The 4 Hour Body Breakfast Smoothie

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Picture of 4 hour body book and smoothie

Editor’s Note: After more than a year since first publishing this article, I’ve tweaked the smoothie as both my taste buds, and my knowledge of how my body reacts to different foods, have changed. Although I’ve written about all of the foods I showcase in the video, I’ve greatly expanded the list below. Enjoy!

Breakfast has long been touted as the most important meal of the day. Timothy Ferriss, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, The 4-Hour Body, fully agrees…with a few additions.

If you’re looking to burn fat, Ferriss claims that eating 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking (morning) in the form of non-dairy proteins, legumes and vegetables, will make a huge difference. After only five days Ferriss says that “Not only will the increased protein intake decrease water retention, resting metabolism increases by about 20% if your breakfast calories are at least 30% protein.”

Rules to be followed on the 4-Hour Body Diet (slow carb diet):

  • No fruit
  • Nothing that “could be white,” meaning no bread, ‘taters, or cereal.
  • No dairy with the exception of cottage cheese and whey protein powder
  • Eat 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking
  • There are no calorie or portion restrictions, but you’ll likely be quite full after 30 grams of protein.

The Cast of Characters:

blendVitamix- If you don’t have one, I’m here to tell you to get one. I received mine as a gift about three years ago and thought “Nice, a $400 blender.Why would I need a $400 blender? My $30 blender works perfectly.”

I have since seen the light. Trust me, it is worth every penny. I use mine more than I use my Kitchen Aid mixer (which is saying a lot). So, get yourself a Vitamix and get ready for black belt level nutritional awesomeness. Cheapest price and best customer service is at Amazon – $368!

 

Proteins

Whey Protein Powder- I’ve tested a lot of protein powders over the past year and a half. If you’d like to learn more about the various whey protein powders out there you’ll want to check out my video  Whey Protein Powder Review as well as click on the links below. In this video I explain the difference between whey protein concentrate and isolate, along with what ingredients to look for and why.

Here’s a current list of protein powders that I use and recommend. Please note that this list is continually updated.

Cottage Cheese- If you’re not a fan of cottage cheese but want to get your smoothie up to 30 grams of protein without using expensive protein powders, add some cottage cheese. You’ll never even know it’s there as it doesn’t change the consistency or flavor. Keep in mind that it does contain a fair amount of salt so I don’t add much- usually 1/4 cup).

 

Tim’s favorite breakfast combo are eggs, beans and spinach. Other options are eating 5 eggs or 2 cups of cottage cheese but I have found that a smoothie feels more breakfasty and I can sneak in large portions of spinach (another fat burner) without blinking an eye.

 

Egg White Protein Powder- Can’t have dairy/casein? Try egg white protein powder. I find that it keeps me full longer than whey protein powder. If you can stomach dairy/casein then try one scoop of whey protein and one scoop of egg white. *Do not just add raw egg whites as they contain the enzyme Avidin which acts as an anti-nutrient. Here’s the egg white protein powder I use and recommend.

Gelatin- a surprising, and extremely healthy source of protein, gelatin contains zero carbs and 6 grams of protein per tablespoon. A fabulous source of collagen that is great for strong bones, teeth and  joints, if you have any joint or inflammation issues, adding gelatin to your diet is a must! Made from the bones, joints and cartilage of an animal it is very important to buy gelatin from a reputable source. Click here for the only gelatin that I buy.

To use: bloom 1-2 Tbs of gelatin in liquid (water, juice, coconut milk) before adding to your blender.

Nutritional Yeast Flakes- Also known as Brewer’s Yeast, this is not the yeast your mom used to make bread with. Filled with those wonderful B vitamins, nutritional yeast flakes contain 8 grams of protein and 7 grams of carbs (which are mostly cancelled out by 6 grams of fiber) in 1.5 tablespoons (always check your label as this varies). Where to buy nutritional yeast flakes.

Peanut, Almond, Cashew, Pumpkin, or Coconut Butter- Another ingredient to add to achieve the ultimate in staying power are nuts, or nut butters. Also, if you aren’t a fan of nuts but would like to add a few into your diet, smoothies are a great way to sneak them in. If you have a powerful blender (like a Vitamix) you can just throw in the nuts themselves. However if you don’t, use the butters so you don’t end up with a chunky smoothie! Don’t want to deal with possible chunks in your smoothie? Learn how to make Almond Butter, Cashew Butter or Coconut Butter in your Vitamix.

Frozen Raw Beef Liver- Liver is a super-food  that is rich in protein, iron, vitamin A and D, copper and zinc.  Make sure to buy only pastured, organic beef liver as the liver is where toxins are stored.  Not a fan of liver myself, this is a great (and inexpensive way) to take liver in small doses. I think of it as adding a vitamin to my smoothie. In order to kill off any pathogens and parasites you MUST freeze the liver for 14 days (minimum).

To Prepare: Rinse then soak the liver for 2 hours in water and sea salt (this helps eliminate any toxins it may contain), cut into small chunks and freeze on a flat surface (like a cookie sheet) before packaging it up in a little container. This makes grabbing one piece of  liver at a time a cinch).

*Because liver has a stronger flavor I like to use both a chocolate whey protein powder and black beans when I add liver.

 

Healthy Fats
Adding healthy fats to a daily smoothie is an essential component, as eating too much protein without any fat, rapidly depletes vitamin A stores (an essential nutrient). Additionally, it slows down the absorption of the protein so that you stay full longer.

Avocado- Because there is no fruit allowed on the 4-Hour Body/Slow carb diet, avocados make a wonderful substitution for bananas. Not only do they make the smoothie creamy, they have the extra benefit of adding healthy fat, which keeps us fuller longer, as well as satiated (that “ahhh, I’m full” feeling). I usually add 1/4 of an avocado.

Coconut Milk Powder- A new love in my smoothie life- coconut milk powder still retains some of it’s fat but add’s an amazing creamy and coconut-y flavor to my smoothies. I especially LOVE the combination of chocolate whey protein powder and coconut. Click here to purchase coconut milk powder.

 

Liquids

Coconut Milk- Adding coconut milk is a great way to get some healthy fat (MCT’s) into your shake, which will also help you to feel full for a longer period. If you are following the 4-Hour Body/ Slow Carb diet, unsweetened coconut milk is allowed (watch Ferriss’ Q&A at Twitter on YouTube if you need confirmation).

Shot of espresso…or 4!- Espresso or strong coffee adds great flavor. I find that I can drink no more liquid after my shake, so if you want the caffeine buzz you’d better get it in now! I often use Starbucks VIA instant coffee packets in mine. Quick, easy, and tastes great!

Ice and water- Obviously a smoothie must have ice! Add enough of both to achieve the consistency you desire.

SuperFoods

Raw Egg Yolks- Although most of the protein resides in the white on an egg the yolks are the power house of nutrition. This is where all of the vitamins and minerals are stored. Adding raw egg yolks make a smoothie rich and creamy all the while adding vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and antioxidants. Worried about cholesterol? Read this. *Please make sure to eat only fresh, raw egg yolks from pasture raised, organic eggs (generally NOT from a store).

Spinach- This is my absolute favorite way to eat spinach. I can get a lot of it and taste none of it. Now if I could only figure out how to do that with broccoli…

Chard- As you’ll see in the video I substitute chard instead of spinach on occasion.

Cinnamon- Many studies have shown that cinnamon helps to stabilize the blood sugar in diabetic patients. “There is also ample evidence that cinnamon can be used to reduce the glycemic index of a meal up to 29%.” (excerpted from The 4-Hour Body). Tim cautions not to consume more than 1.5 teaspoons per day, so I put 1 teaspoon in the shake and save the rest for my coffee. Click here to purchase Saigon cinnamon.

Ginger- Spinach and ginger are a great combination. If you find that the spinach or xylitol (in the shake powder) bothers your stomach add a slice of ginger (or a few dashes if you’re using dried). Ginger calms the stomach and is an anti-inflammatory as well.

Mint leaves- During the summer I add fresh mint leaves. It also goes really nicely with the spinach and adds great flavor.

Banana- On Cheat/Binge days, or when simply maintaining weight-loss, feel free to add a banana. I find this is the hardest ingredient to go without as it makes the shake a really lovely creamy consistency and sweetens without adding anything extra.

Allowed Carbs

Black beans can easily be added to your smoothie. Honestly when it comes to taste and consistency I can hardly tell the difference between when I add beans and when I don’t. I don’t add more than 3-4 Tbs and I recommend starting small- maybe a tablespoon the first day and bit more each day until you reach 3-4 Tbs.

Sweeteners

Stevia- Either in powdered or liquid form, stevia is the only alternative sweetener I’ll touch with a *ten foot pole! A few drops of stevia in my smoothie can make all the difference between it tasting like a vitamin, or a luxurious drink.

*Nope, I’m not a fan of xylitol- find out why here. Please remember that Stevia is best used in small quantities as it can cause abscesses in the mouth when used in abundance.

Enjoy and please let me know what your favorite 4 Hour Body/Slow Carb meal is, along with your own smoothie concoctions.

To Your Health,

Alison

 

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-A-Davis/628165820 John A. Davis

    Waddya mean brocolli doesn’t work in the blender? Works fine. I throw in a sandwich bag full of brocolli and cauliflower religiously in my blenders. I use the cottage cheese or almond milk (and ice of course) to get the “milkshake” like consistency. A ton of True Leaf Splenda is my way to go. Sheeze, brocolli and cauliflower work great, give it some bulk!!! Also, there are these straws at Bed Breakfast and Beyond that have 4 little “wings” or flanges on one end (look like feather end of an arrow). Using one of these you can mix up anything that settles. HTH

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OQWN2GR7YXQQJPGMEAEYNJHU7E MichaelH

      She’s not talking about working in the blender. She’s talking about tasting it. Spinach has almost no taste and when blended you won’t taste it at all. This is not the case for broccoli.

      • Anonymous
  • Etienne

    Vitamix Now available at Costco 
    http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11319311&search=vitamix&topnav=&Mo=0&cm_re=1_en-_-Top_Left_Nav-_-Top_search&lang=en-US&Nr=P_CatalogName:BC&N=5000043&whse=BC&Dx=mode%20matchallpartial&Ntk=Text_Search&Dr=P_CatalogName:BC&Ne=4000000&D=vitamix&Ntt=vitamix&No=0&Nty=1&Ntx=mode%20matchallpartial
    “Vitamix 5200 Ultimate Packagewith CIA™ Masters Collection 7″ Santuko Knife”(For when you need to knife a commie spy, maybe or vis versa if one happens to be a commie spy? Present company excluded in either case of course.)

    • http://www.healthnutnation.com Alison

      Thanks for the information and link Etienne!

  • Stefan

    In Tim Ferriss’s video that you posted regarding coconut milk, i dont see where he mentions it.  When I went to http://www.eslowcarbdiet.com/coconut-water/ it said it was not allowed.  What is right?

    • http://www.healthnutnation.com Alison

      I must have linked to the wrong video. I’ll try to find the correct one and link to it. Thanks for letting me know. Coconut milk is absolutely allowed on the SCD. Tim talks about how Thai food (minus the rice) is the the perfect dinner out for SC dieters. Plus, the fat from coconut milk is a “good” fat and the body processes it differently from actual dairy.

      -Alison

      • Brie

        Wrong.

        There are tons of Thai dishes that do not include Coconut Milk (primarily stir fries). Tim saying he eats a lot of Thai food does not mean all Thai dishes / ingredients are okay. If you take that line of reasoning, that would mean fried / battered appetizers and potatoes would also be okay. 
        (Side note: I’ve been living in Thailand on this diet for several months now and avoid all curries except on cheat days. Stir fry Thai dishes are great for meals during the week though.)Aside from never explicitly making an exception for it, Tim says no white food and don’t “drink” calories — Coconut Milk fails both of these. Always error on the side of “no,” and if you are absolutely going to have Coconut Milk, I would say keep it VERY limited. 

        • http://www.healthnutnation.com Alison

          Above all Tim encourages experimentation. If curries and coconut milk only work for you on cheat days then stick with that. If you’d like more information on why coconut milk is a healthy choice I recommend The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf.

          -Alison

        • etienne taylor

          Wrong? Just saying so is a rhetorical device known as a bald assertion. Saying that because Tim never said so is dispositive is an example of a common logical fallacy; the fallacy of authority.

          You might be correct but not because you say so. Tim might be exactly correct, or he might not have even meant to be.

          As far as coconut oil/milk go  I’m not going to bother posting links to the many studies available on line rather I’ll just give you the punchline. You can do your own research and report back that either you don’t believe it or allow for the possibility that you were wrong. 
            
          On the contrary I believe that the research I have read shows that since coconut oil/milk is a MCT fat and and as such is treated by your body as a carb several ounces a day, as coconut milk + oil for your med to high temp frying are not only okay but will lead to greater weight loss and improved overall health. 

          Tim’s advice and his SCD is based on a collection of other people’s research which he has then tested rigorously. He has come up compromises and rules of thumb to better allow people who may not be science aware a plan that they can follow  and stick with.  In doing so he gives up a little accuracy (you can eat some white things, say cauliflower) and effectiveness (by way of example he states, correctly, a cyclo-ketogenic diet to be the most effective. Too hard to follow and stay with granted. Tim seems to have  modified a CKD and the Paleo Diet into his Slow Carb Diet . A well tested regiment that works brilliantly for nearly everyone who follows it correctly.)
          Do your own research and then report back and tell us what we might have been missing.

          Respectfully

          Etienne Taylor 

          • Pappagiorgio

            SNAP!

            the silence is deafening

  • Ben Komanapalli

    Is almond milk of for this or is it not allowed?

    • http://www.healthnutnation.com Alison

      Almond milk is completely acceptable on the SCD. Make sure you buy the unsweetened kind however. Most are sweetened so read those labels!

  • http://twitter.com/NinaBBT Nina

    Any breakfast advice for those of us who want to stay away from animal protein? Would this smoothie have as much protein if you just used beans, but no whey? Any other suggestions of things to make? Thanks!

    • http://www.healthnutnation.com Alison

      You, of course could substitute silken tofu for the protein. I’ve made many smoothies with silken tofu and they are delicious. Beans work but have a lot of carbs so a little go a long ways. You can also use hemp, rice or soy protein powders (although I personally am not a fan). There are quite a few vegan protein powders out there that can include any one of these.

      -Alison

      • http://twitter.com/NinaBBT Nina

        Thanks!

      • Stefan

        Tim does not recommend tofu

        • http://www.healthnutnation.com Alison

          I realize that, however Tim does say that vegetarians have been successful using tofu based hot dogs. Tofu is not ideal but vegetarians and vegans have a hard time getting enough protein without tofu.

          -Alison

  • poondoc

    I have read that soy is the worst thing that a man can put in his body….it is packed with estrogen.

    • http://www.healthnutnation.com Alison

      I could (and will) write a whole article on soy. I personally eat very little of it and do not believe it is a “health food.” However, when someone wants a protein source that is not animal based (vegan) then they are limiting themselves to so few protein choices, that to eliminate tofu makes getting enough protein difficult.

      Neither males nor females should add extra estrogen (unless going through menopause and then small amounts of fermented soy may be beneficial) as excess estrogen has been linked to diseases like breast cancer (in both women and men).

      -Alison

  • Pingback: Alison’s Favorite Back to School Foods #1

  • Diane

    What is the Slow Carb Diet ?

    • http://www.healthnutnation.com Alison

      The slow carb diet is the low carb diet otherwise known as the 4 Hour Body Diet, which is described in Timothy Ferriss’ book, The 4 Hour Body.
      -Alison

    • http://www.healthnutnation.com Alison

      Sorry about the short reply earlier, I was replying from my phone. I’m glad you asked the question because I generally speak to the audience that already knows The 4 Hour Body, but forget that there are lots of people that have no idea what I’m talking about! The 4 Hour Body is a book full of information on how to achieve the body that you want. Whether you are getting ready to participate in a triathlon, want to learn how to swim efficiently, lose 100 lbs, or those last 5 Tim Ferriss walks you through the process of how to get the results you want.
      The 4 Hour Body Diet, also known as the Slow Carb Diet, has some general guidelines that you’ll find outlined in the breakfast smoothie article I’ve written and done a video on- http://healthnutnation.com/2011/09/02/the-4-hour-body-breakfast-shake/
      If you’ve done the Atkins diet, you’ll be familiar with the “lots of protein” part of the diet. However, you’ll be nicely surprised by the addition of what you can eat (vegetables, beans, wine, and a cheat day once a week, where you can pig out) and still lose weight- fast. Plus, The 4 Hour Body diet is much healthier and more sustainable than something like the Atkins diet. Hope that gives you an idea. I highly recommend that book. It’s a huge, thick book but you don’t read it cover to cover. It’s probably my favorite book that I read in 2011.

      • Sameer Jain

         Alison,

        What makes you say 4HB is much healthier than Atkins? It seems to me that given what we know about the impact of insulin levels on the body, a cheat day once a week would be bad for your long-term health. (I also personally found it harder to keep up because (1) I would keep cheat foods around past cheat day (2) Tim doesn’t really allow for any snacking beyond, grudgingly, a few carrots, and (3) I couldn’t eat cheese. Been on an Atkins diet since the beginning of this year and enjoying it — theoretically miss cheat days but not really :-)

        Thanks!

        • http://www.healthnutnation.com Alison

          It depends on which Atkins diet you are following. The old style was extremely low in vegetables and beans-mainly because they contain carbs. The revised Atkins diet is much more realistic and healthy. No matter what diet you choose, as long as it’s not a ‘diet’ but a lifestyle change that is sustainable, is what really matters. I do agree that the cheat day once a week is undermining. I myself do not have a cheat day once a week because it keeps me craving sugar so badly the rest of the week that I can’t handle it. I find going off sugar altogether is what works for me. That means that a cheat day means that I may have mashed potatoes with my dinner, or rice. Not brownies, pizza and soda pop. I think the cheat day is the selling factor for the 4 Hr Body Diet, not what necessarily works in reality.

  • Dawn, Minnesota

    I want to thank you, thank you, THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH for this recipe!! After one week of forcing myself to eat eggs, beans, spinach for breakfast I was going to need to quit because I cannot stomach that in the morning. Fortunately, I found your recipe and video and I have had your breakfast smoothie now for the past 6 weeks or so and I enjoy it!!! Not only do I enjoy it, but it is healthy and a great way to start the day! Again, thank you so very much for taking the time to share this!
    Dawn, Minnesota

    • http://www.healthnutnation.com Alison

      You’re very welcome. I’m SO glad you found something you can stick with!
      -Alison

  • http://www.healthnutnation.com Alison

    Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know I had broken links. I haven’t reviewed that article in a long time and it prompted me to not only fix the links, but update the entire article as well!

  • Pingback: Protein+Fat= Where it’s at (part 2)

  • http://www.facebook.com/kenny.tomasian Kenny Tomasian

    I am a new visitor and can not wait to try it out! Thanks Alison! Kenny.

  • Sarah R.

    Hi! I can’t find which video gives confirmation on coconut milk. There are some websites that say no, it is not allowed, and I feel conflicted. If you can provide the video that confirms this, it would be great, the link provided above, doesn’t bring you to the exact video, there are multiple videos and I can’t seem to find the right one. Thanks !:)

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