My First Week On The Slow Carb Diet (The 4 Hour Body)

My recent post about designing a fat burning diet was inspired in large part by the slow carb diet as created by Tim Ferris (read about it here).

My diet, was my own adaptation that has worked pretty well for me, but I recently decided to go ahead with the full 'slow carb diet', following all of the rules as strictly as I possibly could. To make it a little bit more tricky I am also vegetarian - but this hasn't held me back a great deal.

Anyway, because I thought this might be interesting to all you readers out there I thought I would chronicle my progress.

Here's week 1

The slow carb diet doesn't really prescribe what you must eat per sae, but you must not eat any 'white carbs'. That means no bread, rice, pasta, potatoes etc:

So the biggest challenge is what to actually eat as a staple - Tim recommends beans and pulses (such as lentils), so that's what I went with.

You also have to have 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking and 20 grams with each meal. I have used a combination of eggs, vegetarian meat substitutes and protein shake to deal with that.

The Challenges

The biggest challenges for me are, finding a way to make beans taste good, remembering to get enough protein into each meal and cutting out dairy.

Tasty Beans

After much experimenting I discovered something rather obvious but very helpful; different beans taste very different to one another - if you can't stand the taste of kidney beans, don't eat them, try a different bean.

My staple so far has been a tin of mixed Mexican style beans. The tin contains Pinto beans, Haricot beans, Kidney beans and Black Turtle beans. I couldn't eat a full tin of kidney beans, but this tin is a good mix and personally I love haricot beans (they are the ones you would find in a normal tin of baked beans).

If you can't a similar tin in your own super market or grocery store, buy them separately and mix them up; it's worth the extra effort.

On top of that I have found a hot chilli & garlic sauce to go very nicely. I have also discovered a 'Jerk seasoning powder that makes for a brilliant stir fry type thing.

Example Meals

Breakfast

For breakfast I will generally have a tin of mexican beans with the Chilli sauce - just put the beans in a bowl, couple squirts of sauce and some salt and pepper, then 2 and a half minutes in the microwave. With that I'll have 2 hard boiled eggs and a protein shake with water.

This all makes for a total of about 560 calories and keeps me nicely full until lunch time. It also takes very little time to prepare - I tend to hard boil about 10 eggs at a time and keep them in the fridge - they also make a handy snack at other times of day if I'm busy.

Dinner

One of my favourites for dinner is a (Quorn) chicken stir fry - I just get a large frying pan, pour in olive oil, about a small bowl of cubed frozen veg, similar volume of (Quorn) chicken peices and fry together until both are thawed. Then I add in a tin of beans (either mixed or whatever I fancy at the time, Pinto or Kidney work well).

The first picture in this post is this meal made with a mixed tin of canellini beans, flageolet beans and adzuki beans; not my favorites, but they add a little variety.

On top of that I use a couple of teaspoons of the Jerk seasoning and some soy sauce. Mix it all up and fry it until it looks ready to eat.

Again, this meal tots up to about 500 calories, and I sometimes eat this twice a day - it's really tasty.

Other Stuff

I don't really have 4 specific meals planned out, but I will generally just throw together some combination of frozen veg, beans and (Quorn) chicken or beef. As Tim says in his post, it's all about being a master of seasoning.

As well as all of the above I also eat about 20 dry roasted peanuts each day - partly for the good fat and partly because I like them. Nuts are not specifically disallowed from the diet, but you have to keep it in moderation because they are so high calorie.

Saturday!!!

Saturday was my cheat day this week - I started the diet on Sunday, so by the time Saturday rolled around I felt like I deserved it - and I stuck to the diet like glue all week to make sure I could really go for it.

For breakfast I had 3 thick, chocolate chip cookies and a cup of Mocha
Lunch was a foot long 'pizza' subway with extra cheese and southwest sauce
Midday snack 1 - 8 fondant fancies (yup, a whole box to myself!)
Midday snack 2 - 2 liters of Nesquick choco milk made with gold top milk
Dinner was a regular, stuffed crust margarita pizza and 2 glasses of coke
Tea was hot cookie dough with ice cream and a chocolate ice cream milk shake
By the end of Saturday I felt quite sick, but what an awesome day. I literally couldn't have pigged out any more - I reckon this probably totaled up to about 4,500 calories.

Exercise

Now exercise isn't required if you don't want to, but I am actually trying to build muscle at the moment too - for various reasons. So I have had 2 gym sessions this week.

I won't go into the details, but for this reason I have trying to keep my calories on the high side all week, whilst sticking to the slow carb thing.

The results

When I started, I weighed myself on the monday morning and I was exactly 196 pounds. As of this morning, a week later I am exactly 196 pounds still.

Although I had hoped to see weight loss I think this is actually a victory, since I am hopefully gaining muscle - so if my weight stays consistent I must logically have lost some fat too.

Secondly though, Saturday makes it all worthwhile. I enjoy the other 6 days, I do honestly like the meals I have been eating, but being able to eat with such reckless abandon once a week is brilliant fun - so even if I don't lose weight, if I can keep this up and not gain any fat I will be happy.

I have since started taking photos to track how my body actually looks, hopefully over the coming weeks I will be able to report some improvements. I'll keep you posted.