There are all kinds of fantastic meals one could make and still be true to the Slow Carb Diet, but there is a reason that Tim Ferris developed Rule#2: “Eat the same few meals over and over again.” It has to do with lifestyle. He tells you not to fool yourself that you will cook…because you won’t. Well as a mom, wife and foodie-type, I have managed to cook some pretty tasty and creative meals for the slow carb diet, but I have to admit I do get tired of thinking up meals every four hours.
I am as hard pressed for time as anyone and I just can’t find the time or energy to be creative 24/7. However, I am on my third month now of the slow carb diet and have found a few “fast food” tricks that have worked for me at those meals where you just don’t want to think about it. The key for me has been to keep breakfast and lunch quick, easy and somewhat repetitive and then get more creative and slow down a bit at dinner. Here are a few tips that have made my life on the slow carb diet easier:
Breakfast on the Slow Carb Diet: Quick and Easy
I am sold on Ferris’ mantra of “30 in 30″, that is…30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up (note: there is a little wiggle room in this. He mentions an hour after waking is fine also). This has probably been the biggest (and most effective) change for me, as my pre-slow-carb-diet breakfast consisted of coffee and cookies…a lot of cookies. After a month of “30 in 30″, I saw my energy level increase dramatically and I am now more disciplined with breakfast than any other meal. Here are my favorite tips for fast, easy breakfasts:
Leftovers: Make enough dinner proteins that you have some left for breakfast the next day. It’s pretty easy to heat something up in the microwave while you are still waking up, and if you put some effort into making a good dinner, it is going to taste good the second time around.
- Protein Drinks: I only drink the protein drink if I am going to work out that morning, because most of the protein drinks out there have quite a few carbohydrates and/or sugars in them also. Read the labels when you buy a protein drink, they vary quite a bit in calories and carbs. The key is to get one that is a “whey isolate”. Ferris recommended a brand (I can’t remember which one) that was high in protein and low in carbs, but since I couldn’t easily find it at the local store it is not for me.
- Cinnamon: Adding a teaspoon of cinnamon to a vanilla protein shake goes a long way with flavor. If you don’t do the shakes, add a teaspoon to your coffee. Cinnamon has a lot of health benefits and can help a tiny bit with weight loss. It certainly doesn’t hurt the taste of the coffee. Ferris recommends the Vietnamese cinnamon, and since I have read other complimentary research on its benefits I ordered a supply from King Arthur Flour (3 oz jar for $5.95). http://search.kingarthurflour.com/search?p=Q&asug=&af=type%3Aproducts&w=vietnamese+cinnamon
- Eggs: Scrambled eggs are the most versatile protein you can make, and once you get the technique down they literally take all of 2 minutes to make. You really do need to take a few steps in making the eggs correctly however, or you will end up with dry tasteless eggs that you will easily tire of. A few tips:
The Pan and the Oil. Put a non-stick pan (cast iron is good if well seasoned) on the burner, add a little grapeseed oil and turn the burner onto LOW, allowing the pan to warm up for a minute or so. Cast iron is good because even though it may not heat evenly at first, once it is warmed it retains the heat in an even pattern. Eggs tend to stick to pans (see Dave Arnold’s blog called “Cooking Issues” for the scientific reason why), so I usually add some grapeseed oil to the pan for easy cleanup.
- The Eggs. Use fresh, organic eggs if at all possible. While the pan is warming up, crack 3-4 eggs into a bowl and beat slightly with a whisk.
- The Seasonings. Have your favorite seasonings or seasoning blends handy and add them at this point. This is how you can really vary the taste with a minimum of effort. My favorite is a chipotle salt, but if I have the time I might add chopped scallions or ginger, peppers, prosciutto, any fresh herbs like tarragon or thyme, etc. etc.
- The Texture. Pour the whisked eggs into the warmed pan and use a “rubber spatula” or a non-metal pancake turner to turn the eggs. Do not mess with them by vigorously chopping them up or stirring them around in the pan!! Just turn them over a couple of times, making a few slices through them to break them up. Do not overcook! The french have a phrase for the perfect texture of scrambled eggs…”snotty”. My husband thought this term was fairly unappetizing, but it does the trick for describing when they are done. Soft, fluffy, spicy, “snotty” eggs……..yum.
Quick, Easy & Tasty Lunch on the Slow Carb Diet:
My favorite go-to lunch takes 2 minutes to pull together and has a lot of flavor. The recipe (such as it is):
- Rinse a can of black beans and dump into a microwave-safe bowl.
- Add your favorite salsa to the beans, to taste, and microwave for a couple of minutes.
- While the beans are heating, slice an avocado and add on top of the beans when they are done.
- Just remember to think ahead on avocados — let them ripen for several days on the counter and then refrigerate after they are ripe. You can also freeze avocados effectively if they ripen before you can use them.
A Snack to Fill in for Chips on the Slow Carb Diet:
Sometimes what you miss most on high-protein diets is the texture of a favorite food rather than the taste. My husband really missed the crisp crunch of chips, but of course chips, cheese curls and the like are not allowed on this diet (or any diet really). He has become “Mr. Label-Reader” lately, and ended up finding a chip substitute with no carbs, no sugar, and a little bit of protein.
These crispy snacks go by several names: Chicharrones, Pork Cracklins, Pork Skins or Bacon Puffs. They are essentially fried pork skins. The name is a bit off-putting for Americans, but pork belly, pork skins, etc. is all just bacon in a different dress really. These can sometimes get you over the hump of craving the past tortilla chips.
Well, that’s all for the fast food take. I do love to cook… but just not always.
For some more inventive recipes that work for the slow carb diet see:
- Mediterranean Baked Eggs
- Asparagus and Eggs on a bed of Artichoke Hearts
- Three Mediterranean Sauces that are Great on Proteins
- Deviled Eggs- Three Ways
A few of the Slow Carb Diet recipes coming next month include:
- Moroccan Fish Cakes
- Roasted Cauliflower with Saffron and Spice
- Sauteed Chicken Thighs with Mustard and Fennel
- Chipotle Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash