The compliance question: Slow carb

Pretty much any diet works if you stick to it. The question is, can you stick to it?

I thought at the outset that Slow Carb would be easier to stick to than Low Carb because it allowed pulses& some legumes: beans and lentils make things a lot easier. However, it doesn’t allow dairy, and restricts fat (healthy oil OK, ordinary oil not), which made it harder.

What was it like for eating out?

Business travel: The main business travel I had over the period of slow-carb was an EU project meeting in Perugia, Italy. I don’t know if you’ve seen any Italian food, but… hoo boy was that a challenge.

The saving grace was the cheat days – as this diet allows a day off a week, I saved up my days off and had two in a row whilst at the meeting.  This probably isn’t allowed but hey it’s better than the alternative.

Even with the two cheat days it was a challenge – a 2 day meeting in Italy means 2 days travelling either side. This meant that travel had to be done “on plan”.  And by travel, I mean 6.5h on a train, stay at my parents, airportland, 5h on a train to get there, 4.5h on a train, airportland, 2h on a train, overnight in a Birmingham airport hotel because it’s near the station, 3.2h on a train. Ma and Pa were OK with my last minute request for a takeaway (so I could eat chicken and lentils), and had omelette makings in so breakfast was sorted. Hotel breakfasts can be eggs/ham/tomatoes. And there are supermarkets at stations, so I got protein and salad combos (boiled eggs, bag of salad, box of tomatoes… that kind of thing). I thought I might have to have a sandwich at Pisa Airport but then I spotted the last salad and went for that instead.


The cheat days did mean that the dinners and the coffee breaks could be just how I wanted them, which was a good thing as coffee breaks mean snacks at these kinds of meeting.


Lunches and dinners, too, came with pasta, pizza, chocolate and the rest. In true slow-carb style I tried to eat a good breakfast, which I thought showed remarkable restraint given that our hotel was chocolate themed, so there was a whole portion of breakfast bar dedicated to chocolate which I avoided entirely.


Restaurants & pub grub: steak-and-a-salad, chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad. Hold the dressing. Protein and salad salad salad salad.

Takeaways: Tandoori chicken, dal, veggie side, YUM.

How easy was it to be veggie?

When out, it was very very hard to be veggie. At home, it was much easier, given the possibility of lentils, eggs, beans and so on. I adapted the diet to include quorn mince and quorn pieces, which makes for a much easier veggie life.

What about snacking?

Nuts are allowed on slow-carb, but not in the same sense they’re allowed in the low-carb diet. You can eat them but not loads.  I suspect I overdid nuts a bit – particularly on trains and planes. Travel is challenging for me when it comes to snacking.

To be honest, if I’ve been on a train for 3 hours when the trolley goes by and I only have a black coffee and a handful of almonds that I bought with me, I feel like that’s quite an achievement.  As is going to the pub and ordering a mineral water and a packet of peanuts.

Very dark chocolate – 85% or more – was another one of my Achilles’ heels. Not everyday. Not much. But it’s nice, and not so bad really.

Fruit is explicitly forbidden on the diet, but you’re allowed a glass of wine or two per day. This is one of the odder dietary restrictions and one which I found a bit difficult. I like fruit (I also like wine…). I didn’t drink wine every day, but I did have a couple of glasses once or twice.

Was it easy to comply?

General diet compliance (as in: did I stick to the list of OK food) was not so hard as long as you’re not going to an arse about quorn mince and pieces. I don’t think I managed some of the specifics though – I probably didn’t have 30g of protein for breakfast every day, for example.

With 5 days left to go I’m going to make it to the end of this 4 weeks of slow carb but I’ve eaten a lot of eggs in the last month (indeed, 2 months) and I’m looking forward to a diet that’s less restrictive.

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