If you haven't already heard, JJ Virgin has just released the Virgin Diet Cookbook to accompany her book TheVirgin Diet:Drop 7 Foods, Lose 7 Pounds, Just 7 Days.
Lose seven pounds in seven days is intriguing so I decided to check it out and do a little Internet research. Of the reviews and websites I looked at the weight loss results were mixed, ranging from 0 - 30 lbs lost after a month of being on her program. I didn't find any independent claims of dramatic weight loss or life changes comparable to the testimonials on her website and promotional materials. Still it's an intriguing idea.
The basic concept behind her diet is that health problems and weight gain can come from consuming allergenic foods or foods you are intolerant to.
Severe food allergies are easy to identify because of the immediate reaction to the problematic food. But mild or moderate food allergies and food intolerances can be difficult to identify because the allergenic reaction can be mild flu-like symptoms or unpleasant feelings like fatigue, sluggishness, headaches, or poor concentration. Making them even trickier to detect, symptoms may not appear for several hours to a few days after eating the problematic food.
She identifies that the seven most common allergenic foods are: peanuts, corn, soy, gluten, dairy, sugar, and eggs and when you eliminate them from your diet, your body naturally loses weight.
Her program is to remove the seven foods from your diet for three weeks, then bring them back one by one to see how you react to them. She claims her diet to be different from an elimination diet because she offers food swaps you can eat to replace each of the seven forbidden foods such as replacing cow's milk with coconut milk.
Through allergy testing I already know that I have a moderate allergy to four of her identified offenders. I have felt fine keeping them at a minimum.
JJ Virgin argues that if you have any level of allergy or intolerant response you should not eat the offending food, debunking the "everything in moderation" myth. My doctor wasn't to hip on the idea of completely eliminating a food group. But I guess it's possible that the allergens are harming the body at the cellular level, even if I'm not noticing any symptoms. It will be intriguing to see if I notice any difference in how I feel being completely off them.
I do agree with her that "everything in moderation" is a slippery slope to eating more than you intended. It's very easy to rationalize like an alcoholic, "just one won't hurt me" and before you know it, you've ingested several.
I must admit that when I decided to try out her diet I gave myself some time to kick my daily dose of chocolate, figuring stopping sugar would be my most difficult challenge. I also fell into the trap of any diet, suddenly indulging in the foods I would soon be forbidden to eat. I recognize my human frailties, but I'm also committed to rising to the challenge of no cheese or chocolate for three weeks. (Though it may not be so pleasant for my husband.)
With the mixed reviews of actual weight lost I'm going to focus on how I feel and take weight loss as an extra bonus. My Virgin Diet Experiment starts today. In three weeks we'll see how I did and if I caved to cheese and chocolate.
by Carolyn Almendarez