How to Master the Art of Seasoning: 5 Tips for Reinventing the Slow-Carb Diet

beef & broccoli 1

The Slow-Carb Diet need not be boring.

Moreover, it doesn’t take much to jump from repetitive to inventive. In my case, even as a grass-fed beef aficionado, I grew weary of flank with nothing more than salt and pepper. Game meats made things more interesting, but the real gold was struck when I began experimenting with Montreal steak rub and, separately, a mixture I remembered as “CPR”: cumin, paprika, and rosemary.

Delicious, not to mention biochemically kick-ass for your heart and anti-inflammation.

The point being: for many people (in particular, cooking-inept bachelors like myself), Slow-Carb meals sometimes become an exercise in culinary déjà vu. This is often paired with common beginner frustrations:

– How do I drink coffee without milk?!? (Answer: cinnamon and/or vanilla extract)

– What can I put on my eggs? (Answer: read this post)

The solutions need not be complicated. In this post, Jules Clancy will focus on primarily spices and include: beginner tips, a starter recipe experiment, and a shopping list for the fundamentals.

Jules is a qualified food scientist who was introduced to me by the minimalist maestro himself, Leo Babauta

Enter Jules

As you’d expect from someone who blogs about food for a living, I dove straight into the Slow-Carb Diet chapter after picking up my copy of The 4-Hour Body. (Actually, it was right after checking out the chapter on 15-minute female orgasms. What’s a girl to do?)

The one thing that bothered me about the Slow-Carb Diet, though, was the assumption that it would be boring for most people. Simplicity does not have to equal boredom. The Slow-Carb Diet can, and should, be both fun and delicious.

If you are willing to learn the basics of seasoning, a world of variety and amazing food can be yours with minimal effort.

5 Tips for Overcoming Boredom on the Slow-Carb Diet

1. Lay the foundation with salt & pepper

One of the oldest but best tricks in the book. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get your basic seasoning right to maximize flavor. Forget what you’ve been told about the perils of a high sodium diet; the amount you’ll be adding will be minuscule compared to what’s put in by food manufacturers. For slow-cooked dishes, it’s a good idea to add some salt in early so it can spread through the whole dish over time. For other dishes, seasoning at the end is the best way to go.

2. Harness the power of acid

While the warm and wonderful Thai people mastered the balance between sweet, sour, salty, and heat ages ago, it’s actually something I learned to appreciate during my wayward years as a winemaker.

At winemaking school, we did many experiments where we would ‘doctor’ a wine with different types and amounts of acid. We’d then taste the different samples to see which ones were best. It was incredibly enlightening to see the difference that sourness played in the wine. At the optimal acid level, the wine would be more bright and alive on the taste buds. It would sing.

I’ve since learned to apply this to my cooking. When something doesn’t taste as fresh as I’d like and I’ve already given it a bit of salt, my next step is to add a little vinegar or a squeeze of lemon. Test this on some steamed veg or wilted spinach, and you’ll see how dramatic the difference can be.

3. Unleash umami (a flavor explosion) with humble soy sauce

The Japanese were the first to recognize the fifth taste, umami (also called “savoriness”). Foods that are high in umami components are delicious tasting things like beef, tomatoes, mushrooms, and Parmesan cheese.

It is said that soy sauce was invented by Buddhist monks to make vegetarian food taste more like meat. Soy is all about the umami, and a little bit can turn almost any food (not just Asian dishes) into a flavor explosion.

4. Add depth with chili

It’s hard to beat the wonderful warming feeling you get from a bit of chili. While I like it hot, it’s more about feeling the warmth and still being able to taste what you’re eating, rather than having your mouth burst into flame. For one suggested brand, check out Dave’s 6-chili pepper flakes shaker for a variety of heat levels.

5. Spice & herbs – the accessories of the kitchen

Using herbs and spices is where you can really start to have fun breathing variety into an old faithful dish. A little curry powder can have your taste buds on a passage to India, whereas the same dish treated to some chili, lime, and fresh cilantro will transport you to Acapulco. See the suggested variations on the recipe below for more ideas on how herbs and spices can work for you.

Suggested Starter Experiments to Try

beef & broccoli 2

Beef & broccoli stir-fry with beans

Serves 1-2

[5 ingredients | 10 minutes]

Feel free to play around with the seasoning on this one. I like to use dried chili flakes because they look nice, but by all means use whole dried chilies or chili powder.

If you’d prefer to use fresh broccoli, substitute in 1 or 2 heads chopped into florettes. I used white cannellini beans but black beans, pinto, etc. are all equally delicious.

1lb (450g) ground beef, preferably grass-fed

1lb (450g) bag frozen broccoli

1-2 teaspoons dried chili flakes

4 tablespoons soy sauce

1 can beans (14oz / 400g), well drained

  1. Preheat a large frying pan or wok over high heat. Add a few tablespoons of macadamia or peanut oil, then add the beef.
  2. Fry the beef for a few minutes, stirring constantly to break up the chunks and to get the beef browned evenly all over.
  3. When the beef is no longer pink, add in the broccoli. Cover with a lid, baking sheet, or foil, and cook for 2 – 3 minutes, still on high heat.
  4. Stir and test broccoli. It should be bright green and no longer frozen in the middle. If it’s still cold, continue cooking with the lid on for another minute or so.
  5. Add chili and soy sauce. Stir and taste. If you think it needs a flavor boost, add more soy or some salt. Likewise with the heat level and the chili.
  6. Add drained beans. Stir until beans are warm.

Here is a video version of the above recipe to guide you through the steps:

Alternate Serving Suggestions:

Once you’ve mastered the basic version above, you can really mix things up by modifying the way you prepare the meal. It’s amazing how different this dish can taste with a few simple tweaks.

Option #1: Beef & broccoli on a bed of mashed beans

Instead of adding the beans at step 6, crush the drained beans with a fork and stir in a little olive oil. Serve beef and broccoli on top of the mash. The heat from the stir-fry will warm up the beans.

beef & broccoli 3

Option #2: Beef & beans with steamed broccoli on the side

This is a good option for people who are a bit shy when it comes to eating greens. Just nuke the broccoli for 4-5 minutes on high, or boil for 3 minutes and drain. Cook the beef and beans as per the recipe above, skipping steps 4 and 5.

beef & broccoli 4

Option #3: Beef on a bed of mashed beans with steamed broccoli on the side

Crush the drained beans with a fork and stir in a little olive oil. Microwave the broccoli separately for 4-5 minutes on high or boil for 3 minutes. Cook beef as directions state above, skipping steps 4 & 5. Serve beef on a bed of mash with broccoli on the side.

beef & broccoli 5

Bonus: Essentials for the Perfect Pantry

If you’re just getting started with building out your pantry, the below list will give you a solid foundation of seasonings you can use for any occasion.

Salt. I prefer salt flakes (such as Maldon) that have a nice large flake structure, making them perfect for crushing over meals at the last minute. Iodized salt is great for people who don’t get any seafood in their diet and can help combat hypothyroidism. Plain kosher salt is also an excellent, tasty option.

Pepper. If you don’t own a pepper grinder, a disposable bottle of peppercorns from the supermarket will suffice. However, there truly is no substitute for the fragrance of freshly ground pepper. I prefer black peppercorns because I find that white pepper has a nasty odor.

Sauces. I highly recommend starting out with a bottle of soy sauce. Don’t only have it with Asian-inspired dishes; use it instead of salt whenever you crave a more intense, savory flavor. If you like spicy foods, a bottle of Cholula or Sriracha will be indispensable. Oyster sauce is great for lovers of Thai food.

Spices. Take it slow. Start with dried chili flakes, chili powder, or whole chilies, then add 1-2 of the following to your pantry at a time:

Ground cumin. Combine a tablespoon of this with an equal amount of olive oil, then use it to marinate your steak before cooking. A pinch of cumin will also add a new dimension of flavor to a tub of hummus.

Ground coriander. Sprinkle some over cooked fish or pork. It’s also brilliant when added to your spinach before microwaving.

Curry powder. Add a few teaspoons to your lentils before heating them for lunch. I love to add a little to my scrambled eggs.

Smoked paprika. Use as a dry rub on chicken before grilling. It’s also wonderful with tomato-based dishes.

Acids. Vinegar is easiest because it lasts for ages. Go for either balsamic, red wine, or sherry vinegar. Try combining 1 part vinegar with 2 parts olive oil for an instant sugar-free salad dressing. Also, a tablespoon of vinegar stirred through warm canned lentils really brings them to life.

It’s hard to beat the freshening flavor properties of citrus juice and, as Tim’s experiments showed, lemon juice helps to lower glycemic response. I always keep a few lemons in the fridge for drizzling over cooked spinach. Limes can be lovely as well for creating a more Mexican feel.

Herbs. Dried herbs tend to just make everything taste like stale weed. Stay away from herbs until you’re ready to either handle them fresh or start growing your own in a window box. When you are ready to give them a shot, start with basil (great with anything tomato-based) or cilantro (coriander) for its wonderful freshness.

Anything else? I always have some canned tomatoes or tomato paste in my pantry, along with a jar of roasted red peppers. While not strictly seasonings, they are great for adding variety and a bit of instant veg. A jar of pesto can be a great flavor hit, as well.


Jules Clancy is a qualified food scientist. She blogs about her commitment to cooking recipes with only five ingredients at She also runs an online cooking class, Reclaim Your Waistline, featuring recipes that take 10 minutes or less to cook.

Question of the Day (QOD): Do you have an awesome, non-boring Slow-Carb recipe you want others to try? Submit it here to potentially have it featured in the next version of the Slow-Carb Diet Cookbook!

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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603 Replies to “How to Master the Art of Seasoning: 5 Tips for Reinventing the Slow-Carb Diet”

  1. You gotta make 4HB cookbook man. Get an awesome chef or a few with different contributions for it. Full color pics and stuff. I’ll buy one for sure. Who else will buy one? chime in. 🙂

  2. I’ve been a low carber for almost a decade. I can’t imagine eating anything else. I thought I knew everything there was to know about tweaking the taste of eggs and steak, but I learned a BUNCH from this post. Well done! And thank you.

  3. Hey all

    I really enjoyed the new book, Tim. And Jules, the spice suggestions on this thread are excellent. The main spices or dressings I use are ground black pepper, fresh chopped chillis, diced onion, soy sauce, lemon juice, olive oil, or vinaigrette salad dressing. Not all at once.

    I started a modified version of Tim’s slow carb diet on Jan 1 2011 as a 6 foot tall mesomorph weighing 105 kg (231 pounds) and am now, 7 weeks later, down to 94 kg (207 pounds).

    Details follow that may be useful for some.


    I’m using the PAGG stack but drinking green tea on occasion rather than using extract. I also take a low dose multivatimin and 2 fish oil capsules daily. I noticed no change in weight loss rate on a week without supplements recently. But I’m sticking with them for the time being on the basis that I’m happy with progress.

    I’m not doing any ice packs or similar.

    My exercise is typically only 2-3, 20-30 min weight sessions, weekly. 2 sessions I do squats, deadlifts, bench press. 1 session I do stiff-legged deads, bent over rows and standing shoulder press. I generally do only 1 warmup and 1 work set per exercise. I lift to failure, but only in the sense that I consider failure not completing a rep with perfect form. Occasionally I work in the 5 tibetans. I also play basketball twice per week: 1 marathon 2 hour session on Sunday, when I typically lose about 1 kg in sweat. And 1 game per week, where I shoot too many air balls. (Tim, how do I hack a basketball jump shot?)

    Diet specifics follow in next post

  4. Hey all

    I started a modified version of Tim’s slow carb diet on Jan 1 2011 as a 6 foot tall mesomorph weighing 105 kg (231 pounds) and am now, 7 weeks later, down to 94 kg (207 pounds).

    Details continued.


    The modification of Tim’s slow carb approach I used was to roll in Dukan’s idea of alternating some protein only days with days of protein + green vegetables.

    So I do this

    Monday – only protein

    Tues – slow carb

    Wed – only protein

    Thus & Fri – slow carb

    Sat – cheat day :)))

    Sun slow carb

    Typical protein only day is: breakfast – 2 eggs scrambled with 1/4 diced onion; lunch small can tuna + handful of mixed nuts stirred in; dinner – beef stir fry with onion, chilli, nuts, soy sauce.

    Typical slow carb day: breakfast – 2 eggs scrambled with chopped spinach + half can of baked beans; lunch – cold beef stir fry with greek salad; dinner – beef or chicken stir fry with lots of mixed vegetables, and sometimes also a half can of beans.

    I snack on a handful of roast almonds or a tablespoon of peanut butter. Sometimes I have a small glass of coke zero if I really want something sweet.

    Sometimes on slow carb days (1-2 per week) I have PORRIDGE for breakfast with half a container of probiotic yoghurt to sweeten.

    It’s all working really well for me. I don’t overdo the beans. On my cheat day I get up and do one of my weights sessions for the week (home weights). My Saturday cheat day has me fully carb loaded for a basketball blow-out on Sunday. Monday is back to work, protein only is quick and simple, and that day is PAGG free.

    Hope all this helps someone – cheers.

    1. 92.5kg / 204.5 lb with body fat down nearly 1% this week

      and it’s CHEAT day :))))

      That’s a loss of 12.5 kg / 27.5 lb in 57 days.

      Scatter plot shows linear weight decrease, no sign of slow down.

      Stick with it!

  5. You have inspired me to change my life. I love the book and, as someone in the medical profession currently working on my doctorate degree, I appreciate yor love of learning and deconstruction.

    You get so many comments that I suspect you will not see this, but I am very interested in your “hacking” of different subjects and was wondering if you had considered a DVD series? From the clips I have seen, you are a good presenter of the information you gather and I would jump at the chance to learn more about “hacking language” and swimming. I have always wanted to be fluent in multiple languages and lived in Japan for 2+ years getting by. A DVD explaining in greater detail how to best become fluent in language would be a treasure.

  6. Hey Tim,

    I’m about to move out of home and into the big wide world.

    Please release the 2nd Slow Carb Cook Book ASAP! haha

  7. I drank 7 beers last night and woke up with a 1.3% change in my body fat. I did nothing strenuous yesterday. Explain that please i’m confused.

  8. Would love to know if it is OK to drink Good Earth Caffeine Free Original Tea. It says it has no sugar, no gluten, no artificial anything but it does taste sweet. It really satisfies the sweet craving….Tks!

    1. pionomom:

      Not knowing about that particular brand of tea, I would say check the ingredients. A common sweetener in tea is carob. In tea, it’s sweet flavor is infused without imparting calories. It is also in many celestial seasoning teas like apple cinnamon and bengal spice. It really helps fight those sugar cravings so I don’t see why not!

  9. Montreal steak rub is a must-have in my kitchen, and I even know how to cook :-). Looking forward to a good slow car cookbook coming from you, Tim.

    In fact, I think there is a digital one for us multi-pack book buyers (though I still haven’t figured out how to access all those cool digital bonuses). I have to say I’ve been loving the physical products that came with the 30 book buy package, Tim. Awesome bonus indeed!

  10. I totally agree!

    I’m reading this as a sit eating my lunch of: sauteed chicken, snap peas, red peppers and lentils. Spicing it up really helps!

    I’ve been following the Slow Carb Diet for 5 weeks now with great success! The first week was rough, even for a cooking instructor/food writer. But after we started looking at it as a culinary challenge, it became fun and exciting!

    I JUST wrote a post featuring the book and offering lots of recipes!

  11. Other than cottage cheese and a bit of creamer in coffee, is any kind of other dairy allowed? I have been putting cheese on my eggs in the morning and think I may be messing up.

  12. My BEST shake recipe yet:

    Meegan’s Latte-Shake

    1 scoop whey powder (about 23 g prot)

    3-4 oz. cold water (a few pieces of ice, if you like)

    1/4 C. cottage cheese (about 8 g prot)

    splash of vanilla extract

    dash of cinnamon

    BREWED COFFEE or instant coffee granules (adjust amount to your taste)


  13. Hi Tim,

    I’ve been doing the slow-carb diet since xmas, and within the first 5 weeks I lost 11 pounds, but I’m hitting plateau, I haven’t lost weight anymore for the last 2 weeks and I have not seen any reduction on my body fat, I go to the gym every monday, wednesday and friday. I don’t do much cardio, maybe once every week. And I’ve also been taking cold showers since I started. I’m 23 years old, my current weight is 136.6 and I’my 5 feet and 8.11 inches tall. Right now I think my body fat percentage is 22% (I’m not sure though) and my goal is to reach at least 10%. Should I start taking the PAGG stack? I would really appreciate you could help me on this.

  14. Tim,

    I have two questions:

    How do you feel about shirataki noodles?

    How do you feel about I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray?

  15. Tim,

    I think I may be a rather unique subject. And forgive me if you’ve addressed my situation before, as I do tend to follow your blog as well as viewer comments. I just got back from my first bodpod testing and clocked in at a whopping 30.1% bodyfat (5’6″ 162lbs), the thing is I look great in clothes and don’t have gut hanging out (def not as apparent as the 33% BF sample in the book). Also, I did work out consistently before taking a 6 month hiatus (bench 160 x10, pulldown 160-200 x10, almost never worked out legs however). I would consider myself skinny fat.

    It sucks. I don’t know where to start. I want to lose and LOT of body fat (I will have prop bets saying that I can get down to 10%). I understand that there may be conflicts with dieting and weight training. I’ve been doing Occam’s Protocol for the past two weeks and I honestly feel like I should be doing more. What would you recommended to someone who DOES have the time to workout. I understand the analogy of the boiling water and 15 minute tan, but I feel as though I should increase the amount of exercises.

    Instead of Occam’s Protocol, should I follow Geek to Freak to the letter?

    I currently only do the two-handed kettlebell on my “Workout B” days (Occam), should I perform them on M-W-F (as stated for the MED for Perfect Posterior)?

    I’m Filipino, I got to have my rice when I eat meat! So to be clear, it’s only ok to eat rice right before resistance training and on cheat days?

    Lastly, protein shakes with water make me gag. I need the milk (even though I’m lactose intolerant (I just take lactase with it)). Is there some sort of decent milk substitute out there or must I suck it up and mix it with water?

    1. *Correction should read: “It sucks. I don’t know where to start. I want to lose a LOT of body fat and build muscle

      1. Never mind on the milk question, just read Occam’s again, it looks like I’ll use organic 2% milk – hope it doesn’t effect the diet too much. Would still appreciate a response to my other Q’s.. thx!

  16. Ha… great post Tim

    I am a month into the diet… and ten pounds down… That’s good enough for me!!!

    I love it… and my cheat day is going to be DISGUSTING this sunday!!!

  17. Great spice suggestions, although I’ll hold the soy sauce.

    Tim, question:

    how the hell do you “cure” the loneliness as a member of the NR? I’m here with most of my days free, but 95% of the people around me are in 9-5 jobs. How did you meet other NR people?

    I’m thinking I should travel more…

  18. Dear Tim, I realize that the sheer volume of mail makes it near impossible to get this to you…but I’ll keep trying…Is there a physical address that (like a PO Box) that I could send you a “snail mail?” Your books have changed my life as they have so many and I would like to have a personal discussion about it with you…at least be able to relate to you my personal observations in other than a public forum like the blogs…I am so happy you have them and they are a constant source of inspiration. I bought the audio books and listen to them almost daily. Have you considered putting together worksheets or workbooks as an additional revenue stream? If its possible to send you and e-mail or regular mail, would you be kind enough to share it with me @ [REDACTED]? Thank you!

  19. spinach has oxalic acid which can interfere with calcium absorption- how about some kale once in a while- its in the same family as broccoli and is an excellent alternative when you want a change

    1. I am so grateful for your comment. I have been eating spinach every day for 3 weeks and taking my calcium supplements every day. Last night I woke up with a charley horse in my leg. Haven’t had one since I was pregnant due to lack of calcium, which is my understanding. So I will try the kale now. As an older female, the lack of dairy in my diet was a concern. But the weight loss and feeling so much better has kept me going. I know Tim is on to such important discoveries about healthy living and fat loss. It is great that we can share our stories to help make it our way of life. Thank you jtgrt and Tim!

  20. If you haven’t already, you’ve must try the spice Grains of Paradise. I first heard of it from an Alton Brown show. It’s black pepper like but with a slightly nutty texture, with hints of cardamom and a woody finish. Great on meats with garlic and on veggies like okra or lentils.

  21. Hey Tim,

    I’ve lost 27 pounds so far on slow carb since the start of this year.

    I have just a quick question, I’m doing this because i am embarrassed by the physical appearance of my body. I have a problem of “male breasts”, is there anything i can do about this? Or will just general fat loss help within time?

    and if there is something to do different will that affect general fat loss and the Slow carb diet in anyway?

  22. How about quinoa?I know it’s a grain and it looks like it’s related to beets and spinach, but I’m not sure because it does come white. There is also red.

  23. My wife and I are ‘foodies’ and we felt that the diet really did need a bit of help…good suggestions all round by Jules. I would add that if you are going for chinese/japanese or similar flavours, add to the above chopped garlic and grated ginger. Alternative is to use some of the chinese 5-spice powder (contains cinnamon as well as a few other things).

  24. Information Overload!! With over 100 pounds to lose, I’ve lost 26 since 1 Jan, I finally cracked open Tim’s book this week. The more I read, the more consumed I became with the subject matter, and now three days later I’m overloaded and struggling to find a good starting point. Da’ plan…

    WEEK ONE: Breakfast within 30 minutes of waking. No bread. Continue tracking food (I use WW online for tracking). I already consume mass quantities of water.

    WEEK TWO: Follow diet to the letter, add the PAGG stack, and begin in-home exercise regiment (40 lb. Kettlebell, pushups, air squats, m.cruches, etc).

    WEEK THREE: All of the above, plus add a binge day. Anything else is TBD after continued research. Will soon start hitting the gym I’ve been paying for for years…and running again once I deall with the feet.

    Age: 53

    HT: 6’2″

    Health: Good (a miracle). No issues or meds (other than foot pain).

    1 Jan wt: 335.5.

    Current wt (4-hr starting point): 309.6

    1979-1999 Wt: 185 lbs. Former runner, surfer, and fitness nut turned project management desk potato.

    Am I going about this the right way…and the other burning question is, Stivia: Go or No-Go?

    — Jim

  25. Tim,there are many people who, like me are dealing with hypertension. Lifestyle prescriptions are cloudy at best. I can’t find actual results that make a consistent difference. So, I’m volunteering and suggesting that we(all those interested) start field trials on ourselves perhaps, centralized through you, to do an on going real world experiment on hypertension control through lifestyle. Or, I’ll do it. CAn you help me get started? Thank you.

  26. on page 117 of The 4-hour body, Ferriss, timothy

    you write: “Used in combination with time-release niacin, one orange before bed, ..” i believe orange should be hour.

    1. Yeah, I think you are right, that confused me to. However, there are weight loss programs that have you eat oranges, but usually in the morning-good comment I would like to know the answer well.

  27. Love the diet but I am wondering if I can use Aioli sauce for seasoning. The one I picked up from Whole Foods appears to be carb free and dairy free. Any idea??

  28. Hi All,

    I am in country Western Asustralia and have not been able to find grapefruit fruit juice anywhere and I couldn’t even find any when I went to the city on the weekend. So just wondering if anyone has any alternatives they use for fructose on Saturdays?


      1. Just buy a grapefruit and squeeze it, you’ll get more out of it nutritionally.

        All storebought juices are pasteurised and concentrated down.

  29. Tim, I have a serious question regarding the Slow-Carb diet and sex. I’ve experimented in a lot of nutritional things to enhance sex – texture and moisture of her parts, and flavor of mine. It’s common knowledge that natural fruits and things like melons sweeten the flavor of “our juices” and things like Asparagus do the opposite.

    So, with this diet missing fruits and sugars (all but one day), do you have any recommendations (or advice / experience) for keeping the “sweetness” down-town?

    I know it’s a strange question, but I’m too curious not to ask.


  30. Thankyou Tim!!!

    Your book was recommened to my by the oncology staff at Royal Perth Hopital after I recieved the ok for surgery for a pheochromocytoma. I put on 20kg while I was sick due to the hormonal disruption, and was struggling to lose weight (even with a body building husband egging me on) within 4 weeks of starting the 4-hour body eating plan I have lost 11kg! You have enabled me to restore my self esteem and gain a measure of control back over my body.

    Id like to share my absolute favourite ‘sauce’, which goes well with anything,

    * large dash of soy sauce

    * dash of sweet chilli (or if you want to stick completely with the diet and like things spicy – a dash of chilli)

    * a splash of rice wine vinegar

    * squeeze of lemon

    * few drops of sesame oil

    I love this and as you use only a little I dont mind the sugars in the sweet chilli…and its worked for me as I love a lot of flavour in my foods….

    I adapted this from my favourite recipie (I cant remember the name but its translated as ‘saliva chicken” or “mouth watering chicken”) and its still my fave with poached chicken breast….so yummy.

  31. I have been drinking protien drinks in the morning since Jan 29th. They are Myloplex or Pure Protien (30-32 grams of Protien). I also started slow

    carb eating Feb. 10th. To date, I have lost 1lb. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. in the morning, I am only drinking the protien. Some mornings i will have a couple egg whites, but most it’s just a protien drink. I’m having spinach with almost every lunch and dinner, along with meat or seafood and legumes. The beans are mostly refried with some cheese, salsa and plain greek yogart. I’m eating every 4-5 hours. I do take supplements, could that effect my progress? (magnesiem, omega 3, B-100, psyllium, multi-v, Vit. D with calcium). I’m 40 and weigh 160lbs, my goal is to lose 10lbs.

    I just bought Athletic greens and started that 4 days ago.

    1. hi ADT.

      it sounds like you are getting the protein you need. However, you need to cut out the dairy. No cheese, no yogurt, except on DGW days. i was having a bit of milk in my coffee and cut it out and started dropping weight quickly.

      Others ask about hummous—that’s a no-no. He says it on one of the pages.

      Tomatoes are okay–he said that tomatoes and avocados are the only fruits we can eat, and avocados should be in moderation–only at one meal.

  32. Having just finished my first month on the Slow-Carb Diet, I’ve lost 1% body fat and gained an inch of muscle all over.

    As a former Executive Chef at a large hospital, I cooked for countless specialty diets, most of them too complicated for the home cook to accomplish. This leads to frustration and diet-quitting.

    The Slow-Carb Diet is extremely simple to cook for when you stop searching for specific recipes, and start cooking with basic methods.

    To successfully cook for this diet, you really need only two cooking methods, steaming and saute’. They are the two quickest ways to get dinner done in one pan and retain the flavor and nutrients of the ingredients.

    Once I cleared all the rice, potatoes, and pasta from my pantry and replaced them with beans and avocados, it became even easier to cook.

    You can make up your own new recipe every night by:

    1) Heating a saute pan, adding 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil

    2) Saute protein product (chicken, beef, fish, shrimp, or tofu)

    3) Add aromatics (onion, garlic, ginger)

    4) Add vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, carrots)

    5) Add liquid to change from dry cooking to moist cooking (vegetable or chicken broth or red wine)

    6) Add beans, seasonings and condiments (like salsa or peanut/coconut for Thai)

    7) Cover the pan and let everything steam together

    8) Thicken the sauce with hummus or tomato paste if you’d like.

    Now, you can use any ingredient and any flavor profile to create endless meals on the Slow-Carb Diet.

    Chef Todd Mohr

  33. Hello!

    i was wondering if Hummus with chicken and veggies is a good slow-carb meal?

    i did not see chickpeas in the list of approved veggies.

    1. Well, they’re beans, so it’s probably ok. I’m eating lots of humous myself. So tasty! Slowly working on eating more meat.

      1. The only place in the book I saw reference to hummus/chickpeas was is in the chapter “The Slow-Carb Diet II.” He warns about “domino foods” (“eating one portion creates a domino effect of oversnacking). As far as I can tell, chickpeas/hummus is okay within moderation.

  34. I’ve seen parmesan cheese mentioned a few times now, including in the book, as part of the mashed beans suggestion.

    Could this be? Is parmesan allowed? I thought all cheese was out except cottage as a last resort.

  35. Tim, I bought your book, the weight is melting off – I am telling everyone i know BUT in your blog you show your meals and well they look like vomit. It really turns people off. How about a cookbook 20 meals, easy and delicious for us cooks! I have made meals that are delicious and colouful loaded with beans no one can see! Including cabbage roll lasagna to die for made with only meat, veggies and beans….mmmm Thanks Danielle

    1. I would love the recipe for that cabbage roll lasagna and any others you care to share I’m new at this just six days but have lost three pounds already I usually eat a bit of two percent cottage chees and six or seven almonds early morning then breakfastlunch two pure eggs and Jimmy dean all natural turkey sasuage patties and left over veggies. Dinner example is

      All natural chicken breast smart chicken pan sauted in macadamia oil with lime splash Greek seasoning and other seasonings. Frozen Brussels sprouts cooked in microwave splash of distiller water finish with small amount pure butter grass fed cow etc and butternut squash cubes sauted drizzled with macadamia nut oil and small amount butter cover for awhile I do eat refried beans specially w fried eggs and guacamole with salsa scooped with organic celery snacks one tbs pure pnb I’m planning to cook lentils soon and I do make beef chili with no additives etc Grd beef 90% lean sauted with frozen chopped onion two cans diced tomatoes one w chili seasoning one with basil garlic oregano and two drained cans of pinto beans just brown meat add other ingredients cover simmer abt twenty min eat. Have u found any chips or wraps acceptable on this. There r bean chips but they have potato starch so I didn’t use. Also garlic and turmeric and rotel diced tomatoes with green chilis r great w lots of things including added to the chili I plan to keep working on menus I was a diet counselor years back so know the drill more or less but beans added is different Question for anyone my husb is diabetic and his blood sugar is not dropping on this and he is on metformen any ideas thanks for your info

  36. In Occam’s Protocol I, you mentioned drinking 2% organic milk but then milk fat does not matter as much as white carbs right? If so can I drink whole milk instead of skim milk?

    By the way, did you figure out how to not run out of breath quickly when you do cardio? (kettlebell, 5k etc.)

  37. Hey Tim!

    Quick question: What do you think of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and health and nutrition specialists like Andrew Weil and David Wolfe?

    I’m considering taking their course which blends all the cultural health and medicinal practices together in one integrative approach. It only takes 12 months and costs less than $5000. I figure for the price at least I’ll learn quite a bit, but I’d really like to be able to trust what I’m learning and I liked the speed with which you detected “bad science” in your book.

    BTW: Slow Carb dieting for 2.5 months now, 35 pounds lost, at least 20 pounds of muscle gained, testosterone up. Every month I buy a couple more copies of 4HB for another family member or friend who’s expressed interest in it.

    I trust your opinion as your two books have effectively changed my life in both the work and health sectors. Thank you and keep up the good work!


  38. Wonderful article, very informative thank you!

    I should also try this low-carb diet, I used to think that eating low-carb means less taste. I eat food with a lot of salt and other ‘unhealthy’ flavors in it. But, thanks to this article, now I know.


    1. Hey Sally!

      PAGG and AGG are meant to be taken every day skipping one day per week and one week per month.

      I’ve personally been doing PAGG for 2 months now and have definitely noticed the difference. I explained the stack as recommended in 4HB to the people at Vitamin Shoppe who were helpful in finding the right products and made me comfortable with each one of the supplements. The upper limits for each are fairly high.

      Hope that helps!


  39. Tim prefaced the 4 hr body by saying you should experiment on yourself, take in the results , and make your own decisions, I don’t feel people are doing enough of this, it’s as if they don’t trust themselves – but who can you trust better than yourself!

    The average person isn’t capable of- nor should they – “micromanage” their diet. Its much better to pick a few basic tenets and stick to them…

    I’m mid-40s now and have weighed 175 lbs for 20 years. Not by toiling, but by enjoying a moderate diet with almost no limitations. I 100% believe that a handful of raw, sprouted seeds or legumes after a meal are the true fountain of youth. Unfortunately, few people get these living enzymes in their overprocessed diets. These enymes are pure power and can actually revert grey hair to its natural color….

    1. Agreed people need to be a little more confident and not always wanting to be told exactly what to do, simply cause we’re all different.

      Do you make your own sprouts?

    2. @ Matt Is there any link to research that supports grey hair turning back to original colour due to enzymes? I’m very curious.

  40. Wow this maybe exciting! this must be great I want to start the slow carb diet this week for i want to achieve back my good figure early in my teens.Yes! I want to loose a little weight and get those figure back. I want to try everything that Tim suggests.

  41. Great recipe. For those who are really serious in losing pounds, always remember to incorporate exercise with the diet, healthier results, I suppose:)

  42. Yes! 4HB cookbook please! for me the flavour of porcini mushrooms takes some beating – in fact mushrooms full stop! Yum! Fantastic with red meat and you can get porcini mushrooms powdered. Salsa verde is also a yummy topping on all meats and veges..and if you can’t stretch to that effort, good old anchovies add great flavour to meat dishes.

  43. These tips will bring a new spice to my life! It’s too boring to eat food that you just pulled out of the fridge and dumped it right onto the frying pan. The video also gave great instructions on how to prepare healthy food quick and easy. As a bachelor with minimal cooking experience, this is definitely worth a try.

  44. It’s a great article. I am convinced to start my low carb diet after reading this article. I think this stuff low carb diet is great, i should try it!

    two thumbs up for this article!!

  45. I started the slow carb 5 days ago & have not lost one pound yet. I have cut out all carbs, no bread, cheese pasta or rice. NONE! All I eat is beans, eggs, lean meats and some veggies. And I eat a lot of food at each meal. And I eat at least within 30 minutes of waking up in the morning. I only drink water and I have some black coffee w/breakfast. I am at 115lbs but have a fat belly/muffin top & need to get back into my clothes before vacation. What can I do to make this happen?


    1. Tricia- It’s been 5 days. Give it some time and you’ll see results. Also, take measurements, as Tim suggests in the book. Weight alone is an insufficient metric.

      – Charlie

      1. Hi Charlie,

        I have started having the EAS Myoplex protein shake in the morning, 25g protein, 5g sugar. Am I supposed to add veges and beans to my breakfast or is the protein shake okay alone? Do I need to have 30 g of the protien shake for better success (or even a different kind of shake?) I am over forty. Love the diet, it is going slowly the first 4 weeks, but I will stick to it.

        thank you

  46. I have a question about cheat day. I really crave fruit on my cheat day. What do you think about having my fill of fruit first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. I’m thinking the spike in insulin causing fat storage would have little effect if there was no fat to store.

  47. When I try to go to forums or blogs for 4 hour body, I am directed to 4 hour work week. I realize that this is a forum, but the 4 hour work week has an entire page with a lot of resources. Is there one like it for four hour body? I have a lot of questions after reading the book.

  48. Hello 🙂

    I’m very new to 4-hour, as in starting today. I have been following Paleo eating for about a year which seems to be a bit more beans but much more fat.

    Curious…how much fat to add to each meal? I had been adding 1 teaspoon of olive oil or coconut oil…it that too much?

    I also will have a spoonful of almond butter 1x a day but not sure if that is good/bad or indifferent?

    I’m cutting fruit…which makes me sad.

    My workouts are hardcore so I may be overtraining. Yeesh so much to think about.

    Any advice is appreciated and yes, I did read some of the book. Not every page thus far.


  49. Where can you find the Athletic Greens? I got the Greens SuperFood from Whole Foods, is that the same? I started the slow carb 5 days ago & have not lost one pound yet. I have cut out all carbs, no bread, cheese pasta or rice. NONE! All I eat is beans, eggs, lean meats and some veggies. And I eat a lot of food at each meal. And I eat at least within 30 minutes of waking up in the morning. I only drink water and I have 1cup black coffee w/breakfast. I am at 115lbs but have a fat belly/muffin top & need to get back into my clothes before vacation. What can I do to make this happen?


  50. You say not to worry about the sodium because manufacturers put a lot more in than that, but we already know that manufacturers put far too much salt in pre-prepared food.

    When I watched the video, 4 tbsps of soy sauce sounded like an awful lot!

    It turns out that JUST FROM THE SOY SAUCE in this recipe there is OVER ONE AND A HALF TIMES the daily recommended amount of sodium (and I believe modern advice is to have even less than the RDA used in this calc)!

    Yikes! And you say it “serves 1-2”!

    I was hoping the article would discuss how to season food without just dumping a load of salt in your dish 8-(

    1. just keep drinking loads of water to flush it out — you should be drinking a ton, anyway so that might ease your mind.

  51. are springrolls i.e. (not fried) with bean sprouts, lettuce, shrimp or tufu etc, okay?

    need to know ASAP as I’m going to get some for lunch!

  52. Just checked the whole recipe, and it has just over 4.8g of sodium in it in total:

    [I had to make a few minor changes to get the result to work.]

    So if you split this with a friend you’ve already hit your daily allowance in just one meal. If, as you say, it *can* serve one, then you’ve eaten twice your allowance right there! Even if you split the dish four ways (and I would have thought 4oz beef plenty for a serving) that’s half your daily amount right there.

    1. Different types of soy sauce have different sodium levels. But generally speaking, soy sauce isn’t for people who believe that the RDA is a good guideline or have doctor’s instructions to limit salt intake.

      Found a recipe on that may help ease the caps-lock inducing salt-phobic furor apparent in your posts 🙂

      2 T Sodium Free Beef Bouillon

      2 t Red Wine Vinegar

      1 t Molasses

      1/8 t Ground Ginger

      dash Black Pepper

      dash Garlic Powder

      3/4 c Water

      In small sauce pan, combine and boil gently uncovered about 5 minutes or til mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup. Store in refrigerator. Stir before using.

      Yield: 8 Servings

  53. Turn beef/chicken into carne/pollo assado, with this amazing 30 minute minute made and by grilling over indirect heat. Never gets old

    1-1/2 Tbsps. ground ancho chile powder (optional)

    1 tsp. dried oregano (orégano)

    1 tsp. ground cumin (comino)

    1/4 tsp. ground cloves (clavos)

    1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon (canela)

    4 garlic cloves, peeled & minced or put through a garlic press (use more or less, to taste)

    3 Tbsps. apple cider vinegar

    1/4 cup orange juice

    1/4 cup lime juice

    1 tsp. salt

  54. I’ve been doing the low-carb diet for a couple of weeks. So far so good! I was thinking of adding kettlebell swings to my routine and happened to stumble upon an adjustable kettlebell weight. I thought it looked like a good idea though I have never tried their product. The link is below. Good luck to all on the same path and thanks for the excellent recipes!

  55. Hey There! I’ve been super excited about four hour body since I read and have been doing the diet for approximately 3 weeks. Here’s my problem….I have gained weight and have not lost inches, most obviously because my pants are actually much tighter, not loose. Here’s my typical day –

    1. Breakfast within first hour of waking 8am

    a. glass of ice water

    b. hot yerba mate, loose leaf brew.

    c. 3 eggs

    d. some type of bean, generally pintos.

    2. Light snack/lunch 3-4 hours later. 11:30-12:00 pm.

    a. protein bar, 180 calories 20 grams of protein.

    b. if not the protein bar, salad or side of beans with guac.

    3. 2nd lunch 3 hours later. 2:30-3:00 pm

    a. Green Beans

    b. Lentils with spinach

    c. chicken

    4. Dinner 3-4 hours later 6:30-7:00 pm

    a. steak

    b. beans

    c. veggie

    During the day I will drink a ton of water, always have, so it wasn’t difficult for me to do so. I generally go through 8, 12oz glasses a day. I have given up soda period, and I have never liked coffee so that wasn’t an issue with me. I avoid chickpeas and hummus.

    My workout schedule has been nearly every day though, with the exception of Sat. and Sun. I do cardio 5 days a week, and on 3 of those days I do strength training, mainly a free weight routine along with kettlebell swings. For the Kettlebell I have been doing 3 sets of 25 at 25 lbs.

    I have also been having my cheat day and that seems to be where all my weight comes from. I think I’m going to start avoiding the cheat day every week and drop it back to every other week, otherwise I am spending the whole week trying to lose the water weight gained from one day. Maybe I’ll just add in a treat instead of having a binge day itself. My other thoughts are that I am eating too much, and that I need to give up my breakfast in lieu of a protein shake instead. Which is fine, it’s a pain in the butt to make breakfast every morning. Other than that….open to suggestions. It’s quiet frustrating not having lost inches or weight, rather having gained weight.


    1. hi sarah j.

      a few thoughts—are you eating whole eggs? if yes, try just egg whites.

      what is in the protein bar? carbs? i would be careful with meal #2 altogether. it’s not the recommendation of 1 protein + 1 legume+ 1 veg. Have all three with each meal, not just a snack of one of them.

      add lemon to all water.

      are you taking PAGG?

      sometimes a little fine tuning is all it takes. hopefully one of these suggestions, or the combo of them all will help. good luck.

  56. also….to add details behind the info I provided previously.

    I am a 32F. I originally weighed 236, I dropped down to 171 via weight watchers. I started running and stayed around there, then winter came and I got up to around 180, since starting the diet I am now at 186 as of today.

  57. Could someone tell me if cottage cheese is ok to eat in the morning as my breakfast? Also, does anyone know why red wine seems to be the only alcohol allowed and not vodka or other light colored liquor drinks such as vodka and soda water?

  58. Hey Tim,

    I just submitted my recipe creation!!

    Shiitake and Spinach Steak and Eggs!!

    Its awesome…hope you like it!

    Here is the link to the vid i created of it….enjoy!

    i noticed you havnt resonded to a single comment on this post….are you out of town?

    take care,


  59. Hey Tim,

    Anything i should look out for in terms of using wine to cook?

    Also do you have any brands that you recommend for drinking that are under $15?

    I just got though the first four chapters of the book and started the slow carb diet today. I’m really looking forward to see results as I have quite a bit of weight to lose.



  60. Hello all,

    Does anyone have any ideas for a tasty home-made meal-replacement breakfast drink that is slow carb compliant?

    I’ve got the Plant Fusion Powder, Chia Seeds, Almonds, and Brazil nuts ready to go, but given milk, soy, and even almond milk are “forbidden”, any ideas on the right liquid would be helpful. Of course water would be just right from health standpoint, but the taste does not work.


    John R.

    1. John,

      I’d recommend eating food, not drinking it. Have a pork chop, or some eggs fried in coconut oil and a salad.

      Or practice Intermittent Fasting and skip breakfast.

      1. Casey,

        Thanks for your input. I too am not big fan of drinks and/or replacement bars, and prefer to eat real food. In any case I am looking for a drink replacement to use from time to time for the morning rush, and to cut back meat consumption just a bit.

        Thanks again.

        John R.

  61. For my salads, I usually cover a base of spinach, lentils, kidney beans, a few olives with 1-2 tbsp of crumbled blue cheese, 1-2 tbsp of pepper mash (avoid mashes with sugar) or sliced jalapeno peppers, and drizzled olive oil. Occasionally, I also add shelled sunflower seeds for crunch. For me, the above “pops” much more than the bland dressings at the salad bar.

  62. For some reason for the past 3 weeks I’m always wanting to eat. While this does usually happen when I start working out, especially weight lifting, I’m confused because all I’ve been doing lately is some light jogging. But thankfully I haven’t gained much weight so that’s good. Also, in regards to this post, I flavor almost anything with hot sauce or tabasco sauce, I can have it with almost any kind of food.

  63. One other set of recipes for the slow carb diet is indian food. I have been making dishes at home using Peacock Spice Company kits from Whole foods(no connection). They are basically beans or chicken, spices, little oil and water. Delicious, I only wish I could enjoy Naan on non-cheat days.

  64. Tim

    I’m about to donate some blood, any tips on this? like, what should I eat before and after? how much time should I wait before hitting the gym?

  65. What about protein meal replacement bars? Can they be eaten on this diet if you aren’t home to prepare your meals????? Jennifer

  66. Wow! this is a great tip. I usually work with food like pizza (yes, i know), but my performance was very low.

    With this tips I will be a better person and profesional.

    P.s: I hate brocoli

  67. I’ve managed to replace milk and sugar in just a week with a dash of cinnamon to my grande coffee. as a coffee drinker all of my life, never imagined that could happen!!

    1. It’s pretty amazing how easy it was to switch wasn’t it!

      I too always drank coffee with milk and sugar and over night switched to black with cinnamon or cinnamon and a bit of cream. Now it tastes strange if I add sugar.

  68. Hello all,

    I want to suggest a website that has been extremely helpful for me with the experimental aspect of the 4 hour body diet. Dr. Mercola has a free questionnaire available on his site to determine if you are a “protein type,” “carb type” or a “mixed type.” if you are a “protein type” for example, you do best with mostly protein and fats and minimal carbs. I am a “protein type” and I do best with a meal that looks something like this: steak, avocado, asparagus with olive oil and 1/4 cup of beans. With this ratio, I have no sugar cravings, I don’t need a snack, I have high energy and I feel clear headed and weight comes off consistently. My husband, according to the test is a “carb type” so an ideal 4 hour body meal for him would be: 1 cup of beans or more, lighter meats like chicken, and a huge salad. He feels great and weight is coming off consistently.

    Iif you are interested google “Dr. Mercola Metabolic typing diet.” You will find a free questionaire

  69. Part 2

    You will find a free questionnaire and more in-depth information.

    Wish you all the best. Thanks Tim and Charlie for this amazing contribution.

  70. Hi! Been on the slow carb diet for over a month and I’ve already lost 4-5 INCHES off my waist and mor. Not really weighing myself because I’ve added muscle mass due to my kettle ball exercises 3 times a week.

    I’ve noticed at one week I plateaued because I wasn’t having the same meals over and over through the course of the week.

    Since then, I’ve added a protein shake within 30 minutes of waking up in the morning which has significantly contributed to my fat loss..just as it did with Tim’s Dad.

    My only concern with the diet is that I’m currently going through Ketosis and the side effects is annoying–frequent urination (my body eliminating extra ketone in my system.) I’m also not a big fan of beans but I still somehow manage to swallow it down. Eating beans really does keep the hunger pangs away, unfortunately I really hate beans lol.

    I just wanted to share my story and say that this is a really effective diet and will get faster results if you don’t bend them 🙂

    I don’t plan on doing it forever, but it’s definitely a great diet if you want to jump start your weight loss 🙂

    Best of luck to everyone else on the slow carb diet!

  71. Hi,

    I love the 4HBB but as a woman with a sweet tooth on day three I am finding it so nauseating to follow. It is commonly known that when men and women marry they are likely to put on weight because the man wants savory food while the woman generally has the sweet tooth. Together they eat both and become overweight! This is definitely a man’s diet in that sense. Can someone please help me determine some sweets I can get away with to float me until cheat day? Any protein shakes out there for breakfast? Could I substitute the one diet soda a day for a piece of sugar free candy? Or maybe skip the glass of wine for a piece of fruit or a handful of grapes even? Tim I implore you! Please test out or offer up some options for us girls who want the same results but can’t stomach the food!

    Thanks very much!

    1. I have a sweet tooth myself and I found that the only thing that prevented me from caving in and having something sweet was complete and utter willpower. Granted, it’s not easy but diets aren’t suppose to be easy. Good luck and hang in there!

      Tim has mentioned in the past that sugar free jello is acceptable 🙂

    2. Hi Rachel,

      I am with you on the sweet tooth problem. I have been on the 4HB for 24 days now. Have been very strict and trying to suppress my sweet tooth every day. The fact that I have lost 5 lbs has kept me motivated, plus feeling much better. I keep thinking the sweet craving will go away but has not. There is a tea called Good Earth Caffeine Free Sweet and Spicy Herbal Tea that is so unbelievably good and sweet that I feel like it must not be acceptable on Tim’s 4HB. It states that is has no gluten, no sugar, no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

      Here is the ingredient list: Red Rooibos, Chicory Root, Natural Flavor, Rosehips, Cinnamon, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Papaya, Chamomile, Panax Ginseng Leaves, Anise Seed, Dandelion Root, Ginger Root, Orange Oil, Orange Peel.

      If TIm or Charlie can let us know if because these ingredients are infused into the tea that it is OK to drink, it will be keep me on the 4HB forever! It is great as ice tea also.

  72. Hello people! I have been training regularly for the past 2 years and have experimented with many types of fat loss and muscle gaining diets including the XFLD, the 21 Day Fast Mass Building and the Holy Grail.

    My question is this:

    Given that I count my calories and nutrient ratio strictly, would the muscle gaining approach used by Tim work well on me? I’ve read the relevant parts of the book and found that I should be consuming roughly 3500 calories for 28 days. Calorie counting was regarded as being not necessary by Tim. I have not much trouble gaining weight but of course not 34lbs in 28 days! Is 20 calories per pound bodyweight really sufficient?

    Also, should I use Tim’s workout instead of the recommended one given that I’m not new to training at all?

    I would be very very grateful if anyone could relate their experience here.


  73. On the diet now and just reading a few posts…will someone clarify? Edamame is NOT allowed on this diet? I love it and have been eating it for snacks here and there. I didn’t see in the book where he said no-go on this.

    Anyone else completely clear on the rules on this one?

    Thanks in advance for your input.


    1. On Page 72 of the book Soybeans (Edamame) is listed as one of the Legumes to choose from. Although it isn’t starred it is on the list, which leads me to believe it is okay…

  74. When I started the diet I had a hard time with wanting sweets, especially when I got home from work, so I followed the suggestion and got a small notebook and wrote down all the stuff I wanted on my cheat day and then fiixed myself a slow carb meal right away. Of course, when it came to my cheat day, I didn’t eat all the stuff on the list, but just knowing I could have it later got me through some tough times. Now I find I don’t have nearly as many of the cravings as I used to. I have been on the diet for 4 weeks and have lost 15 pounds.

  75. Loving the book. One question why no rolled oats/porridge? I was under the impression it was slow release. Made with water what is wrong with it?


  76. Hi Tim,

    I have something happening to my body doing the slow carb diet and I am not sure if its normal.

    On Jan 11, 2011, I started the the slow carb diet from the 4 Hour Body. On Jan 11, 2011 my Bod Pod came in at 37.4 lbs Body Fat (22.9%) + 126.1 lbs Lean Mass (77.1%) with a total weight of 163.5 lbs.

    Today, Feb 24, 2011 about six weeks into the slow carb diet, my Bod Pod came in at 28.4 lbs Body Fat (18.4%) + 126.4 lbs Lean Mass (81.6.%) for a total weight of 154.8 lbs.

    So body fat has been reduced by 9lbs and by 4.5%. My lean mass stayed pretty much the same in absolute terms (i.e. it increased by .3) but in percentage terms it went up by about 4.5%.

    My weight on the other hand dropped 8.7 pounds. So correct me if I am wrong, but pretty much all my weight loss came in the form of losing body fat.

    I am 5 feet 9.5 inches and almost 33 years old.

    So I think I should be ecstatic with these results. (At first I wasn’t but then I read the chapter in your book about your dad’s results and how he had similar misguided doubt when he was actually making progress.).

    But it seems I am shedding fat but not gaining muscle in absolute terms (despite also doing the freak to geek type workout routine during these 6 weeks as well). Is this normal?????

    My question is: how do I continue to lose body fat without losing weight? I really don’t want to drop much more than my current weight (154.8 pounds) though I can live with a couple pounds loss or gain either way. But I want to get body fat to 10-12%. So how can I continue to shed body fat without losing weight? My biggest gripe with my body is that I have a bit too much fat around ye ole waistline. The rest of my upper body (chest, traps, arms, etc) I am pretty ok with. I think getting to body fat to 10-12% will obliterate most of Mr. Fatty Stomach.

    Any advice / feedback would be much appreciated!



    1. Not to be a troll, I’m not sure you understand how this works. Simply, if you want to lose fat but stay the same weight gain muscle. Weight = Body Fat + lean tissue. Change either body fat or lean tissue and your weight will change.

      On the other hand, it’s not your weight that matters (to most people), it’s how you look. So why worry about weight to begin with?

      1. Thanks for the feedback. I understand the relationship bw body fat, muscle and total weight. And I understand that if I want to lose fat but stay the same weight then simply add muscle. But the question is: how??? what are the methods to do so? that is what i was asking. and i was also asking if its normal to see one lose all fat and not gain any muscle in absolute terms while doing the slow carb diet and one of the workout routines (geek to freak) in the book.

    2. Sorry for the misunderstanding. The only thing I can point to there is to go to for more guidance on exercise and nutrition.

      Also, you may want to start experimenting, without that it’s hard to know what works for you. Each body is different and may take different amounts of time to respond. Also, make sure you’re getting the right nutrition, which is critical for muscle gain.

      Unfortunately, I’ve not gone down the muscle gain road yet, so I am not of much more help here.

  77. Devin,

    My guess would be that the problem is you’re coupling the wrong things. The Slow-Carb Diet can drop you 20 lbs in 30 days without exercise. It’s a weight loss, body fat decreasing diet. Although there can be some muscle gained it is not designed to increase muscle mass. At the same time you’re engaging in a workout designed to increase muscle mass. I would guess that you’re actually working out too hard for the amount of nutrition you’re ingesting. Tim says in the book that working out too much will stall weight loss and result in weight gain. I also know that working out too much compared to what’s going into your body can have adverse affects on muscle gain. I would either do one of his minimalist workouts, i.e. kettlebell swings M and F and a 20 min upper body workout on W or continue with the Geek to Freak, but follow that diet, or at least a variation of it.

  78. Alright, here’s something magical:

    3 eggs, beaten (egg whites work too)

    1/2 can (3/4 cups) spinach, very well drained

    ghee, to grease the pan

    1/4 cup chopped pecans

    1/4 tsp. cinnamon

    salt & pepper

    1 tbs. fennel seeds

    1.5 tbs. lime juice

    pinch of chili powder

    Fry the eggs with fennel seeds like an omelette @ 300F with the ghee in a non-stick pan.

    While they cook, drain the spinach, add lime juice and salt (I use Nu-salt) and heat to steaming (just microwave them for 1 min).

    When the eggs are done, place on a large plate, add the chili powder, cinnamon, and ground pepper.

    Drain the spinach again, only half-way, pepper and add on top of the eggs.

    Sprinkle pecans on top.

    The fennel seeds and ghee give it a slight Indian taste, while the walnuts and cinnamon and chili powder add a Central-American taste. Walnuts also add much needed crunch. Fantastic, it tastes like a 5-star restaurant dish (but I just made it up this morning :)).

    Total time: 15 minutes

  79. Im doin the slow carb diet and was wondering if its okay to eat the Cliff builders bar as a first lunch after breakfast? Its got 20 grams of protein in it. I know its not a full meal but im in a touring band and its hard to eat 4 meals a day.

  80. I am starting the slow carb diet and I have just a few questions:

    1) Is broccoli dipped in hummus an appropriate between meal snack for this diet? Other suggestions?

    2) What about salads? I usually eat a spinich salad everyday with Paul Newmans Olive Oil and Vinegar dressing.

  81. So I treated this post as a blessing – I’ve been eating the exact same every day for the past 5 months (except for a 3 week break during Xmas) however after about a week of this, and just my general results I am concerned.

    I started in September 2010, 5’10” male 183 lbs, 16% body fat

    My daily meal consists of:

    Pre-Breakfast: 2-3 cups of coffee (by volume) with a little creamer (cheating I know)

    Breakfast: 2 eggs scrambled w/ 3 slices of turkey (sandwich meat) and salsa on top.

    Snack: 2% cottage cheese

    Lunch: a sizable bowl of spinach leaves, topped with some croutons and a little light vinaigrette dressing for flavor (cheating & cheating I know)

    Snack: 2% cottage cheese

    Dinner: chicken breast, mustard, maybe black beans

    Saturdays I’d go absolutely nuts.

    Within 6 weeks my weight was down to 171.8, and 13.7% body fat.

    I then made a few alterations for some reason – sipping crystal light tea and maybe something else I can’t remember. All other things remained equal.

    My weight a few weeks later rose to 175.

    I went off the diet for 3 weeks during Xmas and my weight beginning January was back to 183. No big deal – 6 weeks I’ll be back down.

    This time I eat the same things, but, I cut back on cottage cheese, cut out crystal light tea completely, and add a large pickle once a day, and maybe a few pistachios.

    Within 6 weeks I’m only down to 176 – only half the total weight loss in the same time period as before.

    I don’t know why. I get Tim’s book and begin doing the exact Kettlebell exercise as prescribed 2-3 times a week for the past 4 weeks. I keep the diet the same, but add a scoop of EAS Vanilla Whey Protein powder to a glass of water after kettlebell swinging.

    After 2 more weeks my weight has risen to around 177.

    I see this post and decide to make this beef/broccoli/beans meal a large part of my diet – replacing the spinach/croutons/dressing meal (thinking great – I’m cutting out some major carbs). I make BIG batches of the above meal and incorporate it into my new diet as follows:

    Pre-Breakfast: 2-3 cups of coffee (by volume) with a little creamer (cheating I know)

    Breakfast: 2 eggs scrambled w/ 3 slices of turkey (sandwich meat) and salsa on top.

    Snack: no snack

    Lunch: bowl of beef/broccoli/black bean stew

    Snack: a little more beef/broccoli/black bean stew

    Dinner: bowl of beef/broccoli/black bean stew

    Post dinner: red wine, or 2-3 cups of coffee (by volume) with a little creamer (cheating I know)

    After 7-10 days my weight remains at 177.

    So this is a little extreme but Tim says to “eat as much as you like” of the beef/broccoli/bean categories right? Also, the ONLY fast burning carbs left in my diet are from the coffee creamer – and c’mon, there’s no way a couple tablespoons can be the gatekeeper blocking pounds and pounds of fat from leaving right? Plus, I drank the same amount before Xmas when I dropped 12 lbs (but then plateaued).

    What can I possibly do to get the dramatic results EVERYONE else seems to be getting? I realize I don’t have as much weight to lose as others (“20 lbs in 30 days” isn’t exactly fair since a pound represents a different percentage of each person’s weight), but I certainly should be able to drop at least 15 lbs – I’ve been on the diet for over 50 days since Xmas.

    1. you should be tracking measurements instead – as you yourself say, you have less fat to lose. quit beating yourself up and get a tapemeasure.

  82. Great recipe and info. I had to use another bean since Cannelloni beans are to sophisticated for this small town in NC. lol Went to multiple groceries stores…oh well. It was very good and very easy!


  83. Tim,

    Seeing alot of Pagg ads piggybacking on your supplement suggestion in your book. I have a feeling that these were put together quickly and the contents of their ingredients may not be the best. I do like the concept of the convenience of one tab, but am wary. Can you shed some light on this and maybe provide some guidance.

    1. Jeremiah- Tim hasn’t tested any of the PAGG stacks that came out after 4HB. For the time being, it’s probably best to stick with the ones he recommends in the book.

  84. I’m planning to start slow carb diet from 7of March and have some questions important for me. I have a 1 type diabetes and insulin pump. So I plan to eat products from Tim’s list. But It’s absolutely clear, that first days (or maybe weeks) I’ll have sometimes a low blood sugar (unfamiliar and slow carb legumes will do their job). How it will be better to rise my blood sugar back? I can use sugar, glucose or fruit juice (need 4-8 g of glucose or 30-50 g of juice to bit my hypoglicemia). All this products are not allowed on diet, but I must choose one for emergency case.

    Maybe enyone else with 1 type diabetes already tried slow carb diet? It will be great for me to have additional information, tips and tricks.

    And what about Stevia sweetener? Is it bad also? I didn’t find any information during reading the book. Anybody knows?

  85. It’s funny, I never thought of anyone not knowing what they could do with herbs, spices and sauces. I have some fantastic recipes I could share with anyone if they are interested and they are all sugar-free and will make you very happy. Have you ever put something in your mouth that instantly made you happy? (get your mind out of the gutter) Preserved lemons and homemade harissa can do exactly that. I also have recipes for amazing rubs and sauces. Nothing you eat need be bland and tasteless!

  86. Gearing up for the 4HB regimen starting Monday. After reading 4HB book and posts I can’t determine if cheese is okay. I love eating at Chipotle and want to know if adding cheese and sour cream on my no-rice bowl is okay. Also wondering if Parmesan cheese is okay. Same with salad dressing. I saw Tim’s recommendation on salad dressings (V&O or the mustard mix thing) but wondering how much of a negative impact Italian dressing will have.

    1. No cheese or sour cream. I think Tim mentioned parmesan cheese on mashed beans or cauliflower but he was using the cheese as a spice, so not in large quantities. With regards to dressings – no creamy dressings, and you need to make sure the italian ones don’t have added sugar. Stick with a tablespoon of extra light olive oil and balsamic vinegar as the safest bets.