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.” Don’t feel like eating 6 eggs? Try the 4 Hour Body Breakfast Smoothie that I designed and drink myself!
Rules to be followed on the 4-Hour Body Diet (slow carb diet):
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:
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
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.
Whey Protein Isolate that I use and recommend:
Whey Protein Concentrate that I use and recommend
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.
Brewers Yeast- Please note that this is not the yeast your mom used to make bread with. Filled with those wonderful B vitamins, brewers yeast contains 7 grams of protein and 7 grams of carbs (which are mostly cancelled out by 4 grams of fiber) in 2 tablespoons (always check your label as this varies). Where to buy brewers yeast.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Watch my 4 Hour Body Breakfast Smoothie video to see how I put together my morning smoothie, along with explanations of ingredients:
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The 4 Hour Body Breakfast Smoothie
Made especially for people following the 4 Hour Body Diet/ Slow Carb Diet, this healthy smoothie will keep you full, satiated and keep that metabolism humming along!
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 24 oz
10 grams egg white protein powder
2-4 shots espresso or 1 packet Starbucks Via espresso powder
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 small knob chopped and peeled ginger root
¼ of an avocado
2-6 fresh mint leaves
¼ cup black beans, cooked (canned), drained and rinsed
1 cup leafy greens such as chard or spinach
1 cup ice
1 cup water (omit if using espresso shots and use 2 cups ice instead)
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,
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