UX3 Restoration Radio talks to JJ Virgin today about overcoming a devastating obstacle in her life, the power that exercise and nutrition plays in our life and what to do about it.
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John Rowley: Hi, this John Rowley. Welcome to UX3 Restoration Radio. Today we’ve got an incredible guest. She’s a personal friend. She’s also a mentor of mine, and one of the leaders in the health fitness and diet revolution that’s going on today. Her name is JJ Virgin and I know she’s got some great things for you. JJ thanks for joining us today.
JJ Virgin: Oh my pleasure. Great to be here.
John Rowley: You’ve got your hands in a lot of things, whether it’d be diet, nutritional supplements, books, you’ve got a membership site, podca- You’ve got everything going on.
JJ Virgin: Everything John, everything.
John Rowley: Most people listening to this know who you are. Is there something that maybe that you’ve had challenges over the years that you had to overcome, that you feel have played a role in you wanting to actually help the world get in shape?
JJ Virgin: I actually think and it’s really clear to me now that a) we’re never better than when challenged, in that if you meet successful people, and I define success by really the impact we have out in the world and our personal happiness by doing so, like if you’re loving what you’re doing it makes you happy and you’re helping people be better you win. I looked at this and I have gone through, as we all have and I know you have too because we’ve had lots of time to talk, it’s like we all go through challenges. It’s really a reframe about that, to look at them as crazy opportunities.
My next book that’s coming out, gosh, in 2017 is all about the miracle mindset. It’s about what happened when my son who was 16 at the time was struck by a hit-and-run driver, left for dead in the street right as I was getting ready to launch my Virgin Diet book, which I was all in on. I had $1 million invested in this. I did not have $1 million. I always want to clarify that. I had all [inaudible 02:01] not mine and I was on the hook for. I’m also the primary financial support for my family.
You look at those things and I had to go through and be in the ICU every day, which means you can’t be sick because sick people don’t get to go to the ICU, taking care of my son, working on my book launch, doing interviews. Was craziness. When people hear about that they go, “Oh my gosh.” My son was in a coma and I’m talking to him because I know he can hear me. In fact, he even said, “You know, when the gray man asked me if I wanted to live or die, I wanted to die, but I kept hearing you talk and so I decided to stay.”
John Rowley: That’s great.
JJ Virgin: But I could never have done that if a couple things hadn’t, if there wasn’t like a perfect storm of success principles, first off, being that I had been challenged my whole life, as we all are. I think it’s just a matter of how you look at that. Like do you look at it as a challenge, as an opportunity to get stronger and better, because we don’t grow and life is easy. Or do you play a victim. Because I’ll tell you, my son, who is now living in his own apartment in Utah, has never been a victim. It makes me so proud of him. He’s never been angry, he’s never been hateful, he’s never been a victim about this.
I also look at it, I know you and I are both really in line here as health to me is the biggest thing that you’ve got. I mean, it’s nothing was more clear than watching my son in a coma in the ICU wavering between life and death. It’s like I kept thinking, “Well, as long as we can get him past this I can fix this. I just can’t, I can’t fix it if he’s dead.” But you have to. For everybody I really believe that the number one thing that holds us back is our health, because if you don’t have your health there’s nothing else you can do. It’s like that’s going to take everything else out and that’s all you can focus on.
The big message I see out there is that it’s actually much easier to be healthy than we realize. I think that we’ve done a really good job of complicating things like crazy. Because if we complicate it then you need to spend a lot of money and hire all these people-
John Rowley: Exactly.
JJ Virgin: [crosstalk 04:11] really actually, right? I put … Most of what I do in my business is giveaway information for free. I never want that to be a barrier. I know that it costs less to eat healthy, that it actually takes less time to be healthy, that all of these things that you hear out there about how complicated it is, it doesn’t work, it’s expensive. It’s like, “Well no, actually it’s the opposite of that.”
But the bigger message out there is if you don’t have your health when something, an opportunity or a crisis hits, that can be the difference between a person living or dying, or getting that great opportunity or not. So you’ve got to be ready, which means it’s not tomorrow when you start, it’s right now.
John Rowley: I agree. I know when your son had that accident it was very, very challenging for you. Now I know mindset is so important when you’re overcoming something like that. But I also feel if you’re in good shape it actually helps with your mindset, because a lot of times the psychology will follow your physiology. Did you find that since you were in good shape, even though you had a lot on you with your son, a launch of a book and everything else going on with business, that since you were in good shape physically and mentally it allowed you to get through that better and keep more of a positive mindset?
JJ Virgin: Absolutely. I just focused on what I had to do. But if you look at it like burst style training, high intensity interval training helps your body handle stress better. I will tell you, what I would do at the hospital, because I just felt sometimes like I was going to implode, I would just go run the hospital stairs, which at the first hospital Harvard UCLA was cra- They were like these old tiny very steep stairs, and I was going up and down, eight flights of these crazy stairs multiple times a day. I’d just go run up and down in order to get myself sane.
Also exercise helps you handle stress better. It helps improve your stress tolerance. What we’re looking at is what are all the different things that you can do on a regular basis to help improve your stress tolerance, because if you look at the most successful people, they just can handle a lot more stuff, a lot more stuff.
John Rowley: I agree. A lot of people look at people who are successful and they think, “Well, they’ve got it easy.” A lot of responsibility comes with a successful business and everything else.
If you go to jjvirgin.com, people who are listening, JJ just mentioned this, she likes to give a lot of free stuff away. I’m looking at a page right now and she’s giving away a free cookbook. If you go to jjvirgin.com you can download your free version of the cookbook. You can start putting JJ’s principles to work.
Now with your principles as far as nutrition goes you’re one of the leaders in that and you focus a lot on food sensitivities. Is that something you’re real passionate about and do you have a food sensitivity?
JJ Virgin: Well that’s a personal question. Do you have a food sensitivity?
John Rowley: All right, don’t answer that one.
JJ Virgin: I was always passionate. I started out as a personal trainer 30 years ago. It was me and Body by Jake. It became very clear to me early on that you could not exercise enough to compensate for crappy eating. That’s what people were doing. They were eating these crappy crappy things and then exercising like crazy, me included by the way.
I started studying nutrition like a fiend but also everything that could get in the way of somebody of losing weight or causing them to gain weight, because my personal training clients seemed to be people in their 40s, like 40 to 55, and man, things started going sideways at that age, all the hormone shifts et cetera.
One of the things I found, and I wrote this whole course on it and I actually started going around the country teaching this workshop to doctors called “Overcoming weight loss resistance.” It was all these different things that could create these problems and what to do about them. One of them was food intolerance.
The more I spoke about this the more people laughed on to the food intolerance part of it. I realized that really the way we’ve been looking at food tolerance and make sense, because you can become intolerant to a food overtime because of stress and poor diet and medications which is the most classic, or it can be due to your genetics or hormones.
How many people have food intolerance? I think nearly everybody now. This isn’t like a peanut allergy where someone opens the peanuts and your throat closes up. This is a delayed food response that can create headaches, fatigue, brain fog, gas and bloating, joint pain, autoimmune diseases, skin problems, weight gain. When you hear all that you’re like going, “Check, check, check, check,” right? All the things that we hear are normal for us could actually be a simplest change in what’s at the end of our fork. The challenge is our gut becomes leakier due to stress, due to fructose, due to gluten, due to medications.
Then we eat the same things over and over again. If you look at the standard American diet, gluten, dairy, corn, eggs, soy, peanuts, and then sugar and artificial sweeteners are in nearly everything. It’s hard to find a food unless you go to the vegetable department, if you go to produce then you’re going to find foods without that. But anytime you get a package, trying to find a package without one of those things in it is nearly impossible.
People are eating the same things all the time. They’re under stress and their gut becomes leaky and these things get out into general circulation where they don’t belong and the body freaks out and launches an immune attack. Because we’re eating the same things all the time it can’t get rid of the immune complexes fast enough, and all those crappy things I just described happen.
As I start to look at this, I mean just testing for specific food sensitivities like eggs and dairy, 70% of the people showed up with one or the other or both, me included. Gluten, I saw 40% showing up just with basic gluten intolerance, but there are multiple ways you can have issues with gluten. When you look at this, how many people have food intolerances, I believe it’s high and getting higher, because we’re under stress, because of the gluten, the way we bio-engineered our gluten, which actually causes a release of a protein in the gut that makes your gut leakier, because of fructose which is in so many things and pokes holes into the gut, makes it leakier because of all the pain meds that we’re on. All that stuff contributes. Then that with the ubiquitous nature of those high food intolerance foods, the high five foods, make this epidemic.
John Rowley: When you’re working with people, I already know the answer to this, but I like everybody to hear, when you’re working with people, do you get a lot of feedback from people that once they change their diet, once they start exercising and following your principles, that the other areas of their life actually become better?
JJ Virgin: Yeah, and I think, I used to say weight loss was a metaphor for life. But I think weight loss is a trigger that helps people get inspired because your why has to be big enough for you to get off the couch, but it’s really when you start to change these habits. What’s so interesting is it’s the small hinges move the big doors. It could be the simplest things like starting the day with a shake. I know you and I both are big on that because most people start with desert, or drinking more water throughout the day that can boost your metabolism as much as 300 calories per day, or getting your eight hours plus of sleep, or getting your burst training. You start one good habit then the next one rolls in. You don’t concentrate on too many at once, you start with one.
But as soon as you start to do that it’s like your message to your body is, “You know what? I’m great right now. I’m worthy. This is me. I’m taking the best care of myself.” Why do we take better care of our cars than we do our bodies? It’s crazy. We take our cars more often for a tune up than we do ourselves. We wash our car, we don’t detox our body.
Once you do this the message really is that, but also now you have better energy, better focus. I think back to the night when I had to make the decision to overrule the doctors and airlift my son out of the local hospital and they told me, “Do not do that. Do not.” He was going to die there, they told me, die in 12 to 24 hours. But he could probably die in the airlift. I’m like going, “Well, am I crazy here? Because he’s definitely dying here, but he might die in the airlift. I’ll choose plan B.” I had to really be completely aware during that time to make that, to be focused, be on my game, have the energy and the energy to go through that. No way would I’ve been able to do that if I didn’t have the focus and the mental power.
You know that the way you do one thing is the way you do everything. You care more about yourself, you put more energy into yourself, you put yourself as priority number one, and a whole lot of other great stuff will happen too. I don’t know why we feel guilty about like extreme self-care, but that’s really what we need to be practicing, and it will roll over to every other area of our life and then that ripple effect will help millions everywhere.
John Rowley: I agree. You can’t help other people if you don’t have the energy, the passion, or the drive in order to do it. Now with your son, I actually spoke to your son one time, he’s a great guy, did you see … Because he had to restore his life. He had a bad accident. Did you see that he reverted to some of the principles you taught him growing up, whether it’d be positive thinking, exercise, nutrition, anything along those lines that actually helped with his recovery?
JJ Virgin: I am happy to say that both he and my other son, it’s so interesting and this for parents listening because I get asked all the time how did you get your kids to eat healthy, I’m like going, “You know, you put it out there but you never push. You want to get your kids to not eat healthy? Push them.”
John Rowley: Yeah, exactly.
JJ Virgin: Right?
John Rowley: Exactly.
JJ Virgin: Whatever you’re going to push them on they’re like, “Oh, heck no. I’m not doing that.” I always put it out there. The cool thing is it’s not like they had cars and money, so while they could get some of that crap at school it’s not like they were driving to the store and stocking up the house with pop tarts. We had good stuff at home.
It’s funny, Grant is very obsessed now with his diet and eating good clean protein and getting good fats and vegetables. My other son, who was the sugar one, who would get these migraines and get horrible migraines and all these injuries from he’s a [inaudible 14:24], and I go, “Well, maybe if you stopped the pizza it wouldn’t happen, because every time you eat a pizza baby you get a migraine.” “No, mom.” Well now he’s off at college and he has pristine. He gets up every morning, goes to the gym at six in the morning. He eats like an amazing perfect diet, and I just went, “Wow.”
I think that if you put it out there they’ll come around to it. You just put it out there and watch and see what happens. But I never pushed. So yeah, Grant’s really adopted a lot of that stuff. I used it all in the hospital with him to help pull him out of all this stuff, so he was in the hospital getting … I was doing smoothies and throwing in special amino acids and I was dosing him with high dose fish oil and I was using vitamin D and I was using probiotics, because he was getting hammered with antibiotics in the ICU because he had tubes coming out of everywhere so big risks. All of this makes a massive difference.
But you brought up an important early on. I think all of it contributes to this whole notion of when you start to take care of yourself and start to the message to your psyche is, “You know what? I’m worth it. I matter.” Right?
John Rowley: Absolutely.
JJ Virgin: I mean that’s the big thing, I’m worth it, I matter. I look at people and I’m sorry but if you’re eating a bunch of … I just was in the store and they’ve got all of the holiday ho-hos and ding-dongs everything else. If you’re throwing that in the message to your body is, “I’m a trash can. I don’t matter.” Just is. Treat your body like you would treat your car or like you would treat if you invested in a resource I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t throw Twinkies down it. It’s feedback.
John Rowley: Absolutely. It’s hard to be positive and upbeat when you’re sluggish and overweight and exhausted. I want to touch on something that you have mentioned a couple of minutes ago. You talked about people need to know their why. I actually saw you post it on Facebook in the last day or so. I agree with that. I think knowing your why does get you out of the bed in the morning. What is JJ Virgin’s why?
JJ Virgin: I have more than, I definitely have more than one. I mean the biggest why I have out there is I’m a mom. I know you understand this as a dad. Your biggest why is to raise children who are a) happy and blissful, but also have a purpose. I believe we were all put here to leave this place better than we found it, not to take up space. I know with me that I have a unique ability to take complicated things, complicated signs and move it into simple actionable steps and inspire people to take action with it. My biggest why now was to help a million people get healthier, because I know if you get healthier physically it gets you healthier mentally and then you can go out there and do what you were put here to do. But we blew past that number so now I’m off to a billion.
John Rowley: Perfect. When I’m with you there’s no doubt about what you’re passionate. You’re definitely passionate about teaching people how to eat right, how to exercise, and it’s something that you’re passionate about and that you’re always talking about. Now I promised you we were going to keep this relatively short so we’re getting close. Could you give us a day in the life of JJ Virgin? I know you’re busy, not when you’re travelling, just like your regular average day.
JJ Virgin: Not when I’m travelling. I travel-
John Rowley: Well, because we both travel, it’s crazy.
JJ Virgin: Right now I’m living between two places. I’m in the process of moving to Solana Beach which I’m super excited about. But you know it’s interesting because wherever I am, as I’m in my place here in Palm Desert, or if I’m over in San Diego, or if I’m on the road, it’s all the same. That’s what’s so critical, is my schedule, I’ve created the same experience wherever I am, which means I get up in the morning and if at all possible I have Bulletproof beans, not regular coffee beans, because Bulletproof is my go toxin free. Our buddy, Dave Asprey, I totally trust him on that.
John Rowley: Me too. That’s what I use every morning first.
JJ Virgin: Heck yeah, we love our Dave. I get up in the morning and have that and take my thyroid that I use from Dr. Alan Christianson. I’m going to give you all of my resources [inaudible 18:46] rock star. I knew exactly when my thyroid went down. That was a sad day. Then I pull out my journal. I have a journal. I do something a little bit crazy with this. Every morning I intention, what are my big goals and dreams right now.
I do something different with these journals. I’ve been doing this for 20 years, probably longer now. I write down, and I don’t plan it, I just reform it, I just kind of throw everything down on the page, everything from specific numbers of business goals to life goals. For the longest time I was like manifesting the love of my life, and actually I switched it over. I was always like looking for my life partner and then I switched over to just the love of my life and kind of found him in a week. It was kind of crazy.
I do that every morning. Then I do … It works best for me. I’ve set up my day the day before. Before I go to bed the night before I set up what the next day is going to look like, but I just always go through my first immediate emails and then move into my get up, make my shake. I make my shake every single morning with … I use defatted beef protein powder or Pea protein powder or a blend. Usually it’s more defatted beef. I’m in love with that product, which is one of mine of course. But I had to find one that didn’t have sugar or artificial sweeteners which are the devil. Then I use coconut milk or almond milk and avocado and throw in some extra fiber and then scoop in a little swirl of almond butter usually or cashew butter. I have a shake every morning. Then I go off into my morning work and I usually work for a couple hours and then I go work out.
I usually work for three to four hours and then I go take a little break and do some kind of a work out and then I do afternoon work. Then I generally If I’m home I make dinner. Last night I made spaghetti squash Bolognese with grass fed beef and mushrooms and onions and basil and sea salt and olive oil on spaghetti squash which was super.
John Rowley: You’re getting me hungry.
JJ Virgin: That’s the typical stuff. If I’m home obviously I try to eat in more than out because I eat out all the time on the road. So we have a fridge stocked right now. We get all this amazing stuff from both Vital Choice and Wild Things.
John Rowley: Jeff Moore.
JJ Virgin: Jeff Moore. I get my grass fed beef and my lamb lollipops and sea bass. I get some of my wild salmon over at Vital Choice. I’ve literally my freezer stocked with great stuff. I have my bone broth in there Dr. Kellyann, The Bone Broth diet. I mean literally it’s …
Jeff Hays posted this thing on Facebook of [inaudible 21:23]. I feel like I’m with everybody every morning because my JJ Virgin shakes were there and Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof coffee was there, and Kellyann’s bones broth was there. That’s what we … Every day I start with all this stuff and it works.
I take supplements. I have a big baggy of supplements. I used to do an AM and PM but I realized that’s silly, so now I do one big bag and I take it throughout the day. I always take digestive enzymes with my meals but not my shakes, just my meals. My meals tend to be good clean protein, lots of fat and then some veggies and I put some slow low carbs in there, like either lentils or pumpkin. Tonight we’re going to have kabocha squash.
Then I take a bath every night, a hot bath, every night. I’m always upset when I get into a hotel room, we’re working on this, but some hotels have just gotten rid of all their bath tubs.
John Rowley: Yeah I’ve noticed that lately.
JJ Virgin: Oh my gosh, it’s so sad. Like I don’t know what they’re thinking when they do that.
John Rowley: Now also I want to have you back again. I love having you on. But I’m trying to keep these under 30 minutes. Did we miss anything today that you wanted to touch on so the audience would know whether it’d be something that you’re working on or just something that you’re passionate or something I missed?
JJ Virgin: Well I don’t think you really missed anything. I think that the biggest thing I see out there that challenges that we’re so duped by misinformation. I remember someone just recently said, “Hey, can I use this product,” send me the picture of it and said no artificial colorings. Well, it had artificial … Or it said no artificial flavorings. It had artificial sweeteners in it. And another one that said no sugar added but it had fructose concentrate. You get so duped by misinformation.
What breaks my heart the most John is I see people trying so hard, they’re working so hard and they’re not getting the results, and they blame themselves when in reality it’s not them at all. It’s just that they’ve been duped by this misinformation or they’re following the wrong set of rules, some of the crazy diets you see out there that have you eating every two hours, these high carb. I mean there are still the fat free calorie counting diets out there, and I cannot believe it. It’s just one of the big-
John Rowley: It’s amazing.
JJ Virgin: It’s amazing. It is amazing. Fat is our friend, not our foe. That’s the big thing I tell you, is if you’re sitting here thinking, “But, I’ve tried things, and this is just as good as it gets.” No, that’s not the case. The real shift is this, figure out what the heck it is you want, and then go get it, figure out how the heck you’re going to get it, and make it scary, make it a stretch, make it something that seems like there’s no way that I’m going to be able to do this. That’s what you want to go for. You want to go for that thing that inspires you, that scares you and makes you get off the couch and that you think, “Oh gosh, could I really do this?” That’s when you know you’ve got the big goal. Not the one that you know is a slam dunk. That’s not a goal.
John Rowley: No, absolutely. But most people go for the slam dunk because it’s easy.
JJ Virgin: Right. Don’t-
John Rowley: They don’t want to challenge themselves.
JJ Virgin: [crosstalk 24:30] easier. Make yourself better. That’s the bottom line.
John Rowley: Exactly right. Now we’re going to end now. JJ I really appreciate you being on. Folks listening, go to jjvirgin.com, get your free cookbook there. Take a look. She’s got an incredible line of supplements. She’s got all kinds of resources there, both that you can buy and you can get for free. JJ, thank you so much for being on. I really appreciate it.
JJ Virgin: My pleasure honey. You know I adore you.
John Rowley: Well, I adore you too, and I really appreciate it. Folks, thank you for coming. If you want go to ux3nutrition.com. You can see what we’re up to. Then also go to the drop down menu and click on Ready to Look Younger Community and take a peek at what we’ve got going on there. Thanks again for being with us and we’ll see you next time.