How to Diet: High Protien & Low Carb

As you know, I do not have any diet plans but I am inspired by Ideal Protein weight loss method. Either you can join their program or follow on your own. Here I will brief how Ideal Protein weight loss method works, a few quick tips, do's and don'ts while following any diet.

Many people especially vegetarians who joined the Ideal Protein program, are on the look-out for recipes for high protein & low carb dinner in phase1, and recipes for high-protein lunch & dinner in phase2 & all three meals including breakfast in phase3, They are also looking for replacement or alternate products to cut cost. So I spent lot of time in finding products that have similar nutritional facts that can be compared to Ideal Protein products. I tried & tested most of the products and then listed here. I also reviewed many of these in Product Reviews page. You can also find many more replacement/alternate to IP products in Alternate Ideal Protein Product List/Finder page.

Tip#1: Do NOT eat the same kind of food everyday, you will get bored and give up your diet.

Tip#2: Do NOT stop the diet abruptly else you may enter into YO-YO EFFECT and gain weight.

About Ideal Protein diet:

Ideal Protein weightloss method is similar to ketogenic diet(Ketosis). Usually ketosis diet is high fat, high protein & low carb, where as Ideal Protein follow high protein, low fat, low carb.

Ideal Protein weightloss program says "Lose an average of 2-5 lbs. per week", it varies from person to person, gender and personal determination. You need to follow strict diet protocol until you reach desired weightloss. You should target to lose atleast 5pounds more than your desired weight(as shown in the graph below) as you will gain back 3-5 pounds in phase3 and hence so.

Ideal Protein has mainly 3 phases and the last is maintenance phase(phase 4). Maintenance phase is nothing but a change in lifestyle, keeping constant eye on your weight and food intake on day to day basis after completion of your weightloss-diet and no need to eat any IP foods. In maintenance, you need to eat 1g of protein for every 2 pounds of your weight everyday. Protein intake daily is very important to maintain weight. Here are some hints for Phase4(Maintenance) to help you.

Here is Complete Ideal Protein Starter Guide. This is a bit old doc, but it has almost complete information about each phase and also discusses about medical issues and side effects etc. It is important to check this document to understand the program completely.

In all 3 phases you need buy IP food and follow their PHASE 1, PHASE 2 & PHASE 3 protocol insturctions.

During IP diet no frying or breading allowed and no soda(not even diet soda), no alcohol allowed. Also no fruits & no dairy allowed in phase 1 & 2 i.e until the target weightloss. Fruits & dairy are introduced in phase 3 - for breakfast.

Ideal Protien recommends 4 meals a day (Breakfast, Lunch, Evening Snack and Dinner) with calories totalling about 800. They also require you to take mandatory of 1/2 tsp of sea salt, 1~2 tsps of olive/grape seed oil and vitamin suplements(Multivitamins, Cal/Mag/Zinc complex, Omega3 and Potassium) everyday.

They also ask you to eat 2 cups of SELECT VEGETABLES for Lunch & Dinner (We have several recipes here). You may be surprised NO Carrots(any form), no cooked Onion (only raw allowed). IP classified vegetables into 4 categories. Here are those.

UNLIMITED RAW VEGETABLES/LETTUCE: Arugula, Bibb lettuce, Boston lettuce, celery, chicory lettuce, cucumber, endives, escarole lettuce, frisee lettuce, green and red leaf lettuce, iceberg lettuce, mushroom, radicchio, radish, romaine lettuce, spinach and watercress lettuce.

SELECT VEGETABLES : Alfalfa, asparagus, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage (all), cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chayote, chicory, collards, cucumbers, dill pickles, fennel, Gai Lan (Chinese broccoli), green onions, jicama, kale, kohlrabi, mushrooms, okra, onions (raw only), hot peppers, radish, rhubarb, sauerkraut, spinach, Swiss chard, turnip, zucchini/yellow summer squash.

OCCASIONAL VEGETABLES : ( Maximum 4 cups per week ) Beans (green and wax), Brussels sprouts, eggplant, heart of palm, rutabaga, snow peas, tomatillo, tomatoes (all).

RESTRICTED/NOT PERMITTED VEGETABLES : Artichoke, Avocado, Beets, Corn, Carrots, Chick Peas, Cooked Onions, Peas, Parsnips, Potatoes(any kind), Pumpkin, Sweet Corn, Squash, Yams.

IP meal schedule look like this:

Breakfast: IP Food Packet (Avg about 15g protein, <10g net carbs and about 100~150 calories).

Lunch: IP Food Packet (Avg about 15~20g protein, <10g net carbs and about 100~200 calories) + 2 cups of Select vegetables(can be cooked as clear soup, sauteed/pan fried, roasted, grilled but not deep fried). Here are several 2 cups vegetable ideas.

Evening Snack: IP Food Packet (Avg about 15g protein, <10g net carbs and about 100~150 calories).

Dinner: Our own home-cooked Whole Protein Dish & 2 cups of Select vegetables(can be sauteed/pan fried, roasted, grilled but not deep fried). --> This is where the whole issue starts for vegetarian, so here we have several meal recipes, the main aim of helping you all to make yummy easy recipes.

IP classified some food packets as Restricted, these usually are high in calories/carbs/fat so they restrict you to take not more than 1 per day. (Having more than 1 of these per day leads to no weightloss or sometimes slight gain in weight too)

Hint: Any food is Restricted due to 'High in Carbs or High in Fat'. This tip might help to avoid weight gain or no weightloss, when opting to eat Restricted food. You can balance with less carb veggies or take lesser fat by reducing mandatory oil (from daily requirement of 2 tsp).

Also you can only take Max 2~4 cups of Occassional Vegetables per week.

Caution: You must strictly follow the diet schedule, do not deviate even at parties, team lunches etc. no cakes!!. If you deviate you will be kicked out of Ketosis and you lose 3 days of your dedicated dieting. If in case you had to sample any food, burn those calories by walking as soon as possible & not let them store in your body. Then there are chances of you still staying in ketosis.. and not losing your hardwork.

Phase 1: This is the begining of your new journey. This phase is the main weight-loss phase. Since it is a ketogenic diet it takes 2-3 days to start losing weight(i.e body starts burning fat). Once you enter into ketosis you will be losing weight every week as long as you follow strictly. If you deviate or cheat then you will be kicked out of ketosis and again your body takes 2-3 days to get back into ketosis mode. So determination is must, you should put a hard stop on all your cravings. Once we start losing weight we feel better and encouraged and also our body gets used to the diet process and we do not even feel hungry because of enough protein intake.

Phase 1 continues untill you reach your desired weight loss. IP mentions people lose around avg of 2~5 pounds per week, this varies depending on each person's metabolism and also gender. IP says men lose more weight compared to women in the same the time frame.

The Phase1 IP meal plan looks like below mentioned schedule:

Phase 2: We need to follow this phase for about 1~2 weeks after reaching desired weightloss in Phase 1. This phase is almost similar to Phase 1 with just one difference. Here we need to shift to 2 own cooked protein meals(lunch & dinner) rather than just 1 such meal in Phase 1(dinner). There is no change in intake of 2cups of vegetables here in Phase 2. For vegetarians it's very diffcult to get Whole protein within the calories limit, so here we have prepared several Vegetarian Lunch/Dinner Recipes.

The Phase2 IP meal plan schedule:

Phase 3 is **VERY IMPORTANT**: This is an exit phase and must be followed for atleast 2 weeks. Please Read this document for a better understanding and for an explanation of - why this phase is so important!! You must follow this phase properly, otherwise if you stop the diet abruptly in phase1/phase2 then you may enter into YO-YO EFFECT and gain weight.

Phase 3 meal plan is little different. This is not a weightloss phase, we may gain about 3-5 pounds back in this phase. It is an exit phase, slowly increasing more foods/calories. In phase 3, we will enjoy a HUGE morning breakfast(about 400~500calories). In this phase fruits, dairy and grains are introduced back.

Phase 3 meal plan looks like this:

Phase 3 Breakfast: 400~500 calories - You may feel embarrassed, but enjoy! Breakfast should consist of the following - (link for Phase3 breakfast recipes).

GRAINS No more than 30 grams of carbohydrates. (like whole wheat bread, muesli etc)

FRUITS No more than 20 grams of carbohydrates. (Berries, Banana, Grapes, Papaya, Cantaloupe etc)

PROTEIN Aim for at least 25 grams total, more is OK (count protein from all i.e Grains, Fruits, Dairy & Fats).

DAIRY No more than 120 calories (this would be 8 oz. of low fat plain yogurt/ 1% milk).

FAT No more than 15 grams of total fat per day. Count total fat from Grains, Protein, Fruits & Dairy, you can add healthy fat options like butter (not margarine), coconut oil or other "healthy oils" (olive, grape seed, peanut butter, almond butter, etc.) to add upto not more than 15g total fat.

Lunch & Dinner : Same as Phase 2 (Own Whole Protein Dish with 2 cups Vegetables) Here we have prepared some Vegetarian Lunch/Dinner Recipes.

Evening Snack : IP Food Packet.

See our IP Phase 3 Breakfast Idea Recipes Here.

For alternative IP products, check here for a consolidated product list.

Hint: If you are hungry, feel free to eat as much as you want "UNLIMITED RAW VEGETABLES/LETTUCE" like this recipe ALL-U-CAN-EAT Unlimited Salad in any phase & at any time.

Download Daily Diet Log:

For your convenience I made a template for daily diet log, you can Download this and enter your daily log for later reference in weight loss journey. This log will help you to keep a track of your diet, weight or any mistakes you commit.