Fighting Middle-Aged Spread with HCG

HCG is the topic of the day over at Parlez Moi Blog since Ann Chambers is the guest blogger. The article talks about the inspiration for her diet guide and recipe book 35 Quick & Easy HCG Recipes.

Here’s the beginning:

It’s stunning how middle age can creep up on a person. And with every year, a couple more pounds. Last year I went to the doctor for a checkup and the first thing the mean nurse did was weigh me. If any doctors are sitting around wondering how to get people to stop dreading doctor visits, I recommend cutting out the weigh in. It’s a start, at least. Let us lie to you. Just ask us what we weigh, then add 20 pounds. You’ll be close.

Anyway, at that weigh in, I was shocked to discover I had passed my all-time peak weight, which was set 22 years ago when I had twins. Something had to give. But with middle age came a thyroid problem that made losing weight extremely difficult. Nothing seemed to really work.

The rest of the article is here: Parlez Moi Blog is the creation of author Kathleen Valentine and it features her fiction books as well as her family cookbook and several knitting books and original patterns.

Any readers who are interested in the HCG diet will find helpful articles, bonus recipes, and downloadable HCG diet tracking and shopping forms here at the Lakehouse Publishing blog. Just click on the HCG category to have a look. And come back soon because we are adding more content regularly.

35 Quick & Easy HCG Recipes is available online for only 99 cents at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony, Kobo or Smashwords.



HCG Diet Plateau Breakers

Some dieters hit plateaus while doing the HCG diet, especially when following the diet for a full 6-week course. A plateau is generally considered 4 or more days at the same weight.

When weight loss stalls, there are a couple of recommended ways to jumpstart it.

Steak Day

To have a Steak Day, dieters drink all the zero calorie drinks they want all day and eat a big steak for dinner.

Apple Day

The other recommended plateau breaker is an Apple Day. To have an Apple Day, dieters drink all the zero calorie drinks they want all day while eating only 6 apples throughout that day.

Common Culprits

Some people find that drinking diet sodas can stall their weight loss, so drink them in moderation and cut sodas if weight stalls. Generally, only sodas sweetened with Stevia or Splenda are allowed on the diet.

Sadly, Balsamic vinegar can also be a stall inducing item and may need to be cut from the diet, at least temporarily.

Under Dr. Simeon’s original HCG diet, only 1 vegetable is allowed per meal. Most current versions of the diet allow vegetable mixing, but for dieters on a plateau, single vegetable portions may help speed weight loss.

Also, lean red meats are allowed on the diet, but it is best to eat them sparingly. Most diets recommend red meat only 3 or 4 times per week and never 2 portions on the same day.

Dieters are also encouraged to keep track of their fluid intake. Drink extra fluids, especially water, to help break a weight stall.

Information in this article is taken from 35 Quick & Easy HCG Recipes — available online for only $1.99 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony, Kobo or Smashwords.

New! Download Free HCG Shopping List

The HCG diet requires strict compliance to it’s limited foods and a structured eating schedule, so it’s important to buy the right things, and to not forget anything, while at the grocery store. To make this easier, we developed a downloadable shopping list for anyone using the HCG protocol.

The downloadable file is here: HCG Shopping List.

35 Quick & Easy HCG Recipes also includes an overview of the entire diet, including an allowed foods list. If you would like to download that list, it is here: Allowed Foods List.

The HCG diet is truly miraculous, allowing dieters to lose up to a pound a day on average for the first week or so and an additional 1/2 pound a day after that. It is generally done in 3-week or 6-week runs with a low-carbohydrate diet after to help stabilize weight loss. The HCG diet is only about 500 calories per day, but dieters lose only fat thanks to the HCG drops or shots that are taken each day of the diet. HCG makes the body release fat into the blood stream, making it available as fuel so there is no decrease in muscle mass as seen in other very low calorie diet plans.

The diet is very simple once you get used to the eating plan, but it is important to buy the right foods. The diet requires 2 portions of lean protein each day, 2 servings of vegetables, 2 fruits, and 2 very small servings of starches.

If you are following HCG or planning to try the diet, these downloadable forms will help make it even easier to follow the protocol. Check the HCG posts here for other free HCG recipes and 2 free downloadable forms that make tracking your progress and menu much simpler.

35 Quick & Easy HCG Recipes is available online for only $1.99 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony, Kobo or Smashwords.

Good luck and good health!


25 Quick & Easy Quesadillas Featured at Parlezmoiblog!

Lakehouse Publishing’s Ann Chambers and her cookbook 25 Quick and Easy Quesadilla Recipes was featured Saturday at author Kathleeen Valentine’s Parlezmoiblog! You can see the post here:

If you don’t want to click thru, here’s the post:

25 Quick & Easy Quesadilla Recipes by Ann Chambers

This week I am beginning a new feature on this blog. Every Saturday I’ll feature a guest blogger who is the author of a book on cooking, crafting, home & garden, or wellness. I’m very pleased to start this series with a post from the fabulous Ann Chambers:
I’ve been making cheese quesadillas for years for my sons. They became a staple around my house because it was quick, hot, and simple food that my children loved. Then my children grew up and moved out and quesadillas slid off the menu plan.
To keep the mess to a minimum, I tend to pre-cook filling items that need it in the heavy skillet I use for cooking the quesadillas. I dump the filling ingredients into a dishwasher safe leftover container so I can just slap the lid on it and toss it into the refrigerator if I don’t use it all.
In the meantime, I had slowly gained weight. Last summer I realized that I weighed more than I did when I had my full-term twins! Something had to give and I discovered the HCG diet. For those who don’t know, the HCG diet is a very low calorie diet that is combined with special drops or shots for rapid weight loss. The diet is super strict. After the HCG diet, participants must follow a low-carbohydrate diet for a few weeks as transition. I didn’t know anything about low carb. After a couple of bacon-and-cheese filled days, I had to learn a little about it. I love bacon a ridiculous amount, but even I can’t live on it forever.
A plate of hot, fresh quesadillas with homemade salsa for dipping.
And that’s when I thought of quesadillas! The hard part of low carb is the restriction on breads. But “carb-balanced” tortillas are available in any grocery store or market these days. So I put quesadillas back on the menu – but not just boring old cheese ones. I started experimenting and came up with lots of different flavors.
You can put anything in a quesadilla – it doesn’t have to be Mexican food. I created several tasty Italian flavor quesadillas. Then Greek. Then assorted American flavors.
The basic structure of a quesadilla requires 2 tortillas for the exterior plus cheese to melt and hold the quesadilla together. And whatever fillings and spices you care to add. It’s kind of a blank slate. I experimented with assorted cheeses, meats, thin sliced vegetables, spices and more. A few of the recipes were shared by friends. It’s an extremely flexible food once you stop thinking of it as a Mexican appetizer.
The quesadillas deliver hot and delicious dinners in short order with only one dirty skillet and a cutting board in the kitchen. It’s an awesome addition to my list of quick items for a week night meal. By using the smallest tortillas, I can easily cook each person his very own quesadilla with just what he likes in it. Don’t like onions? No problem. One wants mushrooms but the next won’t eat them? Okay.
I credit the frequent quesadilla dinners with part of ease I’ve had in keeping off the weight. I think a low-carb night or two is a great addition to the food selection at my house.
When I put the book together, I included my 25 favorite quesadillas and then added a few sauces that go with them. I made sure to include my favorite homemade salsa and guacamole because almost nothing beats great salsa. It’s naturally low in calories and basically fat free yet so delicious.
It’s my hope that the quesadillas can help other busy moms add quick and delicious options to their weekly menus. I’m still so very glad I did.
About the Author:
Ann Chambers is a journalist, author, and long-time foodie. She worked in a variety of restaurants as a teen and college student, developing an interest in food and cooking. Semi-retired after 20 years working full time as a reporter, editor, and researcher, she is now busy experimenting in the kitchen and tending the garden. Over the past year she has compiled 6 new e-cookbooks, including 25 Quic

New! Download Free HCG Diet Tracker Forms

The HCG diet, although only about 400 calories or so per day, requires eating small amounts several times each day. While this doesn’t seem that tricky, it can become dizzying after a few days.

To assist customers who purchase 35 Quick and Easy HCG Recipes, we created a 2-page diet tracking form. Dieters who are planning to do the 3-week version of HCG will only need page 1. Page 2 continues for anyone choosing to follow the protocol for the full 40-day period.

The forms also have a spot for dieters to record their weight each morning, making it easy to track weight loss during the diet.

Here’s the link to page 1: HCG Diet Tracker

Here’s the link to page 2: HCG Diet Tracker 2

Follow this blog to see new posts related to our various cookbooks, including upcoming posts with more downloadable forms to make the HCG diet even simpler!

35 Quick & Easy HCG Recipes is available online for only $1.99 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony, Kobo or Smashwords.

Strawberry Season is Here!

I stopped at a roadside stand a few days ago and bought a special treat. The first locally grown strawberries of the season. There are few things more wonderful than fresh-picked strawberries!

One of my favorite ways to fix them is to clean them, chunk them up, stir them about in a bit of sugar and then eat them! If I can get my mitts on some Angel Food cake, pound cake, or shortbread – all the better. But the strawberries alone make a fantastic dessert or snack. Oh, and homemade whipped cream will never go to waste in my house!

Looking at the recipes in my newest book, Gourmet Ice Pops for Kids and Adults, my love of strawberries is evident in the number of recipes that contain strawberries! Plenty of them, for sure. Here’s one from the Kid’s section of the book.

Strawberry Banana Pops

1 small package instant banana cream pudding mix

1 3/4 cups milk

2 cups sliced strawberries

1 tablespoon sugar

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Pour into ice pop molds, add sticks, and freeze.

For anyone using the HCG diet or looking for low calorie and low fat treats, try this strawberry delight.

Strawberry Lemonade Pops (HCG)

2-3 strawberries, mashed

Lemon juice, from 1/2 lemon

8 ounces water

Stevia to taste

Mix all together, pour into ice pop molds or small paper cups, add sticks, and freeze.

This drink is 1/2 of a fruit serving on the HCG diet. This recipe can also be made using Lemon Drop flavored liquid Stevia as the sweetener.

However you like to eat them, it’s strawberry time and that’s a great food celebration!

Ann Chambers is the author of several delicious e-books, including Gourmet Ice Pops for Kids and Adults available online for only $2.99 exclusively at Amazon and 25 Quick & Easy HCG Recipes, available online for only $1.99 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony, Kobo or Smashwords.


Lessons Learned from the HCG Diet

The HCG diet is unlike any other diet I’ve ever been on. It is a stickler. You must eat particular foods on a strict schedule and nothing else. All food must be weighed to ensure you are eating the right amounts of each category (proteins, vegetables, etc.). The structure really turned my schedule and habits upside down — but in a good way. I learned a few things.

Personal Accountability

One requirement during the HCG diet is the morning weigh in. This was a big change for me. Back in the day, I had a bathroom scale in my bathroom, but I rarely checked it. Who needs the aggravation, right? Then, one day while cleaning the bathroom, I tossed the dusty, rusty thing into the trash. Since then, no weighing except at doctor’s appointments. Always bad news.

Then I decided to try the HCG diet. It requires dieters to weigh each morning. And it’s fun to do when you are watching the pounds fall off. After completing the strict part of the diet, dieters are strongly encouraged to continue the morning weigh in to ensure the weight doesn’t sneak back on.

So, each morning I stagger into the kitchen to start the coffee, then weigh while the coffee brews. No skipping, no excuses. I am finding that it keeps me accountable. I’m accountable to myself.

I don’t want to pack the weight back on. So I tend to make better decisions. Not great ones always, but better than I would without that morning weigh in lurking in the back of my mind.

If I know I’m going to eat dinner at a restaurant and will order something heavy, then I try to eat low calorie, low fat for lunch. I try to remember to drink plenty of water always. These small adjustments make a difference.

I did the HCG diet last summer and maintained my weight pretty steadily until Thanksgiving. Ouch. Over the Thanksgiving week, I bumped up about 4 pounds. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, I held steady, but didn’t manage to take the weight back off.

Time for a New Year’s resolution round of HCG. I dropped those few pounds and more. And I’ve held steady since then. Easter was a challenge – believe me!

I truly think the morning weigh in helps with weight maintenance, at least for me. Whether I do or do not eat a bunch of Easter candy at night – I have to face that scale in the morning and I know how unhappy it makes me if the number jumps.

Portions Matter

When I first started the HCG diet, weighing all the food for strict portion control, I was amazed at the tiny servings. Sure, some meals were still large in appearance (primarily salads with a fluffy lettuce base). But most meals were a fraction of the size I was used to. 7 or 8 ounces of food total for a meal.

To make these dishes seem like a full “meal,” I starting using small dishes. A small bowl full of HCG chili just seems more satisfying than a big bowl with a little scoop of chili in it.

Instead of using the big plates and bowls, I used smaller ones that were a good size for the small portions.

Since completing the HCG diet, I continue to use the smaller dishes, and to consider portion sizes before preparing or serving food. Just how much of a dish do I really need? I’ve found the answer to be much less than I had been serving.

Most of our restaurants serve huge portions. We all know that. Luckily, several of my friends have also gone through the HCG. (I also have a couple of skinny friends who don’t need to diet.) Now, we tend to share dishes.

Most restaurants are very accommodating for sharers. Last week, several of us went to a local burger joint that has great food. We all love it. But this time was different. We split burgers – each eating a half burger and a half order of fries. And it was plenty of food.

In the past, we would all have ordered our own basket and then eaten most of the burgers and fries. And then had an overly full stomach for the afternoon and possibly heartburn. Definitely more of a sleepy, tired afternoon. And an ugly weigh in the next morning.

Our waitress was very nice about the burger basket splits. She brought the burgers already cut in half for us, plus empty baskets to make sharing easy. She got a nice tip for her trouble.

I’ve learned more and more about nutrition and food groups from participating in the HCG diet, but I believe the two biggest lessons I’ve taken away from this diet are personal accountability for what I’m eating (through the scales) and the importance of keeping an eye on portions.

So far, these changes are making it easy to maintain my weight. Except, of course, for the Thanksgiving debacle. But there’s always next year.

(Ann Chambers is the author of 25 Quick & Easy HCG Recipes, which was recently updated to include more than 35 recipes. The book also includes an explanation and overview of the HCG diet. 25 Quick & Easy HCG Recipes is available online for only 99 cents at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Sony, Kobo or Smashwords.)


Orange Tea HCG Ice Pops

Constant Comment tea is a favorite around here, and it makes a great beverage while doing the HCG diet. Constant Comment has an orange spice flavor to it. It comes in caffeinated or de-caf versions. For those who enjoy sweet tea, try adding Orange flavored liquid Stevia. It’s delicious hot or iced.
To make HCG ice pops, brew Constant Comment and add liquid Orange Stevia. Taste to ensure tea is strong and sweet. Once frozen, it won’t taste as strong or sweet. Pour into ice pop molds or small cups. If improvising with small cups, cover with small pieces of foil, cut a slit in the foil and insert sticks. The foil will hold the sticks upright. Freeze until solid, at least 4 hours.

Steakhouse Buffalo Burger makes a special dinner, even on a diet (HCG)

The best diet dinner for a romantic holiday like Valentine’s Day or an anniversary is our Steakhouse Buffalo Burger! It’s a smaller version of dinner at a steak restaurant and the buffalo meat is delicious and very filling. You’ll feel like you cheated even though you didn’t! This recipe complies to the HCG Protocol. If you are following a less stringent diet, you could make the burgers a bit bigger or add other vegetables to the side. When working on a low carb maintenance, we like to put a dollop of bacon grease in the pan to saute the vegetables and add a few ounces of sliced cabbage. Mmmm.

Steakhouse Buffalo Burger

Dinner for two

7 ounces ground buffalo

4 ounces sliced baby portabella mushrooms

4 ounces chopped sweet onion

1/2 teaspoon onion salt

1 teaspoon garlic and herb seasoning

1 teaspoon seasoning salt

Mix onion salt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic and herb seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt into buffalo meat, then divide into two patties. Cook over medium high heat in nonstick skillet until almost cooked through. Slide burgers to side of skillet and place mushrooms and onions on the other side. Add 1/2 teaspoon garlic and herb seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt. Stir to distribute seasonings and cook until onions clarify.

(Ground buffalo is available at many upscale grocery stores. It is very lean and much tastier than the lean hamburger meat. Buffalo meat has great taste and texture. It generally comes in one pound packages. For ease of preparation, you can double the meat spices in this recipe and divide the meat into five patties. Cook all patties together, removing those that are not needed when they are almost cooked through. Refrigerate and reheat later. It’s best to cook the onions and mushrooms fresh when you reheat the burger. Use about 2 ounces of mushroom and 2 ounces of onion per burger.)


25 Quick and Easy HCG Recipes Book Expanded

Fajita Lime Chicken Salad

The newly expanded version includes 10 great new recipes, new tips and tricks to make following the HCG protocol easier, and 10 new color photos!
The title is unchanged, but the book now has 35 recipes. All recipes comply exactly to the HCG diet rules.
We just had to add these new recipes after a recent round of dieting because the Fajita Lime dishes are our new favorites! Everyone is GaGa over the Steakhouse Buffalo burgers, too. Garlic shrimp and Mustard Vinaigrette Chicken Salad remain on our lists of favorites as well.
The expanded version is live now at Amazon. It should be available at the other major online bookstores in about a month. We distribute to Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo and Sony through a book distributor called Smashwords, and unfortunately it takes 3 to 4 weeks for new books to filter through the system and become available.