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2000 Calorie Diet: 100 Grams Protein, Low Carb, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Under $10 Per Day

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When it comes to diet the amount of misinformation on the internet is staggering. The best diet is a low carb, balanced diet based on natural foods with lots of meat, vegetables and nuts. The diet here is cheap, nutritious, minimalist, maintains muscle and will give you lots of good clean energy.

The optimum diet for you means modifying or removing anything you’re allergic to. For me dairy is a major allergen, gluten is no problem, but coconut milk, a fodmap and staple of a paleo diet destroys my gut. It’s really important to test for allergies and not follow any diet blindly, including this one.

This is primarily an eat to live diet, with enough goodies to make it sustainable (nuts and sauces), food should not be where you get your comfort from but primarily where you get your nutrition from. 2000 calories is maintenance for a 170 lb. man living a sedentary lifestyle, use this calculator  to determine your daily caloric maintenance.

For guys under 170 lbs, cutting calories or who do lots of cardio adjust accordingly. For guys bulking or who weigh more than 170 lbs. adjust accordingly. As far as preparation goes, the best way to prepare is cook everything on one day and store it in tupperware in the fridge for the rest of the week. Then just reheat it in the stove or microwave in a pinch and add sauce.

Now I know this doesn’t look like a lot of fun, and it’s not but looking good and having great energy feels better than any food tastes. Even though this is technically a diet you have to look at it as a lifestyle or a lifetime commitment or you’ll never be able to maintain your results.

Now I won’t try and pretend that I follow this diet 100% of the time, I look at it as more of a base. When I’m bulking I’ll add a cheat meal on myworkout days. When I’m eating for maintenance and I want a junk meal, I’ll skip the chicken dinner and go eat some junk food.

I’m pretty good on a cut but sometimes when I’m doing maintenance or especially when I’m bulking I will eat a junk meal for dinner for weeks at a time. Eating healthy is a lifetime battle. The one thing I do is eat the right amount of calories and always make sure I get 70 to 120 grams of protein a day. Here’s the diet:

RLD Diet

Greens Shake/Juice/Vegetables
  • 1 scoop of greens shake is equivalent to 6 to 8 servings of vegetables, it’s a more efficient and cheaper way for getting your vegetable intake for the day, I’ll take a shot of this in the morning
  • Here is a cheap, quality greens shake that will get you 2 months worth of servings, I take it in the morning
  • Vegetables have almost no calories or carbs so you can eat as many as you want, I don’t eat a ton because they are a pain in the ass to prepare
  • Generally I rely on my greens shake but sometimes I run a whole stalk of Kale through a Hamilton Beach Wide Mouth Juicer which gives me about a 1/4 cup of juice which I down in one shot
  • I don’t really do full juices because they are a pain to prepare but Mike from Danger And Play has a great juicing site  if you’re looking to get into juicing
  • 8 glasses per day
  • Water is very important for keeping your energy and mood up, also important to keep your body loose, too little water and I start to feel stiff
  • The diet consists of 3 staples, medium grain white rice for carbs, chicken for protein and nuts for fat
  • For preparation I like to cook everything on Sunday and store in 14 tupperware containters for the week
  • I will butterfly 2 chicken breasts, add salt and pepper and put on the foreman grill for about 10 minutes on the low setting
  • For rice I will put the 2 kg bag in a large pot, cover with water almost to the top of the pot, add a teaspoon of salt, bring to a boil, and then let simmer for about 30 minutes, the excess water is key as it will make the rice soft and tasty, careful not to let the rice at the bottom of the pot burn
  • You can also use a rice cooker which is even easier
  • Cashews, split evenly into each container
Per Week
  • Grilled Chicken/ Five 2-packs chicken breast/4400 calories/460 grams protein/$49
  • Cashews/400 Gram Bag/2212 cals/72 grams protein/$6
  • White Medium Grain Rice/2kg Bag/7200 calories/147 grams protein/$5
  • 2 Bottles Sauce/350 calories/$7
  • Total Per Week: 14162 calories/679 grams protein/$63.25
  • Total Per Day: 2023 calories/103 grams protein/$9.03
  • 1 Chicken breast: 440 calories, 50 grams protein, 
  • Cashews (Estimate): 263 calories, 50 grams, 10 grams protein
  • White Medium Grain Rice (Estimate):  500 calories, 142 grams 3/4 cup raw, 9 grams protein
  • Sauce: 50 calories
  • Total: 1253 calories, 69 grams protein
  • 1/2 Chicken breast 220 cals, 25 grams protein, 
  • White Medium Grain Rice (Estimate):  500 calories, 142 grams 3/4 cup raw, 9 grams protein
  • Sauce: 50 calories
  • Total: 770 calories, 34 grams protein
  • I know some of you guys will be thinking protein requirements are low here but as you can see from the studies below, protein requirements max out at 120 grams per day, at 170 lbs. you’re good at 100 grams, if you’re over 200 pounds aim for 120 grams per day
  • However you can still add as much protein as you want, just put more chicken breast in each meal
  • Walberg et al. in 1988 found that .73 grams/pound was sufficient for nitrogen balance
  • Tarnopolsky et al. in 1988 found 0.55g/Lb sufficient for bodybuilders
  • Lemon et al. in 1992 found recommended 0.75g/Lb
  • Tarnopolsky et al. in 1992 found that 0.64g/Lb and 1.10g/Lb were not significantly different
  • 120 grams per day of protein is the most you need, the lemon study specifically was done on bodybuilders
  • It’s not the protein that makes them jacked, it’s the juice
  • White rice is higher on the glycemic index than brown rice but it tastes better, if a diet isn’t sustainable its useless (if you love brown rice though go ahead and substitute)
  • Lean chicken breast is about the healthiest meat you can buy, if you want to spend a bit more than go for the organic
  • As far as nuts goes you can replace the cashews with peanuts, just make sure you don’t have allergies to either, nuts are high in omega 6 but you should balance that out by taking omega 3s daily
  • The Diet is 2 meals per day as you should be fasting through the morning for energy, check out the article here
  • To add more calories just add or remove the staples in equal proportions
  • The whole key is in the sauces, I’ve tried using organic sauce but have found it difficult to find pure organic variety
  • I feel here that the important idea is sustainability so having a sauce you enjoy is key, I use a lot of Thai, Barbeque and Szechuan sauces

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  1. Melinda
    January 7, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    This is a great site!! I’m a woman and was wondering if you could give me some help managing my weight. Your diet sounds sustainable and I would like to adjust it for me. I’m sedentary, 36 yrs old and weigh 247lbs. I’m ready for a Life change and your no bull site has really interested me.

  2. January 8, 2015 at 1:05 am

    Thanks Melinda, glad you like the site. Sure I’d be happy to, I’m not sure how tall you are but to get to a healthy weight I’d say you should aim for 130 lbs. To get to your goal weight losing a pound per week you’re looking at about 2 and a half years. One pound is 3500 calories so on average you’ll need a 500 calorie deficit per day for the next 2.5 years.

    I’ve clocked you into the calculator at 36 years old, 247 lbs. at 5’6 with a sedentary lifestyle, that has your mainteance at 2190 calories. With no activity you’ll need to eat 1700 calories a day for the next 2.5 years to hit your goal. That could be tough on such a long timeline so I’d suggest walking on the treadmill or some light training on the elliptical every day so that you can eat more. 30 minutes a day would up your maintenance to 2400 calories a day, that would allow you to eat 1900 calories a day and maintain your 500 calorie deficit.

    The key to a diet on that long a timeframe is sustainability. That means you’re going to have to like all the meals you eat. Also I would skip breakfast (intermittent fasting) and take a 100 mg caffeine pill with lots of water instead and another one at lunch to help give you energy and blunt appetite, its what I do everyday.

    You could use the diet I’ve outline here or you could create your own.I would eat high protein meals, protein is the most satiating nutrient by far. Its really easy to overeat on carbs but much harder to over on steak or chicken. Steak and broccoli (800 cals) is a great tasting lunch with a good balance of protein, fat and carbs, I have it every day. Then for dinner I’d aim for another meat based dish, it could be chicken sandwiches, a cheeseburger, ribs etc. and some vegetables (1000 cals). On top of that you could have a small dessert like a small ice cream bar or shortbread cookies (200 cals). Just make sure you know exactly how many calories you’re eating. The most important thing is sustainability, it doesn’t matter if some of the meals aren’t super healthy as long as you stay within the calorie guidelines.

    Also if you’re going to drink, don’t touch beer, drink liquor with diet coke, ie. jack and diet coke, no calories in that.

  3. Melinda
    January 8, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    Thank you so much for your reply! That was a great guess on my height as I am 5′ 6″! I am going to go grocery shopping Saturday and get all my meals for the week. Then I’ll cook everything thing up on Sunday to make this transition easier. I think the hardest part will be making sure I make enough food for my hubby. He is 42yrs old, 5′ 11″ 164lbs. He is very active because of his job. So, I need to help him maintain his weight or maybe even gain some more muscle. I’ll start using my total gym for 30 minutes per day to allow myself some additional calories. Thanks again for your help and quick reply!!

  4. January 8, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    Glad to hear and my pleasure, keep me posted on how things turn out.

  5. A.J.
    May 29, 2015 at 2:40 am

    Do you have any specific sauce brands that you recommend?

    I’m in a deficit right now but when I get back to maintenance I will do something like this

  6. May 31, 2015 at 12:42 am

    Awesome, I use Dianas bbq sauce usually

  7. BigD
    September 29, 2015 at 10:19 am

    Thanks for this easy diet Will, looking to make some significant body changes so going to be really strict with it until I’m where i want to be.

    Just one question: why does your chicken breast cost so much? Am i missing something? 4400 cal would be around 4-5 pound or 2kg. where i live chicken breast is about 5/pound or 10/kg

  8. September 29, 2015 at 10:27 am

    Hey BigD, I lived in Toronto when I wrote this piece and everything is super expensive there, here in Thailand I can get chicken breast for pennies on the dollar.

  9. BigD
    September 29, 2015 at 10:55 am

    Sweet mate, thanks for all the help.

  10. September 30, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    My pleasure

  11. October 8, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Awesome information Will, thanks!

  12. October 8, 2015 at 11:24 am

    My pleasure man

  13. Nathan
    November 3, 2015 at 9:37 am

    How much rice goes in each meal…I see its 500cal worth but not sure how much that equates to.

  14. November 3, 2015 at 11:00 am

    Just check the back of the bag of rice and it will give you the cals/scoop

  15. Manu
    June 12, 2016 at 4:53 am

    Hi Will great article! I love your website.

    I’ve started going to the gym and following your advices. I want to implement this diet, but I’m confused because I get different calculations: one chicken breast raw skinless is about 150g which equates to 165cals. How do you get the 440cal of chicken per lunch with one chicken breast?

  16. June 13, 2016 at 11:54 pm

    Hi Ash, thanks for the kind words, you might be right there, I’ll have to look into that. If the math is wrong you can just increase the amount of chicken breast or rice.

  17. Lucas D.
    June 19, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    Hey Will,

    Love your website man, really taking a lot of these lessons to heart! I wanted to ask a few questions:

    1. Is the greens shake taken in the morning when you wake up? The articles specifies two meals a day, just wanted some clarification.

    2. As for raw veggies, can we really eat as many as we want, so long as it is within the IF window and doesn’t break our calorie limit for the day?

    3. Would it be okay to substitute cashews for other nuts, almonds specifically?

    Thanks again for this website, I look forward to changing how I take care of myself with your articles guiding the way!

  18. June 19, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    Thanks Lucas.

    1. Yes, it barely has any calories.

    2. Yes, exactly.

    3. For sure you can subsitute anything you like as long as your stomach tolerates it. I’m eating fresh salmons sashimi for lunch now and it’s great.

    Glad to haer man!

  19. Donald
    June 8, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    Are you on steroids while doing this diet? I cannot believe that 2000 calories is enough for an ectomorph with that weight.

  20. patrick
    September 26, 2017 at 11:41 am

    great site bro i’m 6’1 240 i want to get down to around 185 lose belly fat/man boobs/love handles how many calories should i be consuming?

  21. September 29, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    thank you, check out my how to lose weight article, it breaks it down for you

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