I’ve had quite a few people asking me about starting the 4HB/Slow Carb diet or asking me about Paleo…but one of the things that I think turns people off is the idea that, no you cannot eat a Weight Watchers 3 point meal, or that “Healthy” Choice pasta dish. The 4HB and Paleo diets emphasize real foods, real meats, real vegetables, real snacks.
The only packaging I would say are allowed (except on cheat days) are the little bit of plastic surrounding your meats and frozen veggies or the bag your fresh fruits and veggies come in. Aside from that, you should not have any excess post-consumer waste to deal with!
What a lot of people take that to mean is: “whoa, that means I have to do a lot of cooking?” Well, yes, you have to cook – not sure if it entails “a lot” but cooking will be necessary.
If you’re a bachelor, or don’t enjoy cooking all that much, or just not sure what things will help you get going and stay on-board – following is a list of 5 things that will make your transition so easy you’ll probably name your children after me (okay, that’s a bit much…but this will be helpful!)
1. Crock-pot: You know what a crock pot is, also known as a slow cooker, it is one of the greatest inventions for the non-cooker and experimental cooker alike. Basically throw in a hunk of meat, some veggies, liquid and seasonings turn it on high (if you want it done within about 4 hours) or low (for finishing up to about 8 hours later) – come back and serve. Good size ones (5-6 qt) will make enough food that you make into serving size portions and freeze for the week. Your repeating meals done with hardly any work! I also like to use the crock-pot to make my beans. Way cheaper than canned, no chemicals, and produces a TON (seems like it) of legumes. Perfect for Slow Carb.
2. Chef’s Knife: No, you don’t need that $250 dollar, Wusthof, double-forged steel, excalibur model that Wolfgang Puck hocks…you need a basic $25 lightweight, stainless steel, chef’s knife. The one I use regularly is a kitchenaid version that my wife bought me for my birthday a few years back. I use it for EVERYTHING. I cut chunks of meat into smaller chunks of meat. I chop and dice veggies. I trim steaks. I’ve even opened a can with it (but I don’t recommend that…that is an easy way to lop off a finger AND ruin your nice knife at the same time)
3. George Foreman Grill: Full disclosure – I don’t own one of these anymore – but I used to. It works, and it works well. Perfect for throwing a small steak or some chicken breasts on it, set it and it lets you know when it is done. Bust out some of your beans you made earlier in the week with the crock-pot, reheat them and serve with a veggie and your meal is done in less than 10 minutes. My biggest complaint about the GF Grill is cleaning up is slightly a pain in the…
4. Assorted Frozen Vegetables: For some reason, people I’ve talked to get really worried about buying vegetables that aren’t potatoes. I realize it is hard to know for sure with some veggies how to choose them, when are they fresh or how best to prepare them. Here’s my easy answer: don’t worry about that. Buy bags of frozen veggies, they are frozen at the peak of freshness and all you have to do is pour some into a microwave safe bowl, add a tablespoon or so of water and nuke em for a few minutes. Season with salt (and I add a little butter) and you’re set. Buy all different kinds, try them and see which you like best. I really like the stir-fry blends, but I avoid the ones with water chestnuts. Generic brands seem to be just as good as name brand, and slightly less expensive. You can eventually move up as you learn more about the veggies you like and buy fresh – but unless you buy from a farmer’s market – the stuff you’re buying from Walmart or something like that was probably picked before full ripening and shipped across country to get to you…so ironically the frozen is “fresher”. The one thing I will not buy frozen is spinach…I only like to buy the packaged, “fresh” spinach. It tastes much better to me and easier to use (heat some olive oil or a pat of butter in a pan and wilt the spinach in it, done).
5. A decent cookbook: You aren’t going to be making any microwaved, pre-packaged meals on this diet, so you ought to start learning how to make some things and expand your palate while shrinking your waist. I really like How To Cook Everything by Mark Bittman – although not specifically Slow Carb it has sections on everything, including all cuts of meats and types of vegetables, best preparation methods, step-by-steps, and a handy guide to herbs and spices. The other one is Mark Sisson’s Primal BluePrint Quick and Easy Meals – there are tons of Paleo recipes, many are easy to prepare and easily converted into Slow Carb with the addition of a side of beans to go with it.
There you have it, 5 simple items you need to get started on your journey. Obviously I’ve included affiliate links in this post, but reality is you can pick up the first 4 items at your local big box outlet, or some of them can be had in garage sales, salvation army stores, etc… Though Amazon tends to have most items much cheaper than you will find in the stores.
If there are any items you think needs to be added – please let us know! Share with us in the comments!
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