My First Week on the Slow Carb Diet

Random photos of my first weeks food on the slow carb diet

Originally uploaded by pappi23

Well it’s been a week of eating in a truly new way. I’ve found that it has been an easy transition as I like most foods. My girlfriend who took my choice to diet as inspiration to begin a cleanse regime she’s been meaning to try for years. Her diet is less restrictive than the slow carb diet and because she does not like legumes it is much harder for her.

So my first take away from this experience is that your pre-diet pallet greatly impacts some of the difficulties with eating differently. Secondly if you eat enough for each meal when carb/sugar cravings hit. Its much easier to ignore them with a full belly.

So far I’ve cheated most with my morning coffee. I really do like the 5%cream and sweetener combination. In the last week I’ve started using only half a pack of sweetener and shortening my cream pour. When the cream runs out I’ll get some heavier cream and start to measure. I hoping I can reduce the amount used.

I’ve been looking into the exercise regime that the 4 Hour Body suggest is paired with the diet and unfortunately I don’t have easy access to kettle bells for “the one exercise we should be doing” so I’m still working that out.I’m inclined begun regular cardio and weight routines for the time being.We shall see.

I’ve added a smattering of my meals over the past week. Mostly I’ve been working off some basics learned @ the site has some good suggestions but take caution as some of their recipes do not follow the diet plan as well as they could. I’ve also been researching some of the foods I’d like to use but were not mentioned in the book. Specifically coconut milk, shrimp/shellfish, & Canadian bacon. I’ve decided that all of the above are ok however the coconut milk should be used in moderation and not the light variety that likely has sugar added.

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Posted by on March 2, 2011 in Diet, Food


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Fat Loss with the Slow Carb Diet

In my last post I talked about finding out that I was carrying around almost 50lbs of fat and that it just wasn’t sitting well with me and so I decided to do something about it. You should know that I have dieted twice in my life to this point, once to lose some fat and once for building muscle. The last time for fat I was counting calories. We know it works, it’s just a lot of work. Basically it went like this.

Counting Calories

1lb of fat has about 3,500 calories.

I wanted to lose 10lbs so I need to cut my caloric intake by 35,000 at the conclusion of the program. I would do this by watching what I eat (counting calories) and exercise.

Everyday the average man burns (and should consume) about 2,500 calories and women are in the 2,200 range. I wanted to lose the weight in 30 days. So I needed a program that would result in a 35k calorie deficit, which went generally like this.

Daily Deficit Target – 35,000 / 30 = 1,166 calories (half the food I eat if I was already health, which means I’m going to be hungry)

Daily Caloric Food intake (no exercise) – 2,500 (auto burn) – 1,166 (daily deficit) = 1,134 cal per day I can eat. To put that in perspective:

270 Cal – Cup (smaller than you think) of Raisin Bran with Milk

510 Cal – 12″ Subway Cold cut trio with lite Mayo

840 Cal – 4 slices of Pizza Pizza Pepperoni Pizza

Total: 1,620

I know we don’t all eat the same but that isn’t a lot of grub it’s already 500 cal over the target, not including other common sources of calories such as snacks, drinks, fruit.

So to survive, exercise is a must (doh!), I have found that about 30 min on an elliptical will burn 500 cal so if you can manage it’s a must (I get bored at 20 min or so).

Well anyway, that’s what I’m not doing this time.

Slow Carb

This is a new diet, you can see this just by doing a Google search and seeing how little material comes up about it. It’s not all that much different from many out there and quite frankly I don’t yet have any specific knowledge on Adkins, Weight Watchers, South Beach Diet, etc. so I can’t tell you how each differ and to be frank I don’t really care. I figure that they are all largely similar and its most important to actually do it. What works for you works for you. I just know that a diet can be a lot of work and less additional work to make it work is a good thing.

So without further ado here’s the basic outline of the Slow Carb Diet by Tim Ferriss

Rule #1: Avoid “White” Carbohydrates

Avoiding all “white” carbohydrates means that I cannot eat: all bread, rice (including brown), cereal, potatoes, pasta, tortillas, and fried food with breading.

Rule #2: Eat the Same Few Meals Over and Over Again

slow carb

According to Tim, successful dieters eat the same few meals. It matters not if you’re trying to lose or gain weight, one should pick from a list of approved foods and avoid all else. I have cooked a bit in the past so I will be working with a selection of meats and veg but I will always be careful to include legumes, to add caloric load to avoid hunger. I’ll eat as much as I need/want as this is not a go hungry diet but I’ll keep it simple and try to eat slower so I can stop eating when my body tells me it’s full.

Proteins: Egg whites with 1-2 whole eggs, chicken breast or thigh, beef, fish, pork, shrimp

Legumes: Lentils, black beans, pinto beans, red beans, and soybeans

Vegetables: Spinach, mixed vegetables (including broccoli, cauliflower, etc), sauerkraut, kimchi, asparagus, peas, broccoli, and green beans, etc.

Because I’m a night owl and my current daily schedule allows for it I will follow Tim’s meal times

  • 10:00 am – breakfast
  • 2:00 pm – lunch
  • 6:30 pm – smaller second lunch
  • 8:00-9:00 pm – Recreation or sports training if scheduled
  • 10:00 pm  – Dinner
  • 12:00 am Glass of red wine and TV

Rule #3: Don’t Drink Calories

This one will be interesting for me as I can truthfully say that I don’t like drinking water. On a daily basis I will get most of my H2O from Coke Zero, Beer, Soup, and sips of water. It’s claimed that artificial sweeteners can stimulate weight gain so I will be trying to drink more water and unsweetened tea.

To start I will consume coffee with sweetener and 3 tsp of cream, red wine (no more than two glasses per night), and other no-calorie/low-calorie beverages. To be clear, no milk (including soy milk), soft drinks, fruit juice, white wines, or beer will be consumed (except for cheat days).

Rule #4: Don’t Eat Fruit

“If your ancestors were from Europe, how much fruit did they eat in the winter 500 years ago?”

– Right on Tim. I will avoid fruit except tomatoes and avocado (no more than one cup of the latter per meal or day).

Rule #5: Take One Day Off Per Week

It makes sense that I choose Saturday as my cheat day as I’ll have all day to eat the food that I love but has made me fat like Pizza, Ice Cream, Popcorn, Chips and Beer. I’ll follow this rule on faith more than anything else. In Tim’s world dramatically spiking caloric intake once a week increases fat loss by preventing one’s metabolic rate from slowing down (think bears sleeping for 6 months) due to a sustained caloric deficit.

There is absolutely no calorie counting on this diet.  Tim also suggests that the diet starts 5 days from the first cheat day. I’ve started on a Wednesday so I’ll go easy the first Saturday.

More on Slow Carb

  • No diary
  • Basic supplements – potassium, magnesium and calcium
  • You’ll gain weight after a cheat day – don’t worry
  • Use your spices – salt and pepper others as well.  Tim like the hot spices and I’ll eat those but I’m also into fresh tasting meals using herbs and lemon and the like
  • Macadamia Oil, Olive Oil in that order
  • Dry red wine (less sugar) – Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
  • Try not to snack, if you must eat light
  • No whole gains or oats
  • Stir-fry not deep fry
  • Eat within 30-minutes of waking

If you want more on the diet, read his book!


Posted by on February 25, 2011 in Diet, Food, Motivation


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A Perfect Storm to Motivate Moving to a Healthier Diet

Recently I joined one of my local gyms on a two month trial basis. I mostly did this to take advantage of their group classes in Spinning. I used to enjoy mountain biking so I figured this would be a fun way to exercise inside while waiting for winter to end.

Upon joining the fitness club they conducted a 1 hour fitness test where they weighed and measured me. What I found was less than pleasing. I was almost 10lbs over my traditional resting weight and my BMI was 22% and I had finally crossed into the red unhealthy zone. They claimed I was carrying around almost 50lbs of fat!  Wow that’s was a shocker.

At about the same time I had picked up two books In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan (audio book version) and The 4hour body by Tim Ferriss. I listened to one while walking my dog everyday and spent my free time reading the other. This is a combination that I highly recommend as each book has very different goals but their content created a kind of synergy that reinforced their messages with depth and perspective.

About – The 4-Hour Body

Book Cover - 4 Hour Body - Tim FerrissIn a nutshell Tim Ferriss is a man’s man and likes to find the best way to reach a goal without beating around the bushes. He is methodical in approach and highly motivated. His book covers many subjects: Fat Loss, Abs/Ass, Six Minute Abs, Muscle Gain, Lower Back Problems, Preventing Injury with balance training, full TOC can be found here.  I plan on trying out a few of his suggestions which I have already started; first fat loss –“Lose 20 pounds in 30 days”. Tim advocates a new twist on the traditional low carb diet called ‘slow carb’. The basic idea is that you don’t count calories and that you eat a lot of legumes (beans) which are high in fiber and tend to release their energy slower than refined grains and starches (which have very low nutritional value and are often high in sugars).  With enough legumes in your system you are much more likely to avoid terrible hunger pains between meals.

I’ll explore this book in more detail but for now it helps to know more about my motivation and about the food you eat. The typical North American Diet.

About – In Defense of Food

The book is broken down into 3 sections: The Age of Nutritionism, The Western Diet and the Diseases of Civilization, and Getting Over Nutritionism.  The book review on amazon is a fairly good summary:

From Publishers Weekly

Book Cover - In Defense of Food - Michael Pollan

In his hugely influential treatise The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Pollan traced a direct line between the industrialization of our food supply and the degradation of the environment. His new book takes up where the previous work left off. Examining the question of what to eat from the perspective of health, this powerfully argued, thoroughly researched and elegant manifesto cuts straight to the chase with a maxim that is deceptively simple: Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. But as Pollan explains, food in a country that is driven by a thirty-two billion-dollar marketing machine is both a loaded term and, in its purest sense, a holy grail. The first section of his three-part essay refutes the authority of the diet bullies, pointing up the confluence of interests among manufacturers of processed foods, marketers and nutritional scientists—a cabal whose nutritional advice has given rise to a notably unhealthy preoccupation with nutrition and diet and the idea of eating healthily. The second portion vivisects the Western diet, questioning, among other sacred cows, the idea that dietary fat leads to chronic illness. A writer of great subtlety, Pollan doesn’t preach to the choir; in fact, rarely does he preach at all, preferring to lets the facts speak for themselves. (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

The above summary is quite good but there is more to the story.  This book helped me understand the role that nutritionists take in our society along with some of the history of their work. For example the Lipid Hypothesis which connects cholesterol with heart disease has been the basis of the medical communities recommendations on diet to the public for decades. Basically our nutrition experts say that to much of A=B, which is bad, so we recommend less A.  Wow.  Good work guys.  Thing is the science of nutrition is reductionist, meaning that food is design/created by taking away all the things in our food that we don’t understand, just make sure it’s low in cholesterol (and other baddies of the day) and we’ll have a healthy population.

One problem. Doesn’t work. North American has the most engineered food in the world and coincidently one of the most unhealthy.  Read anything about an obesity epidemic lately?

There have been dramatic increases in overweight and obesity among Canadians over the past 30 years, and many experts fear it to be an epidemic.  This growing health problem has translated into a large economic burden, reaching approximately $4.3 billion annually by most recent estimates.  The factors that lead to overweight and obesity are numerous, complex and intertwined, which has led several experts to suggest a population health approach for addressing overweight and obesity in Canada.  In a July 2005 news release, the Canadian Minister of State (Public Health) stated:  “Encouraging and supporting healthy weights will require cooperative action across all sectors and levels of government … Social, economic, physical and environmental factors must be addressed to create environments that will support Canadians in making healthy choices.

Michael Pollan goes on to talk about the different populations and ancient diets around the world. Some populations are healthy with high cholesterol diets and other diets such as the French sustain a population that ‘should’ be unhealthy but isn’t. When it appears there is an anomaly to our nutrition creed of the day nutritionists try seek out the ‘silver bullet’ of health. Is it Red Wine? Omega-3? Probiotics? Poutine?  Michael thinks we don’t know and may never know or that it’s just too complex of a problem to boil down to A=B, kind of like the complexity of nature, our food chain, animals or the environment. Check out the problem these Asian Carp who were introduced to eat algae are causing in the Illinois River, this is just the start folks. Keep your head down!

Finally Michael leaves us with some telling observations.

  • North Americans stop eating when their plate is empty, not when full
  • We snack too much
  • We don’t spend enough time enjoying our meals

I for one am both guilty and not guilty of this as I really do enjoy food and good food to boot. But I admit I have eaten in front of that awesome high-definition plasma once or twice.

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Posted by on February 25, 2011 in Diet, Food, Motivation


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