Well, the 2013 winter holiday season was great and for a whole month I devoured the cookies and enjoyed the range of drinks from craft beer to champagne to Irish coffees. It was definitely fun. It’s funny though, after being on the Slow Carb Diet for a year now, there is an unconscious, but pleasant, self-monitoring that happens. The sugar and carbs have lost some of their draw, and I found myself opting for the healthier items on the grand Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Years buffet tables rather than the high carb side dishes (cookies being the exception).
Weight Loss relative to Energy Level
I was actually looking forward to January and getting back on the slow carb diet again as a routine. To my surprise, even though I ate, drank and socialized with the best of them, I didn’t gain much weight to speak of. One to two pounds depending on the day. What I DID notice however, was a significant drop in energy level throughout December and into January. I’ve been back on the diet (I don’t really call it a diet anymore as it is truly a lifestyle change) for a couple of weeks now and I feel great again. While I love being able to wear clothes that haven’t fit since college days, it is the energy boost that makes me happy. There is not much that depresses me more than “feeling old”, and I’m convinced that increasing your strength and energy level is the best remedy around for that particular malady.
The Boring Part of the Slow Carb Diet
While there are many, many diets out there that “work”, in terms of losing weight, there are not that many that work over the long term as a viable lifestyle change. The key is to choose the healthiest diet that you can find that will fit your individual lifestyle long term. “Know thyself” is the key.
When I was wading through the popular diet literature last year, I had that “aha moment” when I started reading Tim Ferris’ 4-Hour Body (aka Slow Carb Diet).
- Meat, eggs and veggies….check, I enjoy eating and cooking that kind of food.
- Wait, I get to have a glass of red wine each night? That’s my go to bedtime snack!
- And wait again, I get to eat my cookies once a week on cheat day, I just have to practice delayed gratification? That’s the hardest one, but as long as the promise was there at the end of the week I thought I could push through.
The point is, this diet was a fit for me. Paleo may be yours, but I would just encourage you to be realistic about who you are and how you intend to live the next 10-20 or so years.
I did have two problems with the Slow Carb Diet:
1) The weight comes off slowly. My husband was on Atkins and he shed pounds like a banchee, but mine was a slow 1 lb. (or 1/2 lb.) a week. HOWEVER, it did come off and it has stayed off for a year and I don’t see it coming back.
2) If you don’t cook, and cook creatively, it can get pretty boring. There aren’t a lot of slow carb snacks or grab & go foods, so you pretty much need to do some cooking. One of Tim Ferris’s rules is to eat the same thing repeatedly. Too boring. It works for breakfast, but you really have to change up your dinners or you will die of boredom.
Most recipes can be adapted to slow carb (i.e., Thai food without the rice, avocado-smothered burgers without the buns, etc.). I have tried to include the recipes I have adapted throughout this blog (under the category Slow Carb Diet), focusing on food that is simple and relatively quick to prepare. The recipe below was my first SCD dinner after the holidays……….easy, flavorable, and slow carb (note that it does have 2 Tbsp honey, but you really don’t have to beat yourself up over minor cheats).
Slow Carb Asian Chicken Thighs
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup tamari (or low sodium soy sauce)
- 2-3 Tbsp honey
- 1 1/2 Tbsp chile paste (I used sambal oelek)
- 10 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tsp sesame seeds
- 3 tsp grapeseed oil
- 10 bone-in chicken thighs
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, honey, chile paste, and garlic.
- Over medium-high heat, quickly saute sesame seeds in the 3 tsp. oil until seeds have browned (1-2 min). Whisk into vinegar mixture.
- Pour vinegar & oil mixture into a large zip-lock bag and add the chicken to the bag. Mush the bag around until all chicken pieces are covered. Seal bag and marinated chicken in refrigerator for about an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 425°. Remove chicken from the bag and pour the reserved marinade into a saucepan. Bring the marinade to a boil over medium heat, stirring, until it is a little syrupy (about 1 min boil). Place the chicken on a rack atop a roasting pan and baste chicken pieces with 1/3 of the marinade. Sprinkle with salt.
- Bake for 10 minutes and then pull out oven rack and baste chicken with more marinade. (**note: if you are making the roasted broccoli as a side dish, put it in the lower part of the oven after the chicken has baked the first 10 min – chicken goes in the upper part of oven). Use any marinade in bottom of roasting pan as a baste also. Bake an additional 10 minutes. Baste with remaining marinade and bake another 10 – 15 minutes. Test chicken for doneness by poking with a fork and seeing that the juice is clear with no blood. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Side Dish of Roasted Broccoli
Cut 2 large bunches of broccoli into florets and make sure they are as dry as possible. You can use frozen broccoli if you thaw it first and then dry it with paper towels. You want it to get crispy and brown.
- Place the broccoli in a single layer on a cookie sheet and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper (about 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, and 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper).
- Roast in oven at 425° for about 25 minutes until the florets are starting to brown. I put them in the bottom rack of the oven after the first 10 minute interval of the chicken cooking and the chicken and broccoli finished at the same time (always nice when that happens).
- As the chicken is resting, take the broccoli out of the oven and zest a lemon over the florets. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice over the florets and add another 1-2 Tbsp olive oil.
- Toss and serve. You’ll notice that I have some shaved Parmesan alongside the broccoli for those that are not on the SCD to sprinkle over the broccoli. If you have fresh herbs on hand, sprinkle your favorite herb on the broccoli also.