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

  1. Good advice on spicing things up . . . I’ve recently discovered chipotle powder at Penzy’s spices. Just pinch for that flavor.

  2. This is my second week on the diet. im going to try this beef/broccoli/ bean meal sounds so good. i have been having fun with the beans…besides the gas haha. in my first five days i lost 5lbs and loving this diet. Saturdays i go completely nuts. im on my menstrual cycle so im not sure how much i lost b/c of the water water i have. so we will see… but i am seeing awesome results in my body.

    does anyone else have like no hunger during the week?? i think this is the most awesome feeling. and my energy level is high. i love this diet/lifestyle so far.

  3. Great book, great blog, great posts.

    My protein shake brekky

    I scoop whey protein (I like Synth-6 vanilla)

    4 Tblsp hemp hearts

    1 cup of coffee (I french press the night before)

    1 Tblsp. Fry’s unsweetened cocoa powder

    water to the texture you want

    It tastes amazing and the hemp hearts fill you up.

    The hemp hearts can be blended to make a milk substitute

  4. Here is how I get rid of most the gas in beans, peas, Lentils…. All of the dried variety. Put beans in sauce pan and cover with water, about an inch or two higher than the level of beans. Bring to a boil, and boil for 10 minutes. Cover, remove from heat and let them soak for 1 hr. After soaking, pour off water and rinse the beans. Return the beans to the pan and begin to cook as you normally would. Generally this fashion removes a huge portion of the gas.

  5. I’ve been reading the posts be everyone and one of the common mistakes I’ve noticed with most of the people not seeing results is a lack of Water consumption. Tim stresses the need to consume significant quantities of water in the 4HB to ensure optimal liver function. If you don’t drink enough water you won’t loose the fat. I know from personal experience that this makes a HUGE difference. When I drink about 3 liters in a day I easily drop a pound a day. When I don’t drink the water I not only tend to cheat but the fat loss slows down to about a half pound.

    If you don’t love water then add lemon to it. It’s much easier to drink that way.

    As a single mom I don’t have a ton of time to spend in the kitchen. One of the salads I’ve been making has been a life saver for me. I threw this concoction together one day and everyone who tries it loves it so I thought I would share:

    Slow Carb Lentil Salad:

    1 can lentils (Rinsed)

    1 can black beans (Rinsed)

    1 chopped red pepper (I like small cubes)

    1 chopped Green pepper

    1 chopped cucumber

    2 cups of halved grape tomatoes

    Chopped fresh cilantro to taste (I likely add about a half cup)

    1 avacado cubed

    Then I make a balsamic vinagrette using about 1tbsp Dijon mustard, 2tbsp balsamic vinager and 4tbsp olive oil. Add a pinch of salt, mix it up and then mix it into the salad.

    These are rough measurements as I don’t tend to measure things. Just play around with it and you’ll find what you like. If the flavor isn’t sharp enough for you then add in some more balsamic vinager or some more cliantro. I’ve also been known to add some red onion to the mix but if you work in a job where smelling like onions is going to scare people away then you might want to avoid this.

    The great thing about this salad is that it is not only super tasty and really filling but it get’s better and better each day it’s in the fridge. I make a big batch and eat it over the course of a week. Cheap and easy!

    Good luck everyone!

    1. Shannon – Thanks for Lentil salad recipe. I made it last night and it’s even better today. I put it on a bed of spinach with some turkey on the side. Delicious!

  6. Slightly unrelated to the healthy recipe idea. But I just had the most epic cheat day I’ve had yet and I had to share.


    ~30g whey protein shake (unflavoured)

    1/2 hour later

    two eggs over easy

    4 strips bacon

    2 pieces whole wheat toast

    1/2 hour later

    began on 24 my mom’s homemade oatmeal choc chip cookies (big cookies)

    several large handfuls of peanut m&m’s

    6 my mom in-laws homemade choc chip cookies (also big cookies)


    egg salad sandwich

    710 ml pepsi

    1/2 hour later

    deluxe cheeseburger w/ poutine (fries with gravy and cheese on them)

    more handfuls of peanut m&m’s when i got home


    1/2 lb roast beef

    garlic & rosemary baked potatoes (lots of gravy)

    boring old peas and carrots

    5 4% light beer

    enough apple crumble to cover a dinner plate (mom’s homemade)

    2 hrs later

    apple pie (mom in-laws homemade) and another beer

    the strangest part is this is by far the most ridiculous amount of calories i’ve stuffed in on cheat day (i would have needed to go liquid to get more in) and I gained the same 8 lbs i gain every cheat day.

  7. Thanks for the soy sauce tip (smacks head)

    been on the slow carb diet for 5 weeks and lost all the weight I wanted to loose already and started exercising again after 5 months of doing nothing yesterday.

    Things are going well 🙂 pig out day is amazing

  8. Love the book and suggestions!

    What do you suggest for after you’ve reached your body recomp goals?? Do you have a “post slow carb” or maintenance diet?

    Thanks 🙂

  9. I’m an old hat at low-carb dieting, and some things that helped me:

    1. If you haven’t ever ventured inside an asian market, find one now and go. The veggies! The chilis! The spices! Most asians go light on dairy anyway, but they do love their sugar, so read labels. Half the fun is experimenting.

    2. If you have sugar cravings, stuff your face with protein and fat. Yes, I said fat. Get over your fat phobia. Fat is good for the hormones, skin, hair and makes you more regular. Fat is satisfying and carries flavors. Avoid veggie oil fats and use cold-press oils and animal fats. Yes…I said animal fats. Butter (especially organic, grassfed butter) is wonderful. Ghee is good too. Lard, if it’s not hydrogenated, even better if it’s from pastured pork. Olive oil. Macademia nut oil. Sesame oil and peanut oil for stir fry.

    3. The article neglected to mention garlic! How can a person live without it? If you think garlic is a powder, think again. Switch to minced garlic in a jar as a transition/time-saver. But really, invest in a garlic press and start using fresh garlic whenever you can.

    4. Speaking of asian markets, while you’re there, pick up a wok. Stir-fry anything is a low-carber’s dream meal. Stir fry basics are sesame oil, ginger (powdered works, but fresh tastes better), soy sauce. I did cheat with a tiny bit of flour or starch to thicken sauces, but you can get guar gum online or at some healthfood stores too. I kept meats cut up and packaged for stir-fry in the freezer. Throw them in frozen (before the veggies) and cook them a little extra long.

    5. I <3 my George Foreman grill (the kind with adjustable heat and removable plates), you can use it for frozen meats and be eating from freezer to table in 15 minutes. I pound out chicken breasts, throw in some marinade, and freeze flat. Take out, toss on the grill and go.

    6. Join a CSA for fantastic organic veggies, locally grown, in season. This is for the more adventurous cooks, though, as the veggies typically include a lot of heirloom and non-conventional varieties. I liked it because it forced me to try new things.

    7. Hot sauce is your friend. I can't stomach more eggs without my Melindas. And buffalo wings (non-breaded) are legal!

    8. Cook ahead and have stuff waiting in the fridge to just grab and eat. Boil eggs by the dozen. Have cooked chicken sitting there. Diced ham. Bean salad. Anything you can grab and stuff your face with when you're just tired and hungry instead of getting crap.

    9. Iced herbal tea with stevia is available by the gallon in my house. I recommend the Celestial Seasonings "Zinger" teas. Get a gallon pitcher, fill halfway with hot tap water, throw in 6 teabags and steep an hour or so. Add cold water to fill.

    10. Watch the artificial sweeteners. Use them as a crutch/treat. My experience is that anything that has to be processed by the liver impacts insulin resistance and all artificial sweeteners are processed by the liver. My cravings didn't really stop until I gave up the aspartame and splenda. Use stevia. You'll also find your tastes change over time and stuff tastes way too sweet after going without sugar for a time.

    I found the real trick to sticking to a LC diet is to not let myself get too hungry. If you're hungry, eat! As Tim says, most people fail from eating too *few* calories. More calories = higher metabolism = permanent weight loss.

  10. Just started reading 4 Hour Body and I’m so impressed that finally someone put the science behind conventional health advice, and placed all the best tips in one life-hack book!

    My question is, what do you think about PAGG Stack (the combination of all supplements in one pill)? (I saw it by the way as an ad in Ray Cronise’s website on Cold Experiments), or do you still prefer to take each one individually?

    By the way, I’m over 240 lbs with about 170 pounds of lean mass, if you care what my body type is.


    1. I thought about purchasing the PAGG stack, but then Tim suggested not to take green tea extract at night, as some people had trouble falling asleep. I like to have the ability to manage that with individual pills. I ordered through the site Tim mentions in the book and was able to get a pill sorter with the order, that makes things much easier, especially after I labeled all the slots with what’s in it and when to take it.

  11. well after 2 weeks of eating the beef/broccoli/beans recipe, it appears that all weight loss has been reversed, and now I’m GAINING weight slowly. Devastating, because the recipe was delicious 🙁

  12. Help please! I started the diet yesterday and felt like a little piggy but carried on like a trooper anyway. Now, on day two, having eaten a timely breakfast, it is 3pm and I find I am unable to eat another morsel. This is so much more food than I am used to eating. I am following the diet, not for weight loss reasons as I am not overweight, but rather to become leaner. I have become a tad soft of late; oh alright then: flabby! I am not a big eater; or I wasn’t, until yesterday! Any thoughts would be really appreciated thanks.

  13. I’ve been following the 4HB diet for 3 weeks now, with essentially no weight loss (from 215lbs to 215lbs).

    I suspect it’s total caloric intake (nuts) that kills me; other than that, I stick with egg whites, chicken, tomatoes, lentils and green beans in various combinations.

    Drinks are water, coffee and tea.

    I am generally feeling better on this diet, but the lack of weight loss is concerning.

    Did anyone have a similar experience and managed to isolate and solve the problem? Your feedback would be much appreciated!

  14. Has Tim ever tried Alkaline water. There are a few stores that have opened up near me and I’ve tried it. They advertise a detoxification and helping against acidosis in the body. It tastes better and I seem to get a feeling of well-being from it. The extra hydration can’t hurt but I’m wondering if it can really help in weight and fat loss. Any feedback?

  15. I am going to Germany. A very anti-slow carb location. I know Tim has spent alot of time there. Any restaurant suggestions for slow-carb in germany?

  16. I have just started this program, and I am wondering- is plain greek yogurt an acceptable alternative to cottage cheese? I know it is dairly, but the protein is out of the ball park with few calories. Using as a dip base-instead of sour cream to cram in more veggies has been a habit for a while. Thoughts?

    1. Although cottage cheese is allowed, it does not sound like it is something that should be indulged in every day. Just occasionally to change things up a bit. So I would stay away from yogurt and just try to use the veggies in your cooking (stir fry) instead of just as snacks, to get out the dipping habit.

  17. I just started this diet 3 days ago. I’m wondering if anyone eats bison meat? Its higher in protein and less calories than lots of other meat. Also, I’m having a protein shake for breakfast instead of eggs.. just for convenience. I didn’t see many posts where people used shakes. Is there a read on NOT to use them?


    1. Stacey- protein shakes are OK, but not the best choice. That said make sure to use only water (no milk) in the shake and that it’s plain (not vanilla/chocolate). In the book Tim talks about how his dad used the shakes in the morning and lost quite a bit of weight.

    2. I eat a lot of wild game and it seems to work well. I can’t imagine any reason bison would be an issue. The one thing he does say is it’s best to avoid meat from bigger animals when those animals are grown in 6×6 pens living off of steroids. He’s a big fan of grass fed beef. So, free roaming bison would probably be great.

  18. I started the diet a few days ago and while I’m not actively counting calories, I’m wondering if I’m eating enough. Is there a minimum calorie number to use? I’m 5’8, 174 lbs male if that helps and coming in around 1450 calories, while working out about 4x/week.

    Also, was wondering if there is an ideal percentage mix to shoot for between fat, protein and carbs. I’m averaging about 55% protein, 15% fat and 30% carbs.

    Any guidance is appreciated.

  19. Hey Tim, I’ve started an Occam’s Protocol thread on where everyone seems to hate you. After reading your book I was between liking you and thinking you were full of ish so I began the experiment to find out for myself what the truth was. After four weeks of Occam’s I am officially a believer. My thread is called “True Occam’s Protocol Experiment”. You can google it or search for it in the forums section on The forums there are pretty hostile towards the ideas in your book but I’ve had over 1500 looks at my thread and so far the naysayers are silent.

    1. Thanks for sharing this, J! The forums are hostile, but I’m thrilled that you’re sharing so much data. I looked at it all and have to say — you are doing one hell of a job.

      I encourage anyone wondering if Occam’s works or not to see this — more than 10 lbs of lean mass in 2 weeks and still counting…

      Thanks again for reaching out and sharing your progress! It’s hugely valuable and very generous of you.

      All the best, and keep it up!


      1. Dear Tim and blog readers!

        One simple question on the allicin (garlic pills):

        the daily recommendation in the book for fat loss is 200 mg of allicin.

        I’ve searched the net and even the super-expensive garlic pills don’t contain more than 1,5 – 3,5 mg-s. Maybe I’m missing something, though…

        The question:

        do one has to eat a full bottle of pills to reach the amount?? 😀

        Or how do you reach the required amount?

        Thank you for your ideas and insights!

        All the bests,


      2. Hey Tim! My husband and I just recently purchased your book: The 4 Day Body

        The suggestions and the research are all awesome. We started the Slow Carb Diet this week. My husband seems to be responding quite well. I on the other hand- not so much. I was just wondering if you had a few suggestions as to what I may be doing wrong or should change. I wasn’t sure if you had a few similar issues made known to you from other dieters.

        Possibly TMI but whatever: I have not had a bowel movement since Monday. This is extremely irregular for me because I am a regular person. It’s starting to hurt my lower/middle back. Yesterday my legs and feet began retaining water (something that has never happened to me). It seriously felt weird to walk and when I laid down and propped them up I could feel a draining sensation. Due to bloating I can’t comfortably button my slacks which fit just last week. I drank a cup of coffee attempting to flush things out, my normal reaction to caffeinated drinks, and I got nothing. I’m usually running to the bathroom within an hour of drinking coffee! I’ve been drinking plenty of water… Taking potassium, magnesium, and calcium supplements. Eating protein, beans, and some form of greens every single meal. I make dinner so my husband and I have the same thing for dinner. We have also had the same thing as each other for lunch the past few days. Do women just react differently to this diet? Should I lose the protein and focus more on the veggies and beans? Or maybe it’s the skin of the beans… I don’t know. Just looking for a suggestion or two. Thanks! Great work btw!

      3. Stevie,

        I feel for you. That’s tough. You definitely need to be having bowel movements regularly for this to be effective and you not to desist. I would suggest a natural laxative. Go to a local health food store and talk to them about it. See what they have to say and also talk to them about a form of calcium/magnesium supplement designed to make you regular. One example is called CalMag. If it doesn’t work another to try is psyllium husks powder.

        Also, the water retention in the legs is very strange. Is that normal to actually feel it draining out of your legs? Think about everything that you’re eating and drinking. Maybe write it all down and see if there’s something you can cut, something not recommended, that will help.

        Some random thoughts: Make sure you consume fruit on your cheat day. Maybe try lentils instead of beans? I’m fishing here, but those are some thoughts. Don’t go too long without a bowel movement, even if you have to take a break from the diet.

        Lastly, read this from Tim’s comments (

        On the critical 4-6 week window:

        For people over 40 and women (especially after two kids), it’s quite common that the most dramatic fat-loss and weight change comes after 4-6 weeks on the diet. I have no explanation for this. Needless to say, if you haven’t done the diet for AT LEAST four weeks, please don’t post a comment about plateauing and panicking. I can’t give you meaningful advice without a ton of other supporting data (blood tests, etc.), and it’s physically impossible for me to respond to each person.

  20. I am 36 year old male and have gained about 35 lbs over the last six years. Visually, I feel like it’s mostly around my waist. I use to be extremely active but now have a back injury that prevents me from doing a lot of the exercise I used to do. I am also fairly certain that my high stress level has a lot to do with the weight gain as well. I am a Realtor and the father of two young children… I have been following The Four Hour Body plan for three weeks and have lost nine lbs. I have acid reflux for which I have to take Prevacid upon waking. I can’t eat first thing in the morning because I have to wait one hour after taking my pill before eating anything. This week I’ve added a protein shake (8oz water with Jay Robb whey protein powder – 25 grams) an hour after I wake and most days I will eat eggs and bacon a couple of hours later.

    Any thoughts on the reflux situation and what I can do to burn the fat around my waistline faster?

    Many thanks for any comments and suggestions.


  21. Hello,

    I just purchased my first piece of grass-fed Flank Steak. Immediately upon opening the package, it really had a horrible smell to it. It wasnt quite a rotten smell but a strong egg like odor. The meat was within the expiration date, was in a vacuum sealed package and had been properly refrigerated.

    Is it normal for grass-fed Flank Steak to have a strong, bad smell?


  22. Hey Tim, quick question for you. I’m following Occam’s protocol to gain some much needed muscle weight. However, I have a small problem with symmetry. That is, my right side, pecs, latissimus dorsi (maybe the rest of the back as well, but this is one I can see) are slightly smaller compared to my left side. I am left handed so there is no real surprise, the question is how to deal with it. Some say do extra exercises on the weak side, some say leave and it will even itself out eventually. Any recommendations?

    Thanks for a great book!

  23. Hey Tim et al.,

    I’m a Princeton alum and Fast Food Blogger (no joke!). I weighed the most I’d ever weighed after Christmas (193lbs) and decided to make some changes. Cutting back on booze in January helped me shed 3 pounds. I tried the Slow-Carb diet in February, and now I’m down to 180lbs. The poundage did melt away. I’m still going with Slow-Carb, so I’ll keep you guys updated.


    John M. Edwards

  24. Thanks for the cooking demo….I am into week 6 of the diet..and haven´t officially had a second measurement done (fat%, weighed, or measured) but will at the end of next week. I am very happy on the diet, am very creative with the spices and never feel hungry and I have nearly lost all need for sweets, will even force myself to have some dark chocolate or ice cream on my Saturday cheat day.

    Beginning last week, friends are telling me that I am changing..looking leaner. This is all I know so far…not quite ready to try on the skinny jeans tucked away on the floor of my closet.

    My 5 weeks were interesting because (this is something I want to share in case there are others like myself with similar issues)….I am a 48 year old woman (didn´t have kids), but my body began changing about 2 years ago….skin texture, abdomen fat, etc…now I am entering menopause..yikes!!! I have been on a period or premenstrual nearly the entire 5 weeks of the diet…so that´s why I am avoiding measuring…anyway….for the first time in 2 years I feel great, not bloated, but like I am getting my body (my self!) back…the visual results at this point are so real, 4 other friends have started the diet…

    I am also doing the PAGG (andI just bought a kettlebell!) I like the supplements but also I live in mexico and can´t get the picosanol here (so far) but had someone bring it to me……ONE PROBLEM, my husband wants to know if Tim lives alone in the forest with wolves…he has asked me to give up the garlic portion…can I take PAG???……I bought odorless garlic, but it seems to just weep out of all my pores…I can´t smell a thing..but my colleagues had to open the windows the other day! Yikes! And there will be no need to read the chapter on the 15 minute O…if I don´t give up the garlic..hmmmm, what to do?

    Thank you everyone…

  25. hi tim

    i’m starting the- loose 20 pounds of fat in 30 days diet,,,i wanted to know if i’m allowed to eat pawns and if i can continue the diet for more than 30 day?? i bought the book,,its great:)

  26. Hi Tim,

    Maybe a stupid question. I am ‘trying’ to get into the slow carb diet. There are of course plenty of excuses to do it on a relaxed basis, but mostly, I want to lose some pounds, but not 5 stone like some of your examples…

    I was wondering one thing about the setup of the diet. Is the purpose of not eating starch and cereal in bread, potatoes and such to change intake and not get certain carbs as explained. OR is the purpose of not eating specific types of carbs to change your metabolism a little bit so what you eat gets digested differently?

    I’ve read many of your blogposts relating to NOT eating dairy products, but in the book yogurt is mentioned for beneficial bacterias in the part about fermented foods. Butter (although clarifed) / ghee is mentioned as well, but both are dairy products (and white :-)). Are those simply there to be specific and as an explanation or is there a difference between certain dairy products?

    Thanks! (I hope you catch this comment)


  27. I started a blog about being on your diet complete with many many recipes.

    Come on Ferris, share the spotlight.

  28. Hi everyone!! I’ve been following Tim’s “Four hour body” for almost a month now (a month with be March 8th) and I HAVENT LOST A POUND!!!! HOWEVER i have dropped a total of 11 inches all over my body. I started a blog on the first day of starting the program and was wondering if someone could take a look at it to see if the foods im eating are becoming detrimental to my weight gain. Im literally sticking to the plan 100% and i love it and don’t want to stop!! but i’m concerned with the fact that i havent really lost any weight. the first week i lost 3 pounds but then it crept back on to where i started. Please help!! Thank you! 🙂

  29. My problem with slow carb is a social one. It’s so hard to turn down having dinner with friends and they almost always have a huge carb serving. How do I not look crazy turning it down when I’m already in good shape?

    1. I find the simplest way without any question doing a slow carb diet is to tell people you think you are allergic to gluten and are eliminating starches to see if that makes you feel any better, people don’t really question allergies

      1. FatchkchkBoom,

        great suggestion! It seems that as soon as you tell someone you are “dieting” they start bringing in brownies and waving them around while apologizing for tempting you. However, no one questions allergies. I am only on the second day of the second week, but I think following this plan has actually improved my digestion. I think I had a sensitivity to dairy andor some form of IBS. I am not having these issues for several days now so there may be something to it! BTW- 4 lbs down total, though it was 7.8 the first week. I think I had too much fun on my cheat day!

  30. I’m not sure where to post this so I will start here. I would like to find a 4-Hour Body coach. I am very interested in getting unstuck and need some help. I’m 44 years old and have a lot going on my life – ill family member, stressful job with odd hours (crisis intervention), a fair amount of travel, and mid-life crisis junk – and at this time I am having trouble sorting through the book and making decisions about what to do first and what to eat. My discipline and concentration levels are pitiful at this point and I just want someone to get me on the path and help keep me there until I am in better shape physically and emotionally. I am only a few pounds overweight, generally healthy, and have been in great shape in the past. I’d like to find someone who has the brains to tailor Tim’s work for me; someone who will stick to the 4HR plan and not try to sell me other products/services. I am willing to pay, but can’t fork over big bucks. If there is a better spot to post this, someone let me know.

  31. Hi Annie, you don’t need to pay anyone for this, you can do this yourself very easily with a little bit of planning. I am one week in and 3 kilos lighter. I am not trying to lose weight, just firm up a bit. I am no expert or coach but I can tell what has worked for me:

    Breakfast (8:30am): 2 eggs (fried, scrambled or boiled) with a big handful of washed spinach, fried bacon or cold ham and half a can of organic 4 bean mix – rinsed and served cold. Spiced with Sambal (spicy chilli sauce with no sugar – you could use sugar free Salsa – just avoid artificial sweeteners)

    Within the next 4 hours, and that’s important:

    Lunch (12:30pm): Big serve of tuna and 4 bean mix salad on spinach leaves OR lentil and veg soup – eat slowly and chew each mouthful at least 20 times. Don’t rush the eating process.

    Within the next 4 hours, and that’s important:

    Afternoon meal (4pm): Smaller version of lunch.

    Within the next 4 hours, and that’s important:

    Dinner (7pm): 200 – 300gm of grain-fed beef/kangaroo/lamb or fish (make it good quality), steamed vegies (not corn) and half a can of beans (lentils, four bean mix, cannelini, kidney – served hot or cold).

    Depending on how your day pans out you might only have three meals but I found it really important to eat every four hours otherwise I get hungry and I’m tempted to snack.

    I drink coffee (I allow myself one soy latte every morning because coming off sugar altogether gave me a ripper headache during the first two days, black the rest of the day), black tea (I sweeten tea and coffee with a teeny-tiny bit of Stevia powder – yum), as much water as I can and if I am desperate I snack on one handful (1 handful – no more) of unsalted mixed nuts or just almonds and maybe a carrot.

    No beer, (red wine x 2 glasses only), no bread, no pasta, no rice, no cereals, no potato, no sweets, no fruit (or fruit juice). I have started cooking with macadamia oil instead of olive oil.

    Couple of tips to help you stay on top: boil a dozen eggs on Sunday night and you have breakfast sorted for the week. Rinse a few cans of beans and put them in tupperware containers in the fridge along with a few cans of tuna in separate containers. It’s much easier and therefore DO-ABLE if you just grab stuff from the fridge and chuck it in a bowl or a take away container.

    If you can’t manage anything else just try this: Cut out all cereals, rice and bread, substitute potato for sweet potato and just make sure you eat a couple of eggs for breakfast with some beans and EAT EVERY FOUR HOURS you are awake. And don’t drink beer.

    You can do it Annie! It’s only for six days. Then take a day off and go nuts!

    Good luck.

    1. Troy, you are an angel! Thank you so very much. I have printed your post and away I go. I really needed this. Thanks again.

      1. Okay – 2 weeks down and I have lost about 1.5kgs in total (I put 1kg back on my first binge day) and my inches have not changed. However, the good thing is I have broken a life long addiction to sugar (no sugar in my coffee anymore) and I am not drinking two beers every night like I used to. Red wine instead. My only exceptions is that I still have soy milk in my coffee (two a day max).

        I feel great and considering I started at 79kgs I didn’t expect to lose a lot anyway, just turn fat into muscle. It’s very difficult and expensive to get BMI tests in Melbourne so I’ll have to rely on the before and after photos telling the story. At the end of these four weeks I hope to be in a great place to start toning and building lean muscle.

  32. Just a suggestion for those on a budget: buy a whole chicken and break it down yourself. It’s really not as hard as you think (we didn’t have a lot of money growing up & I learned this watching The Frugal Gourmet on PBS in the 4th Grade and it has stuck with me all these years). By doing this, you’ll invariably yield more meals for approximately the same amount you would by purchasing pre-fabricated chicken parts (i.e. chicken breasts, thighs, etc). This also allows you to purchase range free chicken (if that’s your preference) for approximately the same cost you would have spent on pre-fabricated chicken. You don’t need to sacrifice quality because you are on a budget. Just my two cents! LOL 🙂

  33. Annie – good on you. Stay in touch and we’ll compare our progress.

    My total inches have not changed after week one and I think I put a kilo back on during my day off, but I’m back on it now and into week two. I’ll keep you updated.

  34. Hello all!!

    So I just started the 4 hour body challange last Tuesday 3/1, weighing in at 186 and im now down to 181 this morning Monday 3/7! So thats almost 6 lbs in one week, gotta hand it to Tim he REALLY nailed it! It has been great so far! I am an early bird so waking up and eating right away has never been a problem for me!

    I had my binge day Saturday and to be honest was looking forward to going back to eating right on Sunday I just felt like hell lol! I did have a question though, on your binge day with the “grapefruit” trick if you will, do you drink grapfruit juice JUST before you start your binge day or after? I havnt been working out nor have I tried any of the cold packs just sticking to what Tims says and its been great!

    ALSO.. he says its okay to drink diet has anyone else had any weight problem with drinking diet? I am affraid of consuming too much sodium.

    I would love to get some feed back from anyone who has completed this challange or is still doing it now to this day and get any tips I may need for the future!! Good luck everyone!!!!

    * Troy you post was most helpful to me as well!! I thank you!!!!

  35. I am really enjoying my slow carb diet but I’ve noticed my acid reflux has come back into my life after not having any symptoms for years.

    I did some research and found beans have a high acidity level. I’m thinking my reflux may be attributed to the large quantity of beans I’m consuming (kidney, black and mostly lentils).

    Any suggestions (aside from popping acid meds) to relieve my pain? I’m thinking I may have to can the diet plan to rid of my reflux. 🙁

    Thanks in advance.

  36. One question, what kind of diet do you suggest for someone who is vegetarian? I live at home, and my parents won’t let me bring meat into the house, so i have a tough time figuring out what to eat. I can eat eggs at home though. That’s about it meats wise. Thanks a lot for any help you guys can give, and sorry if this seems misplaced, I didn’t know where else to ask this question.

  37. One thing that is bothering me to the Nth degree is a question about “white carbs” I have actually been into a variation of whole slow-carb diet for quite a while (haven’t been following it due to several reasons… none of which are worth repeating )… I like the 4HB’s rules very much but I’m getting stuck on – well, as I said those dang “white carbs” (cue woo-woo music) – but then maybe I’m just getting bogged down in the details. So here’s my q:

    Do onions, parsnips, and squash belong on the no-no list or the ok list? Actually, I’m not overly interested in parsnips because they aren’t a fave of mine but if I can find ’em cheap can I eat ’em?

    So ya, any help would be majorly appreciated!



  38. I was wondering if a few things were ok to have:




    Also, I was wondering if there was a BBQ sauce on the shelves that I can eat?

    Thank-you 🙂

  39. Hey Tim / Charlie,

    I have been on the slow carb diet for 5 weeks now. I lost 5 pounds the 1st week! Since then, nothing….as far as inches, only 1 1/2 inches lost overall. I cant understand the dead halt.

    I eat within an hour of waking, have veggies (spinach, peppers, cucumbers, onions, lettuce, tomatos, avocados or celery) at every meal with 1/2 can of beans and either a grilled or baked chicken cutlet, pork chop, or beef. The only thing I stray with is have 1 cup of cottage cheese instead of eggs (with beans and veggies) for breakfast as I am allergic to eggs. Sometimes I make a big salad with grilled meat and a side of 1/2 can of beans.

    I have been doing the mon/wed/fri exercises listed (kettle bell, flying dog and hip raiser)…I also do a brisk walk of aprox 2-3miles on a treadmill on tuesdays and thursdays. I drink a ton water, some seltzer and Yerbe Matte tea (on cheat days.)

    On my cheat day I eat all the donuts, pretzels and ice cream my little heart desires but actually find myself craving fruit and loading up on bananas and berries. I am trying to get pregnant so I dont take any of the drugs or supplements.

    I need to lose about 40 pounds and was really psyched when the 1st 5 came off so easily…Any ideas how to get back to my first weeks success?

    Thanks for any suggestions!

    1. Laura,

      Did you get a reply? I am female, over 40 and losing very slowly and wondered if they gave any helpful info to you.

      Thank you

  40. Tim!

    I have been on the 4-hour body for approximately 4 weeks now and I’ve only lost 5 pounds, whereas my boss has lost 15! I am so frustrated – but not ready to give up. I have added a protein shake (muscle milk light) with every meal and I eat 30-minutes from waking up, but I still have come to a halt. I used to think it was because I was adding salt, but now reading Jules’s post, I know that’s not the case. Please tell me what I’m doing wrong, I still have 24 pounds to lose!!!!!!!!!!

  41. hey its me again,,,,i also wanted to know if there are any forbidden vegetables other than potatoes,,,,,and i love tomatoes,,can i still have those?


    I’d like some feedback on these. They use besan flour (ground chickpeas, widely available here in the UK, but maybe channa dal in the US? It isn’t chickpeas as WE know chickpeas, it’s more like a split pea) and cook up nicely. I would enforce my own limit on them of max. once a week, like I do with butternut squash, but I have seen that it has one of the lowest indexes (8) on the glycemic index (as a comparison glucose = 100).

    I know from the book that it isn’t about carb or not carb only, and the insulin response/glycemic load is important, but I am out of my depth here 🙂

    I’d add a photo because they do look lovely, but not sure I can 🙂

    Any feedback would be appreciated

  43. Tim,

    On the cheat days (Saturdays) I go all out. As stated in the book, I gain about 5-10 pounds of weight after one cheat day. This seems to disappear within 2 days or so..but, it seems I’m not having any progress losing weight. Now, I’ve lost about 5 pounds so far, but, no progress since. It seems that I’m working out to lose my cheat day weight and back to the same ole’ 184 pounds. Any advice?

    1. HI JB…

      When I was reading about Tim´s cheat day…I thought it sounded like a binge day..eating anything you want but also till you´re stuffed. I never like to eat that much…so I am taking it like a cheat day…eating anything I want but not hurting myself…it´s still a pretty healthy day quantity-wise…but with added carbs like sushi or pasta…and maybe sugars, like ice cream or a pastry…I am really satisfied at the end of the day and only have gained some ounces which are gone in a day.

      I am on the diet 7 weeks now..have lost 2% fat (from 21% to 19%…1.5 kilos and tons of centimeters!….) am so happy because I feel good on top of it all!

  44. I read somewhere that you are supposed to excersise shortly after you eat on your cheat day. Something about squats and making your muscles do the work. Is this true and necessary? Will I gain a bunch of weight if I don’t excersise?

  45. I love the book and I think Tim is awesome, however, the book leaves a lot of questions. I have four:

    1) Is Mayonaise okay? Can I eat Tuna Salad or Egg salad? I assume not, but I’m curious.

    2) Tim writes that even two tablespoons of milk is no good (and we should use cream in our coffee instead) and quotes people who stopped having cheese with their eggs and then started losing weight, but then he writes that a protein shake with 24 ounces of milk will help us lose weight. wtf?

    3) I would think Quinoa would be great on the diet as it is NOT a grain and is full of protein, but Tim writes that he only eats Quinoa or brown rice immediately after a workout. Why would Quinoa be the same as brown rice?

    4) I bought some Almond butter and when I read the label and compared it to peanut butter, the almond butter is higher in fat and carbs and lower in Protein, why not just stick with the peanut butter?

    Please help. I started the diet last week and lost 5 pounds already (probably just water (I am taking the PAGG stack and urinating what feels like every twenty seconds) but these answers would help me a lot.

    1. Hi Michael…

      The details can make us nuts..I remember Tim saying in the book that ultimately we must experiment with ourselves…he also said somewhere (Tim, we need a clear blog site that has all of your comments together for when you have the time to chat) that if you have to ask, Don´t eat it. Well…that´s clear. But if you can´t give up a bit of mayo in your tuna (like me)..add it and see what happens…subtract it, if you think it may be key for you….skip the carbs (grains, whatever!) until your cheat day. Eat peanut butter if you like it better than almond butter…etc…

      I am following the directions almost to the note…less a couple of things..a tiny bit of milk in my coffee in the mornings at home to take the edge off it (cream when I go to Starbucks)…the PAGG without the G=garlic (my husband will divorce me)…and after 6 weeks I did lose 2% fat, gained a percent in muscle, lost 1.5 kilos and lots of centimeters! I am happy with this so far and plus, I have felt great every second of each day…how´s that for dieting!!

    2. To Michael.

      I make my own mayo. I found recipe on the internet. It is only oil, egg yolks, vinegar and mustard, all ingredients that are allowed. I make my own cole slaw with my mayo and balsamic vinegar. Very yummy! It also makes a great tuna salad.

    3. You can make your own mayonaise with the ingredients on the good list.

      The point Tim makes to all of this feedback is he presents his findings and ideas in his book, its down to you to investigate and see what works for you. Its no silver bullet and it does have contradictions here and there, but pulling out all of the useful information leaves me at least with plenty to work from.

      A great next step for Tim would be a Youtube channel dedicated to the 4HB. Its the future Tim, embrace your followers 🙂

  46. Loving this eating plan!!

    Just wondering on two questios:

    1: whether grape fruit juice is okay to have throughout the day?

    2: I am hooked on this chilli paste I bought from Audi. It contains chilli,salt,vinegar,water and sugar. Is this out?

    1. I’m guessing you did not read the section regarding fruit juice. It’s very interesting actually and very clear: NO.

      Sugar? It definitely wasn’t on the list of foods to it; your call…

    2. Not throughout the day indeed. Tim drinks a little grapefruit juice on his cheat day, that is all. See The Lost Art of Bingeing on page 104.

      1. I took a look at the book again and it says tomatoes and avocados only and I’ve been eating grapefruits 🙁 live and learn!

  47. I noticed that soy sauce is allowed, but that has a bit of sugar in it. Is this okay? Or is it up to the individual about how anal we want to be..

    1. TO Melani,

      You can use organic tamari, which is wheat free and sugar free soy sauce. I found it at my local health food store.

  48. just one more thing…how many of you out there are doing the PRAGG/AGG thing?

    Does anyone have any results that would lead you to say the diet is way better if this is applied?

    1. I am doing the AGG and PAGG, but it has been 3 days only…no weight loss yet at all, I know it is to early to say so I will keep you allposted

      1. I’d say it’s too early to start seeing results — give it a month so your body can adjust to them.

  49. Just spent a good half hour with my head buried in The 4 Hour Body at the book store… then realized I was still at the book store, so I picked it up to bring home.

    I’m ready to get started with the slow-card diet, but I have one question: are bell peppers considered a veggie or a fruit? Technically, I believe they’re a fruit, but I often think of them as veggies. I LOVE bell peppers and could certainly eat those multiple times a day for weeks, but if they’re not an appropriate veggie to have with the slow-carb diet, I’d like to know up front so I don’t start off on the wrong foot. Protein and veggies – that’s where my sight is set. Thanks so much!

  50. I’m a bachelorette who cannot cook, and has tried to improvise using pre-cooked chicken sausage. One ingredient in the “flavoring” of the sausage is turbinado sugar, but there are ZERO carbs per each link. I acknowledge that the presence of the ingredient doesn’t sound right, but if it’s not actually of an amount of significance, is it still detrimental to the process?

  51. A slow carb question. Does a muscle milk shake fall into the category of ‘okay to be consumed within 1 hour after workouts’? I saw it’s protein rich, but it also had 14 grams of carbs. I wasn’t sure about the dairy component.



    1. Hi Dustin,

      I’m curious about the muscle milk, too. I read that the reason Tim allows for cream but not milk is because of the Lactose in milk that contributes to significant fat gain. Because Muscle milk is lactose free, i bought it for those mornings that i’m running out the door and don’t have time to make breakfast or when i’m about to work out or go rock climbing (my new favorite rec. activity) but it’s in between meal times and i need a little boost to keep me going. I’d say don’t make it a regular thing but it’s certainly a good source of protein… but mix with water, not milk!! good luck 🙂

  52. Can anybody tell me if it is OK to use Stevia in tea or other drinks? I know Tim says no to all sweeteners, but he does not mention Stevia in the chapter where he talks about them. Later in the book he says that he uses Stevia for sweetening dressings etc.

  53. Has anyone discussed the addition of the enzyme in Bean-o? Would that effect the benefits of eating beans? I have been on the diet for over 2 months and the digestive problems have been pretty bad.

    1. From 4HB:

      If all else fails, add some Beano (Bean-zyme for you vegans) or epazote (available at Mexican grocery stores or online) to the beans and you’re


  54. Bragg Liquid Aminos is a healthy alternative to Soy and Tamari sauce. No table salt or preservatives are added.

  55. I have been on the slow carb program for about 6 weeks now. Over the first four weeks I lost about 8 pounds, but over the past 2 weeks have not moved the scale. Any pointers or suggestions?

    I feel like I am sticking pretty closely to the prescribed diet and have tried to increase the amount of protein intake but have not shed any additional weight.

  56. Question about the slow-carb diet… where do postworkout drinks and supplements like Biotest Surge Recovery fall into this. I know it’s usually imperative to refuel quickly after a workout and liquid is the best way to do it but does this count as a “meal” or is it even allowed under the slow-carb principles?

  57. 2 months on the diet; ~15 lbs and many inches lost. More importantly, I feel GREAT on it. I spend more time plateaued than not (I’m 40 and female, so what do I expect, right?) but the other results are more than worth it.

    I have a question about pulses – that is, those “beans” we don’t eat much of in the west. Lentils are a pulse, but there are many others, mostly used in Indian and Pakistani cooking. Any reason why they would be disallowed in place of other beans?

    If they are allowed, I suggest trying plain urid dal (it’s the white insides of the matpe beans, and may be referred to as “white lentils” – whole matpe beans are sometimes called “black lentils”) as “pretend rice.” It has little flavor, looks like rice, and should be yummy with Indian-inspired dishes. Smells kinda bad while cooking, fyi.

  58. Does any one know if Quinoa can be used in the 4 hour diet? It’s not a grain and it falls under the same family as spinnach or beets. It is a complex carbohydrate. Any feedback would be amazing!

    1. Mike,

      From another blog of Tim’s at

      “Slow-Carb Clarifications

      I’m currently getting at least 500-1,000 questions a day via the blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc. about the slow-carb diet. Let me clarify a few things:

      Do not eat the following, except for cheat days:


      Sweet potatoes


      Dairy (this includes cheese and yogurt of all kinds)”

  59. In the book, Tim recommends at least 30 grams of protein at breakfast. If I’m missing breakfast 2-3 times a week, completely, is it common to not notice much loss in body fat percentage? I’m only on week 2, but in week 1 I lost 3.5 pounds. Had my cheat day and didn’t get back to my pre-cheat weight until Thursday. However, I missed breakfast Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. I just want to know how the missing meals is related to my slow return to my pre-cheat weight. Or if they’re connected at all.


  60. Slow carb question:

    How do we feel about using ingredients like Garbanzo bean flour and Fava bean flour to make gluten-free substances that mildly resemble carbs?

    Are these considered “white” foods or is it ok to include them in the diet?

    thanks a bunch.


  61. Hi all, I have been on this diet for almost 3 months now, with little success. Not because the diet doesn’t work, but most likely because I didn’t manage to adjust it to my vegan lifestyle. I don’t consider I have wasted my time, but there are some things that I need to fix.

    1. I don’t get enough protein if I don’t add excessive amounts of tofu. I like tofu, but I think my body doesn’t like it as much as I do. Also I think it’s a food that in this diet is kind of “forbidden”, so then I am cheating every day big time 🙁

    2. An alternative is eating huge amounts of beans, and definitely that it’s not good for me either. Let’s put it simple: I have so much gas that I could fly 😉

    3. I have managed to find comfort food, and I abuse of it. I prepare a chocolate tofu pudding I took from the vegetarian south beach diet, and I just cannot stop till I finish the whole thing!

    4. I snack a lot, and specially nuts. I’m going nuts for nuts! Now I try to eat only 15 cashews, but I swear I could eat the whole bag. Or devour the whole PB jar.

    5. I don’t have enough energy in the gym from day 1. Definitely that is really bugging me. Now I cannot even run for 5 min without panting. I don’t like the idea that I am probably loosing shape on this diet. I used to go 5 times a week and now I go only 3, and hardly.

    So I am trying to get back on track, but it’s not going to be easy. I have acquired some bad habits that it would be difficult to get rid off. I also struggle with adjusting the diet to a vegan diet, but I haven’t lost hope yet.

    Good luck everybody!

  62. I’ve been on the diet for 3 weeks now. The first week I lost 5 pounds. Then I gained it all back on cheat day. By the end of the second week, I lost the 5 pounds again, nothing more. Second cheat day, gained 3 pounds back. So far this week I’ve only lost the same 3 pounds again. I’d love to know what I’m doing wrong!

    The only variation I’ve made is instead of wine at night, one or two nights I’ll have ONE drink with vodka and soda water. Could that really cause the lack of weight loss?

  63. Tim,

    still not clear about lactose. What about lactofree milk?

    should one leave it exclusively for binge days

    or its ok to use it every now and then?

    Also, what is the effect of almond butter on liver?

    Is it ok to cook everything on ghee all the time?

    Looking forward to your comments and thank you so much in advance!

    super happy with your book, what a tremendous input!

    fat burns fast 🙂

    thank you so much!


  64. Began reading the book on Saturday, April 2nd, and started trying to put things into action today. One question that I can’t find an answer to: Why are oatmeal/granola bar forbidden?

    Main reason I ask, I began exercising last August in earnest, and firmed things up a bit, but I haven’t seen much fat loss. I started at 185 with little muscle and at the beginning of March I was still 185, but with a bit more strength. In the past month, I began eating oatmeal for breakfast at 5:30am with a granola bar snack at 9:30 and 2:30 and usually chopped spinach, bacon and feta on onion flatbread or naan for dinner around 6:30 and then nothing for the rest of the day.

    And out of nowhere lost 10lbs.

    Was it just the regular meals I was eating that caused the drop? Previously, I didn’t have a set eating schedule, I would grab what I could when I could, but never fast food and usually low-fat whatever it was. (I could keep up with that at least)

    1. @ThomP

      “Slow Carb” works by keeping insulin levels low. It avoids foods more likely to be stored as fat, and allows enough calories to keep metabolism high. I’m not sure why you’re asking about a diet that has nothing to do with SC, but I’ll be happy to comment.

      Oatmeal and especially granola bars are forbidden on SC because they’re grains. Whole oats aren’t as bad because the soluble fiber slows the impact of the carbs, but few people eat them plain, most throw high-sugar items on them like raisins, brown sugar, etc. Further, eating grains at breakfast makes it less likely that people eat a good protein. So, to keep things simple, SC limits all grains, and oats are a grain. Granola bars, especially store-bought, are crap. Sorry to be blunt, but if you read the ingredients and note the carb and sugar grams, you’ll see that all of them have a ton of sugar in proportion to any “nutrition” and will spike your insulin levels. If you *must* eat a bar for convenience, check out the low-carb protein bars usually sold in places like GNC.

      As for your daily diet, that doesn’t sound like a lot of food for someone weighing 185. If you’ve got 1200 calories there, I’d be surprised. (Use something like FitDay or SparkPeople to track actual calories.) There was no magic here, you lost the weight because your calories are low. If that’s working for you, go for it. But I find that over time my metabolism slows and weight loss ceases.

      It also sounds like what you’re doing is “Intermittent Fasting”. If you google that term, you’ll find references to different strategies of limited time fasting (14-16 hours a day or even every other day without food.) There is some research to back up that way of eating and resources on doing it right if you find that works for you.

      Lastly, if you aren’t doing SC, then this probably isn’t the best place to get information for your diet. SparkPeople has forums with all types of diet plans that people follow. If what you’re doing is working, it might be better to find a tribe of like-minded people and compare notes. Otherwise, try SC as he wrote it, see how it works for you, and come back and report results/questions. Good luck!

      1. Huh. One of the things I miss most is my old mid-morning snack of 1/4 cup of dry steel-cut oats. No sugar, not even cooked. People think I’m crazy for eating them, but I love them.

      2. @Aldonza

        Thanks, the reason I brought the non slow carb bit was just as prior experience and a bit of explanation for the question. What I was eating was a conscious “diet” in the “I’m eating this too loose weight/gain muscle/etc” sense. It was just a plan to keep me eating as, for years, I never ate a real breakfast or lunch while at work, I just grazed on what was available in the office and then ate a huge dinner. That was just a bit of a plan to be less hectic.

        As I said, I just started reading the book on Saturday, so there hasn’t been much research time for me. I’m the kind of nerd that needs a solid wall of information and instructions outlining the yes and no columns and reasons for both.

        As for what Tim wrote in the book about Mexican food being pretty conducive to the Slow Carb diet, I’ve been a bit confused. Maybe it’s a lack of variety or experience on my end, but my understanding of Mexican food is a lot of meat in/with corn flour tortillas, rice and some veg. He mentions replacing the rice, but no mention of tortillas. Aren’t they considered white carbs or are they cool?

  65. I find it hard to eat 4 meals a day. Is it necessary to eat 4 meals a day to loose weight, if I stick with the other meals?

  66. Just tried the Beef & broccoli stir-fry with beans today. Used pinto beans and Adobo seasoning with some pepper added at the end. Very tasty and will continue experimenting.

  67. Hi Tim & Charlie-

    I dont like eating much first thing am and i also struggle to eat enough meat on the diet. I know you mentioned protein shakes helped your dad — but then i also read that any dairy based products were potentially problematic so I’m confused?? I went searching amazon for a high protein drink that has no sugar and I found the product Zoic at but it has proteins from dairy/milk. Can i still use this without worry?

    on the box the number one ingredient is purified water but it also says the protein comes from “milk protein concentrate, whey protein concentrate, and soy protein isolate. Below is the product info I copied and pasted, and also the link to the product on amazon…please let me know — i dont want to be following the diet for weeks only to find out that this was a mistake (!). It seems all products like this have protein from dairy. I wrote to the company that makes it and they said it was good for low carb dieting but didnt have any info on using it with the 4-Hour Body diet. Thanks.

    Nutritionals Per 11 FL OZ (325 mL): Calories 100 (Calories From Fat 5), Total Fat 0.5 g (Saturated Fat 0 g, Trans Fat 0 g), Cholesterol 10 mg, Sodium 160 mg, Potassium 170 mg, Total Carbohydrate 9 g (Dietary Fiber 5 g, Sugars 1 g), Protein 15 g, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B9, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B7, Vitamin B5, Phosphorus, Iodine, Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium, Copper, Manganese, Chromium, Molybdenum


  68. Hi, can anyone help with constipation?! We’ve been following the book, eating loads of vegies etc… the only thing that seems to help is a smoothie on cheat day 🙂

    Any suggestions gratefully received.


    1. Try taking psyllium husk capsules twice a day. And try adding more fresh vegies. I am eating more lettuce and cabbage. It has helped some but certainly not ideal yet. Does anyone else have any other ideas to help us?

  69. Hi, I’m starting the diet on Monday and am excited to get started. I’m 54, so I’m not sure I can see the same results that everyone else saw, but I’m committed to following Tim’s guidelines to a T, so I’ll be the old guinea pig! Here’s my question – after years of dieting, I’m really used to eating several times a day – I take a meal and eat half of it, then eat the other half about an hour and a half later. Would this practice mess up the diet?? Thanks!

  70. Tim,

    Where does popcorn fall in this slow-carb diet? I live in Senegal, West Africa, and have VERY limited access to good snacking foods. Help!


  71. Jules, this is phenomenal! I have been in love with the slow carb movement since I read Tim’s first blog about it and it’s awesome to see some creative recipes! The first time I tried the diet plan I lost about 20 lbs and it started quickly. I am a 26 year old female at 5’8″ and when I started I was about 165 (size 10). I tried to workout as often as I could (job and schedule permitting) but I still only maintained lifting twice a week and cardio twice per week, at best. Very quickly, however, I noticed that I was losing the cellulite on the tops of my thighs. Now, I don’t have any – aside from some on my tush but I’m down to a size 6 🙂 I have been off of the diet for a few months and have actually kept the weight off, still eating healthy here and there but I definitely had my bad weeks too. I also haven’t noticed any muscle loss or fat gain, I still kept my average gym regimen here and there. I am back on the diet again starting this week because I saw such phenomenal results the first time (and I really do need to get that last bit off my tush;)

    My daily meal plan is as follows;

    Breakfast: 1 or 2 eggs (whites, no yolk) with half of a large avocado and a double Espresso with 1/2 cup of nf milk

    Morning snack: handful of raw almonds

    Lunch: chicken breast (that I cook the night before on my little George Forman grill) and sauteed cauliflower with hummus

    Afternoon snack: half of a zucchini sauteed

    Dinner: grilled chicken breast with homemade hummus and sauteed vegetables. Sometimes I will add a fresh salad to this with olive oil and vinegar.

    My homemade hummus is incredible! I use an entire can of garbanzo beans, two tablespoons of olive oil, three cloves of garlic, roasted red bell pepper (bought jarred from the store), a little salt and a pinch of Worcestershire sauce. I also drink a little over half of my body weight in ounces of water (70 oz) throughout the day and have the occasional glass of red wine in the evening. So far, I’ve lost about three lbs this week and am looking forward to seeing the results of my committed second round. Thanks for the great recipes – keep them up because I am really looking forward to trying these.



  72. Hey Tim, I am excited to say I’m finally giving the Slow Carb Diet a shot. Really excited to see the results. I’m 24 204lb, 5’10” and about 24% body fat. I read the book in December and wanted to go for it, but my wife didn’t and she was like heck no we’re not eating just beans and meat. She’s blessed with a super metabolism or something because she eats the same food and volume that I do but is 5’7″ and 112lbs. Anyways, she’s pregnant now so I’m getting her craving food and cooking my own slow carb meals now. I’ll send you some rad before and after pictures.

  73. Hi – Just checking back in – no one answered my question about splitting meals in half and eating every couple of hours, so I just tried it on my own to see what would happen. Fabulous results – a loss of 4.4 pounds in one week, after a fairly radical cheat day (4 beers, 4 slices of pizza for dinner – Heaven!!!). Anyway, a menopausal 54-year old woman is loving this diet! So Ladies, have no fear, even if you’re a little bit older – this diet CAN work for you! Follow the book to a T and don’t cheat.

  74. Ugh… I wish I knew what was wrong with me here!! I am a 43 yr old Female, I’ve always been 92 lbs,(until the last 3 yrs) I’m 5′ ..I am on a lot of strong narcotics, due to several back surgeries (6 yrs of them) 3 yrs ago I was on a new medication, I basically vomited almost every day, and when I stopped taking it,I blew up by 40lbs, (yea drastic) also I was drinking a caffinated diet soda, and switched to non-caffiene diet soda, (thinking it may have something to do with the weight?? idk) so 3 yrs later,I’ve bought the 4HB book,doing the low carb diet ,going in to wk 3, I’ve lost only 3lbs,SO FRUSTRATED!! I can’t do much excersise, but walk as much as I can (weather permitting) my cheat days I only gained up to 2lbs, & dropped it by 2nd or 3rd day back,I’ve added a protien shake in the morning,and cut out lunch (too much food for me to consume..I’m not a big eater)I eat more now,than I ever have,but the right stuff…I drink a ton of water all day, and most meds are taken at bedtime, and I’ve also added Potassium,Calcium,Magnesium vitamins …PLEASE HELP !!!

  75. Well, I don’t really *like* this slow-carb diet, but it works fine – I’ve lost 8 pounds in 2 weeks. I like Ms Jules ideas about cooking – these little tricks with spices are what keeps me going.

    One of my go-to favorites is red beans and sausage. Take 2 cans of light red kidney beans, rinse, rinse, rinse, then drop them into a blender with a cup of chicken broth and pulse them until most of the beans are broken up and you’ve got plenty of paste. Dump that into a bowl, add 1/2 chopped onion, 1/2 chopped bell pepper, a large celery stalk chopped, stir then add spices. You can use cajun seasoning – Chef Paul Prudhomme Seafood Magic is dreamy and not salty – or you can start adding your own ideas. You can’t go wrong except don’t use soy sauce, ugh. Basil, thyme, salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder – go for it!

    Then I cook off a pound of chopped smoked sausage – Hillshire Farms Smoked is OK even if too turkeyish. Throw it into a hot skillet so you get a little burn on the outside, maybe add a little oil to the pan. Drain and add to the beans, then slide the bowl into the frig so you can scoop out a small bowlful anytime you have to eat. Its a feel-good dish and effective.

    Good luck and be strong!

  76. Tim.

    Loving 4HB.

    There are a world of options out there for people to get creative delicious delivery of the SCD (read: recipes) – i know YOU know this…. scrolling through blog comments and trolling for recipes written in a variety of formats, styles and voices doesn’t seem very efficient. I have some ideas, especially for some interesting ways to deliver the content. hit me back if you want to chat.

    Thanks for what you do.


  77. Tim, Thanks for the work you’ve put into this.

    I see you’ve got some tips on how to keep on the 4 hour,

    but I was wondering if there’s some recommendations you can

    make other than broccoli, cauliflower, spinach or other cruciferous veggies.

    the reason I ask this is because the foods of this diet are known to

    make ejaculate taste more unpleasant.

    especially without fruits in the diet to help compensate for a diet

    rich in fish, meat and these plants.

    in other words, is it possible to maintain the 4 hour diet without negative

    effects on ejaculate flavour/scent?

    1. @ Maven;

      I assume you are referring to pineapple and orange which are both well known flavour boosters. Fear not, there are others, but I can’t say how they compare. This is an experiment worth running!

      That being said, try adding parsley or wheatgrass to your diet.

      Cinnamon is very much worth a try and no great hardship to add to food. Personally, I’d go with any of the pumpkin pie spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg & cardamom. I hope this helps in some way.

      I’ve never had an issue with “bad” tasting ejaculate, but I have a man who doesn’t eat junk food. Perhaps there’s something to that.

  78. I have been on the slow carb diet for a couple of weeks now. I am not a huge fan of beans but I do like chickpeas. Can I eat them? They also have tastybites chickpeas which come in a pack.

    Can i continue to eat these?

    Thank You

    1. @Jon – Chickpeas are listed on page 98 as one of the “Domino Foods” that can easily lead to oversnacking.

      That said, the reason hummus gets such high praise in the dietary world is because it is complete vegan protein source. The combination of chickpeas and tahini, the two bulk ingredients in hummus, supply all of the amino acids needed by the human body.

      Don’t believe me? Listen to Alton Brown: (jump to 8:00 for the nutritional bits, along with a delicious salad recipe)

  79. HI – someone asked earlier about TURKEY….can it be incorporated in the diet and if not – why??? I’ve been using turkey bacon and thought it would be ok…..

    Also – if I follow ALL the rules but still have a reg. latte with milk in it in the AM – is that drastically going to curb the weight loss?????

    THANKS –

    Please answer regarding the Turkey!!!!

  80. Tim – love your blog and your book! However, I’m trying to bulk up, and am confused by a recipe that you have listed in “Occam’s Protocol I” where you list one of the ingredients as “orange-flavored cancer powder”. What exactly is that?