Obsessed With PBS: Drop 7 Foods, Feel Better Fast!

Let’s get the immaturity out of the way. Yes, the health expert’s name is J.J. Virgin. Yes, she keeps referring to The Virgin Diet. And yes, there is a big sign that says “VIRGIN” over her shoulder. Are you done giggling?

Now, in all seriousness: What foods do we abstain from? Are cherries on the list? This is my first time with this diet, please be gentle.

Drop 7 Foods, Feel Better Fast! features the aforementioned J.J. Virgin who is a board-certified holistic nutritionist and has devised a plan where if you eliminate seven specific foods from your diet for three weeks, you will feel better and may lose seven pounds in seven days. How do I know this? She said it many times within 15 minutes before revealing the first food to drop. Hear me now: when I get a pledge special, I will reveal the bullet points right off the bat. How will I keep you watching? I will have a guy spinning plates behind me as I explain each point.

The Foods To Drop!

  • Soy
  • Peanuts
  • Sugar
  • Corn
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Gluten

AKA: the ingredients that are in EVERYTHING!

Why the hate for these? Virgin explains…

  • Soy affects metabolism, it’s full of GMOs and is heavily processed
  • Peanuts have a high allergen potential and are susceptible to a mold that can develop into a carcinogen
  • Sugar raises insulin and cortisol and causes inflammation
  • Corn is a hidden source of sugar and is also full of GMOs
  • Eggs cause an immune response that…I didn’t catch all of this one
  • Dairy does not help with weight loss, can cause skin problems and does not guard against bone fractures
  • Gluten can damage the small intestine and is connected to auto-immune diseases


Virgin did not have an answer for this. She instead gave a list of alternatives to eat. More bullet points!

  • Unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk
  • almond butter
  • real nuts; not that poser legume, the peanut
  • xylitol
  • cinnamon or vanilla for sweetness
  • rice, quinoa, spaghetti squash
  • almond flour
  • greek-style coconut yogurt
  • items you can only get at Whole Foods

Hope this isn’t too depressing. I could have made it worse by listing the symptoms of Leaky Gut Syndrome. But isn’t the phrase Leaky Gut Syndrome depressing enough?

What else did I learn from Drop 7 Foods, Feel Better Fast!?  J.J. Virgin is the health guru on The Dr. Phil Show. A lot of sugar cravings are genetic. Your gut can leak.



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  1. This is the biggest load of bullshit and has no scientific basis. Simply reading blogs, non-peered review scientific literature, and wiki gives this idiot a false sense of knowledge. The reason you are losing weight is because you arent eating garbage food anymore. Test this eat only the 7 foods in moderation and in its raw non processed form with a balanced calorie intake and you will lose the 8 lb she claims.

    • I know, right? Those PBS Pledge specials just give you enough to get you interested but they don’t fill in the blanks. I think you may have to break down and buy her book (or at least see if it’s in the library) to get all the info. Good luck!

  2. You forgot to mention that her tagline is “Drop seven foods, lose seven pounds in seven days.” I lost 9, my wife lost 6, in the first week and we felt great. The most important thing to remember is that you absolutely have to not cheat for three weeks. If you drop those seven foods for three weeks, your body will stop making insulin and you will reach your ideal weight quickly and safely and feel a whole lot better. After three weeks, you can eat those foods again randomly, not every day and as little as possible but you don’t have to go hungry at a restaurant or bring your own food everywhere you go. In short, you don’t have to worry about your diet if you are careful. If you start back up on something that doesn’t agree with you, you will know it and you can correct for it. i.e. For me it was wheat gluten, when I started this diet, my arthritis pain subsided and when I started eating wheat bread again, the pain came right back so now I am gluten free and I am getting used to it. I do feel a lot better. I also try to avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners like the plague except for xylitol which is healthy and I use vanilla and cinnamon for sweeteners as JJ Virgin sugested. I also eat as little corn as possible and always GMO free. As far as soy goes, even if it is non GMO, it still has a negative effect on our metabolism so avoid at all costs most of the time. This really is a sensible diet, one that is not too difficult to implement and also easy to adjust to over time. I have lost 28 lbs now and am at my ideal weight and never have to worry about maintaining it as long as I avoid the seven whenever possible. Needless to say, I am definitely not going back to my old ways.

    • Wow! You seem to have gotten great results. The way you describe it, it reminds me of an elimination diet my friend was on. You take out all known allergens (pretty much her drop 7 list) for 3 weeks & then reintroduce one back in at a time. That way you have a really good idea of what you can’t tolerate. Much like the gluten reaction you had. That may help with the losing weight, too, I imagine. It will cut down on inflamation. Interesting. I wish I liked preparing meals. It’s great that it’s working for you guys.

    • You know, Dr. Andrew Weil is big on soy in the diet. He may have some thoughts on non-GMO soy on his website. I would assume that non-GMO would be OK and JJ Virgin may address this more in depth in her materials but I only know the snippet that she mentioned on her pledge special. Hope this helps!

  3. Trans fats, alcohol, coffee, energy drinks and potato chips are not on the do not eat list. I’m already on the diet. I’ve never felt better.

  4. Mandy,
    I saw the JJ Virgin PBS special a couple of weeks ago. Prior to that, I had watched a couple that presented similar points. I have to admit that both infomercials hit me hard. Everything that I thought was good for me, was making me fat! I started slowly changing my eating habits. 1st – NO artificial sweeteners. I lost 3 inches in my waist and 4lbs. 2nd – I began sampling alternative milks. I stopped for last week because we went back home for Easter Break. I figured something this new for me would be too hard on vacation…and I was right. But now we’re back home and I am re-energized for Spring! While visiting family, I saw my cardiologist for my checkup (I have hereditary high-cholesterol). He was very impressed with my numbers and spoke to me about his own experiences with this diet. He gave me some helpful hints. I don’t think I’ll buy any of the meals. I would rather cook in the “real” world, than be chained to their food products.
    Thanks for the Blog! I’ll continue to come back for ideas from your readers.

    • Wow. 3 inches with just cutting out the artificial sweeteners. That is awesome. I just got back from vacation myself and yes, it was difficult to eat super healthy. Although, the blame falls with me since I wanted to indulge as a part of my holiday. I could argue that I couldn’t find almond milk as easily in the UK than I can at home but really, I didn’t look very hard. The whole “I deserve to enjoy” attitude. So now I’m paying for it. :)

      That’s so great that your cardiologist was happy with your results. I love that he is taking the time to talk about lifestyle changes. I worry that my dad’s doctor is all about prescriptions and surgery. I sent my dad some info that hopefully he is putting into play. Not sure if he is ready for almond milk!

      Thanks for checking out my blog. I’m glad that people have been having some good experiences with this type of diet. And good for you for going with the cooking and not relying on the meals. For me, it’s good to know the meals are out there since I don’t cook!

      • Gosh, I wish I had the ultimate hint to give you but from what I’ve witnessed, it depends. I think the pat answer would be eat healthy foods & exercise. Which everyone LOVES to hear. Alas, I am no doctor or nutritionist so I’ll leave specific advice to them.

        Best of luck to you. I’m still trying to figure it myself.

    • Can anyone tell me again, why we have to elminate the artificial sweeteners? I get so confused!. I have been doing the “Nutribullet” type system of raw foods, seeds & nuts, hardly any sugar, oats, chia, quinoa flax, sunflower seeds, some salmon (cooked of course) and a some parmesan cheese and soymilk now and then (guess I’ll be eliminating those now). Have done pretty well with both weight and health. BUT, I still do use quite a lot of artificial sweeneners. I missed the first half of the pbs show, so I missed the part about what those sweeneners do to you. Have actually often wondered about them and looked them up online, but only have found out that the FDA says they are not bad for you. From what you, and JJ says, I am guessing that I need to stay away from them totally?? And so, what’s this about Xylitol?? Will probably buy her book, but in the meantime can anyone straighten me out? Really would appreciate it – and THANKS to you all for the many discussions and contributions I have already read on this subject of these “evil” 7 foods.

      • Hello! I was out of town so sorry for the delay in response. Hmmm. I think the big issue is that with artificial sweeteners, like in diet sodas, you feel like you can consume large quantities and still be healthy. Some argue that it keeps you craving sweets so it is best to eliminate them altogether. Also, they’re chemicals and that’s not always a great thing (an old study had aspertame causing cancer in rats but I think that’s been debunked). But on the other hand, they recommend stevia and xylitol which could possibly keep you craving sweets as well but won’t spike your blood sugar like regular sugar. And I just googled JJ Virgin & artificial sweeteners and this article came up: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jj-virgin/natural-sweeteners_b_3053890.html. I guess we add monk fruit to the list now as well!

        Too much to think about!!!

  5. I’m not in need of losing any weight (probably the opposite) but I am not a food nut. Unless I’m really hungry I won’t eat. It’s all a bother to me, and since I get no energy, it’s even more of a chore. I was going down several websites the other day and read up about this guy who is going on a “mostly” liquid diet. He’s a chemist and has worked out/is working out how much vitamins, minerals, fats, carbs, calories and other such stuff to keep his body working and in good order. (Think The Matrix).

    He’s on his second month, with tweaks here and there) and has even had people join him on a trial to see how they found it to be. His first month he only had that because he wanted to see if that would sustain him. Second month he allowed himself meals out with his friends and such along with it.

    It’s pretty interesting and I’m hoping he can get it all down right to market, but on it’s own, just reading how much the body needs and how much vitamins don’t give was pretty wild. We NEVER get enough potassium! Anyway, here’s a link to his blog if you’re interested.


    • Thanks for the link. Fascinating. I only skimmed the blog but first thing’s first: how awesome is it that he named it Soylent? “Soylent Green is people!!!”

      He seems to be very thorough in his research and testing. I appreciate the fact that he doesn’t say, “Don’t eat food ever again!” Does it mention what he does for fiber? I like how he said that people were concerned that he would be missing important nutrients that he doesn’t know about but that they weren’t this concerned when he was eating crap. Soon all we’ll need is daily meal capsule and then we can on our way to our computers to live out our lives. OK, that last part already happens.

  6. I watched the whole show then googled like I always do “name of show host, scam”. Found nothing negative. So I decided to try it… holy cow everything is expensive! I started yesterday and I’ve been starving!!! I hope I get used to it but some of the success stories here give me hope! The first week, you replace two meals a day with the shake – which is getting old in two days! LOL! I’m going to try to make it but driving in to work, I pass all sorts of tasty breakfast places. I’m at 258 pounds and 6 feet tall. I really need to lose a minimum of 40 pounds, better yet, 50.

    • Man, I love breakfast places. You’ve got some great will power going on if you can keep driving! I bet the first couple of days are difficult when you are so used to eating a certain way. Hopefully, soon you’ll be full from the shakes…or you’ll have the shakes from being so hungry. :)

      Good luck on your weight loss quest. Maybe the expense of the ingredients will be less than the breakfast places over time. It’s really inspiring to read all the people who are taking this on. I hope you get the results you want!

    • Hi Jeff — I have not watched the entire PBS infomercial….next time it’s on, I will…or I’ll get it on the PC. What is the shake? I’m trying to leave the artificial sweetners behind now….and I’ve all but stopped dairy at this point. Thanks for any help you may be able to give! If you can, email me directly at jenpuel@gmail.com

    • the food cravings go in about 5 days. I gained 40 pound last year….always hungry…not afterI started this. The hunger is gone. Waiting on the weight.

  7. Hi Mandy, I’m a first timer but you came up first so here goes! I like your page. I had never heard of Drop 7 before but as a person who has Fibromyalgia I haven’t eaten anything white in a long time. I’ve been using the coconut sugar, creamer, deserts along with gluten free, no soy or peanuts and I do believe after many spinal surgeries all this helps. I haven’t given up my organic lactose free milk but maybe I’ll give it a try. So those out there who suffer with arthritis or fibromyalgia give it shot you will have more energy than you know what to do with. I should have done my own show years ago, So Mandy I will keep up with your thoughts and rock on girl. Kelly from Maine who lives in Florida, smart girl! LOL

    • Hey! I’m from Florida. I grew up near Cape Canaveral. Wow, Maine to Florida must have been an adjustment. Were you greeted at the state line but the Wall of Humidity? :)

      I had heard that going gluten free helped with fibromyalgia. I’m glad to hear you’ve had good results. If the bit of arthritis I have in my hand gets worse, it’s good to know I might be able to alleviate it a bit. I wonder, though, if when faced with a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, I think, “my hand doesn’t hurt that bad.” We shall see…

      Thanks for checking out my blog!

      • Hi Mandy,
        I have not read J.J.’s book yet but I am looking forward to it. My aunt just told me about it and it lines up with everything I have been learning and attempting to do. I’ve been on a healing journey for years and have let go of most of the items except eggs (we raise egg layers… ) and the occasional – sometimes more than occasional ‘slip’. I do know that out of the 7 gluten is the most impactful for wrecking my state of wellbeing. Dairy gives me congestion. Sugar… well I know it isn’t good but I haven’t let go of honey and maple syrup, etc. Maybe I don’t have too… I’ll have to read on. Peanuts gone – no problem. Soy – just let go as I ended up with terribly tender breasts after a few tubs of soy icecream. Corn – back ache… seriously… my back aches terrible after corn… bye bye corn. I am excited to pass on book to my family and perhaps they will join it and life will be so much easier if we are all trying to eat the same!! Thanks for letting me share!

        • That’s fantastic! Sounds like this really works for you. Soy really messes me up, too, so I had no problem letting that one go. Gluten seems to be a real bastard for a lot of people. I think I may try taking it out again and see how I feel. And the corn causing backaches? I’ve never heard of that. Glad you identified it. I feel like I could let things go with no problem if I know specifically the problems it was causing (like the soy thing).

          It’s funny: when I wrote up my thoughts of this special, I had no idea that a lot of people were looking for that very diet. It’s quite inspiring that folks are taking charge of their health. I hope everyone is being safe about it and/or talking to their doctors!

  8. I have been following the Metabolism Miracle Diet for 6 months and have lost all my belly fat and 25 pounds. It is an Atkins-like diet. I have a cheese and egg beaters omelet every morning because I almost burn the cheese and it is sooo delicious. I am truly not hungry for 5 hours. Milk- only cream or half and half- remember this is a carb diet. Low carb tortilla, bread, peanut butter, sugar free jam, Greek yogurt, lean meats, salads, sugar free desserts. I have lost my lust for chips, pretzels and chocolate. I do treat myself to a vanilla cupcake. When I had a danish, I ‘passed gas’ for the first time in 6 months! Check this out for yourself. You won’t find it on PBS which seems to be a close friend of Amazon as the authors books are cheaper there than PBS.

    • I’ll have to look into this. Yeah, carbs do a number on the digestion, don’t they? I think my first step needs to be replacing my morning cereal with something more substantial like your omelet. I, unfortunately, like convenience. Sigh. Thanks for the heads up on this. And congrats on your success!

    • You should google “rats fed egg beaters” . not good.
      If I someone looking to stay healthy I would switch to soy-free pasture eggs.
      To your health!

  9. You say she is a “board-certified holistic nutritionist.” Please tell me what “Board” gives this certification. Thanks.

    • Well, I didn’t know off-hand so I looked on her website. Here’s what it says: “She is a Certified Nutrition Specialist, a Certified Health and Fitness Instructor with advanced certifications in Nutrition, Personal Training and Aging and Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition.” So it doesn’t say exactly what Board but…

  10. I am in a lot of pain and I am overweight. I lost before on weight watchers but was not losing on anything. Ive been on the Virgin Diet and I’m taking less of my medication and do not ache all over like I was. Ill weigh myself at my doctor’s office soon. I’ll let you know how I keep doing if anyone wants to know. All the fake foods out there were apparently killing me since they have been modified. I was eating healthy, but not healthy for me. Ill stay on this if I keep feeling better and better.

    • Yeah, I think you hit it: “I was eating healthy, but not healthy for me.” I guess “listen to your body” is the best advice. Although I confuse my body with my brain saying, “eat those Girl Scout cookies!” Best of luck to you! If you are feeling better than that’s the biggest hurdle, I think.

  11. I got to see part of the show the other night. I have the attention span of a gnat, so as soon as the fund raising starts, so does the channel surfing. The information was good but I’m fairly sure I can’t do it. I’m up 4 every day to get ready for my two hour commute, so coffee is an itergral part of the morning. but I hate coffee unless is has lots of milk and sugar. There go two of them. I could do the rest. So maybe if I took up plate sinning, it would burn the calories from the dairy and sugar, who knows. But then again Her plan eliminates every ingredient in a Fluffenutter sandwich (which by law must be consumed with ice cold milk). Since when are cinnamon and vanilla considered sweet (except when covered by a glaze at Cinnabon?)? Boy, JJ just wants to take the zest out of life (wait zest comes from lemons, those aren’t the list but maybe they cause gut leakage).
    Wonderful piece, got my juices flowing early, hopefully I wont leak.

    • Wouldn’t that be something if lemons turn out to be bad for you, too? I wouldn’t doubt with the way things seem to be going. I predict in the future, the only food humans can safely consume will be turnips…but only organic…and only grown in high nitrogen soil…only in the spring.

      Thanks for reading! And hey, if you can give up 4 or 5 of them that should count for something, right?

      Now I want a fluffernutter sandwich. I haven’t had one of those in forever. The internal struggle commences… :)

  12. Help! I’m on day 3 and haven’t seen any improvement with the bloating around my mid-section. I’m following the rules. What’s up?

    • Good question. I’m not sure about the ins and outs of the diet – I’m just going by what she said on the pledge special. Perhaps the 7 pounds disappears on the 7th day? :) I say keep it up if it makes you feel better. Maybe your doctor will have better advice. But I admire you for trying it!

  13. Does she say anything about Stevia?

    JJ’s Smoothie:
    High quality pea rice protein (5 grams of sugar or less)
    Chia or freshly ground flaxseeds
    Unsweetened coconut milk
    Frozen organic berries
    Kale or spinach

    • You know, I can’t recall if she mentioned stevia or not. It may be in her book. I hope it’s OK because that’s my go-to sweetener. Although, I can take a teensy bit of it because it is crazy sweet. I think she did mention that agave is bad though.

      Thanks for the smoothie recipe! I’ve never tried the pea rice protein. Is it tasteless? I find when I add hemp protein powder to a smoothie it makes it kind of…earthy.

  14. This is my second attempt at this diet. I dropped 10 pounds in 2 weeks the first time. I am on day 4 and have dropped 8 lbs, albeit, probably a lot of water weight to begin with, but ya gotta start somewhere. There is absolutely no question that this way of eating removes, COMPLETELY REMOVES, all my terrible, terrible, flu-like joint aches. Night and day difference. Thinking clearer, more energy, and dropping weight.
    Here is a tip for getting accustomed to brown rice (so much healthier than white rice). 3 cups water, 1 cup brown rice, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt covered dish, microwave on high 5 minutes, then 40 minutes at half power, let stand for 5 min. Add a cut up apple or other fruit, 2 tsp of vanilla, nutmeg and best of all pine nuts. VERY filling and full of fiber. This is life for me now, not a diet but a new way of LIVING. So great to finally be pain free. The pain was destroying me.

    • That’s fantastic! This diet seems difficult to sustain but when you get results like you’ve gotten then it is totally worth it, I bet. I wonder if after awhile you stop craving gluten, corn, etc.

      Thanks for the brown rice recipe. I will have to try it. I’ve done brown rice, microwaved with almond milk and then smashing a banana in it for a makeshift breakfast rice pudding. I’m a little too impatient to make it authentic so it comes out as brown rice in milk with bananas. Still it’s way better for me than sugary cereals I grew up on.

      Congrats again on your success!

  15. Interested in the 7 foods because I mostly agree. What if you are allergic to almonds?
    I’m already allergic to eggs, dairy, most nuts, gluten. So glad fruits and veggies aren’t on the list, except corn of course. I grew up in England and corn was always pig food, so assume it makes you fat (never seen a skinny pig). Enough with the acronyms! I figured out HFCS – it is in everything, but GMO, still working on that. Frustrating, but have to admit cutting out any form of sugar, soy, eggs and dairy, I have lost 68 lbs., I feel a lot better, but not jumping for joy yet. Gluten free bread tastes like cardboard, and I love my veggie sandwich. Any ideas, my diet is pretty boring, but I can put up with that if I can get a decent veggie sandwich once in a while.

    • I have yet to venture into the realm of gluten free bread yet. I can imagine that it might be a bit cardboardy. Sandwiches are a staple of my diet as well. At least, the gluten free options are getting better. There’s actually a whole gluten free store here but California might be a long way for you to travel for groceries!

      68 lbs! That’s fantastic. I guess that’s a bright side to your allergies (just kidding). But probably so frustrating having to concentrate on what you’re eating all the time. We eat so mindless nowadays and just grab whatever is convenient. That’s why hearing about these 7 foods overwhelms me!

      Yeah, all the acronyms and jargon is crazy. GMO is genetically modified organisms. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it? :)

  16. thanks for the quick list. i am now watch pbs and dr. joel fuhrman is on, again with the incredible health thing. Only if i am understanding his food pyramid, soy is on it. i am confused. of course, i can not claim to have gained all my weight on soy. i seldom consume it intentionally, but like gluten, it is in EVERYTHING. I bought vanilla extract the other day and noticed when i got home that it too contained HFCS! good grief, so now we can add it to our own cooking.

    • Yeah, Dr. Weil has soy on his pyramid, too! I believe he does emphasize that it should be organic, non-gmo soy, though. It really is confusing because who is right? I guess that old phrase “all things in moderation” is the key here. But maybe not with HFCS. That’s something most agree on!

    • Are you getting good results? That’s fantastic. I just know for me that such strong limitations on my diet don’t really work well right now with my lifestyle. Big problem is that I don’t cook. And most convenient meals have one or all of those ingredients!

  17. Thank you for saving me from watching this super hyped program. These days, tv programs are reaching for miracles and for people to follow them like the pied piper, ie Dr. Oz.

    • Oh man. Everytime I watch Dr. Oz, I feel like I’m doing everything wrong! And his promos are a bit alarmist: “What you don’t know can kill you!”

  18. Thanks for posting – this is why TV is on the way out – you can get information much faster on the internet. I also googled because I couldn’t stand the thought of watching the whole thing.

    • Oh no! I don’t want to be accused of contributing to the demise of PBS. :) But yeah, I hear you. I even watch a lot of my shows on my laptop now.

      Thanks for reading!

  19. Hope a guy can post. Lol I was channel surfing earlier this evening, landing on one of the local PBS stations. Drop 7 Foods, Feel Better Fast was just starting and like you, 15 minutes past before she began discussing Soy. I said “Gads Bill… just google the 7 foods!”. Your post just happened to be one of the very first. I truly appreciate your timeliness in presenting the dastardly 7 along with your sense of humor.

    I am surprised that Corn Syrup is not prominently mentioned and I would encourage you and others to research the time-line and correlation between when this product was introduced and the rise in obesity, diabetes, coronary disease, high blood pressure, allergies/asthma and the list goes on.

    Again, nice post!

    • Hey Bill! Thanks for reading. Yeah, I was surprised that High Fructose Corn Syrup wasn’t on there either. I guess she figures if you take out corn and sugar then HFCS is taken care of. That HFCS is another one that’s in everything! I couldn’t believe they put it in bread. Crazy. I’ve heard Dr. Andrew Weil say something similar about the correlation between obesity & diabetes and HFCS. He also said something like (if I remember correctly) that HFCS is hard to digest as well. It’s bad news all around.

      • Oh, I thought Bill wanted to know why it wasn’t one of the seven foods to drop. Yeah, how could it not be mentioned? I think all the nutritionists agree that HFCS is not your friend.

      • I learned two Italian phrases.
        Una birra, per favore
        Not grammatically correct, but they know what yer mean.
        Grappa, per favore
        Not a call you want to make frequently if you want to be able to walk back to the hostel under your own power.

    • Exactly! I had my pen poised over paper for about 15 minutes or so waiting for the first bullet point. I even made a list of guesses of the seven foods while I waited. I got 4 out of 7!

    • Oh, is that what the Paleo Diet is? Man, I can’t keep up. One day something is good for you and the next it’s the devil in edible form. Or Devible, as I like to call it.

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