Category “featured”

What Eating Slow Carb Looks Like

Spicy ginger-sesame shrimp salad

I’ve already discussed before how I automate my meals. Folks have asked me for a bit more detail on what eating Slow Carb looks like, so I put together a few quick pics.

Here’s what one month of groceries looks like (each pic is a week).

From those groceries, I will prepare 21-24 meals each Sunday that I will eat over six days (Saturday is reserved for #Fatterday, my spike day).

You can see, I eat quite well. Newcomers to Slow Carb (and meal automation) might think you are giving up on spontaneity and variety but you’re really not. I just build in that variety when I prepare my menus for the week. As for spontaneity, I still go out when an occasion calls for it. For the other times, most people aren’t as spontaneous and varied as they might think. For the next month, take a picture of everything you eat. I bet you’ll be surprised how often you fall back on your “usual” or some slight variation of it.

Friends and fam ask me for my recipes. I have none. I do it by feel and whatever looks good at the market. What I do have are formulas.

  • frittata – 1 part filling, 3 parts egg
  • stews – 2 lbs protein, 14 oz tomatoes, 2 tbsp tomato paste, veggies on hand
  • salads – dark leafy greens, crunchy veggies or nuts for texture, contrasting veggie colors for visual appeal, 1 cup protein
  • vinaigrette – 1 part acid, 3 parts oil
  • slow-cooked protein – 2 lbs protein, 1 cup broth, cooked in slow cooker or pressure cooker
  • sides – legumes (beans, lentils), fermented veggies (kimchi, kraut), veggies tossed with acid or lightly stir-fried

To all above, herbs and spices to taste. I play with flavor palates and, honestly, just experiment and have fun with it. But if you do need a few starter recipes to get you going, check out my Slow Carb Pinterest Board. Who knew Slow Carb could be so mouth-watering, right?

Of course, everyone always wants to jump to my #Fatterday. Here you go:

I’ve had two pretty epic #Fatterday Challenges:

I’ve had a lot of folks come to me excited about trying Slow Carb. Invariably, the #Fatterday is what sells it for them. Unfortunately, it tends to be the part they focus on too much. They forget that in order to earn my epic #Fatterday I am crazy disciplined about the rest of the week. The biggest mistake I see newbies make is thinking that if they just go a little lighter on #Fatterday so they can have an occasional fast carb here and there during the week, it will be okay. It will be…sort of. You must find something that fits with your lifestyle and is a balance between your happiness and results. The importance is consistency.

However. HOW. EVER. You must then adjust your expectations accordingly. The whole point of building these behaviors is that they are consistent choices, that you are teaching your body to fall into a rhythm. When you interrupt that rhythm it’s like coming to a dead stop then having to start up again. Law of inertia (and biochemical and metabolic cascades). That bowl of pasta during the week might not seem much to you–and in the grand scheme of life, it isn’t–but as far as your momentum goes it is very disruptive. You want to know how I lost 2.5 lbs every week for an entire year? Because I didn’t waiver. Not once. I was strictly Slow Carb six days and only spike one day. No exception. Weight loss is not linear. You cannot say, well, Serge, I’m okay losing 1.5 lbs every other week, so I can drift from Slow Carb 30% of the time. It doesn’t work like that. Momentum. Biochemical and metablic cascades.

I’m not saying you must stay strictly Slow Carb. Do whatever will be the right balance for you. Just know that you’ll have to temper your expectations accordingly. Measure your progress over months, not days and weeks. Understand that your results come from your deliberate choices. That’s all.

Okay, enough doom and gloom. Slow Carb was the program I found works well for me. Maybe you’ll find you like it. Maybe something else will connect with you. Over the years, I’ve dipped my toes into Paleo and Keto. In fact, you’ll see from my pics above, slow carbs seem spare. You’re catching me in my third year so I’ve been alternating with slow and no carbs during my week. If you’re just beginning, ease yourself into it with some legumes (beans and lentils).

Buon appetito!

Dare to Live the Dream

Serge's Dream Book

“Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Walking along an abandoned part of the Great Wall surrounded by a sea of yellow, wild flowers. Drinking tequila with a Mexican ambassador. Strolling along the Charles Bridge at dusk. Chatting up a Prince in an elevator. Eating scorpions and cobras. What’s all that have to do with a poor, li’l island boy? By most accounts, it would be nothing. Yet, this poor, li’l island boy has been blessed to meet exceptional people, travel to amazing places, and have transformative experiences.

How did all this happen? Sure, luck had a little bit to do with it. But to simply leave it at that would be dismissive and reductive. What am I, chopped liver? It happened because I live mindfully and with intention. Because I say “yes” more than I say “no.” But mostly because I make plans and execute.

Elite athletes, grandmaster chess players, musical prodigies, and successful CEOs tap into the power of visualization for exceptional results. Mindful meditation, daily affirmations, and vision boards put this concept into physical practice. I manifest my aspirations as a “dream book.” It’s probably one of the most valuable and rewarding tools you can have in your journey of an exceptional life. I’m going to show you how I made mine.

THE PLANNING

I’ve already written quite a bit about examining your purpose, what fulfills you, and living your life with intention. I’ll summarize it here by saying that it’s time to pull out your bucket list and start putting down some plans. I know, I know, shit just got real. The first step is the hardest but once you get going you’ll be glad you did. You’ll find it’s a lot easier than you think. Think back to those old school projects of cutting up magazines and making collages. Pinterest done made it crazy easy for you. Just start pinning away. Here’s mine.

THE CANVAS

You could keep your dream book digital on something like Pinterest, Facebook, or in a special folder of photos on your computer, but I find that having something physical that I can touch and feel and have as a constant visual reminder has been vastly more gratifying. Plus, it’s been great as a coffee table book that has inspired guests in my home and started many an interesting conversation.

Any scrapbook, photo album, notebook, or journal will do but since this is going to be a special place for your dreams and aspirations you might want to put a little effort into making it something you’ll look forward to flipping through again and again.

I went a little highfalutin and invested in a stunning, screwpost portfolio from Klo Portfolio. You can customize yours in aluminum, wood, and acrylic. You’ve also got the option for engraving, decal, or cut-out. Having the screwposts gives you the option to insert, remove, and move pages easily. Screwpost extenders can expand your dream book as needed. I got mine customized in black, matte, acrylic, engraved with my name and lion:

Serge's Dream Book

Come on now, tell me you wouldn’t want to check that out. I own it and I look for excuses to look through it every day.

THE VISUALS

You can make a collage of photos, articles, or anything else that help conjure up a vision board. Whatever inspires you and holds meaning for you will work. There’s no wrong way to go about it.

Serge's Dream Book

In my case, I choose a single image and print it as a high quality photo to serve as my visual. I mount it on Mohawk VIA Felt black 80 lb card stock to really set off the photo.

Serge's Dream Book

THE SECTIONS

I started off sectioning my dream book into three categories: to meet (people), to see (places), and to have (things). The lines started to blur for things like, “Have a personal cartoon drawn by Hugh MacLeod.” Is that to meet or to have? Plus, keeping the different sections balanced without forcing me to flip through a bunch of empty sections for things not yet complete started to be challenging. Pretty soon, things began to conflate so I simply combined them all into items to do (experiences).

First, I started my dream book with a short intro:

Serge's Dream Book

I followed it with a statement of intentions for my ideal self:

Serge's Dream Book

THE ENTRIES

Upon completing one of the items from my dream book, I do a brief write-up and post it to my blog. I’m a little behind; too busy doing to follow up with the writing. I’ll catch up eventually.

I tend to be a bit verbose so I know it would never fit in my dream book. Instead, I write a small haiku to place in my dream book with a link to the longer post. Printed on Crane & Co half sheets in ecruwhite. The extra effort and expense is worth it, trust:

Serge's Dream Book

Okay, so I’m far from being a haiku master and I’m sure I’m committing serious haiku faux pas (surippu?). But I gotta’ say, I am not entirely embarrassed by some of my attempts. I even go multi-lingual on you in a couple:

Serge's Dream Book

Serge's Dream Book

FINAL THOUGHTS

You know that imaginary, ephemeral bucket list that exists only in your head? Or maybe you’ve got it scribbled on several scraps of paper tucked somewhere in a forgotten drawer? You might be surprised how the simple act of putting it to paper steels your conviction to make it happen. After all, you just went through all that effort of putting together a dream book. You wouldn’t want that to have been for nothing, would you? Plus, having it staring back at you mockingly from your coffee table can be a powerful motivator. Friends and family can keep you accountable by pointing to it and pestering you incessantly. We don’t have to be all negative though. It really is a joyful experience leafing through and seeing the amazing things you’ve experienced in life. And if your dream book is still mostly empty? That’s okay. Mine was too, once upon a time.

I must confess, I have a bit of an additional, hidden agenda for putting together my dream book. Whenever I know I’m going to be completing something from my list, I bring my dream book along and deliberately flip through it. Imagine getting a chance to have soul food with Miss Patti LaBelle, flipping through the dream book in front of her and she sees that Miss Chaka Khan is on my list too. “Child, I’ve got Chaka on speed dial. Let’s give her a ring and check that one off too!” Yeah, right. Only in my dreams, right? Well, isn’t that the whole point of the dream book in the first place? Stranger things have happened.

Miss Patti and Miss Chaka, ready whenever you are. Any time. Any place.

Got a cool dream book? Snap a pic and share the link in the comments below.

MORE RESOURCES

For more inspiration, visit my good friend Corey Wadden’s take on the dream book. He adds in an extra bit of help organizing your thoughts into categories.

Mindful Acts of Kindness

Buy a Kid an Ice Cream Cone

I’ve found that doing something kind for someone else has become my antidote for a crappy day. When the stress of work, the unexpected bumps of my day, and the worries of things not yet done weigh on me, I take the focus off me and look for something that I can do to brighten someone else’s day. Sometimes it’s direct. Sometimes it’s done anonymously. Sometimes I’m not even around to see the effect and am left to imagine the wonderful ways it has made that person smile.

As I began to do little acts…taking my used cup to the counter at my favorite cafe…picking up a bit of trash someone left behind…I started to become more aware of the people around me. I thought about how I treated them. I paid attention to how they felt after talking with me. I started looking for reasons to do nice things. While the thought of random acts is enchanting, the thought of being mindfully kind has a power all its own.

I like the idea that wherever I go, whatever I do, whomever I meet, I’ve done something to leave that small space a little bit better. In fact, I feel like something is left unfinished until I find some way to leave behind some kindness. Karma or no, I feel that at the very least my perception has changed for the better. I feel more open and approachable. I smile more. Things don’t bother me as much as they used to. Judging by the way people have been receiving me, they must be noticing it too.

I’m in the habit of buying a suspended kid’s cone at my local ice cream shoppe. What’s a suspended kid’s cone? I pay for an extra kid’s cone and ask the staff to pass it on to the next kid who comes in. Granted, it’s more of a gift to their parents but the ear-to-ear smile of the child who becomes part of my conspiracy of kindness is a blast to see. More often than not, the parent will pay it forward for the next kid. What’s been especially gratifying is hearing the staff tell me, “I’m going to start doing that.” Ripples. That my simple, mindful acts of kindness might be inspiring someone else to be kinder is reason enough to keep me going.

If you’re looking for some fun, simple ideas for mindful acts of kindness check these out at onelifecan.com. I know, some of these can take a bit of effort so start simply. A kind, well-placed word can have an amazing effect on a person. Say thank you to your boss. Compliment a co-worker. Scribble a quick smiley face on your waitress’ receipt. Tell a kid they’re awesome. It won’t be long before you start looking for other kind things to do.

And if you ever see me at a cafe, please let me buy you a cup of coffee. I’ve got a thousand to go.