Tag Archives: 4HB

Easy Meal: Fiesta Stew

Another delicious and cheap 4HB-compliant slow-carb meal with four ingredients or less. Cook it on Sunday and take it to work for lunch all week.

Fiesta Stew

* 1 to 1.5 lbs ground free range beef or venison
* 2 cans diced tomatoes including all juice
* 1 package Fiesta blend veggies 12 or 16 oz. (beans, carrots, peppers, onions, green beans, etc.)
* Chili Seasoning (I use one packet of either Sauers, a local favorite, or an organic mix. Watch the carb content. Check labels!)

Brown meat and drain.  Add to crockpot with the other ingredients and cook on low 4 hours. Because of the increased contents, this doesn’t come out as chili. Its milder and soupier. My teenager says “it’s to die for.”  Enjoy.

More Simple Lunch Ideas

For those of you doing the low carb thing (or some variant such as the 4HB slow carb diet, the paleo diet, etc.) here are a couple of lunch suggestions:

Try the Wholly Guacamole single serving packs.  They’re affordable, delish, and a nice balance of convenience and nutrition.  You get 6 for about $4.00.  Throw one in your lunch bag with some some snow pea pods and carrots.  A great alternative to ranch dressing or some other empty calorie dip.

Here’s another healthy main course you can make with 5 ingredients or less:

Broccoli Bacon Chicken Salad

3 cups diced free range chicken
3 cups thinly sliced broccoli
1/4 cup real bacon bits (not imitation!)
Olive oil mayo to desired consistency

Bake chicken at 375 for about an hour and fifteen minutes or until it reads 190 on your meat thermometer.  Allow to cool, skin, and dice.  Wash and slice broccoli very thin.  Combine with chicken, add olive oil mayo and bacon, and stir.

What’s a ‘Cheat Day?’

One day I’m talking about the struggles of buying local and eating healthy, ranting about GMO foods, and posting healthy recipes.  The next day I’m posting about my ridiculous junk food fests and posting pictures of potato chip bags.

Allow me to head off any accusations of food hypocrisy and/or schizophrenia.   I only eat junk food on Saturday “cheat days.”  What’s a cheat day?  It comes from Tim Ferriss’ book The Four Hour Body.  Under his slow-carb plan, you can eat whatever you want one day a week.  I like the idea for two primary reasons.

First, cheat day allows me to eat whatever my friends and family are eating one day per week.  If the guys are having nachos and beer, or the wife and kids want Chinese, I don’t have to the alien from Planet X.

Second, cheat day encourages me to be much more strict during the week.  Before I began allowing one cheat day per week, junky foods started creeping in everywhere.  Now, if a food item seems remotely junky, I put off eating it until Saturday.  You can only eat so much junk in one day.  In short, my net junk food consumption is lower with the addition of one cheat day per week.

In my opinion, cheat days are fun and beneficial to anyone trying to stick to a very rigid diet plan (mine is meat, eggs, veggies, and nuts only.)  If you’re having trouble sticking to a diet plan, you might find that giving yourself the safety valve of a weekly cheat day actually increases your overall long term success rate.

Cheat Day Lunch

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PBJ sandwich, chips, and chocolate milk. Breakfast was an egg and cheese sandwich, glass of milk, a jelly doughnut, and half a bagel with cream cheese. After workout there will be either loaded cheese fries or pizza, beer, and more snacks. Gotta love a nice junky carbalicious cheat day, 4HB style!

Cheat Day Breakfast

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Cheat Day Breakfast (technically half of it)

Being on the 4HB diet plan means that I get to eat whatever I want one day per week.  Saturday is my cheat day, and here’s what I had on 3/9.

This is a grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread, baked potato chips, and chocolate milk.

In the interest of full disclosure, this is just the first plate.  When it was done I ate another one just like it.  So technically this is a photo of 1/2 of my cheat day breakfast.

I wasn’t hungry for lunch.

Dinner was six slices of pizza and a beer.  Dessert was two ice cream sandwiches and the rest of the quart of chocolate milk.  Snack was a slice of red velvet cake with cream cheese icing.

This is the best diet ever.

A Couple of Healthy Meals with 5 Ingredients or Less

I mentioned before that Sunday is the day I cook for the following week, making all of my breakfasts and lunches for the work week ahead.  If you want to give it a shot, here are a couple of good recipes that are extremely simple, inexpensive, healthy, low carb, 4HB compliant, and keep well in the fridge for 5 days.

Broccoli Bacon Kuku

Steam 3 cups of broccoli florets.  While they’re cooking, spray a 9″ x 12″ glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Arrange the florets in the dish.  Scramble a dozen free-range organic eggs very well and pour them gently over the broccoli.  Sprinkle the top with 1/4 cup of chopped bacon or real bacon bits.  Cut four pats (2 tbsp total) of organic butter and drop on top, spaced evenly.  Bake at 325 for 40 minutes or until firm.  When cool, slice into six squares.  Eat one square for breakfast on Sunday.  Individually wrap the other five squares in saran wrap, and refrigerate.  To warm, microwave for 1:30 at 60% power.  Cost: about $1.75/serving.

Sesame Kale Salad

Buy a bag of ready-to-eat organic kale and 5 organic chicken breasts.  I use the ready-to-eat kale because it keeps better than the stuff I wash and dry myself.  Cook chicken breasts as desired — grill, roast, Foreman grill, etc. — unseasoned. When cool, slice on a diagonal and individually wrap.  Each morning before work, put a giant handful of kale in a suitable lunch container.  Unwrap and add one chicken breast.  To season, add a few splashes of soy sauce, a sprinkle of sesame oil, and a drizzle of olive oil.  Put the top on the container and take it to work, keeping it cold.  When it’s time to eat, shake and serve.  Cost: about $3.25/serving.

If I was Herman Cain I’d probably call this my 5/5/5 plan — 5 days of breakfasts and lunches, each with 5 ingredients or less, for $5/day.  But since I’m not the kind of guy who creates culture personality out of bullshit random numbers, I’ll just call it “A Couple of Healthy Meals with 5 Ingredients or Less.”

Catchy, huh?

Simplify Your Week: Make Sunday “Prep Day”

As a writer and martial artist who often writes and exercises in the morning, I need every second I can get between the 4:30 am alarm and my 7:30 departure for work. Just think of how much more you could get done if you had an extra 20 to 30 minutes. Here’s a way you can pick up that time.

Make Sunday prep day. You’ll gain 20 – 30 minutes every morning — and you’ll eat better — if you make your weekly breakfasts, lunches, and snacks in advance. I’ve been doing this on-and-off for the past year. When something happens and wrecks my Sundays and I can’t prep, I go into a mental tailspin.

As I was doing my weekly prep on 1/6, I thought some other folks might benefit from duplicating my process. So I wrote this post and scheduled it for today so that, if you want to try it, you can go shopping today or tomorrow and get started this coming Sunday.

If you don’t work a straight Monday through Friday, modify it to suit your schedule. Just prepare enough breakfasts and lunches at a time to last 5 days, which is the maximum recommended safe time to keep this kind of stuff in the fridge before eating (assuming if you don’t use things that spoil easily).

But what do you prepare?  Here are some options.

Breakfast : Low-Carb Broccoli Frittata

  • 10 free-range eggs
  • 2 heads of fresh organic broccoli
  • 1 tbsp organic butter
  • shredded cheese, salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325°.  Put 2 cups of water in a saucepan on the stove while you wash and trip your broccoli florets.  When it boils, toss in the florets.

While it’s boiling, crack the eggs in a bowl and whisk.  Use the butter to coat an 8 x 11 glass baking dish.  Trust me, the broccoli is done now, maybe even overcooked.  Drain it, put back in the saucepan, and cut it up small with a knife and a fork.  Add the broccolit to the egg mixture and whisk again.  If you want to zip this recipe up, add 1/4 cup of REAL bacon crumbles.

Pour the mixture into the baking dish, evenly distribute the broccoli chunks with a fork, and bake for about 30 minutes.  Watch closely and remove as soon as there is no moisture on top and it’s lightly brown.

Sprinkle the top with cheese and allow to cool.  Slice into six blocks (cut the pan in half in one direction and in thirds the other way) and wrap in cling wrap.  When it’s breakfast time, microwave at 50% power for about 1:30.

Lunch: Low-Carb Chicken Swiss Wraps

  • 1 package of Low-Carb wraps
  • Chicken (see below)
  • Swiss Cheese slices
  • 1 bunch of fresh organic kale
  • Olive oil Mayo (and mustard if desired)
  • Salt & Pepper

Wash and de-vein the kale and set it aside to dry.  It must be totally dry or your wraps will get mushy.  Blot dry if needed.  When dry,  Place a leaf of kale on the wrap.  Top it with a stripe of olive oil mayo, add chicken, salt, and pepper.  Add a slice of Swiss and top with another leave of kale.  Roll it up and wrap tightly in wax paper.  The kale doesn’t wilt and is packed with fiber and healthy stuff, so don’t skip it.  Don’t substitute lettuce or spinach.  They don’t work.  If you want to add more fiber, add some roasted chick peas or a sprinkle of flax seeds.

As for the chicken, you can use deli chicken, or you can stew 3 bone-in, free range breasts.  Skin and shred with two forks.  You can also substitute deli ham and add mustard.  Experiment.

Snack

Buy a giant container of mixed nuts somewhere, or go to a good store like Ellwood Thompson’s and get them in bulk.  Get a box of snack bags, or a set of six 1/2 cup small tupperwares (I tried the latter, but I lose them.  How can somebody so organized do that?  I blame Kreacher).

Add 1/2 cup of nuts per bag/container.  I make up 20 of them at a time and put them in the cabinet because I know that I will eat 100% of whatever serving size I pick up.  So it’s best not to take a 12-ounce can of nuts with me to the sofa.

I try to eat about 375 calories every four hours or so, twice that at dinner.  Breakfast casserole at 6:45, nuts at 10:00, the wrap at 2:00 pm, dinner at 6:00 pm, and another snack at 9:00 pm.  That’s about 2,250 calories per day.

I work a slightly modified 4HB program, and this is marginally compliant.  Technically of course, cheese isn’t allowed, and neither are the wraps, but the carbs are so low they don’t seem to affect things much.  Next week though, I’m going to experiment with leaving out the low-carb tortillas and just wrapping everything in large Kale leaves.

By my reckoning, you can pick up an extra 20 – 30 minutes every workday morning by doing this.  Plus, the total time is less.  You don’t have to get everything out of the fridge five times and put it back five times.