While there are no “official” guidelines for protein alternatives for the diet, in my Simply Veggie plant-based meal plan for the 17 Day Diet, I’ve taken the position that plant-based, real-food protein sources are a good alternative for those who are vegetarians or vegans.
Recommendations for Plant-Based Foods
My 17 Day Diet Blog believes in a “real whole-foods” approach when it comes to eating regardless if you’re a meat eater or plant-based.
My Simply Veggie meal plan mainly focuses getting proteins from a variety of legumes including beans, lentils, chickpeas and some tofu.
Cycle 1 Recommendation
If you decide to incorporate more starchy types of proteins like beans while on Cycle 1, I do recommend limiting these choices to once per day before 2pm if you’re able to.
However, if it’s better for you and your family to have your starchy protein in the evening for dinner, you should go with what works best for you.
Cycles 2 and 3 Recommendations
For Cycle 2, I recommend eating your starchy protein sources before 2pm if at all possible (using the same guidelines that the 17 Day Diet has in place for natural starches).
During Cycle 3, you’re actually permitted to have starches after 2pm if you choose. The book does advise us if we want to lose more weight during Cycle 3 to eat our starches before 2pm. At the end of the day, do what works best for you.
Other Protein Sources
Depending on what type of a vegetarian you are, other protein sources including eggs and dairy such as yogurt and cottage cheese, are good alternatives as well.
If you allow fish in your diet, there are many approved fish for all cycles.
If you’re vegan, the choices become more limited if you’re sticking to whole foods.
If you want to include protein-rich probiotics that are plant based, you may choose from a variety of soy or coconut-based yogurts as well as other plant-based probiotics on the regular cycle food lists.
Sample Vegetarian Meal Plans
To get you started, here’s a vegetarian sample menu for the 17 Day Diet if you’re a plant-based eater.
You’ll need to get creative if you want to stick with this diet. If you’re looking for a vegetarian dinner meal plan, check out Simply Veggie. Simply Veggie is a 4-week dinner meal plan for the 17 Day Diet.
How to Adapt the 17 Day Diet with Your Plant-Based Lifestyle
Like I mentioned earlier, there are no official 17 Day Diet guidelines. For a long time, I didn’t have my own guidelines either.
However, Traci M., a blog reader from Montana wrote in some time ago to let me know that Dr. Phil’s site has a list of acceptable meat substitutions.
While the 17 Day Diet book doesn’t actually list any specific substitutions, Dr. Moreno does advise, “If you’re a vegan, you can still follow the diet. Simply use vegan meat substitutes at meals for protein and use a probiotic supplement in place of yogurt.”
Now, I realize Vegan and Vegetarian are not the same, but if Dr. Moreno allows Vegans to eat meat substitutes, then it’s fair to assume that Vegetarians can as well.
So if you follow a real whole-foods approach to a plant-based lifestyle, then some of the alternatives on this list will come in handy. If you aren’t a fan of overly processed foods, you may skip those on the list.
Here are the meat substitutes found on Dr. Phil’s site:
Meat Substitutes for Vegans and Vegetarians on the 17 Day Diet
- One-half cup of tofu (any type)
- One-half cup of beans, lentils or any legume
- 1 to 2 vegetarian or black bean burgers (made from textured vegetable protein)
- 2 to 4 ounces of any vegetarian cheese, including soy cheese
- 2 vegetarian “sausage” links. This is a great substitute for eggs!
- 2 scoops vegan rice protein powder. This is great for smoothies. Blend with 1 cup unsweetened almond milk and a fruit for a quick 17 Day Diet vegetarian breakfast
- Any type of vegetarian meat substitute made from textured vegetable protein (see package for serving size)
- For dairy substitutes: 1 serving is 1 cup unsweetened soy milk, almond milk or rice milk
- For yogurt substitutes, it is fine to use soy milk yogurt
According to Dr. Phil’s website [link since removed from his site], all items above are acceptable for all Cycles of the 17 Day Diet.
A special “thank you” to blog reader, Traci, for finding additional information on the inter webs!
You can find Traci’s blog here.