Slow Carb Diet

First it was one book, The 4-hour Work Week by Tim Ferris, then I just had to have another. He is effortless in his writing, non condescending and it just flows page after page.
The second book was The 4-hour body. One section of that book is about weight loss and it talks about a slow-carb diet. This diet is based on foods with a low GI (Glycemic Index). You are not allowed starches or anything sweet pretty much.

Allowed Foods:
- Eggs
- Lean meat, preferably organic, grass fed etc. but in my case that is not a reality because I can't fork out the cash for the good stuff.
- Beans and other legumes, chickpeas should be eaten in moderation though.
- Vegetables, but no yams or potatoes those are too starchy.
- Condiments are allowed as long as they are not sugar laden and/or cream based. So for instance Caesar dressing is a no-no, so is ketchup but hot sauce and mustard are ok.
- Seasonings and herbs are also ok.
- Unsweetened cocoa and vanilla extracts are ok to be used too.

Banned Foods:
- Dairy, no milk, cheese or anything that comes even near being milky cheesy or delicious. If you absolutely must then small amounts of cottage cheese are allowed. But who wants that right? 
- No delicious bready goodness of any kind.
- No soy byproducts such as tofu, soy milk, soy shakes
- Again no potatoes, yams or any other starchy veg.
- Rice, oatmeal and grains in general are out, this includes corn, popcorn... I'm not sure if corn is a grain but either way it's not allowed.
- No cereal.
- No pasta.
- Ketchup and any salad dressings and sauces with sugar, no corn or maple syrup or fructose either.
- No alcohol, except dry red wine in moderation if it tickles your fancy.
- This one might surprise you but, no fruit other than olives, tomatoes and avocados in moderation.

Food Preparation:
- Deep fat frying, especially of battered and breaded food, is a big no-no.
- Pan frying food (bit again not battered or breaded) is ok. If you have a non stick pan that allows you little or no use of fat/oil even better.
- Cooking, steaming, microwaving and baking is all allowed. So is grilling and any other method that wouldn't soak the food in grease.

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Cheat Day:
One day of the week should be a designated cheat day. This is not optional and is an integral part of the diet. So don’t think you are doing yourself favors by not eating on this day. Use this day to pig out and eat all and any food that you might have been missing and or craving during the rest of the week.

Rule #1 Avoid “white” carbs
- Pretty self explanatory and these foods are covered above under banned foods.

Rule #2 Eat the same few meals over and over again
- Tim thinks that simplicity is the key. If you set a routine and follow it you will be more likely to succeed.
If you eat 2 eggs and 2 slices of back bacon each morning without having to plan and think about it you are more likely to follow through. 
He says pick above allowed ingredients, make up 3-4 different meals and repeat them. It makes things simple.
- In my opinion, whatever works for you, we are all different.

Rule #3 Don’t drink calories
- You need to drink a lot of water, on or off this diet. You can drink as much as you want of unsweetened tea, coffee or other low/no calorie drink. 
- Do not drink milk (no soy milk either), normal soft drinks or fruit juice.
- If you must you can have a single diet soft drink (no more than 450ml).

Rule #4 Don’t eat fruit
- To summarize his explanations, humans naturally did not have fruit year round, let alone all the fruit that is available to us now.
- Fructose gets converted to glycerol phosphate more efficiently than pretty much any other carbs do. Glycerol Phosphate-> triglycerides-> fat storage.
- My two cents is, on top of all of this most of the fruit in the grocery stores is laden with chemicals and gmo anyway. So unless you are buying organic, local and in season it MIGHT not be as healthy and harmless as we think.

Rule #5 Take one day of the week off
- According to research spiking your calorie intake dramatically will increase fat loss because it ensures that your metabolic rate doesn't slow down from the extended restriction of calories.
- There will be a spike in your weight, due to water gain, after the binge day but that will disappear within a day or two and it ensures larger weight gain in the long term.

That is it in a nutshell. You can read more, in a lot more detail with many explanations, examples, and more in the 4-Hour Body book. You can also Google and research the diet online and find a ton of information that you can use without buying the book.

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My experience after a week on the diet:
- I have not worked out. My week has been pretty sedentary (office life). 
- I have started eating breakfast which I never do. 
- I haven’t been hungry as I can eat however much I want of the allowed foods.
- I am eating less, less often but feeling much fuller and not even thinking about food. 
- It was a lot easier than I thought and I craved things a lot less than I thought I would.
- My coffee suffers the most. I am using almond milk as a substitute but man, it is just not the same.
- The night before our cheat day hubby and I made a 2 mile trek to the store. We figured it wouldn't hurt our weight loss to walk 10k steps. The plan was go crazy and grab whatever you are craving, no limits! To my surprise I had trouble picking stuff out. We bought a lot less than we anticipated.
- After the binge day I didn’t lose weight that day or the day after but I still lost inches. I’ll take it.
- I have lost a total of 4.6 lb in a week. Not bad considering the fact that I am not working out, not starving or hanging upside down while drinking some weird oil.

Have you heard of this diet before?
Have you tried it?

Photo Credits: My photo.



How to marinate and pickle mushrooms

Here is a small how to for all of us who cant resist grabbing that teeny jar of pickled mushrooms, despite the ridiculous price tag. Next time you are at the grocery store resist the urge and pick up these instead;many of the ingredients you most likely already have at home- Mushrooms – Garlic bulb – Vinegar – Whole black pepper – Vegetable oil – Salt – Clean glass jar.

You can use these ingredients to create your own marinade, play around with it you can always add a thing or two or skip on something. However, if this is not your thing you can always pick up Italian dressing or many other oil based dressings and seasonings at the grocery store and just soak your mushrooms in that. This takes, depending on your taste and how strong you want the aroma to be, anywhere from couple of hours to a few days.

This option comes in very handy for last minute dishes when entertaining or such, you can prep it in the morning and by dinner when guests arrive your mushrooms are ready to wow them.

For those of you that want to try creating your own marinade read on:

-Wash and clean your mushrooms thoroughly.

-Put the mushrooms in a pot of lightly salted water, big enough to hold all of them and have them be completely covered (or swim in, as some like to do that) with water.

-Bring the water to a boil and drain your mushrooms.

-Combine all your ingredients, adding the right amounts by your taste standards until you are happy with the taste and the aroma. + The amount of marinade you will need is enough to cover all of your mushrooms once they are in the jar.

-Pour half an inch or so of marinade into a warm glass jar, now put in all of your mushrooms and then finish it off by pouring in the rest of the marinade in so it covers the mushrooms completely but you leave some room at the top of the jar.

-Close the jar tightly and let the mushrooms sit for about half an hour or so at room temperature, you don’t want to put them into the fridge while warm!

-After the mushrooms have cooled of you can put them into the fridge.

-Clean glass jar does wonders. + You can either buy one or use an old pickle or jam jar. Make sure the jar is thoroughly washed, otherwise the smells and the flavors might mix and it wont be pretty.
-Add some extra vegetables. + Vegetables such as carrots, peppers or onions can pickle just as nicely as mushrooms and they look lovely and colorful when presented.
-Mushrooms usually come in a little box, they are either sliced or whole, a boxful will do just fine for your first time pickled mushrooms. + It doesn’t matter whether you pick sliced or whole mushrooms, however the whole ones look more presentable somehow.


Homemade orange and spice tea

So I decided to experiment some more with black tea and spices that I have around the house and now I have a new favorite! The orange and spice tea.

What you will need to make orange and spice tea:
- One tea bag of black tea, or if you are British just plain tea.
- Some ground ginger.
- Some mixed spice.
- A tiny bit of orange juice concentrate or orange juice if you want.
- Milk.
- Water for the tea... duh.. 

How to make orange and spice tea:
- Prepare the tea as you usually would but leave enough room in the mug for milk and juice.
- Add in the ginger and mixed spice. I have them in shakers but I think I put in anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 of a teaspoon of each into a mug.
- Stir it, stir it real good.
- Add a dash of milk, same amount you would to coffee or again if you are British just make your regular tea and add the spices!
- And now just a tiny dash of orange juice concentrate.
- Optional: Sweeten to taste.

All done and it is soooo yummy!

Photo Credits: My photo.