Why the 'beanatarian' diet is taking over the internet

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By definition, diets demand a slightly strange attitude to food. Any decision to exclude yourself from the joys of carbs and chocolate requires a mindset that comes much more easily to some than others. But, just as with any lifestyle choice, there are extremes at both ends of the spectrum.

Proving that there really are no limits when it comes to the miserable restrictions people are prepared to place on their dinner, a Reddit poster has opened up a hot debate over a strange new approach to dieting. Dubbed “Beanatarianism”, the new fad focuses almost entirely on beans. Now, the internet cannot decide whether the consequences of such a strange regime would be grave or just extremely gassy. 

In the detailed account, an anonymous and long-suffering woman revealed how her fanatical spouse has become obsessed with the way of the bean, eating nothing but “beans and multivitamins for 3 weeks”, all while insisting that "Almost all nutrients can be derived from beans". Stories of embarrassing restaurant trips and furious arguments over fava followed.

As with anything sensational that appears on the internet, there are a few caveats. For starters, several suspiciously similar stories have also been posted on the popular microblogging platform over the last few days, suggesting that this whole thing could be an epic, bean-based troll. However, these doubts haven’t stopped the debate about beanatarianism exploding across social media, with users apparently unable to decide whether it’s a brilliant or terrible idea. 

When the story was shared by the popular @redditships Twitter account, thousands of commenters quickly began toing and froing. While some suggested that a bean-centric diet might not be a bad idea, others believed that the boyfriend’s behaviour was indicative of an eating disorder and deserved to be taken more seriously. 

Try this delicious Slow Cooked Pork & Boston Beans recipe:

From a nutritional perspective, it’s certainly true that beans bring a lot of benefits. According to the NHS, beans and pulses are “a cheap, low-fat source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, and count towards your recommended 5 daily portions of fruit and vegetables,” as well as being a great source of iron for non-meat eaters. 

However, it’s important to remember that no one food can ever be a silver bullet to all your dietary needs. Beans, for instance, lack essential nutrients like vitamin C and iodine. As with everything you put into your body, the key is balance. 

Perhaps what has really helped to catapult beanatarianism into the mainstream is that it’s not the only unusual bean-heavy relationship correspondence to have captured the internet’s imagination. Earlier this year, for instance, @redditships shared the story of an aggrieved man whose partner had taken the strange decision to bury his beans in the back garden, refusing to disclose their location with the immortal phrase “I will never jeopardise the beans.”

The various merits of a bean-based lifestyle may well be up for debate. What’s beyond any doubt, however, is that mixing beans in any relationship is a recipe for disaster. Couples should take note that, if they want to avoid any potentially romance ruining arguments, they’d do best to avoid pulses altogether.