Free From the Bondage of Food: The Virgin Diet

It’s been a long time since my last post on here, and there is a very good reason why. To those who have followed me thus far, you know that I had a strong affinity to food, especially sweets. I often watched what I ate, but I was very liberal with different cuisines, and styles of cooking. I guess you can say, I had very eclectic taste buds.

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Brown rice cake w/ almond butter and apple slices

Last year, all of that changed. I discovered that my love of food had to be evaluated. No, I wasn’t going to lock myself in my room and become a recluse who would only drink water and eat slime from under a rock. No, not at all. My body was changing, or at least, it had changed drastically over the last few years. At the pinnacle of it all, I discovered The Virgin Diet, written by J.J Virgin, the author of the best-selling book: “The Virgin Diet.”

The Virgin Diet, in layman’s terms, is an elimination-reintroduction program that seeks to remove foods that people are likely to be intolerant to, or high-FI (food intolerant) foods. Once reintroduced, you judge whether you’re intolerant to a food based on the reactions experienced.

My Virgin Diet experience was slightly different from others. First, I am 24-years old, a bit younger than those I read about in J.J.’s book. Also, when I began the diet, I was not overweight, nor was I struggling with weight-loss like many others. On the outside, I was a normal, charismatic young-adult who had a “healthy” diet. I already consumed lean, clean proteins, ate salads time-to-time, and consumed soy milk, on top of other soy products as meat replacements. Yes, on the outside, I was a “health freak.” On the inside, I knew something was wrong.

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Leeks, shitake mushrooms, and red peppers.

I attributed my constant fatigue, aching joints, and bad mood with lack of sleep, infrequent exercise, and even a stressful job. Little did I know, food was holding me hostage. I was previously diagnosed lactose-intolerant years ago, so I knew not to consume dairy, though I did anyway. Fall 2012, I had become terribly ill. I developed a medical problem that made it hard to eat just about all foods. I could not eat most fruits and vegetables, diary, wheat, and sugary sweets; it was the worst time of my life. Through a series of tests, my gastroenterologist was able to pinpoint and treat my issue. I thought it would be clear sailing until I realized that prior to my illness, and a little after, I had some other issues.

Winter 2013, I had mild-moderate problems with most foods. I questioned my gastroenterologist endlessly, presenting possible causes for my problems, even celiac disease, which I tested negative for three times. One day, I remember turning on WHYY and tuning into J.J.’s segment about the Virgin Diet. I thought it was unique and admired those who took on the challenge. J.J. stated that the key for some to lose weight, and to combat many bodily issues, such as pain, fatigue, and mental fog, is to remove 7 foods for 21 days. They were as follows: gluten, soy, dairy, eggs, corn, peanuts, and sugar and artificial sweeteners.

Eliminating these foods was not enough though. J.J. stressed that these foods had to be replaced with nourishing items that could heal your body, but also those that tasted good. Bagels, muffins (aka adult cupcakes), and sugary cereals were axed. For breakfast, The Virgin Diet Shake (seen below) was my new friend, which was high in protein, fiber, and many other nutrients vital for our bodies. Each meal to follow consisted of a lean protein (grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, wild fish, etc.), healthy fats (olive oil, coconut oil, coconut milk, tree nuts, etc.), high-fiber low-glycemic carbs (brown rice, quinoa, etc.), and non-starchy vegetables.

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Virgin Diet Shake

Admittedly, I put the information in the back of my mind like most would. Soon after, I recall having a bowl of cookies and cream ice cream. It was creamy and delicious, and then, the next day it hit me; everything hurt. I realized something was severely wrong when I could barely move. I had excruciating back pain, and I felt as if my right leg had been dislocated. I told my mom, “It has to be the food. Everything J.J. said is making sense.”

I purchased a copy of “The Virgin Diet” that next week. I read it intently, realizing that most of my problems were food-related all along. In hindsight, I had answers for years worth of pain and grief. Starting the diet was not easy, and I received a lot of criticism about giving up the 7 high-FI foods. Everyone thought that I would starve myself, and that because I was already thin, I would become skin and bones. I remained optimistic despite this. What kept me motivated, was the prospect of receiving the answers I desperately needed.

The 21 days of the Virgin Diet challenge were amazing. Within the first week, there was no stomach pain, joint pain, and I even noticed a change in my mood. I had more energy in the mornings, and I was not a slave to my usual café mocha. All I needed was my Virgin Diet shake (recipe in next entry), followed by meals full of clean and enriching foods that healed my body.

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Tri-color quinoa

The Virgin Diet may have saved my life. After reintroducing gluten, soy, and eggs into my diet, I knew that those items, on top of dairy, had to go. Gluten gave me symptoms like that of carpal tunnel, as well as nerve pain, back pain, leg pain, and just about any other pain one could imagine. Eggs gave me extreme stomach upset and wrist pain, and soy, oh that soy! I think soy gave me one of the most embarrassing of symptoms. Besides a pounding headache, my mood and behavior altered greatly with the consumption of it. I’ll just leave it there.

I am so grateful to have come across this information. At a young age, I am proud of myself to be able to combat head-on: high-blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and so much more. These are just a few ailments which have plagued family members. I have told many, that I see my food intolerances as a blessing, because not only can I live a healthy life now, but for many years to come. I just have to listen to my body.

 

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Salmon, broccoli, and brown rice pasta

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “Free From the Bondage of Food: The Virgin Diet

  1. Anjelica

    Love. Love. Love. And I will be sharing your fb post if you don’t mind! I am so proud of you and can’t wait until I’m a little more healed from surgery; I’ve been wanting to do a similar paleo elimination diet called the Whole30 (or 21, 9, etc) for awhile now!! Again, congrats and I’m so glad I can share revelations with another young, intelligent friend!

  2. Nancy

    This is great. I myself am trying to be more of a healthier person- even though I’ve always loved vegetables. I may have to try this out within my own family as well. I’d like to try to avoid some of what’s becoming more common health concerns and may even consult with a nutritionist just to see what’s right for me. Great blog post, best of luck with your new healthy diet. It seems like an easy way for all of us to feel better.

  3. I am about to start this tomorrow. My dad raves about it but it’s nice to see a success story from someone else in their twenties.

    • I strongly encourage you to give it a try! I wish you the best and hope all goes well. Overall, I feel great as long as I don’t slip up with things I KNOW I shouldn’t be eating. It definitely is a lifestyle endeavor.

  4. Great diet in principle but SUCH hard work. I’ve tried a couple of times but it doesnt stick. How have you been getting on?

    • Hello there!

      I must say, I have been pretty good at keeping up with the guidelines. I have very serious reactions to many of the 7 foods J.J. advises to eliminate, so it’s a no brainer to just not eat them. For that reason alone, I’ve been good at sticking with it. I have made my own modifications. Sugar is obviously bad, but I make a few allowances here and there. J.J. mentions eating 2 oz of chocolate a week. I definitely was doing that, but would raise the ounces a bit, heh. Overall, I feel better than I have felt in a long time. I am pretty energized, have a clear mind, and don’t have a lot of the physical ailments I once had (fatigue, body aches, headaches, etc). It’s not easy, but nothing worth while ever is, is it?

      Recently, I have been looking at macrobiotics, and have been trying to follow that a lot more. There are things in macrobiotics that are allowed that J.J. doesn’t want you eating, but I see this as minute when looking at the big picture. See what you react well to and what you don’t. If I have a lot of sugar, I know it instantly. I have become a better master of my body and health.

  5. Donna Caldwell

    Starting 3rd day in few hours,,surprisingly have’nt been hungry,,less sluggish and bloated,,will keep on rollin.

  6. This is great! Re-reading this in hopes of becoming a whole new person soon. Wonder if my dad read this entry. I’ll have to pass this onto my fam.

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