Slow Carb Spinach

A week ago I decided to give a try to the “slow carb” diet that Tim Ferris is advocating on his latest book. Before diving too deep into the details of this, a few words about Tim and his books. I don’t consider Tim Ferris a fraud. But I also don’t think he’s as gorgeous as he’s portrayed by some of the major media outlets. He marked a generation of digital nomads, that’s true. But I confess I never read “The 4 Hour Work Week” to the end.

When you act in the same playground, you learn a few tricks. And I’m talking about the “self-improvement” playground here, one in which I have played really tough in the last 5-6 years. You learn how to discern between useful information and just shiny add-ons. And Tim uses a lot of shiny add-ons. If you take these nice and punchy lines off of his books, you remain with just a handful of common sense advice. Which is good and worth giving a try, but it won’t make me climb on the top of the tallest building and cry his name out so everybody knows how gorgeous he is. No way.

That being said, let’s get back to what I decided to get out of this “slow carb diet” he’s promoting.

Slow Carb Meals

There are only 4 rules that I decided to follow.

1. Ditch anything that’s white: cereals, bread, rice, potatoes, unless you’re less than 60 minutes after an intense workout, at least 400 calories burned.

2. Eat beans, lots of beans and vegetables. Meat is allowed, but only beef and chicken.

3. Don’t drink calories. Got rid of beer, which is kind of a big deal for me, and switched to a glass of red wine per evening, and also got rid of fruit juice, just raw fruits.

4. Have a “eat all you want” day. I decided this day will be Saturday, and I intend to make up for all the others day, that I can tell you.

There are also few other points that are worth considering.

– the “eat all you want” day may act like a metabolism regulator. If you keep the same type of diet for too long, your body will adjust. A sudden spike in calories intake may act like a regulator, keeping it alert.
– beans are very dense in calories and proteins, while vegetables are not. So there will be very different quantities for a beam meal as for a spinach meal, for instance.
– I also continued my running habits, even started to improve them. I now run about half an hour out of an one hour workout, which translates into 3-4 km and around 4-500 calories burned. That’s every other day.

I didn’t start to measure anything exactly. Partly because I’m kinda sick about it, I did it a lot in the past and got really bored. And partly because I don’t want external sensors to tell me if I fell good or not. I just want to listen to my body, to see how much I work, how much I sleep, and how do I feel, overall. The only thing that I will measure, and even this one will be really rough, will be the shape of my body. My stomach is already flat, but there are also spots in which fat can accumulate, so I will watch those spots and see if there’s any improvement in the next few weeks.

The Slow Carb Spinach Recipe

But maybe the most important consequence of this experiment is that I started to cook. I cooked some raw meals before, but there’s a huge difference. Now I’m also interested in taste, if you know what I mean. So far, I successfully cooked beans and spinach. And that gets us to the point. Here’s what I tried the other day.

Ingredients: one medium onion, one clove of garlic, 2 carrots, 500 gr of chopped spinach, olive oil, two spoons of tomato sauce

How to: Cut the onion and the carrots. Peel the garlic but don’t cut it, unless it’s really big, leave it as it is. Pour two spoons of olive oil into a pan, heat and then add the onion and the garlic. Leave for 3-4 minutes, until they soften.

Then add a cup of water, the carrots and 2 spoons of tomato sauce and leave for another 3-4 minutes.

Add the spinach along with two cups of water and leave for 20 minutes to cook slow.

As you can see, I didn’t add any condiments, like salt or pepper, but you can do this after you add the spinach. Serve as it is, or with one or two fried eggs aside. From these measurements, I can eat twice. Remember, spinach is not as dense in calories as beans or meat, so you gotta eat more.

And if anyone asks why is this a “slow carb” recipe, I am pretty sure I will not know the exact answer. Maybe because the rest of my diet is comprised only by beans? Could be. 🙂

14 thoughts on “Slow Carb Spinach”

  1. I did this in January and lost about 6 kilos. I wasn’t overweight, just a little over what I wanted to be. What I liked about this diet is that, if you approach it in a sensible way, it’s more a learning experience than a fad diet. Of course, we all know that fat loss is just a math thing – calories in minus calories out. But I reckon that most peoples’ biggest problem is probably too many carbs. A lot of us have mostly sedentary lifestyles, yet we are eating tonnes of pasta, bread, rice etc. Whilst it seems healthy, I just don’t think we need all those carbs. The Slow Carb diet helps you to learn to live without all that by focusing on veg, beans, meat etc. I only did it for a month, but since then I have stuck to eating far fewer carbs (and no carbs for dinner) and much more micronutrient food like beans, nuts and veg. I don’t do the ‘eat-all-you-want’ thing as I let myself off the hook as often as I like (mainly at weekends). I also don’t drink calories (again, apart from at the weekend). Long term it seems to be working for me.

  2. I am 68 years old, and run 5 miles almost every day. I eat healthy foods, keep the carbs and fats and sugars to a minimum. I have tried every trendy diet ever concocted, and the bottom line for all of them, despite all the fancy footwork in any of their books, is that you have to regulate the number of calories you consume, and you have to move your body. You can believe in food separating and eating only carb meals and only protein meals, and you can believe that eating like our ancestors who only lived to about 30 is the way to go, you can go vegan or you can go Atkins. You can believe anything you want, but if you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. We all want some magical technique that will allow us to eat all and anything we want and never gain an ounce, but the truth is that there is no magic technique.

  3. Bottom line, it is calories consumed vs. calories expended. You want to lose weight? Consume fewer calories than you expend. If you want those calories all in beer, you still get the weight loss effect. But your health will suffer in the long run if you don’t feed your body nutrients.

    If you have a high physical activity lifestyle, you need some carbs. Take them in the form of fruit, and occasionally some rice. Stay away from wheat products.

    Your spinach soup looks great. Add some filet of fish (any kind) and you have fish soup, a very low calorie, medium protein, highly nutritional meal.

    • Yeap, I know that thing about calories math, and I totally agree. It’s just that I really have an active lifestyle, burning at least 4-500 calories each day by physical exercise, while still working heavily with my brain (and that accounts for some calories burning too). It’s the second time I see fish mentioned, so I’ll start reading more. I have the feeling that it’s ok, though, makes sense from a hunter-gatherer point of view.

    • Hey Marti… I suggest reading Gary Taubes books — “Good Carbs, Bad Carbs” and “Why We Get Fat.” He is a science journalist who has made his living writing dense scientific articles for publications. Several years ago he got interested in the weight loss industry and decided to dig deeply into everything he could find — all the way back into the 1800’s.
      He explains why “calories in calories out” is a much more simplistic explanation for why we get fat and how we can lose fat. And not sustainable for most people.
      Tim Ferriss used this information in the experiments he carried out with a very large number of people of all ages and proved that a Slow Carb Diet produces fat loss every time. I have tried his diet and lost fat more efficiently than EVER.
      Anyway, while TIm may not be a rocket scientist — his books have been very meaningful to me — an over 60 woman who got chubby right after 50 and has had a heck of a time losing weight. So I’m lovin’ this guy!

      • Can you expand on this “calories in calories out is not sustainable for most people”? I think I understand parts of it, but it will be better if you could give me some more examples. And happy to hear that slow carb diet is working for you 🙂

  4. The glass of red wine is what I like best about your diet. And I think the slow carb spinach could make a good side dish to grilled chicken or fish. But how about fish, is it allowed/recommended in your diet?

    • Chicken, yes, fish I don’t know yet, but I’ll dig. Red wine is high on reservatrol (among other stuff, off course 🙂 )

  5. I thing you meant LOW CARB DIET not SLOW 🙂

    Anyway, spinach is a great iron rich vegetable… I love it especially with sliced garlic and onion WOK…


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