My Virgin Diet Experience, Part 3

Last week, I did a run down on my local stores and markets in relation to the elimination diet I’m doing. If you haven’t read my previous columns, here’s an explanation.  I going through ‘The Virgin Diet’ program by J.J. Virgin to help me find out if food could be the source of my allergies and back pain.  The concept is to pull 7 foods out of your diet for 21 days and then one at a time, put some (not all) of them back into your diet to see if your body reacts to them.

Today I found an article by the Arthritis Foundation that walks through most of the foods and how they can cause inflammation in the body. I found this intriguing and appreciated the information since I just receive an arthritis diagnosis on my knees.

It’s important to remember that ‘The Virgin Diet’ is a program that will help you pinpoint the foods you need to remove from your diet.  Most likely, you won’t have to remove all of them but, you’ll probably need to remove a few by the time you are done.

My recommendation is that you plan on preparing all your meals yourself.  Do not eat out unless you have no choice.  It’s way too easy to make a mistake even when you are careful.  I had a few mishaps myself and it’s very frustrating when it happens.  I had salad dressing on my very healthy salad on day 2 and since I didn’t know what was in it, I had to start from the beginning again.

Soy, corn and gluten hide in more places than I realized.

Now that we know where to shop, here are some the items I suggest you purchase.  The first month or two can be expensive.  Especially if you try creating all the recipes in the book.  I’ll run down the list of what I’ve purchased and the items I’ve used the most.  This isn’t a full list of items you will need but, it should not only get you started but make sure you have some easy meals between when you don’t have the time to cooking a new recipe.

 

Everything should be organic and as close to its natural state as possible.  The longer we cook like this, the more I realize it’s better to keep it simple.

 

Pantry:

Coconut Oil – I bought Fresh Market’s jar of coconut oil and I love to use it for sautéing shrimp.
Sea Salt Grinder
Pepper Grinder
Vanilla Extract
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Olive Oil – I was able to find organic at Winn Dixie.
Chopped Nuts – Be careful not to buy nuts roasted in peanut oil.  I’ve made this mistake.
Stevia and or Xylitol – I would buy both if you can find them.
Brown Rice
Sweet Potatoes
Fridge:

Coconut Milk – I bought So Delicious, unsweetened, low fat coconut milk that I found in the dairy section.
Coconut/Almond creamer – unsweetened if you need it for coffee
Avocados
Fresh veggies for making salads
Vinegar – Buy a red wine vinegar for salad dressing and I found Champagne vinegar at Home Goods, it’s great for greens.  Yum!
Small tomatoes, zucchini or squash for quick steamed veggie side dishes.

 

Staples for quick meals:

Cans of Organic Beans (Black, Pinto, etc)
Frozen Vegetables
Frozen (Wild Caught) fish and shrimp
Brown Rice noodles – I like Annie Chun’s Brown Rice Noodles which I found at Whole Foods.  I use them as I would linguine noodle and they could be used in a soup if you break the noodles up.
Quinoa – I cook mine in chicken broth, keep the leftovers in the fridge and add it to salads and tacos during the week.
Chicken and Beef Stock –  Can be used to add flavor to rice and quinoa or to make a quick soup.

 

Protein Shake Fixins:

Almond Butter or other nut butter – I use Justin’s Classic Almond Butter.
Chia Seeds
Vegetarian Protein Powder – We like Vega Protein powder and found it at Target.
Frozen Berries – I buy several bags at a time and I found that the organic berries actually taste better. Flax Seed Meal – This is used for smoothies and can be used for baking as well.

 

Obviously, you need to adjust your list according to your personal tastes.  But I think I’ve gotten this list to a place where not everything I make doesn’t have to be a one-hour event.

I’d like to emphasize that I started buying the staples a month before starting the program.  I picked these items up a little each week until I had what I needed.  Some of the foods listed would have been nice to have around for the nights that I didn’t have a plan for dinner or time to go grocery shopping.

We enjoy trying new recipes but the reality is, when I go back to the office I won’t be able to make a big meal every night.  One of the things I like to do, is cook my labor intensive meals on the weekend and then have some quick and easy meals during the week.  Weeknight dinners should be easy enough that we can eat within 30 minutes of starting the meal.  Also, when cooking a crock pot dinner, I get to come home to a kitchen full of delicious aromas.

Cooking from scratch has inspired me to cook some classic southern dishes I’ve always wanted to try.  I’ve cooked a big pot of pinto beans and tried my hand at collard greens.  So far, so good.  Next on my list is black-eyed peas and rice.