NOTE: January is a big month for dieting and exercising to burn off holiday pounds. But what if the extra weight is triggered by food intolerances (FI) and not just extra calories? This book presents an interesting viewpoint about FI and weight gain. I thought I would review this unique weight loss book that could also double as an allergy-free food book. It is called The Virgin Diet by author JJ Virgin. (Clever take off on her name.)
The book’s subtitle explains JJ’s philosophy for this book: “Why Food Intolerance is the Real Cause of Weight Gain.” While food intolerance is not exactly the same as a food allergy, the seven foods the author asks the reader to avoid for 21 days and then add back on one at a time, as in an elimination diet, are often those that some people are also allergic to. The seven foods are: GLUTEN (wheat, rye, barley & oats if processed in a place with gluten items), SOY, DAIRY, EGGS, CORN, PEANUTS, SUGAR & ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS.
I think the premise is a good one and I tried the diet for two weeks, but my weight did not budge, so I deduced that I am not really intolerant of these seven foods. However, I have cut back considerably on gluten because I believe that the wheat we now eat has been hybridized and is no longer what I grew up with. (The book mentions this as well.)
The book is easy to read and well laid out, with lots of information based on the author’s own experiences and research. Part 1 explains JJ’s philosophy and how the diet works; Part II is a discussion of each of the seven foods to avoid for three weeks (or more if you are still intolerant); and Part III explains the three cycles to lose weight for good: Elimination, Reintroduction, and The Virgin Diet for Life. This section also discusses meal planning as well as recipes, a shopping list, and sources.
Because JJ Virgin counsels people in weight loss, there are many testimonials throughout the book. And in general, the information is helpful and includes tips and techniques to maintain your weight loss. For example, on pages 178-183, the author lists many healing foods, from apples to xylitol and explains why they are healing. JJ also uses casual language, almost as though you are sitting opposite her and having a conversation with the author—very effective.
Even if you don’t suspect Food Intolerances (FI) but are stuck in a holding pattern with your weight, you may want to give this diet a try. It seems to be a safe, common sense way to test the seven” trigger” foods that may be at the root of your weight loss issues. (But check with your doctor before trying any diet.)
The Virgin Diet is published by Harlequin Enterprises in Canada and costs $25.95 in the US & $28.95 in Canada. (She includes a metric conversion chart for Canadian readers.)
Below is a sample recipe from the book. It is similar to my own recipe for roasted veggies, but she uses some different veggies I want to try.
2 cups of 2 or more different vegetables, cut into bite-sized chunks or julienned: Brussels sprouts (halved), cauliflower, zucchini, summer squash,
asparagus, Portobello mushrooms, red bell peppers, Japanese eggplant, onions
3 to 4 tablespoons coconut oil or Maylasian palm fruit oil*
sea salt to taste
Combine ingredients and spread out on a baking dish or two. Bake at 400 degrees F. Stir/turn at 30 minutes and continue to roast until desired doneness. (Depends on size of chunks.)
Some palm oil is made by cutting down many trees and decimating the land. I am looking into a palm oil company that does not do that. It is called Nutiva and this is what I cut & pasted from their website, www.nutiva.com:
We’re excited to introduce our delicious organic Red Palm Oil grown on small organic family farms in NW Ecuador. By partnering with Natural Habitats in Ecuador we ensure that no deforestation or habitat destruction results from the growing or harvesting process. Nutiva is also promoting social programs in the area by building a small health clinic for the local doctor, and hiring a full-time soccer coach and providing uniforms for the local youth.
Since the palm oil grown in Maylasia may not be produced ecologically, I am planning on buying Nutiva brand until I can find out more about the Maylasian issue. es