Vegetarians normally get protein in their diet from dairy products, legumes, soy, and other non-animal products, but a standard HCG diet includes several different types of protein from animal sources. Fortunately, vegetarians can still participate in the HCG diet with a few modifications. There are many sources of dairy protein including non-fat Greek yogurt as well as protein meal replacements that are offered by Nu Image Medical. The meal replacements are excellent options for vegetarians because they are made from whey and they are just 110 calories each with 26 grams of protein per meal and only 1 gram of carbs. This may be recommended for vegetarians because of their convenience, but there are other possible sources of protein from dairy such as non-fat milk that may be used as a replacement for protein.
The other requirements of the diet are the same for vegetarians
The other requirements of the HCG diet are the same for vegetarians including two servings of fruit per day and two servings of vegetables. Vegetarians only need to stick to non-fat protein options during the first part of the diet (the very low calorie diet). During the first few "gorging" days of the diet, vegetarians can eat pretty much anything they want, and high fat protein sources from full fat dairy products can be eaten in preparation for the diet. Thankfully the very low calorie diet only lasts for three to six weeks and afterward during Phase 3 vegetarians have more options available.
Grains have to be avoided
The challenge that vegetarians will face is that they must avoid grains while on the HCG diet, and grains are often a major source of protein for vegetarians. But there are several substitutes like non-fat dairy products as previously mentioned or whey protein meal replacements. Grains can be resumed after the diet is over, but during Phase 3 full fat dairy can be eaten and grains still have to be largely avoided. They may be an exception to allow certain grains or a limited amount of them during Phase 3, and a vegetarian should discuss this with their medical provider. At Nu Image Medical we can help you come up with a customized HCG diet plan if you are vegetarian that will cover everything from Phase 1 to Phase 4 and you can always ask your medical provider any questions about dietary requirements and protein substitutes.
Results may be different for vegetarians
One potential thing to consider about the HCG diet for vegetarians is that the fat loss results may be different. Vegetarians may experience slower weight loss than non-vegetarians if their protein sources from milk are high in carbohydrates. Dr. Simeons, the creator of the HCG diet, noticed that vegetarians had a slower rate of weight loss when they used milk as a protein replacement. This slower rate of weight loss may be avoided with the meal replacement packs from Nu Image Medical which only have 1 gram of carbohydrates, and their low cost make them a great alternative to milk.
If you use milk as a protein substitute be sure that it is organic
If you do decide to use non-fat milk in a vegetarian HCG diet, you should make sure that it is organic. Non-organic milk can have a potentially serious effect on your metabolism due to hormones and other possible contaminants like antibiotics. Actually, you never want to drink non-organic milk because it thought to be linked to potentially serious chronic health problems, so be very careful with your choice of milk. The safest bet is to use the meal replacements, but you can always ask Nu Image Medical for advice or recommendations on milk products or dairy products.
Be careful with whey protein products
Whey protein can be an excellent protein replacement for vegetarians on the HCG diet, but there are many different products available and many of them have unnatural ingredients, additives and preservatives. When you are on the HCG diet you have to be extremely careful with using any supplements at all, and during your medical consultation you will be advised as to which supplements you can continue using and the supplements that you should stop using, because any supplement can have an impact on the hormone's ability to metabolize fat. Don't pick a whey protein product without discussing it with your medical provider, and always stick to products that are organic and ideally with limited or only natural additives.
Legume protein is an option
Certain legume protein products may be an option as a protein replacement. Certain soy products like miso are low in fat, but not every soy product is low in fat, so you do have to be careful. Pea protein is one protein option in particular that should be low in fat (always check the labels) and may be approved for use on the HCG diet. Pea protein is rich in readily absorbable amino acids and it should also be low in carbohydrates and starch. There are several pea protein isolates that are very low in carbohydrates, but every product is different. Again, Nu Image Medical's physicians can give you specific advice on the type of protein and the specific product that you may be considering, since there are many different non-animal protein options available created from legumes.
Phase 3 of the diet for vegetarians
During Phase 3 of the diet you will have many more options available. Although normally a person would not eat legumes during Phase 3 of the diet, you can always ask your medical provider for an exception for a small amount. You have the option of eating full fat dairy products during Phase 3 or reduced fat dairy products but you have to be very careful with them and always try to stick to organic sources as you did during Phase 2. Your body is sensitive to weight gain when you are making the transition back to a regular diet and Phase 3 in particular is very important, so the foods that you eat need to be carefully considered. It can be a bit confusing if you aren't familiar with nutrition and that's why it is always advisable to have a medical professional available to consult with.
Speak with a medical professional about how to structure the diet
The HCG diet does not have to be difficult at all if you are vegetarian, as you have many options for protein replacements and the most challenging part of the diet is just the first week where you make the transition from your normal diet to the restricted food list of the HCG diet. If you are vegetarian there are only minor modifications that need to be made to replace the protein in the diet and everything else can be left as is, so it is relatively simple to come up with a modified diet that will work for you. Nu Image Medical is here to help you through that stage and to customize the HCG diet to fit your preferred food choices and dietary requirements as needed. For more information on how to get started with the HCG diet or to speak with an HCG diet expert today, click here.