Egg-Free Slow-Carb Breakfast: Almond Porridge

slow-carb-porridge
Some people just don’t like eggs, or they want a breakfast option that doesn’t involve eggs sometimes.

On Finding My Fitness, I have a post with several other options, but one of my favorites right now is a good replacement for oatmeal. If you like the subtle flavors of coconut milk and almonds, then this recipe is for you.

I can see this especially hitting the spot as the weather starts to get cooler, and you can change the profile of the dish completely with just the spices you use.

Don’t feel married to almonds for this, either. Other kinds of nuts would taste just as delicious, and depending on your tastes you may even like it better with something like a walnut, macadamia nut, or pecan.

This is one of the recipes I’m featuring as part of the slow-carb meal planner I’ve developed.  A bunch of people have already signed up, and some have even told me they’ve reached their goals!  Check it out if you’re interested!

Let me know what you think about it in the comments!

Egg-Free Slow-Carb Breakfast: Almond Porridge

Ingredients

  • 1 c almond meal (for a coarser mouthfeel, you can also just grind up almonds in a food processor)
  • Cream from one can of full-fat coconut milk (the stuff you skim off the top of the can after it’s been in the fridge)
  • an optional bit or two of stevia
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of ground nutmeg

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan, heat the coconut cream until it “melts” and gets liquidy. Then add the almonds and sweetener. Mix until combined thoroughly. Stir and cook on medium for about 5 minutes.
  2. When it thickens up a bit and you’re almost ready to take it off, add the seasonings and stir it together.

Yellow Chicken Curry Recipe (And A Review of Everyday Paleo Thai Cuisine)

Yellow curry chicken slow-carb recipe

Yellow curry chicken slow-carb recipe
One of my favorite cuisines is Thai, and I’ve found you can generally find decent options in a Thai restaurant. Sometimes you might need to ask for it without rice, but beyond that the only thing you’ll have to be careful of is sugar in sauces.

Or you can make it yourself at home. I recently bought a cookbook that’s making that much easier for me to do.

This recipe comes from Sarah Fragoso’s newest book, Everyday Paleo Thai Cuisine.

Delicious Thai recipes to make your slow-carb diet more interesting

I want to take a second to tell you about the book. While it’s primarily a Thai cooking book that also happens to be fully compliant to the Paleo diet, the vast majority of her recipes are slow-carb friendly or are very easily made slow-carb friendly (such as not using the honey or maple syrup she suggests). It’s by far the best cookbook I’ve found for some really exciting slow-carb cooking.

This is the real deal. She actually lived in Thailand for something like 6 weeks studying with Thai chefs to make authentic food, some of which you can’t even find in restaurants outside of Thailand.

She covers the gamut, from stir fries, curries, soups, appetizers, and even condiments that you’d find anywhere in Thailand. I fell in love with her condiment section and made quite a few of them right off the bat.

If you’re interested in the book, head on over to Amazon to check it out.

Here’s one of the slow-carb friendly recipes

We easily cook from this book once a week, and here’s the latest one we’ve done. It’s pretty simple and doesn’t take long at all to cook.

A few notes:

  • The original recipe calls for a curry paste that you can find in the book, but I didn’t have all of the ingredients for it, and I didn’t want to have to give you a second recipe that you’d have to make to prepare this meal. So what you see below is my way of getting the flavors from the curry paste without actually making it.
  • This chicken works best when eaten on a bed of cauliflower rice, but some cabbage sliced thin (so it’s kind of like noodles) does really well as a stir fry.

Yellow Chicken Curry #4hb #slowcarb

Rating: 41

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Yellow Chicken Curry #4hb #slowcarb

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp cooking fat (olive oil, coconut oil, lard, etc)
  • 1/2 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 Tbsp yellow curry powder
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp water or chicken stock
  • 1-1.5 lbs chicken, cut into smaller pieces
  • 2 Tbsp coconut milk (if you like that flavor)
  • 1-2 Thai hot chiles, sliced thin (depending on your spice tolerance)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large pan (a wok is best but not necessary), melt the fat over medium heat. When the pan is up to temperature, toss in the garlic, ginger, cumin, curry powder, and fish sauce and saute for several seconds until fragrant.
  2. Add the water or broth and simmer for another 30 seconds
  3. Add the chicken, salt, and pepper and stir fry for about 5 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.
  4. When the chicken is done and most of the water has cooked out, add the coconut oil and chiles and stir fry it for just a few seconds to heat it up.
  5. Serve over a bed of cauliflower rice and enjoy!

Intermittent Fasting: The Quickest Way To Look Sexy In A Bathing Suit

This is your plate on IFThere’s a really great way you can quickly lose body fat, and it’s more simple than what you’re currently doing.

No, I’m not going to tell you to cut calories or starve yourself. That doesn’t actually work in the long term, because once you start eating the calories again, you put the weight back on.

What I want to briefly talk about today is the practice of intermittent fasting. It could change the way you approach your goals for a while.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

The first time I read up on it, I thought IF was simply skipping breakfast. The more I read about it, the more I realized that you really don’t have to skip breakfast. You can, but it’s not essential.

The really quick overview behind IF is that you give your body several hours with no intake so that it can begin to burn the body fat it’s stored more efficiently.

Why would I want to do that?

Our bodies can be lazy. They burn the easiest stuff they can get first, and that happens to be glucose. Once the glucose is gone, they realize they better start burning some fat.

Intermittent fasting has been shown to have an array of benefits that include (but are not limited to):

  • rapid fat loss
  • increased insulin sensitivity
  • more efficient use of the glucose you do consume
  • lowering blood pressure
  • easier tissue repair (some say anti-aging benefits)

So how do you do it?

There are many forms of IF from what I’ve seen, but one of the easiest methods is a 16-8 schedule. Basically, you don’t eat for 16 hours and then you eat within an 8 hour window. When I did it, for example, this was my schedule:

  • 6am – Wake up
  • 10am – Breakfast
  • 2pm – Lunch
  • 6pm – Dinner
  • 10pm – Go to bed

I still ate all the calories I would have, I just condensed my intake to a shorter window.

A couple days during the week I experimented with this I would only eat breakfast at 10am and dinner at 6pm. Both meals were bigger than “normal”.

You could also completely skip a whole day of meals to spice things up.

Tips to help you get going

  • Incredibly important: Don’t try IF if you don’t have everything else dialed in. Your food quality should be superb, you should be getting decent exercise, and your sleep should be long and restful. If all that’s in line, then proceed with some IF experimentation. IF stresses your body, so if you’re already stressed for other reasons, take care of those first.
  • Keep busy. When you’re not used to fasting, it can be exhausting trying to stick to it. That’s why I like the 16-8 schedule. I’m not going too long after getting up before eating, and I’m not spending too much time in the evening to get bored. On the days I only ate twice or did a whole-day fast, if I was busy I hardly noticed it. When I was bored, I felt incredible hunger pains.
  • If you want to take as much advantage of the fasted state as you can (and its ability to mobilize the stubborn fat), do some mild cardio when you’re nearly done. For example, you might go for a 30-45 minute walk (or longer, if you can) in the morning when you wake up or a bit before eating your first meal.
  • Drink some caffeine. It’s a stimulant (as if you didn’t know…) that actually works to unlock the fat stores while in a fasted state to be burned more.

Further reading

If you’re interested, I highly recommend checking out some other sources. Here are the sources I went to when I was learning about IF:

To Eat or Not To Eat, That Is The Question. – Robb Wolf’s Blog
Is Intermittent Fasting Healthy? – Mark’s Daily Apple
The Myriad Benefits of Intermittent Fasting – Mark’s Daily Apple
Intermittent Fasting and Stubborn Body Fat – Lean Gains
(Lean Gains is actually one of the foremost authorities in IF, so if you really want to go deep, check out many of his articles).

And if you’re interested more about my personal experience with it, check out my post on intermittent fasting on Finding My Fitness.

What are your thoughts on intermittent fasting? Is it just a bunch of baloney? Would you ever try it? Let us know in the comments!

Jason spends most of his time writing about his adventures with fitness on the 4 hour body and paleo diets. Check out his newsletter and get 10 more free slow-carb recipes.

How To Prepare Vegetables Even Your Pickiest Eater Will Love

Slow-carb recipe tips: preparing delicious vegetables
On the slow-carb diet, one thing you’re going to eat more of than you probably ever have before is vegetables.

It seems really obvious, but a lot of people just don’t get it. To lose weight, they eat less calories, and that – to them means smaller portions of bread, fats, and sugars. But really, that’s not the way to do it.

It seems like a secret that no one knows but is right in front of your face. The best way to lose weight is really by eating more: more veggies.

Think about it this way: in a cup of whole oats you have 607 calories and 103 grams of carbohydrate (that’s more carbs that I eat in a day). In a cup of green beans, you have 44 calories and only 10 grams of carbohydrate. Sure, the grains might fill you up more, but that’s what fat and protein is for. I’d take 3 cups of green beans over a cup of oatmeal any day (and I love oatmeal)!

But I don’t like vegetables

I’ve actually heard someone talk about how they’re tired of choking down vegetables. Now, I understand it can get old quick. I can only stand broccoli in my omelet for about a week before I switch it out for spinach or kale. But vegetables could really be an untapped market in weight loss nutrition!

So I want to help out a bit. I’ve learned to love vegetables, and I’m trying different kinds I hadn’t considered before. Maybe one day I’ll write a post about different – and possibly strange – vegetables, but today I’m going to skip ahead to some cooking tips.

You see, loving veggies probably has a lot to do with the way you cook it. Personally, I love the flavor in vegetables. They come packed with a lot on their own. But often the cooking method can really seal the deal.

Roasted

This is a very easy way to prepare some delicious vegetable sides, especially if you’re already roasting some meat besides. They can go in together, and sometimes even in the same pan.

Technique: Prepare your veggies in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle some cracked sea salt and pepper on top. Bake in a 375 to 400 degree oven (F) for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender.

Recommendation: Try roasting asparagus, cauliflower, onions, squashes, or sweet potatoes.

Grilled

It won’t be long before we’re all in relatively warm weather and smelling the familiar scent of coals blazing under some delicious meats. You grill because you like the flavor it gives to your chicken or steak. Why not also give that same flavor to your vegetables?

Technique: Much like roasting, toss your vegetables with some olive oil. This helps the browning and helps keep them from sticking too much. Sometimes I’ll form a tray out of aluminum foil if I’m grilling smaller veggies like cherry tomatoes, onions, or sliced peppers, but you can also just lay them right on the grill.

Recommendations: There’s nothing like grilled onions, peppers, zucchini, or eggplant. You have to watch some of the softer ones, though, because they get really soft really quick.

Stir fry

When people see the word “fry”, they automatically think it can’t possibly be healthy. But you know better, and you know that nice fats from oils are an essential part of a solid diet. Because you’re using a hot pan, though, you can’t just use any oil. I recommend using coconut oil or clarified butter when you stir fry.

Technique: To stir fry, use high heat with a few tablespoons of oil. When the pan is hot, toss in your veggies and keep tossing until cooked to your liking. I love to add just a smidge of sesame oil at the end to give it sort of a rich nutty flavor.

Recommendation: Some of my stir fry favorites include cabbage, green beans, and broccoli.

Sautéed

With a nice saute, you can thoroughly heat vegetables without wilting them too much. This is great for vegetables that are soft anyway. Again, you’ll need to use a fat with a high smoke point, like coconut oil or clarified butter.

Technique: Sauté is much like stir fry, only the action isn’t as intense. Heat your pan and a bit of olive oil over a medium-high heat. Toss in your chopped or sliced vegetables, stirring just occasionally.

Recommendation: You’ll love sautéed zucchini (my favorite), tomatoes, onions, and peppers.

Steamed

Most people might say this is the healthiest way to cook vegetables. I really don’t think it matters, except for flavoring purposes. What I like about steaming vegetables is that they won’t take on any extra flavors, and they often beautifully exhibit their natural colors. I love how green broccoli gets when steamed, for example.

When you steam, you’re just a step away from raw. They’re soft enough to not crunch, but still natural enough to show you what their real flavors are.

Technique: You can get steaming inserts for pots, and that’s probably the most recommended way to steam. Basically you add water to your pot, stick the veggies in the steaming tray, and cover. Cook time will depend on the vegetable and your preference. Check it, and when it’s as soft as you want, it’s done.

Alternatively, I’ve steamed veggies in the microwave. In a bowl, you can put a few tablespoons of water and add the vegetables. Most microwaves these days have a “fresh vegetable” button or setting you can use that will pretty much cook them perfectly.

Recommendation: My favorite vegetables to steam are carrots, parsnips, broccoli, and cauliflower.

Raw

Of course you don’t really have to cook your vegetables, now do you? Many vegetables can lose some nutrients in the cooking process, and sometimes their flavor even changes.

When you get your taste buds back under control, you will actually begin to find really delicious flavor in raw vegetables. I personally love to eat raw peppers, carrots, celery, and tomatoes just to name a few. Experiment, and you’ll find a whole new world of flavor!

We want to hear from you! What’s your preferred method of enjoying a nice veggie? Lay it out in the comments!

photo credit: thebittenword.com

Jason spends most of his time writing about his adventures with fitness on the slow-carb and paleo diets at his blog, FindingMyFitness.com. Want even more recipes? Check out his newsletter and get 10 more free slow-carb recipes.

Slow-Carb Recipes for Chicken: 30 Different, Totally Delicious Recipes

photo credit: ruben alexander

Not too long ago, I talked about eggs. Today we talk about the chicken. So I guess we have that answer!

One of the easiest and most versatile proteins you’ll find on the slow-carb diet is chicken. I find it’s the quickest way to a solid slow-carb meal when I don’t know what else to have.

It can be easy to get tired of the same old thing every time, though. In an attempt to help you overcome the boredom, I’ve gone around the internet looking for some of the best chicken recipes and put them in one spot.

To determine what would go on the list of the dozens upon dozens I saw, I answered one question: what would I love to have for dinner tonight?

Here are the internet’s 30 best slow-carb chicken recipes! I had a hard time deciding how to categorize them, but this is what I came up with.

Soups/Salads

Classic Chicken Salad - photo by Riki Shore
photo by Riki Shore

Thai Chicken Salad
Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Soup
African Style Chicken Salad
Classic Chicken Salad

Grilled/Roasted

Slow Carb Chicken RecipeSmoked Fruit & Pistachio Stuffed Chicken
Smoked Pepper & Onion Stuffed Chicken
Tandoori Chicken
Chicken Cordon-Bacon
30-Minute Easy Slow Carb Roast Chicken
Just Chicken and Mushrooms
Jalapeño Dijon Grilled Chicken

International

Slow Carb Chicken Curry RecipeSlow Carb Peppery Chicken Curry
Spicy Balinese Chicken Wings with Sambal
Chicken Korma with Mixed Vegetables
Indian Butter Chicken 4HB Style
Slow Carb Orange Chicken
Oven Barbequed Chicken
Chicken Satay

One-Pot Meals

Rosemary & Spinach ChickenPaleo Chicken Bog
Slow Carb Greek Pot Roasted Chicken
Moroccan Chicken Casserole
Asian-Inspired One Pot Chicken
Rosemary & Spinach Chicken
Southwest Chicken & Beans
Chicken Cacciatore

Miscellaneous

Slow Carb Chicken TendersTaco chicken wings with guac dip
Chicken Tenders: Slow Carb and Paleo Comfort Food
Peggy’s Chicken “Fried” Steak
Coconut Curry Chicken Nuggets
Chicken Livers and Onions

Do you have a favorite chicken recipe? Share it in the comments!

Jason spends most of his time writing about his adventures with fitness on the slow-carb and paleo diets at his blog, FindingMyFitness.com. Want even more recipes? Check out his newsletter and get 10 more free slow-carb recipes.

Why (And How) You Should Drink Yerba Mate on 4HB

The Best Way To Enjoy Yerba Mate
photo by juanpol on Flickr

Question: What did Tim Ferriss say was the world’s greatest beverage? Do you think you’re already drinking it?

I’ll give you a hint: if you’re from the Rio de Plata region of South America, chances are you’ve been drinking it since you were a child, and your family’s been drinking it for generations.

If you’re a North American, it’s possible (but still not likely) that you have recently picked it up because places like Whole Foods decided they should sell it for really high prices as the new “secret” beverage.

I have no idea about the rest of you. ;^)

Have you guessed it yet?

I’m talking about yerba mate.

Enjoyed by millions of South Americans for hundreds – maybe thousands – of years, yerba mate (pronounced yair-ba MAH-tay) can be all of refreshing, healing, soothing, and warming. Traditionally “taken” in lose-leaf form, you can buy it bottled, canned, and in tea bags these days.

(Side peeve: I’ve seen people write it “yerba maté”, and I don’t understand why – it’s not yerba mahTAY. Don’t do that.)

What is this magical herb?

As a really quick primer, yerba mate is a tea leaf grown primarily in South America. Most places get theirs from Paraguay (tierra bendita) or Brazil. Argentina also produces a lot of brands of yerba. It’s related to the holly plant, but I wouldn’t recommend trying it with our (American) holly bushes.

Health benefits

I’m not sure if the native Guaraní people knew the health benefits of yerba mate when they started cultivating and drinking it, but it turns out there are quite a bit. Paraguayans in the countryside believe it helps you live longer and keeps you fit (I kind of think it’s their hard work ethic personally). Superstition aside, science has revealed some of its benefits.

Yerba mate is an antioxidant on par (or better than, depending on who you ask) with green tea. It’s got a form of caffeine that helps yerba serve as an energy booster. Several compounds that have been studied for their anti-inflammatory properties have been isolated from yerba mate leaves. If you listen to Robb Wolf at all, he’s all about anti-inflammatory properties. It’s one of the reasons we eat slow-carb that Tim Ferriss never told us about.

For more information, a quick Google search on “yerba mate health benefits” will find you more info than you can read in a day.

How to enjoy your yerba mate

There’s a right way and a lesser way to enjoy it. I’m going to tell you the right way. If you choose to go the easy (and less interesting route, may I add), I won’t think any less of you. But I really want you to try it my way!

“Taking” yerba mate is a very social event. You do it with friends, and you almost always share the same “cup” (guampa) and “straw” (bombilla). You sit, you drink, you chat, you laugh, you enjoy. When I drink mate, I’m reminded of the awesome times I had in Paraguay and it makes me feel the warm fuzzies.

The traditional way to drink is to fill the guampa up about 3/4 of the way with the looseleaf tea. Often you’ll find the tea mixed with some mint leaves, maybe some anise, or perhaps some orange or lemon peel. The one I’m drinking as I type is “normal” blend that my wife added some anise seeds and orange peel to.

You slip the bombilla into the guampa, covering it with the leaves. I like to tilt the leaves so there’s an incline from the bottom to the top. The idea there is that you leave some of the leaves dry so when your tea starts losing its flavor, you add some more dry to kick things back up.

Yerba mate is brewed on demand. That is to say you pour as much water into your guampa as you will drink in that turn, usually just about a mouthful. Don’t let it sit; it’ll get bitter really quickly, at least at first. When you take your sip, you pour one for your friend and pass the guampa over. This goes on, a new brew for each person in the group, in a circle until the water’s gone or until no one wants any more.

Variations on the theme

The way I’ve described it is the typical Paraguayan style. If it’s cold out (anything below 70°F), you drink it with hot water. If it’s hot out, there’s absolutely nothing more refreshing than an ice-cold “tereré” (cold mate).

When I’ve had mate with Brazilians, they have a much bigger gourd and you usually fill it up once per round, and each person takes a sip, as opposed to drinking everything in the guampa like I described.

Paraguayans also add certain crushed plants or roots into their water as herbal remedies for things. Argentinians almost always had hot mate, even when it was hot out, and almost always with sugar in it. When I did have cold mate in Argentina, it was usually with a sugar-free juice mix in the water (typically a citrus fruit).

If you’re Uruguayan and have a different custom, I’d love to hear it!

My recommendations

If you haven’t guessed, I generally drink it the Paraguayan way. I’ve got a set that includes a thermos (two actually – one for hot water and a bigger one for cold), beautifully decorated with stained leather, a carved guampa and a silver bombilla.

Are you ready to try it yourself?

My favorite place online to get it is Amazon. If you can’t find a latin market that carries it, this is where I’d suggest going. You can find some in higher-end grocery stores, but it’s overpriced and not as tasty as the South American brands (although the manufacturer you’ll find has told me they buy their yerba from Paraguay, which makes me happy).

Go ahead – give it a shot, and drop us a comment to let us know what you think!

Jason spends most of his time writing about his adventures with fitness on the slow-carb and paleo diets at his blog, FindingMyFitness.com. Want even more recipes? Check out his newsletter and get 10 more free slow-carb recipes.

Slow-Carb Tips: Successfully Stocking Your Fridge

Be prepared for slow-carb diet success!
Creative Commons License photo credit: Tedward

The weekend’s almost here, which means it’s the perfect time to fool-proof your ability to stick to the plan next week. There’s one way that’s almost guaranteed to help get you results every time:

Preparation.

The Boy Scout motto notwithstanding, being prepared is easily the best way to keep yourself from slipping up. Think about the last few times you’ve had difficulty. I’d bet that most of them were due to needing to make game-time decisions or not thinking about your plan well enough ahead of time.

The easiest way to prepare for the week ahead is to get as much of the work as possible done ahead. Let’s look at several different ways you can work ahead.

Here are my three Ps:

Plan your attack

The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but a few beforehand.
– Sun Tzu,
The Art Of War

Don’t think that you will always be successful by winging it. Maybe sometimes you will, but most of the time you won’t.

The best tip I can ever give anyone who is trying to follow a new diet is to plan your meals in advance. When I have the best success, I know what I’m going to eat all week. It takes the thinking out of things, and the less I have to think about eating right, the more likely I am to do it.

So the first thing I want you to do is to make a menu for yourself for the coming week. Plan in snacks if you want to, but make sure you know exactly what you’ll eat.

Pro tip: this will also save money because you can always make extra at night and have the leftovers for lunch.

When the circulars for the grocery stores in your area come around this weekend, get them all and figure out where the best place to get things is. Then use your menu to make a list and separate it by store. Now you not only know what you’ll eat, you also know where you’ll get it from and roughly what your budget will be.

Procure the goods

The next tip I have for you is to buy in bulk. Most sales are usually better in bulk anyway (the big honkin’ tray of meat is usually cheaper per-pound than the one- or two-serving sized one).

If you’ve got one nearby, a bulk store like Costco or Sam’s Club will be your friend. My wife and I shop once a month and get enough almost for the whole month, with the exception of the fresh veggies (I like to get those
once a week). We save a lot of money that way.

Buying beans and lentils dry is far cheaper than buying canned too and are not hard to make. I’ve got a couple recipes linked for you towards the end.

You may be saying to me now, “I can’t possibly eat fast enough for it not to spoil.” That’s OK. There are ways to handle consumption in bulk. Use reheatable containers and freeze what you know you won’t get to for a few days. They’ll feel just like frozen dinners, only you wont be eating crap.

Prepare the bounty

Once you’ve got your food at home, it’s time to fix it up so you don’t spend hours each day cooking. There are many different small things you can do to make meal prep a lot easier on you.

  • Chop up things like onions, garlic, peppers, and other veggies you know you’ll use a lot. Use tupperware containers to store them in. Then when it’s time to use them, just toss a bunch in your pan.
  • Separate your meat right away. Cut larger chicken breasts in half. Slice a large hunk of beef into steaks or pork roast into chops. Store them in separate containers so you only have to thaw one serving at at time.
  • Stock up on your spices. The more you have, the more varied and exciting your meals will be.

When you prepare ahead of time, you make it almost silly not to follow your plan. There are left no excuses because your food is already there. You just have to eat it.

Recipes that work well in bulk

One of the best ways to prepare ahead of time is to actually cook in bulk. If you find a really nice roast on sale, cook it all at once in a slow-cooker, and you’ll be all set to portion it out for the week.

Here are a few recipes to help:

When you take some time to think about what you’re going to do and then take some action ahead of time, you’ll go a really long way towards having a foolproof lifestyle change. Then, once you’re used to your new diet, it’ll become a habit and you’ll be living a healthier lifestyle before you realize it.

Let’s hear from you: what’s your favorite way to foolproof your fitness?

Need more slow-carb kitchen tips?

Check out our new e-book, “10 Slow-Carb Shortcuts Even Tim Ferriss Doesn’t Know About (Yet)”!

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Slow Carb Foodie in 2012

Happy New Year SlowCarb-ers!  I hope you everyone had a happy and healthy holiday season.  I accomplished “happy” but “healthy” was not so successful.  I spent the week in Queensland, Australia camping with friends at the Woodford Folk Festival, one of Australia’s most popular music festivals (don’t be too jealous all of you in the Northern Hemisphere, but it’s summer here!)

I had a great time enjoying the sunshine, great music and comedy acts, but after day one, I sort of gave up my healthy eating (and drinking!)  I gained 4 lbs in a week, which isn’t all that bad considering when I was doing the Slow Carb cheat days, I would occasionally gain  4lbs in a day.

At the end of it all, I felt like crap.

I was bloated, lethargic and may have given myself acid reflux for the first time in my life.  Yuck!

I’d say it was a bummer, but it was actually a nice reminder of why I invest so much time and energy cooking and eating healthily most of time – not just to look better but to feel better.

So, I’m starting the new year off a bit different.  Last year, I began the year following Tim Ferris’ Slow Carb Diet, made popular in the best-selling “The 4-Hour Body” and over the year my eating gradually evolved to be a bit Paleo as I discovered I felt a lot better and was able to break through what seemed like an impossible weight-loss plateau by eliminating legumes altogether.

Over the course of the year, I lost 17lbs.  (my initial goal was 20lbs).  Over the holidays, I gained about 7 lbs, which brought my net weight loss to 10lbs for the year.  This was all related to diet as I wasn’t engaging in any exercise and had a fairly sedentary “desk”lifestyle.

I initially felt a lot better as I implemented the diet, but toward the end of the year I stopped losing weight despite the fact that I was following the plan that had previously worked for me, and I started feeling a bit sluggish.

I decided that 2012 is going to be the year that I get healthy.

Here are some of the health goals I’ve set for myself:

-Goal Weight 125 lbs

-Start doing yoga and do it AT LEAST 1x per week

-Resume kettlebell swings AT LEAST 2x per week

-Resume running AT LEAST 2x per week

-More green veggies – transition diet to at least 50% veggies each day

-More raw foods and salads

I’ve decided to tackle food goals first and then the exercise goals, rather than trying to make a lot of changes all at once.   In order to kick off the year with LOTS of veggies and raw food, I’ll be following Kimberly Snyder’s “Beauty Detox Solution”.  I’ll share more about that later – but in sum it’s 80% plant based diet, mostly raw.  It’s supposed to work like a natural detox  for people who have eaten a lot of acidic foods (meat , alcohol, grain, dairy are all acidic, by the way!)  After my week of partying, this feels like a nice change, and I hope to see some good results.

The author doesn’t require you to become vegetarian but suggests it or at least cutting down on meat and only pairing it with certain foods that aid and won’t hinder in the digestion of meat.   I’ve decided to jump in wholeheartedly going 100% vegetarian.

I think my body may very well go into shock!  I am a bit of a protein addict.  I’d even estimate 50%+ of my diet previously came from meat and eggs, so this is a pretty radical  leap for me.

In preparation, I  decided to re-read “The Meatless Machine I: Reasons to Try a Plant-Based Diet for Two Weeks” chapter in 4HB (pg 520 in the appendix if you’re interested) on being vegetarian.

Something I didn’t pick up on (or probably intentionally chose to ignore) during my first read of this was the following recommendation from Tim:

“I suggest a two-week PPBD (primarily plant-based diet) test after 3-4 months on the Slow-Carb Diet.  No matter where you end up afterward, the awareness will lead to better decisions that benefit appearance, performance, and the planet as a whole.”

OK – so if it’s good enough for Tim, then it’s good enough for me.

I plan to follow this through January and then return to Slow Carb-ing per usual.  In the aftermath, I’ll share some of my experiences.  In the meantime, you can still expect recipe updates along with a few other new features from the SlowCarbFoodie.com.  I’ll be announcing everything on the 15th of January along with a free ebook entitiled “10 Slow Carb Shortcuts Even Tim Ferris Doesn’t Know About (Yet)” I’m releasing with fellow 4 Hour Blogger Jason from FindingMyFitness.com.

Stay tuned for the new updates, and if you haven’t already, sign up for the newsletter to make sure you don’t miss out on the ebook.

I hope everyone’s new year is off to a good start!

The Slow Carb Foodie Featured in Tim Ferris’ new Slow-Carb Diet TM Cookbook – Volume Two

Slow Carb Diet Recipes

I’m excited to announce that one of my original recipes has been included in Tim Ferris’ new Slow-Carb Diet TM Cookbook – Volume Two.

If you’re interested in buying a copy of the book, a fairly exhaustive collection of Slow Carb recipes, 100% of the proceeds are being donated directly to QuestBridge, which helps put the smartest, low-income students in the US into the best colleges.

In Tim’s own words, “It’s a highly leveraged program, and some of the brightest minds in Silicon Valley are advisors. $25,000 covers the cost of financial aid applications for 2,000 low-income high school students!”

Very cool.

Tim is only making the hardback available for 72 hours, ending Tuesday, March 22, at 6pm PST so you don’t have long to get your hands on one.

Week 2 Progress and Update

No, this is not me…. yet.  I wish.  A little aspirational image to keep motivated for now as the pounds and inches slowly come off.

Cheat Day Update

I had my second “official” cheat day yesterday.  I say second, not third because I’m not counting my first week on the diet due to a major slip-up I didn’t realize I was making.

As with the week before, I didn’t have much of an appetite or cravings for any of the foods I’d briefly thought about missing during the week.   My cheats were pretty minor, and I felt a bit sick after eating the gyro and pasta.  After weighing in this morning, I’d gained 1lb.

Here’s what I ate:

  • Breakfast:   2 eggs over easy + some homemade hashbrowns with onion and garlic.
  • After breakfast:  1/3 a bar of Green & Black’s Organic Dark Chocolate.
  • Lunch: small bowl of easy mac, 3 Thin Mint style cookies.
  • Dinners:  I ate ¾ of a gyro.  I was too full to finish the whole thing.
  • Post Dinner: I ate about 1 cup cooked pasta with a little butter on it – didn’t really want it, but felt like I should eat pasta.

It all sounds a bit pathetic for a cheat day.  I spent most of the day running around and doing errands so didn’t even think about food most of the day.  Next week, I think I’ll make more of a concerted effort.   On the bright side, I didn’t gain much weight, on the negative, I think I probably consumed fewer calories than I would on a normal day so I’m a bit concerned I’m not achieving the calorie spike needed.

General Progress Update

I’m now two weeks into the Slow Carb Diet with not much success.   I’m thinking most of this has little to do with the diet and more to do with my circumstances the past 2 weeks.

This was a bit of a crazy time for me.  I’d just returned from 3 weeks vacation and hadn’t settled into any sort of routine when this week hit me with job interviews, houseguests and entertaining for my boyfriend’s birthday all at once.

I don’t believe in making excuses because “stuff” will always come up (that’s life, right?), but I want to mention these things in the context of why I don’t think I’m seeing the huge results that some others are seeing, and also why I’m still happy and committed to the diet.

Also to note: I am a female who doesn’t have a tremendous amount of weight to lose.  I’d say 10lbs to looking fit and healthy.  20 lbs would be very lean and fit.  I’m assuming the weight just comes off a bit slower at this point.  I’ve been doing some version of Low/Slow carbs for awhile now (before starting the blog), and think I’ve already shed my “easy” weight (the huge lbs everyone seems to lose in the beginning.) 

Circumstances that may have impacted my results:

  • The past 14 days were the days leading up to and during my period.
  • I ate out a few times for birthdays and other occasions.  While I stuck to the diet, there may have been unknowns in the food.
  • I don’t think I’ve been getting enough protein within 30 minutes of rising.  I know on some days I definitely did not.
  • I may not be drinking enough water.  I don’t tend to measure my water intake as I’ve been in the habit of drinking water (and not much else other than alcohol on special occasions) for years so didn’t consider this might be something I’d need to monitor.

What I’m going to change this week:

  • Optimize my morning routine:  Scale, water, food – all within 30 minutes.
  • Count my protein.  I realized a few days ago that one of my regular lunches Broccoli + Can of tuna and olive oil only has about 18g of protein.  Sometimes I’d eat this with lentils, sometimes not.  Now, I’m realizing it may not have been enough protein for me.
  • Track timing of meals.  Much of my meal timing has revolved around work and other people.  I don’t think I was too far off, but I’m going to actually track this week just to make note of patterns.

I have one other thought that I may need to start “front loading” my legumes early in the day and not eating them in my last meal.  I’m going to wait another week to test this and see how I do just being a bit more fanatical about the details.