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The Slow-Carb Approach
The Slow-Carb ‘diet’ has been popularized in the 4 Hour Body, by Tim Ferriss. As cocky and arrogant as the son of a bitch is, he’s got something here. I’ve tweaked his plan just a bit and added in my own collection of high-quality, nutrient rich recipes. I’m not a big fan of dieting; I’m a much bigger fan of lifestyle adjustments. This approach is designed to avoid saying no to food and begin saying later. As you know every body type is different therefore the most important thing you need to remember is to listen to your body’s needs. The bottom line being, you know what’s best for you.
6 days of the week will be devoted to a primal diet- high protein, healthy fats, + green leafys. 1day of the week will be your feast day, basically your eat whatever the fuck you want day. It doesn’t always have to be the same day, but you only get one a week- so choose wisely ;).
- Avoid refined (white) starches (carbs): all bread, all rice, cereal, potatoes (except for sweet), pasta, tortillas, flour and fried food (the breading).
- Avoid sugar: cakes, cookies, candies (the obvious), white wine, artificial sweeteners (these are actually the worst, I’d rather you consumed real sugar).
- Avoid processed foods: basically anything that comes in a package (minus a few exceptions) :/. This includes, but is not limited to: fast food, energy drinks and protein bars (Epic bars are ok, great actually, as long as you’re choosing one without the fruit, such as the pork option- I’ve found the best price at Publix, $2 something a bar.
- Avoid fruit: humans don’t need fruit 6 days a week, and they certainly don’t need it year round. Fruit is seasonal for a reason.
- Drink water: water is essential for weight-loss, energy, and restful sleep. The approx. guideline for how much water you should be consuming each day depends on your body weight. Take your weight and divide it in half- that’s how many ounces of water you should be consuming daily (base line)- any water consumed during a workout is in addition to your base consumption. Bottom line is, drink more water!
- Don’t count calories: calorie counting is old-school thinking. Portion control can go out the window when you’re consuming high-quality fuel. Restricting portions or calories often leads to a downshift in metabolism or dangerous binging sessions.
- Select one day a week and go ape shit: drink and eat to your hearts delight. Anything goes.
What CAN you eat?
- Protein: Eggs (preferably organic, hormone + antibiotic-free), chicken (preferably organic, hormone + antibiotic-free), beef (preferably grass or organic fed)- jimmy P’s has a nice selection, at an affordable rate. Fish (preferably local or wild-caught), seafood, pork (preferably organic, nitrate-free) Beans: pinto, black, kidney, great northern, cannellini etc. (avoid soybeans). Lentils. Cottage cheese (preferably organic, sourced from grass-fed cows)
- Vegetables: avoid white potatoes and corn- all others are a go. Fresh local choices are best, frozen next best, canned last (beware to purchase low sodium choices)
- Nuts: cashews, walnuts, peanuts, pecans, Brazilian, pistachios etc. (avoid highly salted or candied variations). Nut butters are ok, just make sure they’re unadulterated (no added sugars )
- High quality fats: butter (from grass-fed cows- Kerrygold is a great option and sold at Publix at a reasonable rate), olive oil, coconut oil, walnut oil, avocados, fish oil, macadamia oil.
- Seasoning + Spices: Fresh is best, Himalayan Sea Salt, fresh cracked pepper, cayenne + tobacco are best for spicing things up. Unadulterated spices are a go, beware of additional sugar and salt in pre-mixes.
- Alcohol + Caffeine: Anything goes on cheat days. All other days limit yourself to a glass or two of red wine, this will limit your residual sugar. If wine is not your thing stick to a vodka soda or gin + soda :D. As far as caffeine, everyone will instruct you differently. I’m a fan of unadulterated matcha tea powder mixed with almond milk, unadulterated coffee (meaning no sugar or cream), unsweetened tea + fermented tea (kombucha). I don’t beat myself up over caffeine. The cleaner you eat the less you’ll feel a need for artificial energy.
- Dairy: Your call. Dairy is often associated with gastro-intestinal issues, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and skin problems. I believe the true culprit is in the hormones and antibiotics that we pump into the cows. I choose to eat dairy sparingly because I don’t feel well otherwise. When I do consume I always go with either a raw or organic choice.
Plan ahead: invest in Tupperware or mason jars to carry your meal prep.
Whenever possible, eat out on your cheat days, and either consume or trash the leftovers before going to sleep.
Clear your house of all junk before getting started. If it’s available it’s tough to resist. Out of sight, out of mind.
*I’ve added portions to give you an idea, though you are not limited to my portion sizes, the last thing I want you to do is go hungry.
As I’m sure you know breakfast is an extremely important meal of the day and often disregarded. Not eating within one hour of waking (preferably 30 minutes) is one of the fastest ways to stunt results. Breakfast doesn’t need to be a huge ordeal. I prefer small portions of protein and vegetables. Generally I consume breakfast to fuel my workouts and hit a generous size lunch 3-4 hours later. Here are some quality options:
- 1 cup organic cottage cheese, fresh arugula, cherry tomatoes, drizzled olive oil and fresh cracked pepper
- 2 organic, cage-free hard boiled eggs and 4 cups of sautéed spinach (sautéed spinach cooks up in less than 5 minutes in butter or olive oil- 4 cups sautés down to about a cup) hard-boil a dozen eggs at a time and eat them throughout the week- this will save you time early in the morning.
- 1 cup black beans (organic, canned + rinsed), olive oil, Himalayan Sea salt, cracked pepper + 1 sweet potato (topped off with butter, salt + pepper)
- Protein shake: 1 handful raw walnuts, banana (a little cheat, but acceptable in the morning, especially prior to working out), cold-pressed coffee (or bullet-proof coffee- recipe at the bottom, skip the coffee if you’re not a fan), almond milk, dash of cinnamon, 1 tsp maca (energizing superfood). Blend and enjoy!
- Green smoothie: handful kale, handful spinach, ½ avocado, ½ banana, coconut water (or tap), 1 tsp. hemp seed, 1 tsp. chia seed. Blend and consume (again best, prior to working out).
- Primal power: 1 TBL (unadulterated peanut butter), 1 TBL coconut oil, ½ cup raw cashews, 1 tsp raw cacao powder, ½ tsp hemp seed, dash sea salt, dash cinnamon, almond milk. (Great post-workout recovery)
- Scrambled eggs: these take a bit more prep-work but they’re well worth it. Dice and sauté desired veggies in olive oil. I like onions, bell peppers, and asparagus. While the veggies are cooking beat 2 eggs and slice ½ an avocado. When veggies are nicely browned add the eggs and stir until cooked. Top with fresh cilantro, lime + fresh salsa. Delicious!
- 3 TBL almond or peanut butter on celery stalks with wheatgrass or bullet-proof coffee. I swear by wheatgrass in the morning! It’s not pleasant but its energizing effects are well worth the pain. I generally consume it in powder form (amazing greens) because it’s relatively inexpensive and simple to throw into a blender bottle first thing in the morning. I’m also a big advocate of bullet-proof coffee: 1 cup French-pressed, organic coffee, 1 TBL grass fed butter, 1 TBL organic, virgin coconut oil, 1 dash cinnamon. While waiting for water to boil I’ll throw the remaining ingredients in a blender. Once coffee has been pressed add it to the blender and blend for 5 seconds. Best coffee in the world!
Depending upon how your schedule is laid out lunch is often (or should often) be the main meal (heartiest and largest). Lunch is wisely consumed 30-60 min post-workout. If dinner tends to be your main meal you’re welcome to swap dinner and lunch recipes.
- Baked salmon salad: place a filet of salmon in a baking pan and rub with 1 TBL coconut oil, fresh grated ginger and fresh lemon juice. Bake at 350 degrees for roughly 20 minutes (depending on the oven, desired temp and size of filet) lay over mixed greens, choice veggies such as: peppers, radish, red onion, steamed green beans, ect. Toss greens and veggies in olive oil, balsalmic vinegar, Himalayan sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. Yum!
- Roasted Veggies + Sausage: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Chop select veggies. I like: portobello mushrooms, onion, whole garlic cloves, fresh chard, sweet potato + cauliflower. Toss veggies generously in olive oil, cayenne pepper, Himalayan sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. Bake until lightly browned and soft (the kale or chard will come out virtually black, it’s still delicious). While the veggies are cooking brown choice sausage in fry pan. Whole Foods has an incredible selection of hand-made sausage links. You’re welcome to select other protein options if sausage doesn’t do it for you ;).
- Slow-Roasted Chicken or Duck: Great for meal prepping! This recipe requires a slow cooker- this is one of the best investments I’ve made $20 at Target. SO many delicious paleo recipes online utilizing a slow-cooker. Purchase the whole bird. Marinade it overnight (or at least 3 hours) in olive oil, fresh cilantro, fresh lime, Himalayan sea salt and fresh ground pepper. You can do all kinds of experimenting with marinades as well as dry rubs. Place the chicken and marinade in your slow cooker and cook on low for 5-6 hours. The meat will fall off the bone. If you’re not up for the preparation, Whole Foods and Food + Thought sell organic rotisserie chickens, SO delicious! Prep the chix by pulling off all the meat and store it in your fridge for days. Add it to vegetables, salads or down it with Dijon mustard, yes please!
- Steak + Potatoes: All of Jimmy P’s meat comes from organic-fed cows. The beef is reasonably priced and delicious. Pick up some steaks from the butcher shop and grill out with sweet potato fries. Sweet potato fries: cut potatoes into some form of french fry shape, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill or bake and serve with balsamic vinegar.
- Egg Salad: Not your traditional. Dice choice veggies and throw over mixed greens or arugula. I like: carrots, baby tomato, bell pepper, red onion, radish and avocado. Poach or fry 2 eggs and lay over salad. Dress with olive oil, and vinegar (balsamic, red wine, or apple cider)
- Chicken + Black Bean Bowl: Organic chicken breasts- preheat oven to 350 degrees throw breasts in a baking pan, top with olive oil, lemon, cayenne, salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder and bake 20-30 min (chix lasts aprox a week), organic, canned beans (rinsed), sliced avocado, tomato, corn (organic, canned ok), diced onion and green pepper. Drizzle bowl with olive oil and serve with fresh cilantro and salsa.
- Bunless Burger + Faux mashed potatoes: If you’re really craving a burger and fries and can’t make it to your cheat day this will have to do. High quality beef patty seasoned with sea salt and cracked pepper. Cauliflower mashed potatoes: ½ head cauliflower steamed, 2 TBL olive oil, 1 TBL butter, ¼ cup nutritional yeast (optional- gives them a cheesy flavor) salt and pepper. Steam cauliflower and blend ingredients in high-speed blender. These will save a few days.
I prefer dinner to be light and clean. I like to eat lighter as the evening progresses. Depending on your schedule and sleep patterns you may want to swap your dinner and lunch recipes.
- Bean salad: This salad is a pain but it’s delicious, and it saves for about a week. Make sure you’re purchasing organic in order to avoid playing the trumpet in your pants. Also Beano is a good option if you’re exceptionally gassy ;). This salad works well with any variety of canned or dried beans. Be sure to thoroughly wash beans before adding them to the mix. Makes 5-6 cups.
1 can organic black beans
1 can organic kidney beans
1 can organic cannellini beans
2 organic bell peppers (select colors of your choice)
1 red onion (half if exceptionally large)
1 can organic corn
handful fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup cold-pressed organic olive oil
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder (I chose a chipotle chili powder)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 lemon squeeze
1/2 lime squeeze
1 TBL sugar (honey, maple syrup, cane sugar, your choice)
1 tsp Himalayan sea salt (more or less to taste)
1 clove crushed garlic
Rinse beans and corn. Chop veggies. Add oil + vinegar. Season to taste. Serve it up!
- Beet Salad: Golden, Red, White or a mix. Boil beets for aprox 30 min (until consistency of a boiled potato). Toss in ice bath (in order to easily remove skin). Rub off skin and dice into desired size. Add beets to fresh kale, walnuts and feta cheese salad. Dress with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper.
- Arugula salad: fresh arugula, cherry or grape tomatoes, avocado. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Add chicken breast or cottage cheese for additional protein.
- Steamed broccoli and chicken breast
- Sautéed Brussels with nitrate free apple bacon: Chop Brussels, and sweet white onion. Toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard. Throw in sauté pan and cover with lid. Cook on med heat, stirring occasionally until brussels are browned. While brussels are cooking throw bacon on a baking pan and cook at 350 until crispy. Dice bacon and thrown into pan when brussels are finished. Add more oil, vinegar and/or mustard to taste as well as salt and pepper. These are fire!
- Hummus + Veggies:
Hummus is quick + clean fuel. This recipe can be made with canned or dried garbanzo beans- dried will yield a thicker + heartier texture. This is a basic recipe, it can be embellished with garlic, artichoke hearts, roasted red bell peppers, pesto etc.
2 cups (soaked or canned) organic garbanzo beans
1/2 cup organic cold pressed olive oil
1 tsp tahini (not necessary)
1 tsp Himalayan sea salt (more or less to taste)
2 lemons (freshly squeezed)
fresh cracked pepper
cut vegetables of your choice
Throw ingredients into a high-speed blender or food processor (I used a ninja) and pulse until desired consistency. Fresh hummus saves 4+ days. Enjoy!
- Gazpacho: 1 cup finely chopped, peeled tomato
½ cup finely chopped green pepper
2 teaspoons snipped parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon Worcestershire
2 cups tomato juice (high-quality, organic choice)
½ cup finely chopped celery
½ cup finely chopped cucumber
1 teaspoon chives
2/3 tablespoons tarragon wine vinegar (red wine vin will do)
Best prepared ahead of time, and chilled for 4 hours before serving