The Virgin Diet: End of Cycle 1

I did it. I survived.

For two weeks, anyway.

As a recap, the last two weeks meant no dairy, no gluten, no soy, no eggs, no corn, no peanuts, and no artificial sweeteners.

To be honest, it really wasn’t that bad. Considering I already eat pretty healthy, I didn’t miss a lot of things. It definitely helped that I’d told so many people, so they were able to hold me accountable when I was in the darkest throws of craving a coffee with milk and sugar. But overall? You can do anything for 21 days. I had a root canal that got in the way and meant lots of cold foods that involved no chewing, i.e.: ice cream. But even 14 days isn’t a bad reset.

If you read the book, or do any googling, it’s pretty easy to find a list of what you can (and can’t) eat. Or, as my friend pointed out, it’s basically Whole 30 plus you can’t eat eggs. What does that leave you with? Meat, fruit, veggies, and some major creativity.

For breakfast the book says you’re supposed to do shakes, and I did maybe half the time. I found that they worked pretty well on mornings where I worked out early — drink half before, half after. But if I was heading straight to work, I kept almond butter at my desk and would just cut up an apple or a pear. My office also has gluten-free oatmeal, and sometimes I’d mix that with some almond butter.

I’m pretty boring when it comes to my work lunches, so that actually didn’t change. Turkey or chicken + veggies. I’m one of those people who could eat the same thing every day and never get sick of it.

Dinner wasn’t that hard either. I’m more of a snacker late in the day, so I’d make some brussels sprouts, or have some veggies and hummus with a rotisserie chicken.

I also wound up saving some money this month, since going out to eat is admittedly difficult. Word to the wise, Chipotle is doable (carnitas burrito bowl), the harvest bowl from Sweetgreen minus the goat cheese, and some indian places also worked out in a pinch! It just depends on where you live and what your options are.

My biggest challenge? Dairy.

14 days without dairy was rough. As a Wisconsin girl, I don’t take cutting this out lightly. I love my cheese and my milk. My baristas were very confused when I ordered a black coffee instead of with milk and sugar. And I did find that on a particularly rough Monday, the only thing I craved was an iced coffee. I knew I ate a lot of dairy, but I don’t think I realized how much until now. So if anything, I’ll be more conscious of that going forward, but I will never be cutting it out completely again.

Like I said last time, I don’t believe in diets, but if you need a quick reset, I think this is actually a decent way to go. So whether you want to give it a try for just a few days, or do the full three weeks, here are some tips to get you through:

  • Clean out your pantry. If it doesn’t fit within the parameters, pack it up and put it away. Out of sight, out of mind.
  • If you’re a snacker like me, find things that work for you. Epic jerky and That’s It fruit bars were staples that I could keep at my desk or in my bag.
  • If you have to go out to eat, scope out your options ahead of time and get creative. You can have a burger, but maybe ask for it without the bun. Order sides of veggies instead of a main. You just need to think outside the box.
  • Keep a list of okay foods in a draft in your email or in the notes on your phone so you can reference it when you’re out with friends or at the grocery store.
  • Tell people you’re doing it. They’ll hold you accountable (even if they think what you’re doing is weird.)
  • Even better, get someone to do it with you! You can cook together!

The Virgin Diet has three cycles, and I don’t plan to complete the others. That being said, my pantry has stayed pretty clean, and I’ve made a conscious effort to cut down on my dairy intake. I made a few swaps for other things I eat on a regular basis and I’m still trying to stay away from eating out. Sometimes you just need a quick reset, a quick reminder of how to eat healthy to get back on the bandwagon. So overall, definitely glad I did it!

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