Bacon Cups – Slow Carb Party Food

Slow Carb Friendly Bacon Cups

These little bacon cups from Not Martha are absolutely adorable and look delicious.  I have to confess, I haven’t made this recipe yet (we don’t have the “right” kind of bacon in Australia so I probably won’t make them until I make it back to the US.)  Nonetheless, I want to share the recipe anyway knowing how hard it is to make Slow Carb Diet friendly food when you’re entertaining and want to appeal to a crowd.

Slow Carb Friendly Bacon Cups
Slow Carb Friendly Bacon Cups

Who doesn’t love bacon, right?  With Easter is coming up in a few weeks, and I could even visualize popping a halved hard boiled egg inside making a cute little Easter basket.

If you do try out this recipe, please send me a comment and let me know how it is.

Here’s the link again:

http://www.notmartha.org/archives/2008/02/27/bacon-cups/

Week 3 Progress and Update: Cheat Weekend for my 30th birthday

I’m utterly stuffed and exhausted.   I’ve just returned from a fantastic weekend out of town.  As it was my 30th birthday, and I was whisked a way for a weekend of food, wine and SKYDIVING, I decided to take 2 days off instead of the one day and will get back on track tomorrow.

Stay tuned for several new recipes I’ve tried out + my weight loss updates and a few tweaks I have planned for the diet this week.

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.

How to Cook Lentils for the Slow Carb Diet

In the Four Hour Body, Tim recommends buying canned beans and lentils because they’re quick and easy.  True, and if that’s the only way you’re going to incorporate them into your eating, plan, go for the cans.

The downside to can beans is that there can be a lot of sodium.  Yes, of course you can rinse, but according to Eating Well magazine’s nutritional analysis, rinsing canned beans thoroughly removes up to 35 percent of sodium.  If you’re watching your sodium intake, you may want to try cooking your own.

Canned beans are also considerably more expensive.  On average in Australia, a small bag of dried lentils will yield me 10-12 servings and is about $3.00.  A single can on lentils  range anywhere from .75 to $1.75 – not horrifically expensive by any means, but if your household is consuming lentils at the same rate as mine, this savings does add up.  Things are a bit more expensive in Australia as well, so I’d imagine you can get bulk lentils fairly cheap in the US at a local market or co-op, like Rainbow Grocers in San Francisco.

The basic preparation for lentils is the same, no matter what the end recipe.   I do a large batch and put the lentils into  containers to refrigerate and  then make smaller batches with different seasonings throughout the week.  My favorite recipe is still Spiced Bacon Lentils.   You can also also cook in a broth or stock and add spices in directly during the cooking process.

Here is the basic recipe:

  1. Rinse the lentils thoroughly in cold water, removing any leaves, twigs, or stones
  2. Cover the lentils with cold water, using 4 cups of water for each cup of lentils.
  3. Bring the water to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer.
  4. Cook the lentils for 35-45 minutes, or until tender.

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  • slow carb lentil recipes
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Why I’m doing Tim Ferris’ Slow Carb Diet

I’ve been a fan of Tim Ferris for awhile now.  I read the The Four Hour Work Week  (4HWW) years ago when it first came out.   4HWW was part of the inspiration for me leaving my corporate job in San Francisco in 2008 and spending 2009 living overseas and starting to experiment with lifestyle design.

Last year, I proved to myself that I was able to work and support myself from anywhere so long as I had a computer in front of me, but without a steady routine in place, I also put on about 25lbs in the process.    On a female of 5’3” that’s not a pretty sight and surely not healthy.  That’s where The Four Hour Body Comes In.


A bit of history on me and my weight:

My weight has fluctuated between 120 and 130 since graduating from college.  I could work my ass off and weigh 120 but was pretty miserable doing so, or I could eat and drink whatever I wanted and weigh around 130 but wasn’t happy with what I saw in the mirror.  On a 5’3” frame, a lb of fat is way more visible than on someone who’s even just a few inches taller.  There’s just nowhere for it to go.

To borrow Tim’s idea of the Minimum Effective Dose (MED), I crudely assessed that I could maintain a reasonably in-shape body by doing some sort of work out about 4x a week, drinking only on weekends 2x per week and eliminating carbs during the week but eating whatever I wanted on the weekends.   This was all based on crude observation, but it seemed to work, it wasn’t too much trouble, and I wasn’t really willing to work much harder.

Fast forward two years from leaving my job in 2008.  I spent most of 2009 “on the road” in South East Asia and then all of 2010 “setting up camp” in Australia.  I ate whatever I wanted (by 2010 I was pretty much eating like an “Aussie bloke” because I was cooking food I knew my Australian boyfriend would like) and got almost no exercise.  I was a bit in denial of the weight gain.  I didn’t have a full-length mirror or a scale at my apartment, but I could tell from the way my close were fitting (or not fitting) that I’d put on a lot of weight.  I didn’t even want to guess how much.

When my last pair of jeans that still fit suddenly wouldn’t button one day in October 2010, I finally went and bought a scale.  I was horrified when the numbers on the scale wouldn’t keep up the lie for me.  149.

Holy Shit!

25 lbs?  In a little over a year?

I resolved to start a new way of eating the next day.  I’d dabbled in low-carb before and knew how quickly the body responds to that way of eating, so immediately I started the South Beach Diet, Phase 1.  I dropped 10 lbs in about 2 weeks and then decided I wanted to move to something more sustainable.  I wanted some carbs, and I knew I was probably eating way too much cheese.

I searched around on the internet and found Jorge Cruise’s Belly Fat Cure which focuses on controlling insulin levels by eating the “right” carbs and also eliminating “false belly fat” (basically stored up undigested food) that’s festering in your gut and making you fat.   Essentially, you can eat any carbs you want, but the quantity of sugar and carbs is monitored so it’s in your best interest to eat high quality carbs as you can have more of them in addition to taking in as much fiber as possible.

I tried to follow the plan the best I could based on directions I’d found on internet forums as I waited impatiently for 10 weeks to get the book I ordered delivered (some things take obscenely long in Australia.)  I felt pretty good on the plan (rarely hungry),  but my weight stayed the same, which was good in that I kept off the 10 lbs I lost, but it was really frustrating that for some reason my body seemed to want to hold onto the weight.

At this point I became convinced that either the Set Point Theory (the theory that an individual’s metabolism will adjust itself to maintain a weight at which it is comfortable) was inevitable or that my body was extremely sensitive to gluten so I started experiment.

When I replaced whole grain bread or tortillas with beans or even brown rice, I saw some movement on the scale.  I never got around to fully testing the theory before I had to head home to San Francisco for the holidays in December.  On a side note: Just a week or so before heading back, I’d pre-ordered a copy of The Four Hour Body without knowing anything about it.

When I got there, my copy of The Four Hour Body was waiting, and I skipped straight to the weight-loss sections.  After reading about Slow Carb, it really seemed to jive with some of the anecdotal discoveries I’d made recently as well as in the past, so I decided I’d give it a try once I returned to Oz in the new year.

The goal right now is 20lbs! I figure there’s no reason I shouldn’t try to look better at 30 than I did at 20.

So, here I go.  Wish me luck.