Weight Loss for Vegetarians on HCG Diet Can Be Successful
Weight loss for vegetarians on HCG diet is often a difficult problem. Many vegetarians have difficulty losing weight because of large amounts of carbs they eat and limited amount of animal proteins they usually consume. With the introduction of many non-animal protein products recently weight loss may not be so difficult. Vegetarian dieters find many non animal proteins can often be substituted for chicken, fish and meat in the 800 calorie HCG diet.
Definitions of Vegetarians and Vegans
The general accepted definition for vegetarians are individuals who do not eat protein from animals including beef, pork, fish, or chicken, but do eat dairy products and eggs. Vegans, like vegetarians exclude eating animal proteins, but take it a step further by excluding all animal byproducts including dairy, eggs, honey, rennet and gelatin (The last 2 products are derived from animals).
Despite all of the low calorie foods, obesity does exist in the vegan population. Few weight loss diets have been tailored for vegans. Although not a vegan diet, Weight Watchers can be adapted to the vegan lifestyle. Since the emphasis is on fruits and vegetables with low points, there is a lot of food. However, it really is not the best choice for weight loss.
Worried About Inadequate Proteins?
If you’re worried about not getting enough protein on a vegetarian diet, you may be in for a surprise. Most Americans get way too much protein, and vegetarians can easily get more than enough protein in their diet as well. Many people still believe that protein is only available from meat and animal sources and we will all fall over dead without animal protein! Unless you’re pregnant or an Olympic bodybuilder, you will likely get more than enough protein without even trying.
Weight Loss for Vegetarians on the HCG Diet vs. Common Vegetarian Diet
Weight loss for vegetarians on the 800 calorie HCG diet follows the basics of the HCG diet.This is a a high protein, ultra low carb diet. It is based on eliminating all sugar and refined carbs such as rice, pasta, potatoes, grains, and sugary snack foods, as well as eliminating as much fat as possible. The HCG Diet contains 800 calories. Each portion may only contain a maximum of 2 grams of sugar and 2-3 grams of fat. There are 3 protein selections a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Most fruits are permitted and all vegetables except for peas, carrots and corn are unlimited. In the traditional HCG diet all proteins except for pork and other fatty meats are permitted.
The problem in the diet for vegetarians is making up for their calorie intake when all carbohydrate products are eliminated. The HCG diet can also be adapted to vegans. However, the true vegan who eats no animal products has some difficulty because eggs, especially no-fat egg beaters (which are a good source of lean protein in the HCG diet), are not part of the vegan lifestyle.
Weight loss for vegetarians on HCG diet:
Fruits – 3 per day: apples, peaches, all berries, pears, oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, cantaloupes, nectarines, (limes and lemons are free). Berries portions are ½ cup.
Seasonings: unlimited – lemon, garlic, thyme, parsley, plum vinegar, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, basil, pepper, balsamic vinegar, garlic salt
Vegetables: unlimited – spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, cabbage, tomatoes, asparagus, onions, celery, broccoli, radishes, kale, Brussels sprouts, green beans, mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, cauliflower, dill pickles, bean sprouts, beets, squash, eggplant, pumpkin
Teas and beverages: diet sodas, green tea, black tea, carbonated water, coffee, tea, crystal light, Diet V-8 Splash, Lactose free soy milk or almond milk (permissible in small quantities), Power-Ade Zero (like Gatorade with no sugar)
Salad dressings: Wishbone or Ken’s spray dressing, Walden Farms No Calorie-No Fat-No sugar dressing. NO OLIVE OIL.
Condiments and Additives: Equal, Splenda, Stevia, Heinz reduced sugar Ketchup, soy, Tabasco, Picante, horseradish, PAM and other no calorie aerosol based cooking sprays, pickles, olives, sugar free salsa, soy mayonnaise
Noodles: Miracle noodles, Shirataki noodles (usually found in produce section of supermarket since they must be kept cold)
Crackers – 3 per day: Melba toasts, Grissini bread sticks, Wasa, Finn, Gilda toasts, Flat Out Light Wrap (a no sugar, no fat, high protein wrap), La Tortilla Factory Low Carb wraps
Snacks: Soy Crisp Chips, Walden Farms Spreads, Sugar-Free Popsicles, Hummus (watch the amount of olive oil – Weight Watchers has a low calorie, low olive oil recipe), vegetarian cheese
High Protein Products for Vegans and Vegetarians
This is the food group where the standard HCG diet differs from those who follow vegan or vegetarian eating principles.
Vegetarian Boca Burger Products
All-American Flame Grilled
The All-American Flame Grilled Boca Burger contains 120 calories, 45 of which are calories from fat. There is 5g of total fat, 1.5g of which is saturated fat. It contains 5mg of cholesterol, 380mg of sodium, 6g of carbohydrates, 5 of which come from fiber and 14g of protein. In addition, this burger patty provides 15 percent of the recommended daily value of calcium and 10 percent of the recommended daily value of iron.
The Original Vegan Boca Burger contains 70 calories, 5 of which are calories from fat. There is 0.5g of total fat, none of which is saturated fat. It contains no cholesterol, 260mg of sodium, 6g of carbohydrates, 4 of which come from fiber and 13g of protein. In addition, this burger patty provides 6 percent of the recommended daily value of calcium and 10 percent of the recommended daily value of iron.
The Grilled Vegetable Boca Burger contains 80 calories, 10 of which are calories from fat. It contains no cholesterol, 300mg of sodium, 7g of carbohydrates, 4of which come from fiber and 12g of protein. In addition, this burger patty provides 6 percent of the recommended daily value of calcium and 10 percent of the recommended daily value of iron.
Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP®)
TVP is made from 50% soy protein/soy flour or concentrate, but can also be made from cotton seeds, wheat, and oats. It is produced from soy flour after the soybean oil has been extracted, then cooked under pressure, extruded, and dried. TVP® has a long shelf-life if stored properly and is an excellent source of protein and fiber. It is made into chips, flakes or chunks. TVP® contains absolutely no meat or meat byproducts, so it’s perfect for those who are on strict vegetarian diet. TVP® can be purchased flavored with beef, chicken, sausage and ham. One half cup dry TVP® = 80 calories, 0g fat, 3g sugar, 13g protein, and 7g total carbs.
Tofu and Soy Products:
First used in China around 200 B.C., tofu has long been a staple of Asian cuisine. Tofu soaks up flavors and is best when marinated for at least 30 minutes or served with a flavorful sauce. There are two types of tofu that you’ll want to try:
- Fresh, Water-Packed Tofu (always refrigerated): Best for when you want the tofu to hold its shape, such as when baking or grilling
- Silken Tofu: Packed in aseptic boxes and usually not refrigerated.
Try firm or extra-firm tofu for baking, grilling, sauteing, and frying and soft or silken tofu for creamy sauces, desserts, and dressings. To give tofu a meatier texture, try freezing it for 2 to 24 hours and then defrosting it. Press the water out of the tofu prior to preparing it. Wrap the tofu in a towel and set something heavy on top of it for at least 20 minutes, and it will be ready for marinades, sauces, freezing, and cooking.
You may have tried tofu and soy milk before, but what about edamame, soy ice cream, soy yogurt, soy nuts or soy cheese? TVP® and tempeh are also protein-rich soy foods. As an added bonus, many brands of tofu and soymilk are fortified with other nutrients that vegetarians and vegans need, such as calcium, iron and vitamin B12. Protein content: A half-cup of tofu contains 10 grams, and soy milk contains 7 grams of protein per cup.
This traditional Indonesian food is made from fermented soybeans and other grains. Unlike tofu, which is made from soybean milk, tempeh contains whole soybeans, making it denser. Because of its density, tempeh should be braised in a flavorful liquid for at least one hour prior to cooking. It’s actually similar to a very firm veggie burger, and, like tofu and seitan, it’s quite high in protein and can be prepared in a myriad of ways, making if perfect for vegetarians and vegans.
Protein content: Varies by brand, but as a guideline, one serving of tempeh (100 grams) provides about 18 grams of protein (that’s even more protein per gram than tofu!) Tempeh is a great alternative for folks who don’t like tofu.
Seitan is derived from the protein portion of wheat (gluten). It replaces meat in many recipes and works so well that a number of vegetarians avoid it because the texture is too “meaty.” When simmered in a traditional broth of soy sauce or tamari, ginger, garlic, and kombu (seaweed), it is called seitan. Others simply call it gluten. Commercially made mixes include Arrowhead Mills’ Seitan Quick Mix or any of the Knox Mountain products, which include Wheat Balls, Chicken Wheat, and Not-So- Sausage as well as White Wave and Lightlife Foods.
Ener-G® Egg Replacer™ (an egg substitute for recipes)
Ener-G® Egg Replacer™ is made from non-animal sources and replaces eggs for those on the vegan diet or those who cannot have eggs. Ener-G® Egg Replacer™ greatly simplifies baking and allows you to enjoy a variety of delicious egg-free baked goods. It is not nutritionally the same as eggs, but it does mimic what eggs do in a baking recipe. It works best in recipes made from scratch. It will not make scrambled eggs. Ener-G® Egg Replacer™ may work well in some pre-made commercial mixes, but not in all of them.
It is made from Potato Starch, Tapioca Flour, Leavening (Calcium Lactate, Calcium Carbonate, Cream of Tartar), Cellulose Gum, and Modified Cellulose. It is 100% egg-free (contains NO eggs nor animal protein), it is also gluten-free, wheat-free, casein-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, soy-free, tree nut-free, peanut-free, sodium-free, cholesterol-free, and it’s low in protein. 1- 1/2 teaspoons of dry Ener-G® Egg Replacer™ plus 2 tablespoons of warm water equals one egg. Mix thoroughly before adding to the recipe. One replaced egg contains 15 calories, 0g fat, 5mg sodium, 4g carbohydrates, 0g sugar, 0g protein.
The Vegg – Vegan “Egg Yolk” Mix
The Vegg Vegan Egg Yolk is a 100% plant-based egg yolk replacement that contains only natural ingredients and 0g fat. For 2-3 yolks, simply mix 1 teaspoon of The Vegg with 1/4 cup of water in a blender and blend until smooth. Then, use the mixture as you would traditional eggs. You can use it in any recipe that calls for egg yolks such as soups and dressings. It also makes delicious tofu scrambles.
Cheese can be made with or without rennet (which is derived from the stomach tissue of a slaughtered calf). This discussion is about those cheeses which are made without the use of rennet. Today, more and more cheeses are made with “microbial enzymes”, which are widely used in the industry because they are a consistent and inexpensive coagulant. The term “microbial enzyme” means it is a synthetically developed coagulant. The term “vegetable rennet” means it is derived from a vegetable source. Soft cheeses such as cream cheese and cottage cheese are manufactured without rennet. Some cottage cheeses, however, may contain gelatin which is derived from animal sources. All labels should be read carefully.
Brands include Land-o-Lakes, California Select, Cabot, Boars Head, and many more. Click here for a cheese list by brand.
All About Shirataki Noodles
- Made of naturally water soluble fiber with no fat, sugar, or starch
- Contain zero net carbohydrates and almost zero calories
- Gluten-Free and Wheat-Free – made of a healthy natural fiber called Glucomannan
- Easily absorbs the flavors of any soup, dish, or sauce
- Instant and come in a variety of styles: macaroni, spaghetti, fettuccine, angel hair
- Beneficial effects backed by medical studies for diabetes, constipation, obesity
Shirataki (she-rah-TAH-kee) noodles are thin, low carb, chewy, and translucent traditional Japanese noodles. They are also sometimes called konnyaku noodles. Shirataki noodles are thinner than wheat noodles, do not break as easily, and have a different texture. They are mostly composed of a dietary fiber called glucomannan and contain very few calories and carbohydrates (sometimes even zero). They do not have much flavor by themselves, but absorb flavors well from other ingredients you can combine them with.
Shirataki noodles are packaged “wet”, that is, you purchase them pre-packaged in liquid, and they are ready-to-eat out of the package. You can prepare them by boiling them briefly or running them under hot water, then combining them with other dishes, or adding things like tofu, garlic, spinach, or soy sauce to enhance the flavor. If you’ve never eaten Shirataki noodles before, try a small amount initially to ensure you won’t experience any stomach or intestinal distress.
How Do I Cook Shirataki Noodles?
Cooking Shirataki noodles by themselves is relatively straightforward. Since Shirataki noodles are packaged pre-cooked, you simply heat them up and enjoy. The liquid that Shirataki noodles are packaged in has a slight fishy/seafood smell to it, so it’s recommended that you run the noodles under water for a couple of minutes before you eat them. To add flavor, you can add:
- Soy sauce( low sodium)
- Garlic powder or garlic cloves
- Spaghetti sauce (sugar free), sugar free pizza sauce
- Vegetables, chicken, sea food especially shrimp, beef
The “NO” Foods in the HCG Plan
Meat and Fish: No salmon, pork, lamb, salami(mixed meats)
Carbs: No bread, starches, sugar, rice, pasta, potatoes
Fruits: No banana, pineapple, grapes, watermelon, mangoes, or avocado
Vegetables: No carrots, corn, peas
Oils: NO OLIVE OIL, no cooking oils, no traditional salad dressings
Drinks: No juices, regular sodas, or milk (even low fat)
Other: NO NUTS, peanut butter, seeds, or cheese (except no-fat cheese)
Shopping for Vegan and Vegetarian Products on the HCG Diet
You must always read labels when shopping for vegan and vegetarian products on the HCG Diet. What appears as the perfect vegan product might have too much sugar, starch, or fat for the HCG diet. Remember, no sugar, grains, pasta, rice or potatoes – even if they appear low carb and “healthy”.
You can also HCG friendly vegetarian products and retailers on the The Vegetarian Resource Group’s web site at http://www.vrg.org/links/products.htm.
Richard Lipman MD is a endocrinologist and board certified internist who has treated more than 10,000 overweight patients in his Miami office with his new 800 calorie HCG diet for the past 10 years in Miami, Fl