|Soup that fulfills the criteria, even though halibut is white|
The 4-Hour Body – A New Year inspiration for friends and fellow bloggers
Last summer (2010) my mate read the 4-Hour Body: an uncommon guide to rapid fat-loss, incredible sex and becoming super human. He wanted me to help him eat his way to weight loss. I was keen, as I was getting a little chunky myself and it sounded like a fun way to give myself a cooking challenge…you know, set up some perimeters, like iron chef or something.
As he described Timothy Ferriss’s food plan I thought …hmm, sounds a lot like how I like to cook and eat anyway. But, there is no pasta in this plan, no bread (what kind of underground baker am I?), no…and this is pure blasphemy in my books, NO CAFÉ LAIT.
But! There is red wine and cream is allowed in my coffee, so after the initial shock of becoming lait-less, we began the new eating program in the fall. Oh yea, there is also one free day a week were you are supposed to eat whatever you want – yes ,WHATEVER you want! I love this. So pick a day, and on those days that you think you will die without chocolate, or a croissant, or a lait, write it down on a notepad on the fridge. Then on your chosen day, be ready to eat all of it. You will likely find that like us, we eventually chilled on the list, only needing to eat one or two things rather than the works. But it doesn’t seem to matter, eat what you will on your free day, and be sure there is some fat in it. This focused weekly fat consumption prevents your body from going into panic and deciding it has to steal energy from your muscles to make fat because you have taken away most fat sources during the rest of the week.
No surprise to Ferriss, results were pretty darn fast. And that is why I am posting about it. Many friends are interested in eating this way, but not confident omitting certain things from their usual fare while increasing beans/legumes.
What you are trying to do is avoid foods that can be converted into sugar and thereby fat. And hey, I am no scientist, dietician or doctor – this is just how I understand Ferriss’s ideas. But if you look at a food, think about how your body is going to convert it. Is it high in sugar? Can it be converted into sugar easily? Is it high fat? If you say yes to these things then avoid it. Of course there are exceptions. If it is fatty but very nutritious, such as an avocado, then you can eat it. In fact, Ferriss recommends eating one avocado a day. I essentially eat most vegetables unless they are super starchy, like a potato.
The general rule is no white food (including soy beans and products, but cauliflower is fine), no processed food (no chips, no pop), no sweets (no exceptions, no honey, no maple syrup), no dairy other than cream in coffee (no milk) and perhaps a little butter in cooking, no fruit. Avoid all wheat, flours of any sort, grains (no rice), all starches in any form (quinoa is a starch, even though it is high in protein). You will be eating a lot of vegetables (a salad at every meal is ideal), a normal to slight increase in protein (depending on what your consumption is already), and increase (but not huge) of legume consumption. Also, you will be eating three meals a day, so get ready those of you who don’t eat in the morning (that would be me).
A few notes on how I menu plan. I usually pick one day as a soup day, which usually follows a roast chicken day (so I can use the bones to make stock). The roast chicken meal usually consists of two chickens for our family of four, so I can use the leftover chicken in lunches, the soup and if there is still some left, into another meal. To start this menu, you might want to map out your week like this.
Breakfast suggestions: (these don’t need to be big portions, one egg is fine, some days I can’t handle an egg so I just toss together spinach with other vegetables and some white beans that have been dressed with a vinaigrette – more on that later)
- Easy over egg, turkey sausage, white beans and sautéed spinach
- Sautéed kale with crumbled chorizo sausage, green lentils and a poached egg (this tastes fantastic!)
- Sauteed red pepper, zucchini, mushrooms, garlic, green onions served with a scrambled egg, or used to make an omelette
- Refried beans, little ham, sunnyside egg, garnished with salsa, hot sauce and advocado
- A vegie bean medley for one or two mornings
Remember, you only need to be prepped for six days.
I make lunches with dinner leftovers, always serving the main meat over a tossed salad that includes legumes. That’s it – just cook extra dinners, and have good, sturdy containers for transporting food. We like the glass containers with a four sided snapping closure system. Haven’t had a leak yet, and the glass is nice to heat up in a microwave and eat out of.
- Sunday – roast chicken, mashed yams, broccoli and a big salad.
- Monday – hearty chicken soup with Andouille sausage, white beans and cabbage.
- Tuesday – taco salad, made with a chili made up of ground beef, onions, garlic, chili powder and paste, chilies (chipotle is nice), pinch cinnamon, little chunk of bittersweet chocolate, tomato sauce (homemade ideally, more on this later). For the kids I always have soft shell tacos that I steam up in the microwave. Sometimes G and I cheat and eat them too as I haven’t figured out if they are totally taboo yet.
- Wednesday – halibut, green beans, salad with legumes tossed in. For the kids I might cook up some noodles here, Asian style, to have with the fish as they are pretty much done for the week without their pasta fix!
- Thursday – this morning I will have had vegies without eggs…then I can make a frittata for dinner with spinach, asparagus, onions and garlic and a salad on the side. I will have made a separate one for the kids with cheese in it.
- Friday – One more day to go till its “eat everything day”. A hearty seafood soup with mussels, halibut, salmon, clams and prawns, with onions, garlic, carrot julienne, finely sliced red pepper, finely sliced fennel, a shy cup of tomato sauce, and chicken stock. For the kids you can cook up some noodles to serve the soup over.
Tomorrow I will post some “how to prepare” bean recipes so that you can keep prepped, ready to use legumes on hand in the fridge. This makes breakfasts and salads super easy to prepare. I will also post our workhorse salad and salad dressing recipe. I make about ml of dressing a week in advance so that it is always ready at dinner.