My Virgin Diet Experience, Part 2

The reason I chose to write about The Virgin Diet is because it’s recently taken over my life.  When you make a change in the way you eat and cook, you can’t help but think about it, a lot.  I talk about it at home and at work.  I did not enter into this lightly but at the same time, I wish I had prepared a little better before getting started.  I read through the book completely one time and then skimmed back through the areas that I had questions on.  My hope for you, is that should you decide to try The Virgin Diet, you will be better prepared than I was.

My first suggestion, is to read the book through twice and highlight the items you’d like to go back through later.  It’s really easy to forget what you read.  Or, as in my case remember it incorrectly.  There are so many places these seven foods hide that you’ll want to go back through and read it again to be sure you don’t miss anything.

In the back of the book you’d find a section on recipes.  I recommend trying a few of the recipes out before beginning.  Also, don’t over complicate things.  You can keep your meals simple and still make amazing food during phases one and two.

Due to the restrictions on food, I found it necessary to scout out a few grocery stores before beginning this program.  Not only do you need to pull out gluten, dairy, eggs, sugar and sugar substitutes, corn, soy and peanuts but J.J. Virgin suggests not eating meats that have eaten corn or soy.  This requires you to find a store that sells 100% grass fed meats or that guarantees that they’ve not been feed corn, soy or animal by-products.  This is not as easy as you might think.  I’ll run through the various stores that I looked at and maybe it will help.

I shop at Winn Dixie and sometimes stop by Publix on my way home from work.  Not surprisingly our local grocery stores are bringing in more and more organic and gluten free options than ever before.  But, you won’t be able to find everything you need in one place.  At least, not if you are going hard core, all out grass fed meat products and full organic everything else.  We’ll take a quick look at a few local options and I’ll walk through the pros and cons of each.

My first stop was The Fresh Market since one recently opened up near me in Lake Mary.  I’d never been in one before but I was under the impression that they were an organic market so I stopped in.  They definitely have more organic food options than my local grocery store.  My favorite part was the produce section.  It was so beautiful and everything looked amazingly looked fresh.  I was able to find some specialty foods like Tahini paste that I wasn’t able to find at Winn Dixie.  There are a lot of gluten free options but many of their gluten free products replace wheat with corn so be sure to read all labels on prepared foods.  The pricing was comparable to other stores but I didn’t see many sales like I would expect to see at the grocery store down the road.

If you live anywhere near Longwood, FL you need to check out Wild Hare Kitchen and Garden Emporium.  It’s a great big name for an adorable little market.  All of the meats are free range and guaranteed to not have been fed corn or soy.  The meat is more expensive than what you will find at your traditional grocery store which is why I suggest keeping your meals simple.  The staff is knowledgeable, friendly and helpful.  The majority of the products come from local farmers and very few items are shipped in from out of state.

Wild Hare has just about every type of meat you will want.  All of them are frozen and vacuum sealed.  The only problem I have with this, is that if I buy bacon or sausage links I’ll need to cook it all up quickly.  I can’t separate it out and then freeze it in smaller portions at home.  I love this place, you really should stop by and check it out.

Two weekends ago I went to the Lake Mary Farmer’s Market.  While cute and kitschy, it just didn’t have the organic and grass fed meat options I was looking for.  I did buy a few items to use but not many.  I’m not really sure if it’s worth the trip at least not while my diet is so restricted.  I plan on visiting a few farmer’s markets in our area but I notice there are a lot of vendors selling nick knacks and not many whole food vendors.

I’m sure you’ve been waiting for this one…Whole Foods Market.  I tried to avoid going to Whole Foods Market since there’s not one close to me.  But in the end, I was still determined to find a store that has everything in one place.  Whole Foods Market has an extremely large selection of organic foods.  Much more than I’ve seen in the other stores.  I especially like that they have gluten free beer for my husband and a lot of snack options for me.  Let’s face it, I’m at home working all day if I go perusing the cabinets there needs to be something that I can grab and eat.

Whole Foods Market does have a lovely selection of milks, cheeses, organic coffee, wild (not farmed) seafood and organic produce.  They do not, however, have a large selection of grass fed meats and eggs.  The meat there is sold on a scale which categorizes the foods by how the animals are raised and fed.  Some of the meat is from pastured animals that are also grain fed (organic grain).  If you don’t have a market or local farmer that sells grass fed meat, this may be your next best option.  And, they deliver.  I haven’t used this service yet but it’s nice to know it’s available.

Since there are so many topics I’d like to address, I’ll stop here for now.  There’s more I want to tell you but it can wait until next week.  Next time we’ll discuss the quest for the perfect protein powder and the staples you’ll want to buy for your kitchen before you get started.