Eating by the Book

J.J. Virgin says you can feel healthier by eating a diet of nonprocessed foods

J.J. Virgin, author of A Virgin Diet


A tall, lanky blonde with a Hollywood smile and 25 years of experience as a health and fitness coach, J.J. Virgin is enjoying the success of The Virgin Diet. A “what not to eat” guide that hit The New York Times bestseller list when published in 2012, the book has sold almost 200,000 copies and is central to a mini-empire that includes TV shows, nutritional supplements, frozen dinners, and a deal for three more books, which she’ll write from home in the desert.

JJ Virgin will appear at the sixth annual Desert Woman's Show & Conference at Agua Caliente Casino Resort on Nov. 17 at 12:30 p.m. and Nov. 18 at 9 a.m. Tickets:

It’s called The Virgin Diet. Does the world need another diet book?
People go on diets, and people buy diet books. They do this for the initial weight loss, but they realize that they’ve been walking around feeling low-grade crappy. I want to get out a message of hope: It can be different. This is taking out what you’re typically used to eating and shifting to nonprocessed food.

How does it work?
For three weeks, you eliminate the top seven foods that cause food intolerance — not even a smidgen of gluten, soy, dairy, eggs, corn, peanuts, and sugar or artificial sweeteners. That automatically takes away processed foods, and everything else is fair game. It’s very, very simple. Most people feel so good after that time, they don’t want to eat the foods they ate before. Weight loss is a happy side effect.

What happens in week four?
Traditional diets cut out carbs, fat, calories, or protein, without paying any attention to the quality and type of food you’re supposed to eat. They aren’t sustainable. Here, in week four, you add back a little of one of the foods you’ve eliminated and see how you react, and you do that slowly with each food. This lets you know what your body needs and how to feed it.

What are you writing next?
In February, Virgin Diet Cookbook hits. Then, on Nov. 4, 2014 — right between those two big eating days of Halloween and Thanksgiving — Sugar Virgin comes out. And a year after that, it’s Sugar Virgin Cookbook.

You travel at least half the year, and write in the desert. What makes the area special for you?
This is the most amazing, sophisticated small town. You have incredible people in a little area where it’s beautiful, calm and peaceful, with great shopping and great restaurants. When I’m here, I work out, write, and hang out with my kids.

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