home bodies: unique hammond of the bean protocol
in our second edition of home bodies, we had the pleasure of sitting down with holistic nutritionist unique hammond, author of “your tastebuds are a**holes" and founder of the bean protocol™, a healing method focused on natural wellness and simple nutrition. unique is a crohn’s survivor, who practices holistic nutrition, she is an author, nutrition coach, life coach, wife, and mother who has helped countless individuals discover natural wellness and live healthier lifestyles.
Keep scrolling to learn more about Unique’s own healing journey, what products from Maker + Merchant she keeps on rotation, and her radically simple rituals.
We want to get into the roots of your healing journey, but let's start with your early years: where did you grow up?
I grew up in Big Sur, California, for the first 14 years of my life. From 14 until 18, I lived in Topanga, California. The same but different.
What turned you on to holistic living from the inside out?
My parents; they instilled in me that health was wealth — even if it didn’t really land at the time — but that philosophy remained lodged in my cellular body. When I got sick, I returned to my roots and really dug in. I mean, I was young at the time and sure, I believed in eating for health, but because I was "healthy" it was hard to comprehend what unhealthy might even look like. I had no idea that my unhealthy food habits and lifestyle choices could erode my health quietly over time. Lesson learned.
You are well known for a lifestyle shift known as the Bean Protocol. Can you tell the Maker + Merchant community a bit about your program?
The Bean Protocol is an 8-week reset for gut and hormonal imbalances, but it is ultimately an introduction to eating and living a healthier, more vital, life. After 7 weeks, if ready and feeling well, you are encouraged to go on to the longevity plan. The longevity plan is more “balanced” and less about active healing. If one is still in need of deeper healing you can stay at week 7 until ready. My e-course comes with coaching calls too; I did this to help settle my clients in and answer any questions that might come up, as each person is so different and has individual needs. In short, tweaks may be needed. Our health is created or destroyed by our daily habits and this is a great course to help you build better daily habits and awareness around eating for health and feeling well. This course is also focused on relaxing and calming the nervous system, so stimulants of all kinds are removed. One day, one choice at a time, we build a better, healthier, more resilient body.
Looking back, what is the most significant change you noticed from making a lifestyle shift in line with The Bean Protocol?
I was able to put my Crohn's disease into remission with an even more strict version of TBP, and I have never looked back. Choosing my health over random food choices driven by a whim vs. health goals was a shift I am proud to have made. I am on the longevity diet now and thankful every day for it. My goal is to live flare free for life!
How was your business born and where do you see it going?
Hmmm… honestly, I never saw myself being where I am today. I made a promise one dark, painful night and that promise led me to a choice and to another choice, and here I am. It started with promising to help others (should I heal from my horrible disease.) It was lonely, and my goals at the time felt lofty and rather insane. I mean, I was suffering horribly and refusing medication not knowing natural remission was even an actual possibility. When I finally went into remission, I realized I had to keep my promise and help others; It was an important agreement with myself. I decided to start by writing my story, and I did. My book Your Tastebuds Are A**holes is in paperback and on Audible. After I wrote my book, people started to find it (and me) and reach out for more help, so I began to coach for free and the rest is history.
In your protocol, there is a focus on scent-free living. Why is that?
Not strictly, but I encourage people to remove as many scents, toxins and stimulants as possible when focusing on rebalancing their health. Most people don't start with The Bean Protocol — they end with it. If they have tried everything, it's time to get super simple. Often, that includes stripping pretty much everything away. Most fragrances are overwhelming to the senses and can cause a release of adrenaline and/or pheromones. In a body out of balance, I seek to help cultivate calm; a space of healing and balance. Sometimes ya gotta pull out all the stops to get to where you want to go.
How can the Maker + Merchant community simply start to ease into skincare rituals that align with The Bean Protocol?
If seeking to regain health and balance, get unscented or natural oils without extra added "natural" scents. I love my natural oils from Maker + Merchant. Big fan.
What are some of your own favorite simple living rituals?
I love waking up early every morning before the sun and watching the sunrise. When I was sick, for years I couldn't sleep because of the severe pain in my gut, back and neck. I would walk my house moaning like a frail ghost every night. Watching the sunrise became my emblem of hope. It meant I had survived another night, and in the light of day, I could continue my quest for natural remission. Watching the sunrise is now a ritual and a moment to connect with and appreciate my amazing body, health and journey.
What's something you can't live without right now?
Hot water all year long. True story. I was one of those people who was always cold my entire life, and when I got sick, I could never get warm — even in the middle of summer or in the tropics. I hated it. The simple act of drinking hot water has been a game-changer in my healing journey. Now that I am well, I am warm all the time. No more cold hands or feet. It’s truly wild! I still love drinking that hot water.
Maker + Merchant strives to create radically simple rituals. What does simplicity mean to you?
Simplicity is truly masterful. It means one has figured out a way to distill information into its most digestible state. So much in health, medical etc. is overcomplicated and leads to the elite few understanding what it takes to be healthy. To me, the best things in life are broken down into a simple state so everyone can understand and apply the information. Great health is simple; we make it complex. Ditch toxic habits, rituals, foods, skincare, and friends. Eat whole foods every day, eat healthy proteins, fats, veggies, and fiber. Depending on the health imbalance, more support might be needed of course, but for most of us these simple changes can lead to better vitality and wellness. It’s not always about a quick fix or a flashy big change but rather dedication, patience and time. This is the name of the eating-for-health game.
What's something you're reading right now that we must know about?
Atomic Habits by James Clear and The Book Karma by Gadhguru.
For someone curious about making simple shifts more in line with the bean protocol, where can they begin?
Start by dabbling in beans. Start small, and go slow. Clean out all the sneaky sugar in your life — even the "healthy" sugar substitutes and cut refined foods. Eat whole foods. Eat more veggies. Frozen organic and chopped works great. Eat Great, Feel Great.