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The Virgin Diet: A customized elimination diet

March 21, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Nutritionist JJ Virgin didn't set out to write a diet book. While helping physicians with an elimination diet to help patients overcome chronic pain, she found weight loss was a welcomed side effect, thus creating The Virgin Diet.

"So the mantra of lose seven foods, drop seven pounds, just seven days actually happened because the average weight loss I saw of over 1,000 people was about five to seven pounds in a week," said Virgin.

So while the slogan drop seven pounds in seven days might sound gimmicky, Virgin says it is anything but.

"There's a ton of research to support elimination diets, which is what this is, they've been used in medicine for decades," she said.

Nutrition author Jonny Bowden agrees.

"Sometimes you've got to go with a catchy title and a catchy promise but her information is solid," he said.

The first step is pulling the foods from our diets that often cause problems.

"First off we always saw the same foods. We pull them out and the side effect was weight loss," Virgin said.

The foods include gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, corn, peanuts, sugar and artificial sweeteners.

Virgin says it's not that people are allergic, but rather they have sensitivities to them. Ironically, many are seemingly healthy foods like eggs and Greek yogurt. Often, the symptoms don't follow consumption immediately, but they can cause headaches, bloating, gas, fatigue, joint pain and more.

"Everyone thinks those signs and symptoms are normal for them because they happen slowly over time," she said.

Eliminate the seven foods for three weeks, then drop one food back in each week to see how your body reacts.

Making swaps is easier than you think. For instance, instead of peanut butter go with almond butter. Instead of soy milk, try coconut, almond or hemp milk. Then there's rice pasta in lieu of wheat, and trade Greek yogurt for coconut yogurt.

Rather than sugar, try erythritrol. Instead of corn products, look to quinoa or lentils. Finally, if eggs are your morning favorite, how about whipping up a morning smoothie.

"This is about personalizing your body, understanding that a diet is not a one size fits all. We're going to customize it," said Virgin.


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