Identifying Diets in the Wild.
June 25, 2012 12:55 PM   Subscribe

Discreet supper party hostess seeks diet detectives.

Our lovely friends have had a rough month. They're also on a diet, but on the down-low. Since this diet is new for them, not based on an evolution of previous habits, it's probably one of those fancy Named Diets. Your mission: supply said name (which so far seems too embarrassing to be mentioned) so that I can conduct independent investigation preparatory to a discreetly guilt-free supper party.

-Our friends avidly ask for new bean recipes.
-They still eat meat.
-They say they can eat all the vegetables they want, with the caveat that they eat no sugars, and thus no potatoes, yams, etc.
-No sugars also means no rice nor fruit, nor any dairy excepting cottage cheese. Nothing that ends with -ose.
-Avocado is important. (And not classified as a fruit.)
-Coffee is good.
-They can cheat once a week (not sure if this is part of the diet).
-The diet includes two glasses of red wine daily.

Yes, I could just create a menu based on the above rules, but suspect more details lurk beneath the surface. Yes, I could probe, but since our lovely friends have already been invited (specifically for black beans & greens), they can't tell me more without feeling rude. Also, I am at a loss for the dessert course, which was always first in their hearts.
posted by feral_goldfish to Food & Drink (34 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Maybe it's Tim Ferriss's slow carb diet from the 4-Hour Body?
posted by carmel at 12:57 PM on June 25, 2012 [5 favorites]

That sounds like the Atkins diet. It can be summarized in three dicta:

1. Protein good
2. Fat good.
3. Carbohydrates bad.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:58 PM on June 25, 2012

possibly the paleo diet (though sounds like the wine would be "cheating")
posted by jclovebrew at 12:58 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

This sounds like paleo to me.
posted by peacheater at 12:59 PM on June 25, 2012

Best answer: Seconding Slow-Carb from 4-hour body. My wife and I are doing a version and it's felt good and worked well so far. Note that it's similar to Atkins, but does differ in many ways that make sense from what you've said above.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 12:59 PM on June 25, 2012

Yeah, it sounds close to the slow carb diet from 4-Hour Body to me.
posted by bedhead at 1:00 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

It seems to be one of those paleo-type diets but for the beans, which are uncommon but some have it. Some are pro-bean and some are pro-wine, and I think all are pro-vocado. I suspect the cult of Crossfit may be involved as most of those gyms have their own paleo or Zone-esque diet with no name.
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 1:00 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: contradicting Chocolate Pickle: this does not sound like Atkins, at all.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:00 PM on June 25, 2012 [4 favorites]

It's unlikely to be Atkins since they seem to be eating beans, and are avoiding dairy. That sounds more like paleo to me. The wine and cheating once a week sounds more like primal, but that freely allows dairy.
posted by peacheater at 1:00 PM on June 25, 2012

Low carb is ixnay on the beans. Slow-carb is probably the deal.
posted by Slap*Happy at 1:01 PM on June 25, 2012

It's not paleo proper, which is no-bean and no-dairy (sometimes clarified butter is allowed, but there's definitely not a cottage cheese exception.) But Weighted Companion Cube is right, there are a million variations.
posted by restless_nomad at 1:01 PM on June 25, 2012

Best answer: Yeah, my guess is Tim Ferriss' 4 Hour Body diet -- the book has some kinda weird parts, so maybe that's why they haven't been up front.
posted by bluefly at 1:04 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: It's totally slow carb, right down to the cheat day and the reliance on beans and avocado. Coffee and wine aren't part of the diet per se, but they are allowed and Tim Ferriss talks about enjoying them both. Ask them if they want cinnamon in their coffee instead of milk and sugar.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:05 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm not entirely clear on the scenario here, but if I was invited to a dinner party and I did not supply any diet restriction information to the host, I would not be expecting to be served food that conformed to my diet, and in fact it would be a bit weird if the host and gone to some trouble to suss out my dietary needs from other sources. Perhaps they are using their weekly "cheat" on your party?
posted by Rock Steady at 1:05 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Fourthing 4-hour body; I believe that's the only mainstream diet that allows a cheating day.
posted by Melismata at 1:05 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Could it be Sugar Busters?
posted by pazazygeek at 1:06 PM on June 25, 2012

Best answer: Another vote for Slow Carb. The glasses of red wine and the weekly cheating are dead giveaways. The book is pretty ridiculous apart from the diet, and Tim Ferriss is embarrassing in general, so it's definitely believable that they might be self-conscious about it.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 1:07 PM on June 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yet another for Slow Carb - matches it exactly down to the 1-2 glasses of red wine daily.
posted by FlamingBore at 1:13 PM on June 25, 2012

Dessert suggestion: coffee granita, possibly made with Splenda if you're willing to go that route? Or if they can have eggs, some sort of Splenda-sweetened meringue?
posted by pie ninja at 1:13 PM on June 25, 2012

Just chiming in that both the diet description and the reluctance to admit to the slightly embarrassing diet plan point to the Tim Ferrriss slow-carb diet. (Some people like the diet, but his narrative is pretty glib.)

Here are some basic outlines -- I think it's been talked about on some other askme posts, too.
posted by mercredi at 1:17 PM on June 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

I think Tim recommends sugar free lime jello as a dessert for the slow carb diet.
posted by backwards guitar at 1:17 PM on June 25, 2012

It is never, ever rude to ask your guests if they can have whatever it is you have in mind. Obviously, you don't have to put the burden on them to decide, but you can ask if X, Y, or Z are okay.

Also, they may be using that day as their cheat day. Don't deprive them of dessert if they can have it!

And yes, it probably is Slow Carb. Cheese is a free food on Atkins (though some people do cut it if they suspect intolerance), as is half and half, cream, sour cream, goat products, etc. Primal and Perfect Health are kinda "you can have some cheese IF YOU MUST", and beans are not on any of those except Slow Carb.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:26 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the speedy answers!

Despite many similarities it can't be Tim Ferriss's 4 Hour Body Slow Carb, because he (according to Carmel's link) says you can eat avocadoes in moderation, whereas this one says avocadoes are actually important.

It can't be Sugar Busters, because that one allows brown rice, unsweetened low-fat dairy products, etc.

Re Rock Steady's concern: it's an informal supper party, not a dinner party, with friends who have told me about their diet before, who've taken us camping, who call us when they need an emergency sitter, etc. etc.

Re artificial sweeteners: er, that's how people get diabetes, right? Not sure I want to go that route.

Paleo would make the non-naming thing make total, TOTAL sense. My friends like their new diet and do not want to hear it deconstructed, and they've been subject to some of my professional rants about unfounded assumptions re Stone Age life. (Um, but luckily for them I support gatherer-intensive theories of paleo food production. Not that I'll be mentioning that.)

Unfortunately Paleo seems real broad. I don't suppose there's a specific subset of Paleo avocado-worshippers, with a conveniently linked manifesto & recipe tips?
posted by feral_goldfish at 1:32 PM on June 25, 2012

-They can cheat once a week (not sure if this is part of the diet).

It could be that they are looking forward to this dinner as a chance to indulge in their weekly cheat. Might they be a little weirded out or even possibly disappointed by this gesture?
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:40 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I still think it's Ferriss. It's possible they've read some dietary philosopher who has offered the "EAT LOTS OF AVOCADOS" as a supplemental rule supported by some theory about why it makes the diet work better, so they're doing "Ferriss (Avocado-Positive Variation)."
posted by Linda_Holmes at 1:58 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Despite many similarities it can't be Tim Ferriss's 4 Hour Body Slow Carb, because he (according to Carmel's link) says you can eat avocadoes in moderation, whereas this one says avocadoes are actually important.

That's almost certainly a difference in emphasis, either on the part of your friends or in your interpretation of what they said about their diets. Ferriss clearly mentions the importance of getting high-quality dietary fats, and there are several foods -- almonds come to mind -- which he highly recommends and says should be eaten in moderation.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 1:59 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't think that they are specifically on the paleo diet, because you were able to pinpoint very specific detail about their diet. Paleo is a very, very broad diet and people in the paleo community tend to have a wide variety of what they believe is acceptable. For example, I have friends who will bake "paleo brownies" using almond flour, honey, pure cocoa, etc, whereas I have some friends who consider that to be a non-paleo dish. If you start reading up about paleo you'll see that there's a lot of discussion within the community regarding what's acceptable and what isn't. ALSO, paleo people tend to avoid beans.
posted by carmel at 2:13 PM on June 25, 2012

Yeah, minus the beans, it is pretty much Paleo/Primal diet.

Healthy fats are good, avocados are definitely on the "can't get enough of them" list over at Mark's Daily Apple.

If you want recipe ideas for desserts, I highly recommend the Coconut Macadamia Bark. I'm going to guess that coconut oil is probably high on their "to eat" list as well.
posted by mrzarquon at 2:23 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks again -- y'all have boosted my dietary expertise to the point where I was able to do an end-run around tact by asking a straightforward question that caught them off guard. (Answer: "Mostly Ferris".) They did eventually cotton on to my plan and start demurring that of course I didn't have to worry about it and they would just cheat, but by that point they'd already admitted using all their cheat days for travel, and were easily subdued by my wails that a cheat day would be BORING and not a CULINARY CHALLENGE.

Dessert will be cinnamon coffee, Bengal Spice tea, and Coconut Macadamia Bark if I can find unsweetened coconut flakes, thank you very much mrzarquon -- my friends actually mentioned being lost for other ways to eat more avocado-type fat, so this will be PERFECT.
posted by feral_goldfish at 3:07 PM on June 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

You can make avocado chocolate pudding, if they don't mind a sweetener. I've made it by mashing up avocados, cocoa powder, and... maybe agave? Honey? Maple syrup? Plus a bit of vanilla.

Mr Corpse enjoyed it the one time I made it. It's no Kozy Shack, but it wasn't bad.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:34 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Sadly our guests' allegiance lies with Ferriss not Paleo, so they do mind a sweetener. However I appreciate your reference to Kozy Shack, which is mrs_goldfish's preferred chocolate pudding (at least here in the hinterland, where we cannot obtain Panda Flavor).
posted by feral_goldfish at 7:01 PM on June 25, 2012

Re artificial sweeteners: er, that's how people get diabetes, right?

?? Um, no, not right.
posted by kestrel251 at 4:39 AM on June 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

Beans aren't part of the Paleo diet, and if they're asking for recipes I'd assume they're being eaten regularly.

Possibly the Zone diet? It's based on "Blocks" of Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates. 40% of intake should be carbs, 30% Fat, and 30% Protein.
posted by cad at 7:03 AM on June 26, 2012

Response by poster: ?? Um, no, not right.
Sorry, that was improperly overstated.
posted by feral_goldfish at 12:45 PM on June 27, 2012

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