These are my personal notes from the PBS presentation “Drop 7 Foods, Feel Better Fast.” The show was based on The Virgin Diet, by board certified holistic nutritionist JJ Virgin. I’m sharing my notes without commentary from me–but I will say most of her information appears to be research-based and can easily be reconciled with a high raw diet.
Drop 7 Foods, Feel Better Fast
A 3- week plan to lose up to 7 pounds in the first 7 days and improve health and appearance.
Author JJ Virgin has 25 years of experience helping people look and feel better, lose weight, end cravings.
These 7 common foods can hold your health hostage. Taking them out of your diet for 3 weeks can lead to weight loss, eliminate cravings, reduced pain, clear thinking, increased energy.
Success Story: Judy suffered fatigue and was 25-pounds overweight while eating “healthy” and working out. Doctor claimed it was a natural consequence of aging. By eliminating the 7 foods she dropped 25 pounds, got rid of joint pain and fatigue and insomnia.
Virgin has identified basic foods to which clients were regularly having negative reactions. Eliminating them means reducing inflammation and cravings, which leads to weight loss.
These foods contribute to inflammation and leaky gut syndrome.
IgG (immunoglobulin G) response: an antibody reaction to food, a delayed immune response
- very commmon
- develop over time due to leaky gut syndrome
- most people unaware they have them
The Trouble with Inflammation
- Makes you hold on to false fat.
- Sends messages to your body to raise cortisol and insulin levels, which leads to more fat stored around the waist.
- Makes you hungrier.
- Negatively affects your response to serotonin, which can cause depression, cravings, fatigue.
Leaky Gut Syndrome
- Lowered stomach acid inhibits ability to digest food.
- Poorly digested food particles escape the small intestine and trigger an immune attack.
- LGS happens gradually over time, so many people blame symptoms on aging.
- Can be reversed in a matter of days.
Leaky Gut Syndrome Symptoms
- fatigue, low energy, fluctuating energy
- gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation
- skin problems
- joint pain
- brain fog
- food cravings
Leaky Gut Syndrome Causes
- poor diet
- medications, esp. aspirin, pain meds, antacids
Think of food as information that tells your body to either store fat or burn it, build your health or tear it down, give you energy or crash it. It’s not about cutting calories, but shifting where they come from.
Success Story: Brynn maintained her calorie number, but change the quality of food. Soy was a big part of her diet for “health” reasons. Dropped 85 pounds and counting by cutting these 7 problem foods.
1. Soy “There is no joy in soy.”
- Can lower thyroid function and negatively affect metabolism
- Over 80% of soy is GMO (genetically modified)
- Often high in toxins
- Extremely processed in most forms and often includes sugar
- Soy phytoestrogens have been linked to brain shrinkage in men and dementia in men and women
Replacements for soy: unsweetened coconut or almond milk, quinoa/lentil burgers, coconut milk ice cream, etc.
- High allergy potential
- Don’t have same health benefits as tree nuts (walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, etc.)
- High risk of containing aflatoxin, a mold which can build up in the body and be carcinogenic (cancer-causing)
Replacements for peanuts: almond butter, tree nuts. Carry 10-20 raw nuts as an emergency food source all the time.
Adding 1 to 2 ounces of tree nuts a day benefits heart, brain, and overall health.
3. Sugar and artificial sweeteners
- Some sugar cravings are genetic.
- Cravings can be overcome despite the genetics.
- Eating a lot of sugar trains your body to need it constantly.
- Raises insulin and cortisol, telling body to store fat around your waist.
- Glycation (process of turning sugar into energy) and causes inflammation and accelerated aging.
- All-natural does NOT equal okay.
- ALL sugar is natural and ALL sugar is problematic.
- Fructose (high fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrates, and agave) is the worst sugar of all.
- Goes straight to the liver to be turned into fat (lipogenesis).
- Can cause fatty liver disease and increase insulin, which causes more fat storage.
- Raises triglycerides more than any other sugar.
- Glycates more than other sugars.
- Can poke holes in your small intestine, leading to leaky gut.
Artificial sweeteners are WORSE than sugar.
- Can cause weight gain
- People who drank a daily diet soda gained more weight than people who drank regular soda daily.
- Make you crave increasingly sweeter foods.
Xylitol is the recommended sweetener.
- Suppresses grehlin (the hunger hormone).
- Doesn’t cause cavities
Most people get too much sugar at breakfast (muffins, coffee drinks, etc.)
Start the day with a smoothie instead. Lose more weight and keep it off. Have more energy and focus and fewer cravings.
Combine high quality pea rice protein blend (5g or less sugar), chia or freshly ground flaxseeds, unsweetened coconut milk, organic frozen berries, kale or frozen spinach.
Replacements for sugar:
Cinnamon – naturally sweet and helps balance blood sugar
Vanilla – naturally sweet and boost serotonin
Ex: mix almond butter with cinnamon and spread on apples, smoothie/popsicles of coconut milk, vanilla protein powder, raspberries/strawberries topped with coconut milk, sliced almonds, sliced dark chocolate/blend chocolate protein powder, espresso, almond milk, ice
More recipes in The Virgin Diet book.
- Major hidden source of sugar
- NOT a vegetable, but a high-gylcemic,starchy grain
- Starches convert to sugars in your body.
- Cows and pigs are corn-fed to fatten them up.
- Popcorn is NOT a diet food.
- Most corn is genetically modified and heavily sprayed with pesticides.
GMO foods linked to infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in organs and the gastrointestinal system.
Replacements for corn: quinoa, black beans, lentils, rice tortillas, lettuce wraps, crudites with hummus or guacamole to replace tortilla chips
- Many people react negatively on food sensitivity tests.
- Egg whites are nutrient-empty and trigger immune response. (Nutrients are in the yolk.)
- Even if tolerated well, they shouldn’t be eaten every day.
Replacements for eggs: salmon and other wild-caught fish, chicken, grass-fed beef
Success Story: Jeff, former pro-football player, nearing 60 years old, sleep apnea, overweight, on several meds, stress eating for comfort after the loss of his father. Jeff reached 262 pounds. Lost 9 pounds in the first week of following the plan.
Last 2 foods are the most addictive but also have the greatest impact.
- Create opiate-like affect on your brain
- Not as difficult to give up as most people think.
- Author eliminated acne by giving up dairy.
- Author eliminated joint pain by giving up gluten.
- Idea that dairy helps you lose weight is a myth.
- Harvard study found that children who drank 3 servings of skim or 1% milk had higher chances of becoming overweight.
- Nurse’s Health Study (77,000 women over 12 years) found that those who drink more milk as teenagers had higher rates of severe acne.
- Skim milk was worse than full fat milk—has more lactose/milk sugar than full fat.
- Same study showed those with highest milk consumption had highest risk of bone fractures.
Replacements for dairy: coconut or almond milk, coconut Greek-style yogurt, hummus or almond butter in place of cream cheese
- Found in wheat, barley, rye, couscous but also in lots of processed foods as a thickening agent or stabilizing ingredient.
- Disrupts digestion by damaging the wall of the small intestine
- Can lead to leaky gut, food intolerance, immune problems, inflammation, inability to absorb nutrients and make B-12
- Linked to autoimmune disease
- People with autoimmune disease should eliminate gluten.
- All grains contain lectins and phytates that act as anti-nutrients.
- Lectins: proteins that bind to carbohydrates; can bind to insulin receptors and create insulin resistance, making it harder to burn off fat.
- Lectins can bind to intestinal lining and cause you to store more calories as fat.
- Lectins can be associated with leptin resistance, which makes you hungrier even after eating.
- Lectins can put you at risk of metaobolic syndorme (obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure).
Replacements for gluten: rice or quinoa pasta, spaghetti squash, rice tortillas, lettuce wraps, almond or coconut flour, quinoa instead of couscous, portobello mushroom-based pizza, eggplant-based pizza
When eating out, order “double veggies, no starch.”
Success story: Mary struggled with Achilles tendinitis for years. Spent 12 months in physical therapy with no improvement. Gave up gluten and tendinitis pain was gone within a few weeks.
Success story: Reba had joint pain she thought was arthritis. 170-lbs. By removing these 7 foods, lost 5 lbs the first week, enjoys the foods, and reduced the pain.
The weight loss is just the bonus to this way of eating. Mental clarity, energy, joint pain, skin problems, GI health, and confidence all improve. Most often the 7 foods aren’t missed because clients feel so much better.
- Sugar & Artificicial Sweeteners
Eliminate 100% of all 7 foods for 21 days. The Virgin Diet includes meal plans and dining out plans to enjoy meals without this food. Average person will lose up to 7 pounds in the first week and see dramatic improvements in health, appearance, and energy.
Secret behind the Virgin diet is that isn’t really a diet. You challenge your personal chemistry to see which foods don’t work for you and which help you drop the weight and feel better. For the best possible outcome, remove these foods for 3 weeks with no cheating. It’s easier when things are black and white and gives your immune system a rest without activating those antibodies.
Your body often craves the food that’s hurting you, because the antibodies want to be fed. Cravings indicate your body was reacting to those foods, and usually disappear over the first 3 to 4 days.
Those are my notes in all their messy glory. I hope they’re helpful!
Live the difference!