright light throughout the day is said to stop the formation of free radical chain reactions. Short bursts are probably better too for reducing skin aging.

Importance for health

Sun exposure is an important factor in the line up for optimal health. It is a prime example of how all the factors work together holistically to create health. You can be eating the perfect diet but if you live in a place where it is dark for 6 months, all of the necessary reactions can’t happen in the body to support the other great things you are doing.

For example: you could be eating all your dairy for calcium but then not absorbing it without the Vitamin D from the sun.

If you live in such a place and can’t get daily sun, investing in a red light is highly recommended as a substitute.

sun health weight loss

Story – Heading to the sun

Over 20 years ago, before I knew about Ray Peat and this health stuff, I actually moved from Geelong, Victoria to sunny Queensland where it is warm like Hawaii – specifically for the warmth and sun. Geelong is cold for 9 out of 12 months of the year. It was overcast and cloudy most days. I could tell it affected my mental health, as I would stay curled up in bed not wanting to get up because it was cold and dark. I wasn’t motivated to do much, and didn’t really have a great outlook on life.

Where as in Queensland the sun shines 95% of the time whether it is summer or winter. When you wake up every morning to bright sunlight streaming in your window, you bound out of bed ready to walk or work or just take on the world, bursting with optimism. The difference is profound.

ZEN Beach Diet

Knowing that it takes more than just diet and exercise is the reason I named my program the ZEN Beach Diet. It’s a whole list of healthy actions you do daily to create a lifestyle that supports optimal health. Essentially like being on the most fabulous beach holiday where you relax and enjoy, and get healthy in the stress-free process.

Always learning!


Kristy x

Thanks to Adrian Alford Photography for the images!

Zen Beach Diet

NB: Some great articles to read quoting Ray Peat on the importance of sunlight:

Using sunlight to sustain life.

Light is right.

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Constipation Help – Ray Peat Inspired

We recently conducted a survey in our private Facebook group and 60% of respondents said they experienced constipation some of the time with 40% of those advising it was quite frequent.

I usually write about issues that I have personally and how I overcame it, and this one is no exception. A weird thing happened a few weeks back where out of the blue, I felt like I was no longer having any urge to poop.

At all.

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Meal Plan – Ray Peat Inspired

When you have issues with food, diets and weight loss, the thought of constructing a meal plan can be overwhelming.

For me personally, the less I focused on food in the past, the more successful I was in terms of weight control. I would just eat whatever, when I was hungry.

Then I started a blog about food, weight loss and diets and now am torturing myself a bit more!

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calorie intake a day

Calorie intake a day. What I eat in a day updated 2021.

One of the most visited articles on the website is this one – What I eat in a day. People are trying to see what others eat on a Ray Peat style diet as well as their calorie intake a day. Just to see how it differs from what they are doing, to get the results they want.

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baked chicken breast

Baked Chicken Breast – What about the PUFA?

This article is the answer to a question I’ve been asked many times – “But isn’t chicken full of PUFA?” So along with the answer, you also get a recipe for Baked Chicken Breast – so can you guess what my answer is going to be?!

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