Hello lovely hCGers. This is a written interview only. This is part of what is now a plethora of weight loss success stories with real everyday women (and men! There’s a few dude interviews in there) who have used either hCG injections or drops with the hCG diet protocol to lose between 20 and 150 lbs. You can see the current episodes available here.
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These are short testimonials of ladies who’ve written in their hCG diet results to me for quick motivation.
MARY’S BASIC STATS:
- Age: 43 years old
- Height: 4’9”
- Started at 149 lbs
- I am now hovering between 116 and 118 lbs.
- Clothing size went from a 12 to a 6.
- Weight Loss with hCG: 33 lbs
SHOW NOTE LINKS:
- Lipo/b12 Shots Info Article
- hCGChica’s Phase 3 to Life Program – you can enroll anytime, but I recommend at least a week BEFORE P3 starts if at all possible so you have time to familiarize yourself with the program and plan ahead.
- Rayzel’s Phase 2 Workbook
- Mixing Vegetables on the hCG diet
Welcome! I get lots of questions about being vegetarian on the hCG Diet, so today we have a lovely interview with Mary to help us out with that. Additionally, she’s been maintaining her weight loss for 5 months post doing hCG this way, so it obviously worked for her! That is encouraging to me and makes me feel comfortable sharing this information.
I give you now….Mary.
Vegetarian Help for the hCG Diet
My story, in case you need it: I had a goal of losing 24 pounds, lost 19 on my hCG phase, combined with B12/lipo shots. Silly me started a week before Thanksgiving, but even with a little cheating that day I hardly stalled. Continued to lose another 10 in the month and a half after with low-calorie diet, B12/lipo shots, and more exercise so took off 29 total.
The key for everyone, of course, is to know what will stall you, so I recommend at least the first week to only use quinoa as the protein, and then start trying a sub for only one meal a day for a few days and see how it goes/if you stall, before doing any full days without quinoa.
1. You can sub 1/4 cup (uncooked measurement) quinoa for the protein.
Rayzel’s additional research:
Serving sizes: From what I read, ¼ cup uncooked quinoa will be about ¾-1 cup of cooked quinoa. Good to know in case you are cooking in bulk. The reason there is a range is because quinoa doesn’t absorb water to the same degree every time.
Calories: ¼ cup uncooked quinoa has 206 calories – 3g fat – 7g protein – 38g carbs – 3g fiber – 35g net carbs (based on the Fat Secret nutrition site).
Macro Percentages: 14% fat – 14% protein – 72% carbs
Just to compare and show the difference, 100 grams/3.5 oz of raw chicken breast has 162 calories, 3.5g fat, 0 carbs, 30g protein which is 21% fat, 0% carb, 79% protein. So you can see the variation there and why it’s a bit more of a challenge to get protein on a lower calorie diet being vegetarian.
And one more comparison- ¼ cup uncooked brown rice has 150 calories, 1g fat, 3g protein, 32g carbs, 1g fiber, and 31 net carbs, so the same serving size of brown rice has less than half the amount of protein as the quinoa.
The reason Quinoa is a go-to source for protein for vegetarians is because it’s what’s known as a “complete protein.” While Quinoa isn’t technically a grain, it’s lumped with them, and compared to these other grains, it’s the only one that has all 20 amino acids in each little seed. This is significant because our body doesn’t synthesize 10 of these amino acids, which is why they are referred to as “essential” because we must consume these in our food in order for our body to have them, so eating quinoa gets you all of them, even if the total protein content in grams per serving is lower than meat protein, you are still getting ALL the types of protein-building amino acids that your body needs in that 1 ingredient. By contract, brown rice is considered an “incomplete” protein because it’s missing a couple Essential Amino acids. This isn’t the end of the world because we eat lots of ingredients throughout the day and as long as our daily overview of food intake has all the amino acids involved, we’re good, but just want to share the difference there.
It’s very hard to flavor cooked quinoa without fats if you don’t like it (and I’m not a fan), so I found a few tricks I could manage, the first was that I would sprout it, because it’s actually far more nutritious anyway.
Rayzel’s additional research: According to this site, sprouted grains are basically when the seed gets to the point where it’s transitioning from seed to a new plant.
Here’s a tutorial on sprouting quinoa: How to Sprout Quinoa
A. Sprouted or cooked quinoa, with apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper (use Braggs, or another source that includes the “mother” because conventional apple cider vinegar is too potent) and mix in cucumbers and half of an apple, or just apple. (note, I broke some “rules” and would then have my other apple half as a snack later on with my melba toast, because I always broke my meals into 4 a day anyway–will share my meal plans below.)
B. Quinoa chili, see recipe below.
C. Not my favorite, but if someone loves Braggs and quinoa, can make steamed veggies with quinoa and use Braggs or soy sauce and spices to flavor. (I use gluten-free soy sauce and had no issues using it) Rayzel note: you can also try Coconut Aminos as well.
2. Cottage cheese worked as a sub for me for the protein, but I was less full so found that less helpful. I think the serving is 100grams, so measure based off serving sizes in a container.
Rayzel’s additional research: 100 grams/3.5 oz of fat free cottage cheese has (depends a bit on brand) – 70 calories – 0g fat – 12g protein – 5g carbs – 5g net carbs.
Based on this info, it makes sense if you compare that the cottage cheese didn’t feel as filling because if you’ll notice for the serving sizes consumed of the Quinoa and Cottage cheese, there was 136 calories less being taken in with the cottage cheese for a meal. It’s very possible that an increased serving size of cottage cheese would fix some of the hunger issue and you could still keep your total intake of food for the day in the 500-600 calorie range.
3. Fat-free plain Greek yogurt was awesome for me, and I would often have it mixed with half or all of my apple or strawberries.
Rayzel’s additional research: 100g/3.5 oz fat free Greek yoghurt has – 105 calories – 0g fat – 7g carbs – 7g net carbs – 19.2g protein.
4. Making chili was my SALVATION halfway in. I was so sick of trying to choke down quinoa, so after a few weeks of quinoa experiments I decided to make quinoa “chili” and then moved on to using Boca soy crumbles and I continued to lose on the soy crumbles–people with soy problems might not be the same as me. Recipe below.
Rayzel’s additional research – you can check out the ingredients of the Boca Soy Crumbles here. They have per ½ cup: 70 calories – 0g fat – 13g protein – 6g carbs
The main ingredient is, as you might guess, soy protein, and it also contains wheat/gluten because of the malt extract, so just be aware of that for any gluten sensitive people.
I went hunting online to find some other gluten free meatless “meats” and here are few:
Beyond Meat – “beefy crumble” – both gluten free and soy free – main ingredient is pea protein isolate. A ½ cup serving/55g = 80 calories – 3g fat – 1g carb – 1g fiber – 0g net carbs – 13g protein. Pretty nice profile there!
Do be careful about fat content- I found another vegetarian meat replacement that had great Amazon reviews but 1 serving had 11g of fat and that’s rather high for the hCG diet protcool in particular. Off of hCG it would probably be a great choice so I’ll give you the link anyhow! It’s called Patty Up – Gourmet Meat Replacement.
Here is another more comprehensive blogpost with a list of various gluten free and soy free “meatless” meats you can check out and see if they are suitable for hCG or not- main thing to look at is fat content.
5. Eggs were my other salvation. The protocol said they some people might be able to occasionally have one full egg and three egg whites, but I found that volume more than I could handle and I prefer yolks with my whites and don’t like wasting animal products so I decided to just have whole two eggs instead. Hard-boiled, or scrambled in a non-stick pan without oil (a really good pan will only have a little bit stick and it’s easy to wash off, I discovered).
Rayzel’s additional research:
2 whole eggs has: 138 calories – 10g fat – 1.4g carbs – 13g protein
1 whole egg + 3 egg whites has: 121 calories – 7g fat – 1g carbs – 17g protein
So these are a fairly similar profile.
6. I did try a plain veggie burger once before I tried the soy crumbles, to see if I reverted, and since I didn’t, every once in a while I would have a veggie burger with some plain tomato sauce, and then tomatoes as my veggie.
Rayzel’s additional research: I found this blogpost where people did a taste test of several brands of veggie burgers that ranged from being disgusting to tasting like mom’s real homemade meat burgers – again, please compare the actual nutrition profile before eating any of these on hCG to make sure they are suitable.
Gardein Beef Burger that got the lovely aforementioned approved taste test has: one 85g burger – 140 calories – 5g fat – 8g carbs – 3g fiber – 5g net carbs – 15g protein.
That seems workable- if you ate 2 of those even for your two proteins, that would be 280 calories and you’d have 220 calories left for your 2 fruits and veggies for the day. Please note this brand DOES have both soy and gluten in it.
7. A lot of days I just had lettuce or tomatoes drenched in balsamic as my veggie–but that’s because I love vinegar, and I think between the two vinegars I probably balanced my pH quite well. 🙂
Rayzel’s additional notes: the more liquid balsamics that are very vinegary tasting are typically fine on hCG, but watch out for those more high end “syrup” kind you often find in restaurants- they actually contain a lot of sugar (and hence taste a lot sweeter!) I can’t be sure but this type of balsamic might present a problem on hCG because it’s actual sugar that’s been added to it that you would be consuming. So the balsamic you use should be very runny and taste like vinegar.
8. Also, if I ever felt like I was super hungry I would make a very small bowl of shirataki noodles (also known as miracle noodles – they are calorie free- learn more about them here). in some instant broth. Miso broth is usually oil-free, but I would also used a little veggie broth that has a touch of oil, but it was so small a volume I couldn’t care to worry. I recommend this trick for any hCG dieter that struggles with feeling like their stomach rumbles too much.
Phase 2 hCG Diet Vegetarian Chili recipe:
- 1/4 cup quinoa, cooked first in water, or 1/2 cup Boca soy crumbles (70 calories),
- 1/2 cup plain tomato puree (this means that’s your veggie for the meal, unless you plan to just have some more tomatoes),
- chili powder, or add your own spices (I used mild chili powder, cumin, and garlic),
Just heat up and eat! Can be made by a meat-eater, too, with ground turkey or chicken, if that person is craving savory food (we have a meat version chili recipe over at hcgchicarecipes, adapted for the Instant Pot too if you have one (and if you don’t, you need one STAT).
Rayzel’s additional notes: I do have a blogpost that discusses the topic of mixing vegetables on the hCG diet here – for a vegetarian this may not work as well or if you will need to be more cautious in doing so because once you start mixing vegetables on hCG, both the total carb level intake and calorie intake can go up very quickly without realizing it. That’s more of a concern for a vegetarian on hCG since as you can see, the protein sources you are consuming are much higher in carbs already than a meat eater on this diet. Sticking to just 1 veggie per meal acts as a safety guide that makes sure this won’t likely happen.
Some of my sample Phase 2 Vegetarian Menu Days:
once I weaned off my dreaded quinoa:
- Mid-morning fruit and melba toast, Lunch of veggie and quinoa salad, Dinner of chili and melba toast, Evening snack of fruit
- Mid-morning yogurt and fruit, Lunch of veggie and melba toast, Dinner of two eggs and veggie, Evening snack of fruit and melba toast
- Mid-morning fruit and melba toast, Lunch of veggie and two eggs, Dinner of cottage cheese and melba toast, Evening snack of fruit.
- Morning breakfast of two eggs, Lunch of veggie, fruit, and melba toast, Evening dinner of quinoa and veggie, Evening snack of fruit and melba toast
Mary’s hCG Weight Loss Story in Her Words:
Basics: (age, height, menopause? any medical details you feel are important- ie thyroid etc).
Age: 43, height 4′ 9″, No important medical issues
How much weight you’ve lost with hCG/starting weight/ending weight/ clothing size change. How many rounds did you do, how long was each round? Stuff like that.
I lost 30 pounds between the hCG and the following several months. I started at 149, lost about 15 pounds during my month on the hCG combined with b12/lipo shots, then lost 1-2 pounds per week in the next 2 months with just reduced calorie and b12/lipo shots, then slowly lost a little more weight to be down to 121.
I then later tried another round of just hCG when I started getting lazy about my eating habits, I think my metabolism had already been “reset” and it really wasn’t doing much, so I stopped worrying about the calories and stopped the hCG around day 23.
I am now hovering between 116 and 118.
Clothing size went from a 12 to a 6.
How long have you currently been maintaining (or where are you currently at in your hCG journey)?
I‘ve been maintaining for about 4 or 5 months. I eat sort of normal now, including sugars and carbs, but I’m much better about eating smaller amounts and healthier foods.
I also run about 12 miles a week so my metabolism is working for me.
Tell us how you came to be overweight and your struggles with that?
I shifted from having very active jobs with a lot of manual labor to jobs without the activity. I then had a back injury which eliminated my ability to exercise for a while.
Then, after the loss of a parent and a stressful job that was also social in terms of eating out a lot, I just started to climb in weight over a quick period of about 3 years, and the slow weight gain just kept going up.
I needed to do something drastic to reverse that, so decided if I went to a doctor for weight loss this might make something happen.
What type of hCG did you use? If injections or prescription drops, what dose worked best for you?
I avoid needles at all costs so would have never done this without the pellets.
The doctor gave me pellets (made by Infiniti Creations LLC). I took 3 pellets 3x per day. I usually let them dissolve as long as possible under my tongue.
Have you ever used b12 and/or lipo shots, and if so, do you feel it was worth it and why?
Yes, the doc also gave me those once per week.
Not only did this help hold me accountable to weekly weigh-ins and a “stranger” telling me I was doing a good job, but I know the B12 gave me a lot of energy.
I recommend that anyone not seeing a doctor who provides this, to get liquid B12, keep it in front of the fridge, and take it every morning under the tongue. I still take B12 every day now and believe it helps.
Historically people have relied on B12 for energy and well-being, my grandparents’ generation often got shots when docs practiced more natural medicine.
Also, this might be hard to quantify, but I consumed a LOT of vinegar as well as tea with Stevia on the protocol. Vinegar is known to balance your pH and most of ours are off, and I think the vinegar actually helped with weight loss. I now drink a lot of apple cider vinegar and use Stevia in everything, including baking.
What would you say your experience was the first week on phase 2? Easy or hard? Explain. Could also discuss how you loaded if you like. What parts of the protocol were easier for you and which parts were more challenging? How did you handle the challenging aspects?
Haha, I missed the loading option, since I started the morning after seeing the doctor, and then only started reading up on everything after that.
The most challenging part was not really knowing how to do the protocol as a vegetarian, and how bloody bland my food was the first few days and weeks.
The doctor gave me an appetite suppressant–I really hated the side effect of it giving me jitters at first, but I lowered the dose and stopped taking it after a while.
But initially, I think the extra help of the appetite suppressant combined with the natural suppressant of the hCG made my first week not too hard from a hunger standpoint. Also, you can eat as much of the veggies as you want, so getting full came easily.
What did you find yourself liking to eat during Phase 2/vlcd – how would you prepare your meals?
My phase 2 was probably not like others as a vegetarian, and also the doc said I could eat whatever I wanted as long as I stayed at only half of my metabolic rate. Unfortunately, half of my metabolic rate is only 600 calories!
So my next month or two wasn’t too different, except I was so freaking happy to be able to have a combined salad, not just lettuce, or just tomato, or just cucumber.
What tricks do you have up your sleeve to stay sane while on Phase 2?
Popcorn!!! Holy madness, did I start a popcorn addiction. I could pop it with just salt and be happy as a clam, get a salty fix, feel like I was a normal person who could “snack” and fill my belly if I felt hungry at night.
I know not everyone can add corn in without a relapse, but I was fine with it.
What Lessons have you learned during Phase 3 – give us the good and the bad! What types of things did you discover when it came to maintenance that did and didn’t work?
The good was I got into a habit most nights of eating the same savory meal that I could look forward to and know the calorie count, so I didn’t have to track my calories consistently.
Probably what didn’t work was introducing the foods a person should just eliminate for life…but I’m not that kind of person, so that wasn’t going to happen!
In Phase 4: Can you tell us what types of foods you eat now in everyday life? And how is this different from what you used to eat on a normal basis?
My normal basis was just one that had lapsed into bigger portions, fattier and sugary foods, diet soda, and that’s been cut out.
I do actually eat things that are desserty, cheesy, etc, but in moderation, and much healthier versions. For example, I do make tacos, but I eat just one, and use very little cheese, fat-free sour cream, and double the amount of lettuce. I also make a chocolatey muffin but it has beets, stevia sugars, etc, and I make them smaller than the recipe.
What have been your tools for maintaining your weight loss?
I think exercise has been the most significant tool, as I started to run again during Phase 2 and it got easier and easier as the weight came off.
During the hCG I did exercise on machines at the gym about 30 minutes 3-4 times per week, then during Phase 2 continued 3-4 nights at the gym and 3 small runs per week, and slowly kept building that up.
I now mostly just run, but know that I should mix in weights if I want to actually tone. And keeping B12, apple cider vinegar, stevia, apples, and “healthier” versions of savory foods in my diet.
Do you have any memories of your life/body pre hCG that are totally different for you now?
No, just that I know I wasn’t looking good in pictures!
When you want a treat now, give us a couple examples of what you might eat? Also, are you ever able to indulge in a regular treat, like cake at a party, and still maintain?
Oh, yeah, sorry to anyone that can’t do this–I have been fine indulging at a party or treat or occasional cocktail (I was never a big drinker anyway). I have to be careful because I can feel the belly flab puff right back, but I have been able so far to maintain my weight.
If folks struggle with this, I recommend finding something low fat and low calorie at home to make as a treat, to satisfy the craving, so that you don’t feel bummed about being social.
If you are out at a restaurant being social, order up unsweetened iced tea, or hot and flavorful regular or herbal tea, and have stevia in your bag to sweeten it up. It puts something in your hand that also goes in your mouth, so when people are reaching for dips, your hands are occupied with a drink!
What factors have you noticed to play a role in people NOT succeeding on hCG?
Can’t say, as I don’t know anyone else who has done it. But, I will say, Rayzel, your website is a LIFESAVER. My doctor gave very little information about the protocol, and there is so little on the web, and there was a slim chance I was going to read the book.
What do you feel are the most important keys to success on the hcg protocol? If someone said they want to have the same results you have, what would you tell them?
I would tell them immediately to go to your website and read up on lots of info you have put there. I might also suggest that if they are worried about hunger, to reduce their portion sizes and intake in the days before starting, even if they load.
I think the hunger part might be the scariest for people. I would also say B12 for energy and make sure you exercise more than you did before, and if you did not exercise before, you have to start, even if it’s just doing anything you can start with.
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