Days 8-13

Breakfast: Leftover banana coconut crockpot oatmeal

Lunch: Artichoke Lemon Pesto Chicken (alterations: I’m not fond of spaghetti squash, so I diced up a butternut squash, roasted it in the oven, and threw that in instead)

Dinner: Crockpot beef spare ribs (not that crazy about this recipe) with lots of sautéed zucchini and summer squash

I was thinking about how I’m going to eat after the Virgin Diet is over. Obviously, if it’s clear I have an intolerance to something, I won’t eat it. Even if I don’t though, I think I may stay mostly gluten, dairy, and sugar-free. I may use some occasional butter, raw honey, or maple syrup, but I think I’ll keep it fairly clean. I’ve been feeling pretty good and starting to notice subtle differences in my skin and body shape. Mostly though, I have no guilt about what I’m eating. I don’t have that dread after eating something I know I shouldn’t and wishing I could rewind just a little bit and not eat what I just ate. I also haven’t been eating when I’m bored. I guess when the food is more boring, you don’t eat for entertainment haha.

I love to cook and bake and don’t want to sacrifice that long term. I’ve been looking around a bit at paleo food blogs and have found some great resources for clean eating recipes for everyday food and treats as well. I’m sure I will occasionally (but hopefully not very often) have a treat that is totally junky (i.e. ice cream, Doritos, pizza, etc.), but I think after the Virgin Diet I’d like to put my creative baking energy into a weekly “clean treat”–an indulgent, sweet, delicious dessert made with paleo-friendly ingredients. I think this will be especially great for when we have kids someday to have an arsenal of yummy desserts made of ingredients that are helpful to the body.

I haven’t made desserts from any of these blogs yet (Virgin Diet, remember?), but here are some of the promising looking websites I’ve been perusing:

PaleOMG: Good everyday recipes with ingredients you probably either already have or have easy access to. She likes to eat, she seems to like dessert, and she is funny–what’s not to like?

Recipes I’ve been eyeing:


Chocolate Mousse with Cinnamon Sauteed Bananas


Chocolate “Peanut Butter” Ice Cream with Chocolate Shell


Magic Brownie Bars

Civilized Caveman: Nice food photography, the guy seems to love bacon and pumpkin, and that’s alright with me.

Recipes I’ve been eyeing:


Paleo Banana Bread


Chocolate Bacon Almond Butter Bananas


Macadamia Pumpkin Butter

Living Healthy with Chocolate: Competitive kite surfer from Hawaii who also likes to create healthy desserts.

Recipes I’ve been eyeing:


Chocolate Cups with Coconut Whipped Cream and Fresh Berries


Paleo Coconut Cream Pie

Yes to Yummy: Teen girl who decided to eat and cook healthy and start a blog–pretty impressive looking recipes for someone so young!

Recipes I’ve been eyeing:


Healthier Fried Chicken


Strawberry Almond Cupcakes

Last, but not least, the one I’m most excited about…

Clean Eating With a Dirty Mind: I think the title already explains how awesome this one is. The photos make you want to lick the computer screen.

Recipes I’ve been eyeing:


Paleo Raw Mint Chocolate Tartlets


Paleo Red Velvet Cupcakes


Paleo Chocolate Cheesecake

Who’s hungry? It’s almost time for me to bust out my aprons and get crazy! 🙂


Day 7

Foods for today:

Breakfast: This awesome banana coconut crockpot oatmeal.


Do yourself a favor–make it! (alterations: I used full-fat coconut milk, omitted the brown sugar, and subbed coconut oil for the butter) I think if you’re going to have leftovers and reheat this it would probably taste better to throw in some fresh bananas. Our leftovers started to get a little mushy.

Lunch: Amy’s Soups Indian Dal Golden Lentil, fresh carrots and snap peas (not all of Amy’s Soups are Virgin Diet friendly, so check your labels)

Dinner: Good-sized ribeye steak, huge mound of steamed broccoli, and these coconut lemon meltaways (alteration: substituted a few dates for the added sugar) which honestly weren’t anything special

Confession 1: I’m fairly experienced with cooking and baking, but I don’t know how to cook steak. I looked it up online, followed the directions exactly, and…ate a slightly overcooked steak haha. The flavor was great, but a little too chewy for my liking.

Confession 2: I’m not that crazy about vegetables. They’re soooo boring! I mean, I like plenty of vegetables (as in, I don’t think they’re gross and maybe enjoy them a little bit on occasion), but they never sound like the most interesting choice. Hmmm, should I eat a sweet, tart apple with rich, creamy almond butter, or…celery. Lame. I like salads if someone else makes one for me, but making salads is kind of high maintenance. If I’m going to put some work into food (and I do), it better taste better than a salad. Unfortunately, I think I’m gonna have to get over it. Veggies are a huge component of diets like the Virgin Diet or paleo. They add so many nutrients and so much bulk to a diet. I totally think it’s great to take pleasure in the different flavors of food–even indulgent, unhealthy foods sometimes–but it’s wrong to let the taste of what I’m eating 100% dictate what nutrition my body is getting. My mom always told us that when we make our eating choices based only on what tastes good we’re letting one tiny part, our tongue, overrule what the whole body needs to function well.

Goal: eat more veggies.

Day 6

I spent a good portion of the day crocheting a baby blanket for a friend who’s due in a couple weeks and watching a major guilty pleasure show, Switched at Birth (ABC Family show about two non-related teens, one of whom is deaf,  who were switched and given to the wrong parents at birth). I know, I know, “How are you so awesome?” right? I just come by it naturally. You can’t learn that.

Foods for today:

Breakfast: Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free steel cut oats with cinnamon, raisins, almond milk and some slivered, toasted almonds–yum! (D hates regular rolled oats and had never had steel cut. He loved this!)

Lunch: Can of tuna, avocado with salt and pepper, half an apple

Dinner: Chop salad with romaine, chicken, garbanzo beans, olives, roasted red peppers, and balsamic vinaigrette

D and I joined a new community group at our church, and Saturday was our first time meeting. Most people seemed pretty cool, and I think it has potential. A few couples decided to head over to a local pizza place for dinner. We wanted to be friendly and start getting to know people, so we went too. I knew they had salads but was kind of concerned about how everything was prepared. (i.e. chicken cooked with butter) One of the restaurant employees assured me that none of my forbidden foods were involved in the cooking, but I still found myself having some anxiety about whether something would sneak in. I kept thinking, “Soy is in everything. There could be soy in some ingredient,” or, “Crap. That’s a piece of mozzarella!” and “Is some little mistake in the kitchen or lack of knowledge about what is in their food going to negate how careful I’ve been this week?” (just FYI, I never stress about what is in my restaurant food) That was kind of hard, and, honestly, eating out is probably not a good idea while on the Virgin Diet. (exceptions would be restaurants that have specific gluten-free, dairy-free, etc. items)

Internet, we have a cheater in our midst. D is also doing the Virgin Diet. He had a couple beers Friday night not realizing that a.) you can’t have alcohol while doing the Virgin Diet and b.) beer has gluten. The next day when we went to the pizza place he was like, “Well, since I already had beer last night, I may as well have pizza today and then get back on track.” He then proceeded to eat a WHOLE PIZZA! Haha

I realized, I never explained my reasons for doing the Virgin Diet–kind of important, yeah?

  1. I don’t want to be mastered by food. I’m not overweight, and I don’t binge eat or anything. Overall, even before the Virgin Diet, I ate pretty healthy. However, I’m pretty sure my body is addicted to sugar. I love it. Same goes for dairy. I definitely eat emotionally sometimes when I’m mad or bored and turn to food to liven things up. I think it’s definitely okay to enjoy food and have an indulgent dessert every so often, but I don’t want to find myself walking to the fridge while my inner voice is going, “Don’t do it. You don’t need it!” and caving, yet again to what sounds good in the moment. “‘All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be dominated by anything.” 1 Cor 6:12
  2. I want to lose 8-10 pounds.
  3. I want to have a baby. Diets like this and the paleo diet have been known to help with fertility. Also, I’d like to be as healthy as possible before and while I’m pregnant.
  4. I want better skin. I’m a couple years away from 30 and still fighting acne. Not cool.

There you have it. Those are the reasons why I’m sacrificing really good food. I love to cook and especially love to bake, so I’m also sacrificing a creative outlet and hobby. I think it will be worth it, especially if it turns out I can cut out one or two items that don’t agree with my body chemistry and have been causing problems.

Days 3, 4, and 5

Nothing interesting happened on these days. No, really.

*gasp* “Do you mean to say,” says the Internet, “that nothing groundbreaking in the world of nutrition and fitness happened to you in the last three days?”

Exactly right, Internet.

I ate the same foods and did the same stuff. Cravings have been getting a little worse. I expected the strongest cravings to be for dairy and coffee (I’m giving that up too- not as part of the Virgin Diet though), but so far it has been gluten-related foods I’m craving (pizza, cinnamon rolls, toast, etc.) and, of course, sugar.

In other news, a high school boy in one of the classes I was teaching offered to take me on a date to Panda Express. Really pulled out the big guns on that one, buddy.

Also, thanks to CrossFit, I can barely walk. In my quest to build a butt–nature didn’t give me much to work with in that area–I have been doing some extra weighted squats and lunges. On Thursday, I did some squats and one of the girls from the gym and I did about 50 lunges with 30lbs added and 50 more with 50lbs added. Little did I know on Friday the WOD (workout of the day) would have TONS of weighted lunges, squats, and running. When I got through that first set of weighted lunges after lots of squats and headed outside to run, I feared I may have lost the use of my legs they were moving so slowly. I was like the Little Engine That Freakin Could huffing and puffing up that hill, feeling like each leg weighed a million pounds. Haha and now I can barely sit down. =)

Day 2

Meals for today:

Breakfast: Old fashioned oats with cinnamon, Silk unsweetened almond milk, a scoop of rice protein powder, and blueberries

Lunch: Brazilian curry chicken from paleOMG- crockpot meal with chicken, coconut milk, onion, bell pepper, garlic, tomato paste, chicken broth, ginger, curry, and a dash of red pepper flakes

Snack: A banana with sunflower seed butter, Key Lime Larabar, and a few pieces of bacon left over from our epic pre-Virgin Diet brunch last Sunday (If you’re not on the Virgin Diet, do yourself a favor and make this caramelized onion and bacon tart we had for brunch–so good!) Went a little overboard on the snack today. I get super hungry around 4pm.

Dinner: Taco lettuce wraps

Today I subbed for an elementary school PE teacher and spent the day playing Ultimate Kickball with 2nd-5th graders. Two kids kick at a time, unlimited base runners on any base, little kid enthusiasm–it was fun verging on chaotic mayhem. (no children were [seriously] harmed in the playing of Ultimate Kickball) I am so glad I was with an extremely active class today because I was BEAT. Five showings of the same 50-minute educational movie segment and I would’ve been struggling! Maybe it’s the lack of sugar and caffeine, but my energy level was at zero today.

No peanuts means no peanut butter, so I made my own sunflower seed butter! Hooray! Almond butter is okay, but the flavor is a bit subtle for my taste. Sunflower seed butter has a much stronger flavor more similar to peanut butter. It was super easy, too. I just threw some roasted, salted sunflower seeds (bulk food) in the food processor. It was really grainy and not a spreadable consistency, but after adding a teensy bit of olive oil it had a nice texture. It is almost too salty though, so next time I might use the roasted, unsalted seeds and add my own salt.

I also ordered some gluten-free steel cut oats from Bob’s Red Mill, ghee (clarified butter that does not contain lactose. I have never tried it, but can you really go wrong with butter?), and a nut milk bag. (side note: ‘Nut milk bag’ sounds like a nickname for a saggy-boobed hippie) It’s a fine mesh bag used for straining out the pulp/fiber when making nut milk. I’ve tried making almond milk in the past. The flavor was great, but the texture was too…scratchy, for lack of a better word. I think the straining bag would help with that. I’d also really like to try making cashew milk–no skins to peel off!

Again, the cravings were not as bad as I expected, especially for coffee. I have noticed though that I’m more prone to cravings at night. Tonight for instance, I’m really feelin’ some toast with butter and jam. (I have very specific cravings.)

To illustrate my point about the low energy level- tonight I totally passed out on the couch around 10:30pm. Usually I want to stay up late, and my husband is the old man who crashes after 9pm if he gets horizontal on the couch (he’s 28). In his words, “I don’t know what happened. It was like you were there with me, and then 10 minutes later it was game over.” =)

Conclusion after day two: Excited about trying new products and recipes!

Day 1

Okay, so in The Virgin Diet the author says that food cravings are at their worst in the first few days.  After day one I’m honestly already a little bored with the food I can eat, but maybe once my body is no longer craving sugar, dairy, and gluten I will appreciate the good foods more. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of approved foods that are really good (nut butters, fruit, coconut, meat, olives, etc.), but most of them just don’t seem as exciting as, say, cheese or chocolate. I like food to be interesting, and most of the foods I can eat this month don’t interest me.  I wouldn’t say that I had very strong cravings on day one, but pepperoni pizza was sounding really good for dinner. That was kind of weird since I don’t eat or want pizza very often.

So here’s what I did eat…

Breakfast: Old fashioned oats (still haven’t bought gluten-free oats yet, whoops! I thought maybe I could skate by without them, but a gluten-free friend said oats are one of the worst for cross-contamination) with cinnamon, a generous splash of Silk unsweetened almond milk, a scoop of rice protein powder, a handful of blueberries, and a cup of green tea

Lunch: Two cans of tuna, handful of baby carrots, handful of snap peas, and a handful of strawberries (lunch was a strange pre-shopping trip conglomerate)

Snack: Fresh tropical fruit medley, more baby carrots and snap peas, and a Lemon Larabar

Dinner: Taco lettuce wraps- ground turkey (my taco seasoning contained dairy and corn, so I had to improvise with my spices a bit. Smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder and salt worked just fine. I love the smoked paprika from Penzey’s Spices. If you’ve never been there and like cooking or baking–go! Sniff everything!), black beans, green chiles, fresh tomato, cilantro, and avocado

I’m a substitute teacher and am not required to work on any particular days, so I take Mondays off and do all of my cleaning, grocery shopping, and cooking for the week. I usually make three (or two if I’m busy or feeling lazy) large meals that we eat for dinners and lunches throughout the week. I’d rather eat the same thing a few times in a week than have a good portion of every evening spent on meal prep.

On Monday I also took the dreaded “before” pictures. Winter white is the term that comes to mind. In the name of science, I took the pictures with good posture, sucking it in, not the no-makeup, pasty, slouching staged before picture that contrasts so well with the spray tanned, made over, standing up straight after pics. I also recorded my weight and measurements. These will not be seeing the light of the internet unless there are some wild results.

Conclusion after day one: I don’t have very bad cravings yet, but I need to shake up next week’s recipes a bit to avoid boredom.

Day one is going up a day late. I spent Monday planning to sit down and write in the evening…until D texted to ask when I was leaving. “Leaving for what?” I ask. “Umm, the party you told me about…” Oh, right. Crap. One of my friends was hosting a trunk show for the Noonday Collection, and I almost completely forgot about it. Noonday sells jewelry, accessories, home goods, and other items from artisans in third-world countries. This allows them to afford healthcare, schooling, and many other benefits. It’s an awesome combo of shopping for some cute jewelry and helping provide a struggling person with sustainable income. I ordered these two beauties

Image Image

and was tempted to buy these cute convertible sandals that can be tied in a variety of ways, but unfortunately I don’t have an unlimited jewelry/accessories budget. =)



I’m starting the Virgin Diet based on the book of the same name by author and nutrition specialist JJ Virgin. My husband, D, suggested a blog to keep track of any observations, results, and effects of the diet.

The Virgin Diet is based on the idea that subtle food intolerances can go unnoticed and contribute to weight gain, skin problems, mood changes, and a whole host of other problems (check out the list below).


For 21 days, you eliminate the seven foods from your diet that are most likely to cause problems:

Gluten (sort of a bummer)

Dairy (noooooooooooooooo!)

Soy (no biggie)

Corn (annoyed that it’s in everything, but won’t miss it)

Peanuts (meh)

Eggs (will miss them moderately)

Sugar (nooooooooooooooo!)

After 21 days, you reintroduce some of the foods (the others you more or less eliminate indefinitely) to see how your body reacts and determine whether you have an intolerance.  (side note: There’s another good book very similar to this one based on the Paleo diet called It Starts with Food. Differences in what you can/can’t eat compared to the Virgin Diet- eggs are fine, but no legumes or gluten-free grains like oats, quinoa and brown rice. I really enjoyed reading both books. This is starting to sound like The Reading Rainbow. “Do you like reading? Do you like healthy food? Well then you should check out It Starts with Food!”)

I’m making a few modifications on the diet as prescribed in the book. Artificial/alternative sweeteners in general are not allowed on this diet, with the exception of stevia and xylitol. After a little bit of reading, I think xylitol seems a little iffy, and stevia as it’s processed doesn’t seem quite as natural as it has been advertised. The Virgin Diet also allows coffee, but I think caffeine is not agreeing with me these days. (no coffee and no dairy…I may weep)

I’m interested to see what happens. This is gonna be a long month… =)