Let me ask you a question – when you started slow-carb did you imagine you’d be eating so many beans?!
A lot of people have started coming on board with the whole slow-carb revolution, thanks to Tim Ferriss and his book.
One of the first, and most vociferous, questions I get asked is something to the effect of:
Do I really have to eat that many beans?!
The short answer is “it depends”. Let’s get into this particular third of our allowed food list a little deeper, shall we?
How much beans should I eat?
As far as I can tell, Tim never mentions a specific amount in the book. In fact, after giving the food list, he says “eat as much as you like.”
Get the Essential Slow Cooker Beans recipe book now on Amazon!
Each person is going to like a different amount. In fact, some of you might say “I don’t like them at all!” That’s OK; this all plays into the whole spirit of the book anyway. You’ve got to tinker.
But this is where it gets tricky: too many carbohydrates could stall your weight loss. Most of us are probably on slow-carb because we liked the idea of doing less to achieve more. Which means that you are likely, like me, someone who has a sedentary job and doesn’t move around much unless you plan it.
For someone who is more active, a higher quantity of legume will serve better. Your body will burn the carbohydrates much more efficiently than a sedentary person.
But for someone who sometimes struggles to work out (I’m still not a fan, but I’m getting there), less legume will help you better than more. In fact, I had a long plateau last year, and what kicked me out of it was eating less legumes and sticking more to veggies, protein, and fat.
(I haven’t determined yet whether the stalled weight loss is due to calories or carbohydrates, but I’m leaning towards carbohydrates. When my wife and I tried Whole30 one month, I know I ate roughly the same calories, but I still lost weight. Most of my calories came from protein and fat and not legumes.)
Are legumes really all that important?
The reason we’re adding legumes to the diet is because if we remove the things we used to eat, like bread, pasta, and rice, we’re going to be lacking severely in the calorie department. One of the main reasons to be eating legumes is to not eat too few calories.
The reason we’re eating legumes and removing grains, at least as far as this book addresses (there are other reasons, but I’ll leave those to other posts) is because grains do a great job at elevating insulin levels. Legumes tend to be absorbed slower (hence slow-carb) and thus have a smaller impact on insulin levels (which in turn is what allows you to lose fat).
Read the second slow-carb chapter again. In it, Tim specifically states that you don’t have to eat legumes at every meal (but you do need to eat larger portions of non-legumes to make up the calories).
Getting the most bang for your buck
or: How to avoid the toots
One of the first things you worry about on the slow-carb diet is alienating your friends due to the one-man-band you’re afraid of becoming. Yes, I’m talking about farting. The good news is it doesn’t have to be an issue.
In fact, while a few of my slow-carb buddies were reporting quite a problem with flatulence, I was experiencing less gas than I had been before.
There are two ways I fought against it.
1. Eat lentils
The bottom line here is that lentils don’t make you gassy like beans do. Perhaps they do to some degree, but even Tim notes that lentils didn’t make him gassy.
Lentils are easier to cook than beans, don’t fight as hard not to be eaten, and taste better. Check out the recipes at the bottom of the post for some examples. My best lentil recipe is part of my Slow Carb recipe series you get with the newsletter, so you may consider checking that out as well.
2. Wash the beans
The other thing you really can’t neglect to do is to wash and rinse your beans well. This takes some planning ahead, but it must be done. This helps get rid of most of the stuff that makes you gassy anyway.
The night before you’ll use them, soak the beans in a pot of water. When you wake up in the morning, change the water out and let them soak again. Finally, when you’re ready to cook them, rinse them again and cook them in fresh water.
The best argument against legumes
This is where some of you are going to call me an heretic.
Those of you who have explored the Paleo world know what I’m about to say.
Beans contain proteins that don’t like to be consumed called lectins. They fight back. Your body becomes inflamed as you digest them. Think of it this way: lectins are like poison ivy to your guts. You don’t feel it necessarily, but your bodies do (incidentally, that’s why grains suck!)
That’s the primary reason I eat less legumes than I used to. However, if you take care enough to wash and soak the beans and lentils as well as you can, you will get rid of most of the inflammatory properties of them. Don’t let a Paleo purist get you down, but don’t automatically cast off what they’re telling you.
Cooking your legumes
If you’re tired of eating beans the same way every time, I’ve got a few recipes that will help you out. When you make one, I’d love to know what you think of it. Don’t forget to come back and let me know!
Brian from 4Hour Body Zone has put out a Kindle recipe book with about 30 different bean recipes (I’ve tried some – they’re great!). If you’ve got anything that’ll read Kindle books, check out Essential Slow Cooker Beans Recipes For the 4 Hour Body Diet on Amazon.
For a few other legumey recipes, subscribe to the FMF newsletter and watch your inbox!
To end, I have two questions for you. Feel free to answer one or both:
1. What is your biggest question regarding beans on the slow-carb diet?
2. What’s your favorite legume recipe?