Being gluten free on the 4 Hour Body slow carb diet

Well, I figured since I haven’t mentioned it before, and it’s been coming up in some recent Tweets, I’d write a quick post for celiacs, or those who are living on a gluten free diet.

It can be daunting enough to change to such a regime, but then to consider changing again, to another food-limiting way of eating could be enough to put people off.

I really want to make it clear that staying gluten free on the 4 Hour Body Diet is very easy. In actual fact, I find myself more relaxed, and more at ease with meals and food in general. I’m not sure if it’s a common experience, but since going gluten free 5 years ago, I find that I have a mild anxiety around meals, or more specifically, if I’m not going to be able to eat one due to food not being available, bad planning, etc. It means that at times, I can be the crazy one asking ‘but where are we having dinner’ at 11am in the morning. Not fun, but for me, it’s a critical aspect of my day. I can’t just grab a sandwich on the road, and salads don’t replace the carbs lost to the (invisible) bread.

So, moving to the slow carb diet gluten free was a challenge for me, mentally. But once I checked through some food lists, I was comfortable enough to start. Realistically, it changes the ball-game in a big way, because Kat and I are both eating the same things, which means stocking the house with a much smaller variety of food – which means it’s easier, there’s less hassle and less stress. We also don’t have to play who’s-knife-was-in-the-butter or any other cross-contamination-avoidance games. Brilliant! And I feel like Kat having to manage food selection actually gives us another thing in common, as bizarre as that sounds.

So, rather than being concerned with what odd gluten free carbs I can get quickly, without labouring over rice, or opting to go ‘easy’ and lose the complex-carb benefits (ie corn flakes), I am now happy, knowing that my meals are planned, effectively, for the entire week, before I even start thinking about food. I just go to the cupboard and the fridge, and can basically blindly grab something, without the anxiety. And eating out, both Kat and I are having to make choices with menus, and most slow carb is also gluten-free. Win-win.

Are you on a gluten free diet, and starting the slow carb Four Hour Body diet? I’d love to hear your thoughts – leave me a comment!

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14 Responses to Being gluten free on the 4 Hour Body slow carb diet

  • BB says:

    Hey Luke & Kat….I am loving your post. I am on my 2nd day of 4 hr b and wow…I am realizing just how much I love sugar. I am still craving it. I have done good with the meal planning but, it just being my 2nd day I am already looking forward to my cheat day just for the sugar. Egh. Also not to be too TMI no bowel movements. Has this happened to you? Not sure what thats all about.
    Keep up the great posting & hard work!!!


    • Luke says:

      Hey BB,
      Thanks for your comment! On the sugar – we found that the first week of changing our eating was very tough. We did a herbal cleanse for a week before starting on slow carb (though not exactly on purpose), and in the first few days of that we had crazy headaches, nausea, cravings, mood swings, and aches! The good news is that after probably 4-5 days it just clears away, and you should be ok. Maybe some risidual the start of the 2nd week (because of cheat day) but after that only because of lack of sleep/delayed meal/etc.
      On the TMI lol – could be fiber – lots of people barely eat any usually, and then you switch to slow carb and get a kick in the guts with fiber – probably 10g per meal for a daily total perhaps up to 50g + vegetables! Drink LOTS of water. We’re talking large glasses, and 8-10 of them. If you have trouble with water, we do a lot of our water hot, with lemon juice for the taste. It will likely taste terrible if you are craving sugar, but keep it up and you’ll grow to love it. I probably drink 75% of my water hot, with lemon.
      All the best! Keep it up, don’t give up! Its a challenge to start, but then its all down hill and benefits after that.

  • Kalin Harvey says:

    I’m also celiac and have been eating gluten free for 10 years now. In some ways it’s been interesting to watch the 4HB bloggers go through the process of removing gluten from their diets (for 6 days of the week at least). I always say that celiac disease is a blessing in disguise though. I was already eating a diet not that different from what 4HB recommends. Though I’m not sold that Ferriss represents the research on fructose correctly, I’m not going to disuade anyone from trying canonical 4HB and testing it out on themselves. However… there are lot of fruits that are pretty low in Fructose such as blackberries, figs, papayas, apricots, strawberries. It makes more sense to me as a celiac to splurge on these nutrient dense carbs pre-breakfast and after workouts than to go completely nuts with the HFCS sodas on a cheat day.

    The coolest thing for people to keep in mind when it comes to cravings for sugar or wheat is that if you truly eliminate these from your diet for 3-4 weeks your body chemistry and intestinal flora begin to change to the point where the cravings just go away. It’s probably one of the most important steps to long term body comp and health: changing your body’s chemical relationship to food.

    • Luke says:

      Hey Kalin thanks for your thoughts. You make some really worthwhile comments relating to eating gluten free – and you’re spot on about the cravings stopping after 4 weeks. Things do just change.
      It’s true that technically some fruits don’t have a lot of fructose, but I think the genius in this slow carb diet is its simplicity, and for that reason, it’s easier for people to just stick with how its described. I’m sure after goals are met that other healthy foods could be incorporated, like berries, etc in moderation.
      I agree that on the cheat days, I find myself gravitating to a wide array of foods, and actually have had a mouthful of soda in 2 cheat days, because they’re just not my thing. What I do like is some of those high-calorie meals I don’t get to eat, and also some simple things too.
      Thanks for your thoughts.

  • Missy says:

    I’ve been gluten free since I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease 6 years ago. I started the slow carb diet because it was cheap and pretty much gluten free. Not only am I saving money, I feel 100x healthier than i did before the diet. Cheat days still make me feel awful so I’m cutting back on the sugary foods and just eating more of the things like spaghetti with corn noodles. I am weak however and cannot resist having a cookie or mocha ;] It’s really amazing how awful I feel after cheat day..

    • Luke says:

      Hey Missy,

      Thanks for your comment. The slow carb diet is great for Celiacs – it provides plenty of energy, even over a long day, which is something I never found before including legumes in my diet.
      Cheat day is a great adventure away from the week’s beans, but I prefer to eat more fats, with some extra carbohydrates as I find sugar really makes me feel bad.

      All the best!

  • Evelyn says:

    I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2003, after nearly 27 years of horrible illness and malnutrition…even after being gluten free for 9 years, my gut has never completely healed and likely won’t. Quinoa is a staple for me, since just about any grain, gluten free or not, bothers my stomach. Legumes and large amounts of veggies and fruits also do a number on my system. With my limited ability to digest legumes, does quinoa have a place in the slow-carb diet? While it’s high carb, it’s also one of the only seeds that is a complete protein. As it stands, I’m trying to do some research and plan a diet for myself that is low in grains…something combining the Paleo eating plan, South Beach, 4HB, and Mediterranean. Thanks!

    • Luke says:

      Hi Evelyn, I really feel for you. It was a much quicker road for me, as a celiac, and I don’t have those long term lasting problems to the same extend as you.
      I really respect that you’re proactively seeking out ways to do things right by your system and your individual needs.

      While slow carb is one option to you, quinoa doesn’t fit in with the slow carb principles. But that’s not to say that there isn’t lessons for you in slow carb. As you mention, it sounds like you might need to take a combined approach and really experiment to find what works for you. Your gut may be bothered by lectins, which are found in beans (more on lectins here – Mark’s Daily Apple – Lectins).

      Have you followed the New Atkins program at all? It’s an option – you’ll get as many calories as you need, without any grains, barely any fiber (so little irritation), and ample protein and fat for good health. If you have heard negative media about the Atkins methods and principles, please try to approach it with an open mind. There is more research on the successful results and health benefits of Atkins than there is of any other diet program or method of eating in general. It’s positive effects of body fat, blood pressure, cholesterol and other health indicators is well documented and replicated in multiple studies, and it may be a good option for your situation.

      Otherwise, a combination of lower carbohydrate intake, with plenty of healthy fats, and protein should work for you, but experiment and see how you go!

      All the best,

  • Lindsey says:

    I’m starting the slow-carb diet shortly and was happy to see that it’s easy to stay gluten and dairy free on. But I’m also egg free and it seems like most meals – at least breakfasts – involve a lot of eggs. Any recommendations for 4HB breakfasts without eggs?

    • Luke Starbuck says:

      Hi Lindsey,

      It’s true that a lot of meals can involve eggs. That shouldn’t hold you back though! There are lots of protein options. One of my clients love salmon in the mornings – a simple portion cooked with lemon and pepper, with spinach and lentils. You might also want to try using ham with breakfast.

      All the best,

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