Recently I spent 2 1/2 weeks using the Slow Carb Diet as a nutritional and health strategy. Created and popularized by Tim Ferriss a decade ago in The Four Hour Body, it's been less popular as of late in favour of ketosis and a variety of other "low-carb diets". However, I really liked it. I used to say that I "mostly slow-carb-ed it", but it was time to go all in and follow the directions fully.
Here's my 10 cents on my experience of it.
First, I want to be clear on a couple of things regarding my decision to use the Slow Carb Diet.
1. I LOATHE the word "diet", especially in the context it is normally used. You don't "go on a diet"...that's a sure step to failure. Instead, you "follow a diet", meaning an eating or nutritional strategy. The latter has long term implications as a healthy habit.
2. I wasn't doing this for weight loss purposes. The six months preceding this were filled with a ton of stress, a couple of surgeries, and some less-than-desirable nutritional choices. I wanted to see if it would get me back on track.
In full disclosure, I would have spent longer using it; I was traveling to see family and when someone else is in charge of your food, it can be hard to maintain a strict eating regime. I was fine with this.
Here's an overview of what The Slow Carb Diet entails:
- 30g of whole protein within an hour of getting up in the morning. (To put things in perspective, one egg is 7g of protein. I used protein shakes with a bunch of stuff in them. Click here to see one of my protein shake recipes.)
- No white carbohydrates or fruit (basically no simple carbs or grains).
- No dairy (Exceptions: Whey protein powders are fine, as are small amounts of cottage cheese and ricotta cheese, as is using parmesan cheese like a spice).
- No sugar or sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, acai, etc. Stevia is allowed if you can handle it.
- No starch (potatoes).
- No alcohol. (Note: Tim Ferriss indicates that he didn't notice a difference if he had ONE glass of red wine a day or not, however, as wine basically falls under SUGAR, I stayed away. Another disclosure: I had one beer a couple of times a week, not on a cheat day.)
- Once a week, following your 30g of protein first thing in the morning, eat whatever you want and however much you want for the remainder of the day. (#CheatDay)
- The first couple of days were really hard as I didn't get enough fibre and legumes. Beans and lentils are extremely important when you remove grains from your diet.
- A little extra salt and a lot of extra water is also extremely important.
- I slept REALLY well, and I found I needed about an hour less sleep than I normally do.
- Cheat day was actually really hard unless I went for all-you-can-eat sushi. I have a sweet tooth, but I don't naturally gravitate to junk food or stuffing myself with crap in general. Overeating is not natural to me, and I don't generally like how I feel after a day of eating too much anything that's nutritionally void.
- I didn't crave ANY junk food.
- I didn't miss fruit as much as I thought I would. AND, on cheat day, when I did have a banana, I strongly noticed a sugar high and subsequent crash.
Overall results? I liked it, and I'll do it again. I have long used many of the principles of it, including the 30g of protein within an hour of getting up.
Preparation is one of the keys to success with any nutritional plan, and this one is no exception. Come get connected with me on Instagram: @connectedbodystrength where I post #slowcarbdiet recipe and meal ideas.