Lately, in a quest to eat less processed foods, I’ve struggled to find something that I enjoyed eating that wasn’t filled with ingredients and chemicals that I can’t even pronounce. More specifically, I’ve altered my diet (but not really a diet) to consume low/no carb style meals. This whole thing was originally inspired by the Slow Carb Diet from The Four Hour Body by Tim Ferriss – so that is where I’ll start.
So a few years after graduating college, I realized that maintaining the same unhealthy eating habits I had at OSU wouldn’t work anymore if I wanted to be fit. I was able to get away with eating whatever I wanted in college and high school because I was also very active with intramural sports and would go play basketball or football 3-4 times a week. After graduating – I didn’t keep up the same physical fitness regimen, and added on some weight.
About the same time, Tim Ferriss released his second book, The Four Hour Body. While flipping through the book, one headline immediately stuck out, “The Slow- Carb Diet I: How to Lose 20 Pounds in 30 Days Without Exercise.” A large portion of this book was dedicated to this Slow-Carb Diet (SCD). It sounded great, but I’d never been a diet person so I was hesitant to even read it. But I pressed on and was very intrigued by the concept. I wanted to give it a shot.
The main rules of SCD are as follows:
Rule #1: Avoid “white” starchy carbohydrates (or those that can be white). This means all bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and grains. If you have to ask, don’t eat it.
Rule #2: Eat the same few meals over and over again, especially for breakfast and lunch. You already do this; you’re just picking new default meals.
Rule #3: Don’t drink calories. Exception: 1-2 glasses of dry red wine per night is allowed.
Rule #4: Don’t eat fruit. (Fructose –> glycerol phosphate –> more bodyfat, more or less.) Avocado and tomatoes are excepted.
Rule #5: Take one day off per week and go nuts. I choose and recommend Saturday.
So I gave it a shot and things went really well – I initially lost 10-15 lbs in the first 3 weeks. I was actually pretty surprised. But despite the great progress, I got so sick of eating eggs, salads, and naked burritos (no tortilla). I never could find a few meals that I could eat consistently and enjoy – so I eventually phased out of SCD. Neither my wife or me want to cook every night, or even every other night, so it became really hard to keep things going with the SCD.
A few years (and pounds) later I decided to revisit the SCD. I knew that it worked for me in the past – and if I could just reprogram my taste buds to like certain foods, I’d be fine. Plus I could still eat whatever I wanted on a cheat day (Rule #5). This time around I was open to being more flexible and make exceptions to some of the rules.
However the real breakthrough I had was when I discovered the concept of “Meal Prepping.” The idea behind meal prepping is spending a few hours 1 day a week to prepare and cook your food for the rest of the week. There are multiple ways to do this, but the path I chose was the following: I would go to the grocery store on a Sunday afternoon, buy all my food I would need for the whole week, go home and cook it, and lastly I would divide up the food across 7-10 meals. I usually only prepare 7-10 meals because I use these meals for dinner only (1 for each day of the week, and a few extra dinners to share with my wife).
When I first thought about meal prepping, I was kinda worried about trying to make a weeks worth of food at the same time, but I was really surprised how easy it ended up being. The best part was that I only had to clean up the pots and pans 1 time, instead of 7 – that alone made it worth it.
Here are some of the various types of food I prepare:
- Grilled & Oven Baked Chicken (BBQ, Lemon Pepper, Garlic)
- Ground Turkey
- Fresh Green Beans
- Sweet Potatoes
- Green, Yellow, Red Bell Peppers
Overall this has been a pretty reliable system for keeping myself healthy. The idea behind writing this post is so that if I even run into problems or fall back into bad habits, I can look back on what has worked for me in the past.