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Sunday, April 15, 2012

J. J. Virgin, CNS, CHFS re Food Sensitivities

This is so in line with my immediately previous post, about being healthy in body, mind and soul, that it was a natural segue.  NOTE:  I am a lay person.  No degrees.  Just intensely interested in fitness, health.

J. J. Virgin's bio states she is a member of Mensa, plus has taken many, many doctorate classes from multiple universities.  The CNS stands for Certified Nutrition Specialist and the CHFS as Certified Health Fitness Specialist.

I think her body type is the perfect specimen of health and beauty for women.

Check out her YouTube video re food sensitivities at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_p4nR0ivmPc.  Go to her website at http://jjvirgin.com/ to preview her video about seven hurtful foods in our diet.  Sign up to get instant access to 7 Foods, 7 Days, 7 Pounds.

It is so very interesting.  To paraphrase J.J., anything you love, you crave, you are probably "sensitive" to.  J.J. used to test her clients to see what foods were sabotaging their health.  Then it became evident that the same seven kept showing up.  Here's the list:
  1. Dairy
  2. Eggs
  3. Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners
  4. Gluten
  5. Peanuts
  6. Soy
  7. Corn
And, once you start checking "Ingredients" labels, you will find them in the most absurd places.  Did you know your sunflower kernels contain sugar, MSG, corn syrup solids, soy proteins plus other stuff?  Also "May contain:  milk, wheat."  Even my in-the-shell sunflower seeds "may contain peanuts, tree nuts, milk, soy and wheat."  And my "beef" hot dogs contain corn.

So once you get the above list of seven memorized, you'll be amazed at where they are hidden in our food.  [Here's my mnemonic device = DES (the dangerous pesticide supposedly no longer on the market) + GPS (which we already know) + C--the best I could do, and not needed for long to remember the seven.]

I'm beginning day three as we start off this Sunday and here's my overview of these initial days.

First, a little backstory.  I'm embracing the carb-conscious lifestyle and cutting out carbs all over.  Quite a shock to my digestive system, but wow!  I'm too embarrassed to tell you how many bad carbs I cut from my day.

Shortly thereafter, I went gluten-free, although I get bread cravings and sometimes give in to them.  Like having been totally gluten-free for about a month, followed by a week of eating a delicious artisan "everything" French bread.  But one hundred times better than eating gluten at every meal.

In an earlier post, I documented recently going cream-free with my coffee.  Not a pretty story.

Before both of those food restrictions, I cut out packaged sugars.  I decided if I wanted brownies, it was better to make them myself from scratch at home than to buy them ready made or in a box.  I cut out sodas.  But I was having diet versions as I craved them.  Still, I was doing one thousand times better than previous days.

Also, I'm of the mind that God made perfect foods, not man.  So I stick to the outer perimeter of the grocery store for eighty to ninety percent of my purchases anyway.  I used to go partially organic as my previous career earnings allowed.  Now that I'm freelancing, not so much.  But I'll get back there and beyond.  And soon.  I predict it.

So, up to the present now.  I haven't experienced headaches yet (like I did with my cream withdrawal reaction on the second/third days).  I was a bit sluggish both prior days as my body was probably in shock with all the additional fiber.  My body felt "overly full" because of it too and I'm assuming will recalibrate.  Thank God it was somewhat used to fruits and veggies and beans or this could have been very unpleasant.

That first night, my bladder woke me up four times--four!  I am happy to report that the second night did not repeat this.

As for J.J.'s list, I had already given up soy as there is conflicting info on it and female hormones.  Yet, there it was as I read "Ingredients" labels, still in my foods.  I prefer almonds to peanuts so that was a foregone decision for me (yet again is on the "Ingredients" labels of items I eat).  We've already discussed the gluten and sugar issues.

As for artificial sweeteners, they are cancer-forming, IMO.  There are natural sugars in moderation that don't produce cancer (my opinion here, folks):  Stevia, honey, Xylitol, Somersweet.  Maybe Agave--my jury's still out on that one.  My top two personal favorites are Stevia and honey.

Not sure if J.J. would find the use of Stevia and honey to be by the rules of her seven-foods-to-yank-out-of-our-eating lifestyle.  But, by a literal reading, they are not sugar and are not artificial, so I've got them in my daily repertoire.

Dairy.  My nemesis.  My love.  I'm addicted to all its forms--except milk.  Milk can never be cold enough for me to stomach it.  Unless it is chocolate milk, or strawberry milk or eggnog.  Ha!  So, if you read my earlier posts about my supposed cream allergy, you know I cut back on cheese to indulge in cream in my coffee.  Then cut out the cream for three whole days (misery!) to have it infrequently thereafter.

As a carb counter, we reach for that string cheese instead of chips or bread or doughnuts.  I had done a switch earlier from string cheese to beef hotdogs for snacking (cold, plain, straight out of the refrigerator) and saving those precious dairy servings for my coffee.  So when J.J. said cut the dairy, I realized the full import of that.  Includes butter, right?  My first real acknowledgment of that relationship.  And there goes the cream in my coffee. Again.

Yet this time was easier.  Probably because last time was so recent and much harder.

It was the eggs that got me, though.  As a carb-counter, my breakfast consisted routinely of bacon and eggs.  If I took out the eggs, what was I supposed to replace them with?  Can't use string cheese.  Can't use toast and sugary jam.  Can't have grits or biscuits or even think about Krispy Kreme.  After the initial frantic response, I found several good replacements.

For my new, improved breakfasts, I'm still eating bacon, but now it resembles more of a salad.  A BLT salad (bacon, tomato on a bed of lettuce) or a BLTA salad (a breadless BLT with an avocado).

Or another favorite is the wilted lettuce salad (pouring a warm dressing consisting of bacon fat, vinegar and a touch of Stevia over your greens) with crispy bacon atop.

Also oatmeal is allowed--yippee!  Oatmeal is not a wheat nor does it contain gluten (if my quick internet search is accurate).  So I can have that with Stevia and cinnamon and cloves.

Lunch/Dinner is another salad with tuna (no mayo, as it contains both milk and eggs).  Or sardines on a gluten-free cracker.  Or blackened chicken/fish.  Or a hamburger patty on a bed of lettuce. Side dishes are raw veggies: sliced cukes, wedges of red bell pepper, sliced tomatoes, mushrooms or cooked ones: bok choy, mushrooms, yellow squashes, zucchini, etc.

For snacks, I'm hitting fat-heavy natural foods to help satiate me:  black olives and avocados.  I love 'em both so it works for me.  Find yours.

Again, not sure fruit is allowed on the J.J. seven-foods-restriction diet, but since they are not "sugar" per se, I'm sticking to the berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries) as they are the lowest in glycemic count.

One other treat that may not be kosher per J.J. is two tablespoons of organic almond butter mixed with one tablespoon honey.  Yum!  BUT if you read the "Ingredients" list on the almond butter, there may be peanuts and soy, plus it has organic unrefined cane sugar (I'm stepping over the line here, I know.  Still, it is ORGANIC and UNREFINED sugar so I'm hoping that makes it a lesser evil).  And today, I'm gonna try to skip my treat.  Fingers crossed!

Thank goodness J.J. didn't say "no coffee" or I wouldn't be in as good a mood as I am now.  I'm back on track with three days of decaf followed by one day of the fully leaded version (my fave!).  I have gotten to where I am loving black coffee again (you have to start with a good bean, though).  And of course, if you read the "Ingredients" labels on your powdered "non-dairy" creamer or your liquid version, both of mine here at home contain milk, soy and corn syrup solids!  Who knew?

My new love--coconut creme "creamer"--contains sugar, milk and soy.  Great for making cold coffee drinks with my leftover coffee from the day before.  I use two tablespoons of the coconut creme (10 carbs) plus five tablespoons of the liquid "non-dairy" creamer (another 10 carbs) and two to three times the coffee to get the right color of lightness.  No sugar needed with the coconut creme.  But, for some reason, I'm okay with not having that for now.

J.J. says to keep this up for twenty-eight days to rid our bodies of these items that it may consider as "toxic" thus attacking with vengeance--resulting in myriad symptoms:  gas, bloating, joint pain, skin problems (even dandruff), mood disorders, weight gain, fatigue, cravings, big appetites.

She also says our cravings will be G-O-N-E.

Leaky gut.  Ever heard of it?  My most recent ND mentioned it, and so had one before.  I can't explain it, but if you are interested, Google it and read all about this subject.

J.J.'s avoid-seven-foods regimen fixes leaky gut.  Resets our body's resistance and tolerance.  I'm not privy to J.J.'s tactics post-twenty-eight days, but I've gleaned a little tidbit here and there.  We slowly reintroduce the "possibly offending" food (for our particular body) and see if any of the symptoms listed above recur. 

However, if our cravings are gone (like my new palate re sugar), it should be easy to incorporate our now refined tastes, so hopefully fewer things eek back in our eating habits--or with less repetition.

Like fresh corn on the cob.  How can that possibly be bad for us?  (In its pure unadulterated form.)  This is spring, after all, with a bountiful crop of luscious foods about to be harvested.  Armed with J.J.'s insight, I will just have it infrequently, but once every four days at the most (as any food allergists would tell you anyway).

BTW, J.J. says a true food allergy is bad--from a facial rash to throat-closing, life-threatening.  A food sensitivity, like we are discussing here, is just too much of a good thing (my parlance).  We need to have more variety in our foodstuffs.

My local Farmers Market opens in May.  Can't wait!  So what if I didn't inherit Daddy's green thumb (sob, sob).  I can take advantage of those nearby who do have the gift.  The Farmers Market is cheaper than organic and better than what is trucked from all over (not fresh) and pesticide riddled (chemicals are not healthy). 

I have not missed my daily dark chocolate fix.  Weird, right?  I've not really missed my doctored-up coffee (as long as I don't look at my three different creamers in my fridge).  I'm enjoying four strawberries for dessert.  Or almond butter with honey for a treat.  Or flavorings in my coffee:  cherry, raspberry, coconut, vanilla.  Without Stevia even.

Additionally, this morning's breakfast salad (the BLTA) was suddenly too big.  I couldn't eat it all.  I snacked on it hours later.  I'm still full as I add in this edit at 1:40 p.m.  Amazing!

So, my preliminary opinion on this particular test of my willpower?  Good to go.  And instead of opting out at the end of the first week, I may go the whole twenty-eight days.  Wow!  What a revelation.

Wish me luck.

P.S. Copy editor disclaimer: Per CMS(15) Rule 8.6, initials have periods (and spaces when used with the whole last name, or no periods at all when three initials, like JFK and LBJ). Which explains what I've done above.  However, J.J.'s preference is no periods, no spaces. FYI.

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