Beginning Or Restarting A Low Carb Diet

Perhaps you splurged over the holidays and are now having a difficult time getting back on track with your low carb WOE (Way Of Eating). Or, perhaps, you looked in the mirror and decided, “2002… It’s time to lose that weight!” And after considerable research, you have decided to go the low carb diet route. Regardless of your reasons, here you are, confronting the Dreaded Low Carb Diet!

You made your New Year’s Resolution to lose weight… Now how are you going to actually DO it?

There are numerous low carb diets, but for the sake of clarity, I am going to focus on Induction, the 2 week kickoff for the Atkins Diet in this article. If you are following one of the other plans, of course, follow its specific guidelines.

The biggest secret to success on Atkins or any other low carb diet plan is to PLAN AHEAD!

Before you even start, read your book! Then roll up your sleeves and let’s get started.

Take Inventory

Go through your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry and get rid of the high carbohydrate foods, especially the snacks and any holiday leftovers. If you MUST have them in the house, get ones that you don’t like very much. I would be tempted by Poppycock in the house, but I can turn my back on BBQ chips anytime.

Plan Your Menu

What foods will you need for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks? Plan a week’s worth to start off with. Need recipe ideas? They’re all over the Internet. Check out these online recipe resources: the CarbSmart Recipe section. (The CarbSmart Recipe Exchange is a posting list where you will find recipes, and can also post recipes and ask food-related questions. It generates daily emails. Celebrate Low Carb is a newsletter and generates emails once or twice a week.)

Make A Grocery List

Stock up on the low carb foods that are the mainstay of your diet. Meats, poultry, fish, eggs, appropriate vegetables, low carb dairy products (butter, cheese, cream, etc.), low carb salad dressings and mayonnaise, artificial sweetener, diet soda, pork rinds, sugar free Jell-O.

For additional information, see my article, “Stocking The Low Carb Kitchen” at: Stocking The Low Carb Kitchen

Don’t Forget Your Water Needs

Figure out your water consumption. You should be drinking a minimum of 64 ounces of water every day, plus an additional 8 ounces for every 25 pounds that you want to lose.

Do you prefer bottled water? Better stock up!

Get a sports bottle for when you’re on the move, whether it is around the house or running errands.

Do You Need Any Special Items?

Here are some thoughts:

  • a scale
  • a tape measure
  • Ketostix, if you use them: k100.html
  • any specialty food items that you may need to track down locally or online

Eat Before You Shop

It’s not a good idea to shop when you’re hungry, so have something to eat and then buy what you need!

Get Cookin’!

You know your personal schedule. Do you need to get dinners made ahead? Some people spend Sunday cooking for the following week.

Do you need to prepare some low carb lunches or low carb snacks for the following week? It is a good strategy is to make up your lunches and snacks ahead, and you will be less tempted to grab high carbohydrate foods when you are in a rush. (And we’re all in a rush, aren’t we?)

Check out my Quick Ideas For Brown Baggers below. They’re great even if you’ll be at home at lunchtime.

Eat Until You Are Satisfied

While you don’t need to totally stuff yourself with low carb foods, if that is what it takes for you to stay on track, you can as long as you choose the right foods. When ketosis kicks in and as time goes on, your appetite will naturally decrease.

During Induction, stick with the basics: meats, poultry, fish, eggs, appropriate vegetables, low carb dairy products (butter, cheese, cream, etc.), low carb salad dressings and mayonnaise, artificial sweetener, diet soda, pork rinds, sugar free Jell-O.

Later, once you are on track and you can start adding small amounts of carbohydrates, make certain that they are the right carbs. Add more vegetables, for instance, instead of adding sugar free pudding. Low carb eating isn’t really about adding as much fat as you can. It is about eating healthily and choosing the carbohydrates you do eat wisely.

When you start adding those small increments of carbohydrates, spend some time online cruising around the online stores for low carb specialty products. My very favorite is not/Starch (, but there are also low carb shake mixes, bake mixes, protein powders, sugar free syrups, and hundreds of other specialty products. Some may be available at your local supermarket; others will require a trip to your local health food store or low carb diet website, such as CarbSmart.

Proper preparation makes it a lot easier to make your low carb diet a true Way of Life!

For more information on starting a low carbohydrate diet, you can check out Di Bauer’s articles, “Starting A Low Carb Diet, Part I – Preparation” and “Starting A Low Carb Diet, Part II – The First Two Weeks

And now, here are the recipes:

Quick Ideas For Brown Baggers

  • hard-boiled eggs
  • deviled eggs
  • egg salad
  • tuna salad
  • egg, tuna, or chicken salad wrapped in Romaine or butter lettuce leaves
  • bacon, lettuce and tomato rolled up inside a slice of deli turkey breast
  • meatballs (cold or nuke ’em)
  • cold roast chicken drumsticks or chicken wings
  • sliced roast beef wrapped around string cheese stick
  • beef jerky, Slim Jims, or other cured dried meat products (I make my own jerky, or you can order sugar free jerky from CarbSmart
  • sugar free gelatin (You can buy this already made in 6-packs or you can make your own. I have included a recipe for Sugar Free Gummi Worms below.)
  • cheese, sliced or in sticks or cubes
  • Celery sticks, broccoli florets, or cauliflower florets with dip
  • large pepperoni or salami rounds spread with cream cheese and rolled up
  • deli turkey, ham, or roast beef spread with cream cheese and rolled up
  • chef’s salad with lots of meat and/or cheese
  • leftovers of any kind (Cold ribs are great the next day!)
  • low carb soup in a thermos
  • low carb quiche squares (These are delicious cold!)
  • salad greens strewn with leftover meat from last night’s dinner and topped with ranch or bleu cheese dressing
  • pork rinds (Try the BBQ or hot flavors, and check out the microwaveable ones that ‘pop’ in the microwave.)
  • plain pork rinds with pimento or nacho cheese
  • sunflower seeds (These are available in different flavors. Try the salsa!)

Sugar Free Gummi Worms

  • 1 small packages sugar free gelatin (any flavor)
  • 1 envelope unsweetened Kool Aid or other powdered drink mix (in the same or a complimentary flavor)
  • 3 envelopes unflavored Knox gelatin, divided
  • 1 cup boiling water, divided

Mix 1 cup of the boiling water with the gelatin, unsweetened Kool Aid, and 3 packets of the unflavored Knox gelatin. Stir until they are completely dissolved.

Pour the Jell-O/Kool Aid mixture onto a dinner plate and refrigerate until it is completely set. This will take at least 20 minutes or more.

When cooled and completely set, peel the “gel disc”off the plate, roll it up jelly roll fashion, and slice it into thin “snakes.” (Kitchen shears work great for this.)

***Note: If you don’t want them to be “sour” worms, omit the unsweetened Kool Aid.

***Note: If you make this with sugar free lime gelatin and lemonade powdered drink mix, they come our an eerie glowing green shade that my son thinks is cool.

Rani’s Chicken Francaise

I serve this with streamed broccoli and Cauli-Rice. Believe me, this is a keeper.

  • 1 egg for every two servings
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • butter
  • lemon juice
  • boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
  • cream (optional)

Melt the butter in a nonstick pan.

Beat the egg(s) in a bowl and add the Parmesan cheese until it is the consistency of a thick batter – like cornmeal muffin mix. (Remember that stuff?)

Add a splash of lemon juice to the batter.

Thickly coat the chicken breasts with the batter and drop them into sizzling hot melted butter. Cook until barely lightly browned, flip over and cook the other side, adding more butter to the pan if needed. Cook until the juices run clear, which will depend on how thin you pounded the chicken. Put chicken breasts on a plate and keep warm.

Now if that isn’t rich enough for you, add a tablespoon or two of heavy cream or chicken broth or even a little more lemon juice (if you wish to add a smidge of carbs to it) and deglaze the pan.

This will make a very rich sauce; you won’t need much.

Rani’s Stuffed Peppers

  • 4 large or 6 smaller green peppers, seeded, stems removed a head of cauliflower OR a pound of frozen cauliflower, chopped fine
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1 pound bulk sausage
  • 1 egg
  • 4 ounces grated cheese, optional (I used cheddar.)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup lowest-carb tomato sauce you can find
  • olive oil or bacon drippings
  • 1 packet artificial sweetener
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar (I used balsamic, though cider is lower in carbohydrates and also good)1 clove garlic, crushed, or equivalent in garlic powder or jarred, minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons herbs of your choice (I used parsley.)
  • salt and pepper and any seasonings you like, to taste (I like Tony Crachere’s Creole Seasoning in it)

Cook the onion and garlic in olive oil or bacon drippings. Cook and crumble the sausage in the same pan. Add the cauliflower, cook briefly. Season to taste.

Mix in 2 tablespoons of the tomato sauce, most of the cheese (optional), and the egg.

While the filling is cooking, trim the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds and any gunk inside.

Fill the peppers with the mixture.

Mix the remaining tomato sauce with the artificial sweetener, vinegar, and if you wish, some allspice or herbs or Creole seasoning.

Put the peppers into the baking dish and spoon the sauce over the tops. Top with remaining grated cheese, if desired.

Cover with the peppers with plastic wrap and microwave on high for ten minutes, or bake them, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven until the peppers are softened.

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