How to Find (and ADAPT) Recipes for Phase 3 of the hCG Diet
The main thing we discuss here is how to go about finding and adapting the various Low Carb, Ketogenic, and Paleo type recipes that you are likely searching for online, to be sure they are suitable for Phase 3 of the hCG Diet. While Phase 3 can be similar to these diets, they are not actually the same- there are some key differences that would effect how P3 goes for you utilizing those recipes. It’s totally doable, you just need to know what to look out for and what to swap.
I first wrote this blogpost in like January 2013. And I was like HEyyyyyyyy guess what? There’s this awesome site called PINTEREST for finding cool and beautiful recipes.
I can’t help but laugh when reading over that original post because at this point, if you don’t already know about pinterest you’re probably living with your kids’ sock pulled over your head or something. :)-
So I had to revamp this a bit (okay I had to REWRITE the entire thing).
Just for a little laugh, I’m going to leave the original video I created for this post here for ya – a little trip down memory lane in a world that didn’t know about Pinterest:
Of COURSE you know about Pinterest, of COURSE you know you can find recipes and beautiful images there. It’s so hilarious now.
But also weird that technology and knowledge spreads this quickly in our day and age as well – that just 5 years ago it really was new enough for me to be able to act like I could introduce the idea to you for the first time.
Free Phase 3 Foods / Ingredients List
Before you start surfing Pinterest for P3 recipes, you might want to download my Free P3 Foods list – it has a list of Safe P3 foods, Maybe P3 foods, and Not-Safe P3 Ingredients. This can be useful since there’s often a lot of confusion about what is and isn’t acceptable during this phase. Are beans okay? Squash? Coconut flour? This list gets quite specific for you.
Get the Free P3 Foods List here or by clicking on this photo:
This way you can then compare the recipes you find with the ingredients on the list to be sure what’s suitable for Phase 3 or not.
My Carefully Curated P3 Recipes Pinterest Boards
So yes, for free P3 hCG Diet recipes go to Pinterest. Shocker.
But not just anywhere on pinterest- I’ve been curating a variety of boards on my account that we’ve personally checked to be sure the recipes fit within P3 guidelines and if they don’t we note in the description what adjustment you’ll want to make for it to be a Phase 3 approved recipe.
I’m a very visual person and if you’re like me, recipes are much more motivating to cook when you see an image of the dish. Text just doesn’t usually cut it.
My account is here: http://www.pinterest.com/p3tolife
We are adding new pins/content to the boards there weekly, so if you follow me there you’ll be updated and consistently see new recipes that can fit the Phase 3 lifestyle. You’ll see I have some boards with recipes I’ve gathered from pinterest and the internet for Phase 2 as well, and for Phase 3 I focus on finding Paleo, Ketogenic (KETO) and Low Carb recipes that fit the P3 profile we need.
You probably already have your own pinboards on your own account, but if you haven’t already you might want to make some dedicated hCG recipes boards for yourself – some suggestions for boards:
- HCG Diet Recipes
- Phase 3 hCG Recipes
- Sugar free recipes – on a board like this I try to put the type of dessert/baked good recipes that are made with things like stevia and erythritol to replace all the stuff I used to eat in the past full of sugar. It’s nice having replacements for those times when you aren’t in the mood to be super healthy.
You can re-pin whatever you like from my boards to your own boards for your use later. Here’s a screenshot of my boards so you can see what’s there for ya:
Like I said earlier, which is why I think you will find checking out my own p3tolife pinterest account useful, the P3 hCG Diet recipes board I have is filled with recipes that my team has personally looked over and made sure that the ingredients fit within the P3 hCG Diet guidelines. I’ve looked at different low carb recipes and paleo/keto type recipes to find ones that look delicious and make sure they are phase 3 friendly. So we don’t just randomly pin a recipe because it says it’s paleo or low carb. We check each recipe’s ingredients first before pinning.
Then, if they are not exactly tailored-fit for P3, we add those notes in the description on how you can actually tweak them to become hCG Diet friendly meals. So we’re taking a little of the time factor out of it for you by reviewing each recipe– if you see it on my P3 board, you know it’s P3 approved when it comes to ingredients. But how about the amount of food?
Eating the Right Amount in Phase 3:
While the ingredients may be okay for Phase 3, there is no guarantee with free recipes on Pinterest that AMOUNTS used of those ingredients and the resulting serving size they suggest is the right amount for you to eat on P3.
There is no guarantee with free recipes on Pinterest that AMOUNTS used of those ingredients and the resulting serving size they suggest is the right amount for you to eat on P3.
Why is this significant? Because you can overeat healthy food. There I said it.
I know it, because I’ve done it. It’s why I always lost an initial 5 lbs eating low carb, but then would stall out after that. I’d lose 5 lbs or so of water weight- maybe a little fat, but then I was eating SO MUCH of my special little low carb diet, that I still couldn’t lose any real significant weight. I, like many others, mistakenly believed that as long as I was eating the right foods, there really didn’t have to be any sort of limit on how much I ate of them. And I just genetically seem to eat a lot – for my size. Example: I’m 5’1”, I weigh 125 lbs now (started at 172 lbs before hCG – see my before/after hCG story here) and I frequently eat as much as my 5’11” 190 lb husband. Without feeling overly full. So weight loss efforts have always been a problem for me. I had to learn through trial and error over time, with my hCG journey, and then with maintaining that weight loss since late 2012 (over 5 years as of this writing) more about what and how much I put in my body and how that relates to weight loss and not gaining weight.
I am not the only person with this issue. P2 is successful for SO many of us ladies. But Phase 3? It’s really hit or miss. Without a specific plan, more miss than hit.
And that is why I spent 2 years creating a structured P3 program specifically for hCG ladies.
Back to Pinterest Recipes
Here’s a screenshot of part of what’s in my P3 hCG Diet recipes board:
The Keto Recipe & Paleo Recipe boards are pretty much the same- they are P3 & P4 friendly, anything you see on that board is something you can eat in P3. We all like to find ways to eat something sweet or yummy while in P3, and even for P4 and long term eating, many of us never go back to eating traditional baked goods, so these boards may be very useful to you in the future. Here are screenshots of those boards:
SWAPS for Unapproved P3 Ingredients with Paleo and Keto Recipes:
Paleo and Ketogenic recipes will often use natural sweeteners for their “sweet” recipes in varying amounts – things like: Honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, coconut sugar, dried dates, agave nectar, etc.
While these are certainly better than using straight white sugar, the above sources are still simple sugars and for Phase 3- this just doesn’t work for us. That is definitely something you can play with introducing later in phase 4, but for P3 we really do have to keep out all sources of simple sugars like this.
So for recipes that are mostly P3 friendly but call for a natural sweetener like this, I typically will try to first substitute with stevia only, to make them P3 hCG Diet friendly.
However, when it comes to baking, you often can’t use ONLY stevia – for one because of the lack of volume – if there’s ½ cup or 1 cup of a sweetener and then you replace that with 1/16th tsp of stevia, the change in volume can drastically change the ultimate texture and turn out of the recipe.
Also- taste- I find that stevia by itself as a sweetener is fine for me in my tea and other drinks and even my smoothies.
But something weird seems to happen when you bake with it and it gets heated up. It seems to get more bitter and just not taste right. Like kind of BLECH.
So, I find a combination of stevia with some of the other sugar free sweeteners below ends up tasting a lot more….REAL, and the volume/bulk of the below sweeteners also helps the recipe bake up properly. You know, so you don’t end up with a low carb chocolate loaf that’s actually low carb chocolate porridge. :)-
Other P3 approved sweeteners are: erythritol, Swerve, Truvia, Monk fruit/monk fruit extract, xylitol, and sucralose.
While erythritol and xylitol taste pretty similar, I much prefer erythritol because xylitol wreaks havoc on my digestion. The reason this is common for people is because the particle size of xylitol is larger, while with erythritol the particle size is smaller and doesn’t cause the same issues typically in your intestines.
Swerve and Truvia are basically just brand names of erythritol.
SUGAR FREE SWEETENERS ONLINE:
Swerve – granular – mostly erythritol + oligosaccharides (a prebiotic that has as sweet taste as well). Good for baking, drinks/smoothies
Swerve – powdered/confectioners – good for recipes that would have used powdered sugar.
Truvia – erythritol/stevia combo. Do NOT get their baking “blend” – this is a blend of erythritol and real sugar. No.
Lakanto – a combo of erythritol and monk fruit
POWDERED STEVIA NOTE:
Please note re my stevia source above, this particular stevia DOES contain maltodextrin, which is a simple starch that you typically wouldn’t use on P3. However, I used this stevia on all my P3’s without a problem. The amount you use for the desired sweetness is SO tiny- we’re talking 1/32nd or 1/16th of a teaspoon here in most cases, so the resulting amount of maltodextrin you are consuming is negligible.
The reason I don’t just find a different powdered stevia that doesn’t have this is because I’ve tried QUITE a few brands over the years and this is simply my favorite tasting one- to me it has the least aftertaste and just- tastes the best.
If you have Trader Joes where you’re at, I used to love and use their organic powdered stevia, which truly is just stevia, BUT I found myself having to use so much to get the sweetness level I wanted that I was spending, no joke, like $50 a month on stevia. That’s just a bit over the top if you ask me. My KAL brand stevia lasts me quite awhile and I only need a little bit at a time. Maybe I’m just crazy and like things 1,000x sweeter than everyone else, but I don’t think so.
WHY ALWAYS CHECK SWEETENER INGREDIENTS:
Because it’s all about advertising for these companies. People don’t really know the word “erythritol” nearly as much as they know the word “stevia”. So if you were a new company and you wanted people to buy your sugar free sweetener, you’re going to use on the label the word people are familiar with right?
If you’re a consumer looking for a sugar free sweetener on an aisle and you see a bag that says “stevia” and you see a bag that says, oh I don’t know, “brekitvachina” – which one are you going to grab?
My point is that many of these sweeteners are advertised with the main ingredient that is more commonly known by the public, BUT in many cases, that’s not actually the main ingredient actually in the product. So truvia might be advertised as stevia on the bottle, but really it’s mostly erythritol with a small amount of stevia. Same with Lakanto’s “Monk Fruit Extract” – it’s actually mostly erythritol, with some monk fruit added. But in this case, they are wanting to stand out as different and special, so they are focusing on the monk fruit as their advertising angle. Which is fine. But you want to know what you are consuming.
HIGHER COMPLEX CARBS
News update – regular potatoes is now allowed on the Paleo diet. And while I’ve never had any “diet” dictate my eating exactly, it’s nice to hear since I LOVE potatoes. Once again though for Phase 3 – there are some higher complex carb ingredients used in Paleo recipes that you will want to not use:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Butternut Squash
- Spaghetti Squash
- Acorn Squash
- Other Winter Squashes
NOTE ABOUT THE SQUASH IDEA: while they CAN be successfully used in P3 (for instance, we utilize both butternut squash and spaghetti squash in my structured P3 Program) there is caution that needs to be used in the AMOUNT you eat of such an ingredient. I have carefully calculated the use of these ingredients in my P3 program, and I can tell you it’s a lot less than what is used in a typical paleo recipe you find online. Eating an entire half of a spaghetti squash for a meal is going to be a lot more carbs than you’ll want to consume for a dish in P3.
I went to the store and bought 4 different sized yams/sweet potatoes. The size that I feel like I grew up seeing and eating – 1 for just me, was the biggest one – that one weighed in at a little over 1 lb.
If you see the nutrition stats for a 1 lb yam (453g), it equates out to 126.30 total carbs, and 107.7 net carbs (minused the fiber there).
Now let’s compare this with 1 lb of raw mushrooms – only 10 net carbs for that:
And 1 lb of raw tomatoes, only 12 net carbs:
So, using a wide variety of lower carb vegetables like this, will allow you to have more VOLUME in what you eat – the actual amount of food you can consume which = happiness/contentedness with what you eat. This is usually important for most of us because whether the food has a lot of calories or few calories, many carbs or few carbs, I find that the volume of the food I prefer to eat and feel satiated/content with, is often pretty similar. Meaning, in theory you should get fuller faster on something with more calories, more fat, or more carbs, than some other item with less, and therefore find yourself happy with eating less volume of that food (ie a “serving” of fat bombs might be only 1-2 ping-pong sized balls, or a “serving” of yam might be only 1/2 cup) but ultimately, that’s not what actual experience bears out when I’m eating! I found that out when I was able to pack away entire cartons of ice-cream in one go back in my pre-hCG days.
But okay, you said I would never eat 1 whole large yam in P3, duh Rayzel.
There are a lot of paleo recipes out there that looked BEEE-YU-TIFUL called stuffed yams. I love the ones made with purple yams because….purple.
I looked into moving to Ecuador for a time (another story for another time) and discovered following an Ecuadorian IG feed that purple yams are the only kind they have available there- so they get all excited when orange ones show up from time to time. Funny how what we considerable unique and desirable has a lot to do with what’s common in our area or not.
K back to the point.
So let’s say you do half a sweet potato or yam then like this recipe would call for (actually, I lied. That recipe calls for 1 sweet potato per person). Anyhoo. Lots of them might have you eat a half right?
So half a larger sweet potato like this, which like I said is the one I would personally naturally choose as a “normal” size – the others looked small and certainly too small to stuff with anything!
Now we’re talking 62.7g total carbs, and 54g net carbs.
Combine that with whatever other ingredients you might use like tomato, onion, etc and you’re still looking at a minimum 70g total carbs / 60g net carbs meal.
For P3? A bit high for one meal.
This doesn’t mean you can’t ever have a sweet potato again folks. You can. I do. Phase 3 is just another special time period like Phase 2 where you need to do things a bit differently than normal so that you CAN have stuff like sweet potatoes later in maintenance without weight gain.
If you utilize these squashes in P3, I would limit the amount to about ½-¾ cup while keeping the other ingredients of that recipe nice and low carb.
½ cup raw yam cubes = 18 net carbs
¾ cup raw yam cubes = 27 net carbs
In general, if you are doing Phase 3 on your own, you’ll want to stick with the foods on the “safe” list of the Free P3 Foods List where you don’t need to be as concerned with the amounts. The maybe list of P3 foods you can potentially use, but you would need to be a lot more conscious of the amounts and resulting calories and/or carbs in these foods when consuming them.
Smoothies/Drinks/Dressings & Sauces
The recipes in these boards can be super useful during your hCG journey. Most of the zero calorie drinks & dressings, you can definitely have them while on P3 (and maybe on P2 for some).
I really think beautiful visuals are highly motivating to get one to….well to just COOK in the first place, and then to COOK HEALTHY food
Of course, there are a lot more recipes online and on Pinterest that you can use while on P3 of the hCG Diet. It would be best to check out the Ingredients one by one and see if they are actually on the P3 Approved Foods List.
On P3, remember we are avoiding:
- Starch – corn, lentils, beans, etc.
- Grain – wheat, rice, etc.
- Sugar – this includes not just regular white sugar but other forms of natural concentrated sugars like dates, dried figs, brown rice syrup,
- Complex carbs – potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, winter squashes (these can be okay in ½-¾ cup amounts)
I have an entire section of the hcgchica site dedicated to more specifics on succeeding in Phase 3 of the hCG Diet .
And don’t forget the Free P3 Foods List here:
Why Cheating on P3 Hurts You
Your weight initially in Phase 3 is unstable.
This won’t always be the case. But at first, you need to make sure the food you consume is low carb and prevents blood sugar spikes.
As P3 moves on, your weight still start to be “settled” there. I can’t give you the scientific explanation for this, but you will see this happening if you do Phase 3 right. If you don’t, and you’re consuming the above foods to avoid, you will gain weight very easily – whereas later in Phase 4 some or all of these foods wouldn’t cause the same type of gain.
Don’t believe me? Learn from my mistakes. I had one epic Phase 3 fail because I ignored the principles.
Don’t be me that time.
Worried About Doing Phase 3 Right?
Many are. If you are feeling anxious about deciding what and how much to eat on Phase 3, or you just really feel like you have no idea how to go about it, you can always check out my structured Phase 3 Program for hCG.
It’s literally so specific that I have made ALL the decisions for you and all you have to do is buy what’s on the grocery lists, cook the specific custom P3 recipes designed just for this program, and eat them. Oh yeah and be super happy.
Because my P3toLife program is NOT about just increasing Phase 2 foods.
The Increasing P2 Foods in P3 Idea
This is a common approach to Phase 3 – which is understandable because there before the P3toLife program, there really wasn’t any known reliable method for stabilizing, so not having that, the only truly safe way at that point was the #increaseP2foods approach. You can still do that. Likely it will work.
But it will also be super boring and untasty and at the end of P3, you will still be left wondering how to eat the rest of your life. Since I’m 100% positive you will not be able to eat P2 foods only the rest of your life, no matter how many more calories of those foods you consume. You will just be so sick of them you’ll be like screw it, order the pizza I need something with some TASTE!!
I will iterate here what those I’ve interviewed who’ve successfully gone through the P3tolife program have said:
They could eat this way for life. They LOVE the taste of the food, the volume of the food, everything.
But don’t take my word for it. Hear it, read it, from THEM. Other real hCG ladies just like you.
Here’s JUST the first six episodes:
Well- I hope this helps you out as you move on from Phase 2 of the Diet into Phase 3 and 4 where you will be spending the majority of your life. It’s very important in order to maintain weight loss from any diet to make long term changes.
Getting inspired and getting ideas from recipes like this can really help with this process.
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