Experiments in Lifestyle Design

Adventures in Slow Carb

Slow carb meal

I love carbs.

I love bread, pasta, corn, tortillas, and fruit.¬†These are just a few of the things I had to (mostly) give up to go slow carb. “There’s no way I could do that!” I thought it, my wife said it, but somehow it kept coming back up. I’d see an article, hear Tim Ferriss talk about it on his podcast, or find people bragging about their transformations on social media. My wife and I kept talking about losing some weight, but we were having a hard time starting something. So we found some recipes that looked good, slowly eliminated most carbs from the house and then jumped in.

“I gave up on trying to replace my precious carbs with alternatives.”

The first three weeks I spent imagining that cloud bread was a suitable replacement for bread. I would try to figure out how to replace all of my favorite carbs with some substitute. Finally at the end of the third week, each about ten pounds lighter, my wife and I decided to call it quits. Yes, it was working but I felt like I was giving up too much to achieve it. A week and a half later my wife says she wants to give it another shot. She has goals and she’s going to reach them. So I found some new recipes, and the most important part, I gave up on trying to replace my precious carbs with alternatives.

It’s been about 4 months since we came back from our two week hiatus, and we’ve really hit a groove. I don’t miss my carbs very often, I know Saturday (cheat day) will be here and I’ll get my fill. We continue to find new recipes and add them into the rotation, and I feel great!

What is Slow Carb?

I like to say it’s a close cousin to Keto, but less strict. There’s a pretty good list of slow carb approved foods here.¬†Basically keep your carb intake as low as reasonably possible and cheat once a week. Cheat days are important. Yes, you’ll lose a little bit of progress each week, but it sets you up for long term success mentally and physically. Eat pretty much whatever you want on cheat day. I’ll have french toast, muffins, fruits, juice, BEER, and finish almost every cheat day feeling like maybe I over did it.


I didn’t do an official weigh in at the beginning, but my 34″ pants were getting uncomfortably snug and I was floating around 190 – 195 lbs. Now (3-4 months later) I weigh 169 @ 13.5% body fat, and my pants are falling off.¬† I started working out 4 weeks ago, and am now slowly gaining weight as I drop fat % and increase muscle %.

My wife has dropped over 20 lbs from 160 lbs down to 138 lbs. Her goal is 130-135, and I’m pretty sure she’ll get there within the next couple of weeks despite the holidays.

Slow Carb Tips

As I said above, the main thing I would suggest is to find good low carb food to eat without pretending it’s something you used to like. Spaghetti squash is pretty good in my opinion, but if you’re pretending it’s a replacement for pasta you’re going to be let down.

Eating out on slow carb is hard, especially fast food. You can definitely get a grilled chicken sandwich without a bun, or a salad without croutons, but I do my best to avoid eating out unless I’m on a cheat day. Chipotle burrito bowls (no rice, or corn salsa) are definitely go-tos, also any place with a good salad.

I was eating a lot of (diet approved) snacks until I upped my protein intake. I eat 4-5 eggs in my breakfast, and then I’ll have a protein shake no more than an hour later. With that combo I usually start to feel hungry around 3 and I’ll either have a simple salad, another protein shake, or leftovers.

If you’re having a hard time figuring out diet appropriate snacks here’s an article I wrote on the subject.

If you’re like me and you don’t like sweeteners that aren’t actually sugar, protein powder can be tricky. I found some unflavored, unsweetened protein powder at Vitamin World that mixes really well with bone broth. I suggest using a shaker bottle or blender for a better consistency.

Learn to spatchcock and roast a chicken. I’ll post an article detailing how at some point, in the meantime you can find instructions on youtube. The roasted chicken makes a good meal with some steamed vegetables and or beans. Then you can pick the leftover chicken and use it in salads. I save chicken carcases in the freezer until I have 2-3 then make a big batch of crock pot chicken broth. It’s actually really easy and very much worth it. I’ll drink it in my protein shakes or use it in our meals.

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