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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Day 28 of J. J. Virgin's 28-Day Break Free Diet

This diet eliminates seven food items (gluten, peanuts, soy, dairy, eggs, sugar and corn) that most people have sensitivities to and therefore their bodies attack them like toxins, all of which may cause weight retention.

It's call "break free" because we may be addicted to foods bad for our particular systems.

It is Day 28 for me.  I made it!  Me, a girl who can eat three meals a day of sugar.  But I had been slowly making better choices here and there which prepared me for J. J. Virgin's "total fast" from foods that taste good but maybe which weren't.  And I made it without cream in my coffee and bread!

From what I understand from the free literature on J. J. Virgin's site, this routine is meant to reset our bodies and now we add back in one element, test for any adverse reactions.  Mine will be the fruit dessert pizza on The Pioneer Woman's website.  Tomorrow!  Can't wait.

But I'm also "craving" bread and the aforesaid cream in my coffee.  "Craving" may be the wrong word because it does not contain the force and power of my previous cravings.  So I am able to choose one out of the others to indulge in.

Then four days later (time to watch for any sensitivities reactions), I'll switch from my sugar-cookie-with-fruit "pizza" to cream in my coffee.  Then maybe I'll have some really good homemade bread next.

I've also learned to substitute.  Instead of brown sugar in my oatmeal, I opted for maple syrup.  No sugar listed in the ingredients.  But sometimes substitutions don't work.

Usually I can swap out one-half cup Stevia in the Raw for one full cup of white granulated sugar.  It works for my tea.  And the oatmeal raisin cookies recipe on the Stevia package is really good.

But I can tell you firsthand, when I tried the powdery Stevia atop French toast (pre-elimination diet), it does not work.  For me.  If I indulge in French toast, it will be with real powdered sugar atop.

Butter (the Dairy element).  I cannot imagine a baked potato without it.  Yet, I made French fries from scratch and fried them in coconut oil while on J.J.'s plan.  How can an eating regimen be called a "diet" with French fries on it?  Yum, yum.

While I prefer bacon drippings to season my green beans and other dried bean varieties, I prefer butter for my other veggies:  broccoli, cauliflower, green peas, corn, carrots, etc.  And I haven't come up with a viable alternative.

In the grand scheme of things, cream rises to the top of milk and requires no real processing, so I'm hoping my body is not "allergic" to it.  Then butter is just the cream churned.  No chemicals necessary.  I'm hopeful my body has no reaction to it, either.  I'll reintroduce them into my eating separately just to be sure.

Breads.  I love good bread.  I can forgo the sandwich variety to have some artisan sourdough.  I've enjoyed BLT salads so much I don't see me wanting a BLT sandwich.  However, at some point, I will desire occasionally a real roast beef sandwich, complete with mayo and onions and lettuce.

While pizza never really calls my name (unless it has a white sauce), I can gladly give it up.  YET, at the grocery story the other day, I saw a specialty bread stuffed with pepperoni and cheese.  Depending on the presence of red sauce (or the quantity), I could get into that!

And the zero-carb pizza crust--that you heat up in a skillet with some Parmesan cheese and almond flour (1:1) or add 1-3 T. water and make a sticky roll that you pat out into your favorite shaped pan and bake--I've been craving that.  But mine would have no sauce whatsoever, just a drizzle of olive oil and some choice herbs and spices, some tomato slices with basil and fresh mozzarella or sauteed mushrooms, black olives and caramelized onions.

Maybe I should have done this post tomorrow.  You know, after my Day 28 was over and done with.

What have I found out?  That I can go seven hours without getting hungry some times.  That oatmeal and maple syrup are a nice snack.  That I will make better choices.  I'm eating as close to what God made as possible.  I can now "deny" myself things I love as long as I can have them four days later.  It's a process, so I have to experiment as I go.

And it's been a really good experiment.

Now, I'm off to see if I have all the ingredients to make that dessert pizza . . . ha!

Copy editor disclaimer: Per CMS(15) Rule 8.6, initials have periods (and spaces when used with the whole last name like "J. J. Virgin" or no spaces when just the first two initials like "J.J." or no periods at all when three initials, like JJV or JFK or LBJ). Which explains what I've done above.  However, J.J.'s preference is no periods, no spaces, as in "JJ" per her own site. FYI.  

Denise Barker, author
Good Ole Boys, a love story
Professional Freelance Copy Editor


  1. Wondering why you would have maple syrup with your morning oatmeal? I just purchased JJ Virgin's book and Maple Syrup is listed as sugar not be consumed in the 21 day 7 item elimination diet.

    1. Hi, Miranda! I didn't have her book or her plan. I was going strictly by the freebie stuff on her site. And I knew sugar was one of the seven items to eliminate. I also knew sugar was my weakest point. I opted for a tad of it, instead of blowing the whole process.

      I'm wondering, does JJ say in her book that she allows Stevia in this initial 21 days? That would have worked for me.

      Thanks! db

    2. She's highly against all sweeteners that are sweeter than sugar (such as Stevia) as your body will habituate to the and thus not appreciate (or sense) the sugars naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables. (There's a study out that diet soda drinkers actually gain weight vs non diet drinkers.)

      Moreover, other natural but less sweet sugars (lactose & maltose) can still an insulin response and thus are problematic when trying to balance your metabolism.

      Because of this she only recommends Xylitol.

  2. did this diet make you feel better and did you loose any weight?

    1. I did lose about ten pounds (one dress size) within the first two weeks and then held steady for the last two weeks of the 28-day plan. I definitely felt better, yes, even that first month. Even felt better the next months thereafter, while playing with putting some of the 7 items back in my diet.

      Now, I didn't have all the inside details as I was going strictly by the free info online. And after that 28 days of restrictions, I have not been rigidly eliminating the 7 items, but was putting them back in my diet to see if I felt uncomfortable again, or if I had nasal congestion or if I had swelling in my ankles.

      After the initial 28 days, I've reverted to black coffee and have foregone the cream altogether. Which was a particular love of mine and I'm shocked I'm still doing without it. I hardly miss it at all. I've had maybe one cup of coffee with real (heavy) cream one time a month, or one time in two months, if that.

      I'm more alert to how my body reacts to meals, to foods. I do find sour cream bothers me instantly, upsetting my stomach, yet the other dairy doesn't have that immediate effect. Which doesn't mean it's not an "allergen" to me, as I cannot seem to lose weight and eat cheese, for instance. Or maybe it's the wheat Triscuits (gluten) that are working against me. I may try a week of cheese and celery or apples and see if I lose any weight that week. Just my own idea here, as I say I don't have JJ's full plan or book to go by, just the free stuff online.

      And gluten makes my stomach hurt.

      Now with the New Year dawning, I'm going to be stricter about eliminating all 7 again and see if I can drop another dress size. Maybe drop another food addiction. My real addiction is sugar. So we'll see...

      Here's wishing us both luck! db

    2. Rereading my reply, let me make this distinction: gluten in bread bothers me pretty soon after eating it. Yet Triscuits and provolone don't.

      That's what I find confusing to me. There are certain foods within the 7 targeted food groups that bother me, but the other foods in that same group don't seem to. Odd.

      It's all about experimenting with foods, seeing which ones set off our own body's chemistry in a bad way, taking them out of our diet, replacing them with something we like just as well, and seeing if we lose weight and look better too.

    3. Sounds like you have a lactose, or some other milk sugar intolerance - hence the cheese is okay. Nonetheless cheese contains casomorphins (compounds similar to morphine) which stimulate appetite and fat production and also make milk products addictive. I personally don't think I have the will power to give them up, but they are a clear health problem for those trying to loose weight or with high cholesterol.

      As far a bread vs triscut, it might be the specific ingreadiants as opposed to the gluten. Grain allergies are actually just as common as gluten ones, but gluten is more encompassing, which is probablly why JJ doesn't bother to mention specific grains. Moreover, store bought bread often contains soy, which may be the real issue. However, you may be correct about the gluten issue as well as it's much more available in bread than a whole grain snack like triscut. Experimenting with different types of bread (even makeing some at home) could help narrow it down.

    4. Just updating now that I read the whey and yeast post, I'm guessing whey is actually more likely a culprit than a sugar, despite the reduced sugar in cheese vs sour cream. However I doubt your bread reaction is yeast related as you'd be having problems with yogurt, wine and beer as well.

  3. Bread usually has yeast in it, where Triscuits do not have yeast or leavening to them. Maybe you're sensitive to yeast?
    Regarding dairy, you could be sensitive to whey and not casein, which could explain why provologne cheese (and other hard cheeses) dont bother you as much, but sour cream, ice cream, yogurt etc might. Whey is that clear liquid that forms on top of the yogurt and sour cream. Skim milk has more whey that half and half or cream does. Google it for more info.

    1. Thank you, Eryka, for the yeast and whey tips. I think they are exactly two problem sensitivities for me.

      I love my Triscuits with provolone in moderation and am glad my body tolerates them without reaction. So I'm hoping to still lose weight even while having them occasionally.

      I'll watch yeast more closely and track that, although I have cut out so much bread. Every now and then, I crave a good specialty bread and will just watch for reactions.

      The whey makes perfect sense. I tried those powdered protein drinks in the morning to get 30 g. with a scoop added to one 8 oz. glass of water and stopped after three weeks when I found I could not lose weight.

      I figured the soy within was the culprit since I've had a hysterectomy, but I bet it was the whey. This is great info for me to implement.

      Thanks, again, Eryka. Happy New Year! db

  4. Here's my reply to Valerie's comment which doesn't show up here (strange), but was in my Gmail:

    Valerie Miller has left a new comment on your post "Day 28 of J. J. Virgin's 28-Day Break Free Diet
    ": How did you plan your three weeks and how strict were you?? I have two young kids so I don't think I can be AS strict as I'd prefer to be...any tips??


    Hi, Valerie. Yes, with little ones about, I bet your day is hectic.

    I was surprised I had control for the whole 28 days. As you can see from my other posts and replies all about this plan, my biggest weakness was sugar, but still I managed to avoid white/brown sugar. When I fell into the sweet trap, I went with pure maple syrup or honey, so it hadn't been manipulated much by manufacturing like other foods.

    Timing helped. I gave up bread, which was another biggie for me. Plus life can bring unplanned stress which could easily lead me to emotional eating. However, that month I was working JJ's 28-day plan was pretty calm and stress-free.

    For me, it helps to mull things over in my mind, get my thinking prepared/aligned. I was planning ahead what to eat when the urge for sweets or breads hit me. Then writing it down and seeing it for days on end. [This is also my creative process for novels.] Then I took it one day at a time. But I compete with myself daily. So once I had a few days of the program under my belt, it seemed imperative to see it through to the end.

    That month changed how I look at dieting. Now it is more about how my body feels. I still have times when I'm hit with cravings but I'm working out my own personal eating plan. It takes time to figure out what works for our different bodies, IMO. Like the gluten vs. yeast comment above; like the dairy vs. whey insight too. Those work great as to my physical makeup.

    For me, it is still a work in progress. And like the yeast and whey, maybe my body has a sensitivity to a derivative of those remaining suspect foods to watch out for. I'm still researching that as my body becomes my lab daily.

    I think this year will be the one where it falls into place for me. Hope so for you as well, Valerie. Best wishes!

  5. If sugar is what you are having the most difficulty giving up then that is the one you should give up. According to the book, NO sugar...not even stevia :( I have a bout 5 days until I finish the 3 weeks/21 days. I miss bread! If it gets really bad I just mix organic buckwheat flour with some water and cook it like a pancake with coconut oil. I would think that by now my cravings would diminish but they haven't. I definitely feel good and have lost weight, but wondering what will happen to my weight loss after I re-introduce the foods slowly.

  6. I know. You are so right. I have to focus on sugar this time. I'm gearing up for another month to address my greatest addiction specifically.

    And I was that way about bread, too. My craving for it still haunts me. So I guess that's my second-most addictive food to watch out for. Buckwheat is a great substitute for wheat, even with its misnomer of a name.

    I'm trying to find substitutes that help me through the 28 days again. Not sure there is one for sugar. But at least with bread, there is the buckwheat. With pasta, there is cauliflower.

    Good luck, Nina. Wish me some, too! db

    1. P.S. What about fruit? Is that allowed in the first 28 days? That would work as a sugar substitute for me, even if only four strawberries spread throughout the day, or a fourth-cup of blueberries. That sort of thing.

  7. Thank you for posting this and congrats! I found your post while searching whether or not I can stay on the first phase for an additional four weeks, without incorporating the additional foods. I would also like to add a brief comment to this - it's been about 4 weeks on phase one and the biggest thing that I have come away with is the ability it gave me to take control over my appetite and my 'cravings.'

    Truly incredible, not really missing any of the foods that I took out - most, if not all, of which were in every meal for me prior to the diet. I haven't weighed myself, but I am down one solid dress size, headed towards two rather quickly. I'm a nursing mom of a 15 month old, with a very demanding full time job and was able to stay on the diet - I am very impressed and highly recommend it.

    1. I so agree with you about finding those "forbidden" foods in every meal. It is amazing, in a bad way.

      WOW! You are doing really great.

      I find I am truly emotional eater. Don't know if that is totally because I'm a Deep South gal or if it is just something else to encourage my innate leanings.

      Regardless, it does teach me to watch my body's reactions to the foods I eat, but now I am also watching my emotions BEFORE I eat.

      Jacquie, best wishes! You go, girl! db

  8. Check out Paleo Bread, it is no grain bread made from almond flour or coconut flour and can be bought online. You CAN have BLT's and be grain free :-) http://www.julianbakery.com/paleo/

    1. Wow! That's great, Veronica. I just went to the grocery store and bypassed bread (and chocolate-covered doughnuts!). This is good to know.

      And in the last three days, I've given up sugar (but am eating fruit). Still don't know if fruit is a no-no within the initial period as I'm going by free info on the Net.

      But it is working for me and the scale is already going down. So I give it a thumbs-up.

      Thanks for sharing, Veronica. I'm looking more and more into paleo. Thanks for the bakery link. Off I go to check it out.

      Have a great weekend, all! db