What vegetables are allowed on the Hcg Diet? Can I mix vegetables? Can I add more vegetables than are on the list? What about vegetables as spices, like dried onion? All these questions are answered on this page.
One of the most common questions regarding Hcg Diet foods, is why the list of allowed vegetables is so limited during the low calorie phase of the protocol. Usually, the dieter is hoping the list can be expanded. Another common question is about using more than one vegetable choice at a meal, ie., mixing vegetables on the Hcg Diet plan. Let's start by looking at how Dr. Simeons addresses vegetables in the original protocol.
Allowed Vegetables and Fruits: One type of each vegetable is permitted at lunch and one again at dinner time. Mixing vegetables is not permitted on the original protocol, however we will cover that below. See also: Hcg Diet Food List- Complete.
- green salad (mixed)
- red radishes
- 1 breadstick
List of Fruits Allowed on the HCG Diet:
- 1 apple
- 1 orange
- 1 handful of strawberries
- 1/2 grapefruit
Dr. Simeons: Vegetables on the Protocol
The approved list of vegetables in the original protocol is as follows (manuscript excerpt):
One type of vegetable only to be chosen from the following: spinach, chard, chicory, beet-greens, green salad, tomatoes, celery, fennel, onions, red radishes, cucumbers, asparagus, cabbage.
Here is what Dr. Simeons says about the the limited list of allowed vegetables (manuscript excerpt):
Every item in the list is gone over carefully, continually stressing the point that no variations other than those listed may be introduced. All things not listed are forbidden, and the patient is assured that nothing permissible has been left out.
Why Stick to the Original Vegetable List
It may not make sense to someone that cabbage is allowed, but broccoli is not. Or that apples are allowed but pears are not. The explanation is that extensive testing was done not only on what might enhance the work of the HCG, but also what foods can hinder it.
There are a number of foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, which have the same or even lower caloric values than those listed as permissible, and yet we find that they interfere with the regular loss of weight under HCG, presumably owing to the nature of their composition. Pimiento peppers, okra, artichokes and pears are examples of this.
Many clinics and HCG providers have expanded the allowed list of foods and allow extra vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower, zucchini and berries. While these are all fine for a low carb diet, the HCG protocol is not a low carb diet. It is a specific medical prescription that acts on your metabolism and sets up the environment for your fat stores to be be burned while sparing your muscle.
If followed precisely, it also gives you the opportunity to lower your set point weight. And while you might enjoy having more variety in the menu, changing this “prescription” can handicap the success of your investment of time, money and effort. You might not notice a difference in loss rate, but the real payoff of the HCG diet is the ability to stabilize at a lower weight, and this unique benefit is jeopardized by making changes to the diet.
We don't really know the reason only one vegetable choice is allowed at each meal. We only know that it is stated in the menu rules. So the safest path is to observe the rules and not mix vegetables at a meal. The possible exception would be if a spice used is also a vegetable. For instance, a bit of onion salt on one's protein along with a vegetable choice would not be mixing vegetables.
It is permissible to mix various lettuce varieties at the same meal.
VEGETABLE AND FRUIT PORTIONS
The HCG Diet protocol gives you a very specific calorie limit, and very specific instructions on the exact weight of your proteins, but does not specify size of fruits or vegetable portions. It is up to you to make your meals fit into the 500 calorie limit. (Remember to count your allowed lemon juice and milk.) That means that you can adjust the size of your fruit, and calculate the calories of your vegetables in order to get your calories close to 500 each day.
You are not limited to a cup of vegetables, nor do you have to eat a whole cup of vegetables. You can have more than 6 strawberries if the calorie count works out. You might have enough calorie room to eat 6 cups of green salad, or a quarter of a cabbage or only enough for a 3 ounce slice of sweet onion. A digital kitchen scale and a calories-per-ounce chart can make the math easy for you.
An Hcg Diet tracker spreadsheet that totals your food input data can make it even easier.
If you don't have enough room in your calorie allowance for a decent vegetable portion, take a look at the size of your fruits. Choosing smaller fruits will open up a few more calories that you can use for your vegetable portion.
VEGETABLES AS SPICES
Excerpt from the manuscript:
The juice of one lemon daily is allowed for all purposes. Salt, pepper, vinegar, mustard powder, garlic, sweet basil, parsley, thyme, majoram, etc., may be used for seasoning, but no oil, butter or dressing.
Just as the juice of the one allowed lemon daily is not counted as a fruit portion, so it follows that any vegetable in spice form would not be counted as a vegetable.
It is generally accepted that most spices and herbs are allowed as included in the quoted list's “etc.”. The exception would be anything already mentioned as detrimental. Remember pimentos (a mild chili pepper variety) singled out as detrimental the the diet? That would make all spices that are derived from peppers (paprika, cayenne, chili, etc.) suspect. And in fact, some do find that hot sauce and chili powder will cause stalls. That means the popular P2 chili recipe should be considered a personal experiment.
Another item to be wary of is soy. This is a hormone protocol, and soy is known to be a hormone disrupter. It's best to avoid using spices that contain soy.
VEGETABLES AS HERBS
These may be used freely. Fresh herbs can really enhance every single vegetable salad, and you'll feel like you are mixing vegetables! A great combination is grape tomatoes or cucumbers with chopped fresh parsley or cilantro. Remember, a salad doesn't always have to be lettuce.
Even though the choices are very limited, there are ways to be creative within those limits. Do beware of internet links to Phase 2 recipes, and vet the ingredient list for yourself. Not everything labeled Phase 2 compliant will adhere to the protocol. Recipes are posted based on all kinds of variations of the diet. Here are a few links to POP (perfectly on protocol!) Phase 2 recipes.