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JJ Virgin: Feel Better Fast, Freaky Eating & The Virgin Empire

I want to talk about something incredibly important because we talk a lot about wealth creation. We talk a lot about mindset. If we don't have our health in order, then it's all for naught. You could have all the money in the world. You can have all the wealth in the world. If you're not functioning, if you're dragging, if you're not excited every day and functioning at the highest levels, what are you doing? We are here with an icon. We are here with JJ Virgin.

Dustin
I am super excited, JJ, to have you here on the show. I want to go back. It's 2012, your career's humming along. You've been on TV. You have bestselling books. You're doing seminars. You're speaking all over the world. One day you get the call that no parent wants to get. You get the call about your son.
JJ
I didn't even get the call.
Dustin
How did it go down?
JJ
What happened was I was home, my kids were fifteen and sixteen years old. I'd been taping all day long because I was getting ready for The Virgin Diet to come out, which was my first breakthrough book. Everyone talks about your overnight success. That was twenty-five years in the making and that was this book. I've gotten what I considered at the time to be a huge advance. I've gotten $500,000. I invested all of it. I'm the primary financial support for my kids. I was divorced. I've invested all this money into this book and borrowed because I'm going to make this thing go big. It's going to go on public television, all this stuff. It's super cool. It's a couple of weeks from the launch. That is the craziest time as an author. I come home and my sixteen-year-old son was in a snit. He was dumping around. He wanted to go to martial arts, but his dad had said no. I wasn't going to throw dad under the bus. We worked together so I go, "You'll go tomorrow. You can't do it," because he'd left school because he had a headache that magically disappeared like that. They always do that. I said, "No." He got all upset with me and stomped out.
The next thing I know, my ex-husband and my other son, Bryce, come running in the door. I was in the garage working out. They said, "Grant has been hit by a car and airlifted to the local hospital." You don't get airlifted when you break your leg. He was a John Doe at the time. The only reason we knew this was they happened upon the accident scene, which was literally three blocks from our house. They saw this huge accident scene. One of the policemen came out and said, "A boy got hit." His dad asked about it and he said, "He looks like him," because my sons are one year apart. They're Irish twins. We know that it's Grant. They won't tell us anything at the hospital because there was no ID on him. We get there. The doctors are solemn. They put us into a conference room and they're not saying a word. Now you know it's bad. They come in and they said, "Your son's been hit by a car. He's in a coma. He has multiple brain bleeds. He has a torn aorta." A torn aorta is what killed Princess Diana. It kills 90% of the people right in the scene.
They said he has a torn aorta. It has to be repaired. If not, it's going to rupture sometime in the next 24 hours. It's hanging on by an onion skin, "We can't repair it here because we can't do the right surgery. We'd have to do it with a blood thinner. His brain would bleed out. He's not going to survive an airlift." The next hospital, which was in LA, he will never survive that airlift. Even if he were to survive that airlift, he's not going to survive that surgery. Even if he were going to survive that surgery, I kid you not, this is what this doctor was saying. I was looking at this doctor, my other son was looking at the doctor, he goes, "He'd be so brain damaged, it wouldn't be worth it." My other son looks at him and goes, "Is there maybe a 0.25% chance he'd make it?" The doctor says, "Yes, that's about right, son. We'll take those odds." It's like, "It's not zero."
I looked at him. My ex-husband is a med mal trial attorney. I'm a warrior mom. I looked at him and I'm like, "We're overruling you. Why are you standing around? Doesn't time matter here?" The guy got very huffy. “It was all in the medical notes. I told them not to do this.” I'm like, "The risk is he dies here. The risk is he dies on the plane." I'd rather know that he died trying and let's go for this. They put him on a helicopter, flew him there. We drove in the middle of the night not knowing what we're going to see. We said goodbye to him. He was literally on a gurney. I will never ever forget this, but it was like I was watching a movie. I think that's what your brain does so that you go, "This is not real," because I walk in and he literally has road rash with glass sticking out. He's got a ventilator. He's got a tube coming out of his head. He's got a central line. He's got bones sticking through his skin because he has thirteen fractures.
Bryce, my fifteen-year-old walks up and goes, "Dude, you look ugly." I'm watching this going, "Who is this boy?" He goes, "You've totally got this. If anyone can do this, you can do this." I'm like, "This kid is amazing." We get up there. We walk into Harbor UCLA. This doctor walks up and he goes, "I got this. You don't even need to worry about this. I do this all the time. I had a guy thrown off the overpass last week. I totally fixed it. I can fix this." What I found out later was he got the call on this and he got five other teams involved. He had the neurosurgical team. He had the orthopedic team. He had the critical care team. He had the pediatric critical care team. He was the cardiothoracic surgeon. He got ahold of a stint that's not supposed to be put in kids and was no longer available. It was part of a study, but that's what he wanted.
This happened between 2:00 AM and 5:00 AM. We walked in and he goes, "I’ve got this." I'm like, "Dr. Carlos Donayre.” It was like a game on when you walked in there. He goes, "I'm going to show you where you're going to hang out and wait. I'll show you the operating room. We'll go over here." He was trying to get me out of there. "I'll come back in three hours and I'll tell you he's fine." I literally went up there and I wrote blog posts. I did because I was like, "What are you going to do?" I forget what show it was on that I was on and I had stuff due. I was like, "I'm going to go up there." I think it was a Discovery Network thing. I was like, “I'm going to write these things and hang out."
He comes up and he was like, "He's all good." He goes, "I don't know if he'll ever wake up, I'm just the plumber." He was good but then he was in a coma for weeks. He was in the hospital for months. Literally, it was five years of him coming out of a traumatic brain injury. This is no easy thing. All they told me at the time was it will be a little ugly. I'm like, "You didn't tell me it will be five years of ugly," where we did a lot of different things. I will tell you that talk about being motivated to make something a success. I looked at him in that coma and I said, "Grant, I need you to fight. Your name means warrior. I need you to fight because I'm going to go get every single resource and you are going to be better than before the accident. You're going to be 110%." This book's got to crush it. Because if this book crushes it, then I can get him everything he needs because the step that we did that brought him back was nothing that was covered by insurance. I can pretty much guarantee it, stem cells and neurofeedback, all sorts of stuff.
Dustin
Obviously, he's here. He's living and functioning.
JJ
He was just with me. Bryce and I went to walk my little dog. He comes tearing up the street running. They told him he'd never walk because he had a crushed heel. Apparently, I remember the orthopedic surgeons going, "That's a game changer. He's never going to walk again." I go, "If Kobe Bryant were in this bed right now, he wouldn't be saying that so treat him like Kobe." I keep thinking about he's never going to wake up, he's never going to speak. We call him Grant never ever.
Dustin
Are you now skeptical of traditional medicine for these reasons?
JJ
The traditional medicine saved my son's life. Here's where I think we do this all wrong. Why is anything alternative? First of all, the idea that diet and exercise as an alternative is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. That is foundational. I was bringing in food into the hospital. They're all like, "I can't believe you're doing this," because I had a big sign up that said, "No Ensure. Do not feed him this stuff.” I was bringing him wild salmon. I was making him smoothies. I was doing all sorts of stuff for him. Nothing should be an alternative. It should all be on the table and everyone should work together. One thing that was cool at Children's Hospital LA is they were like, "Game on, let's do it all," because we put them on twenty grams of fish oil, all sorts of stuff.
Dustin
It seemed pretty progressive versus that first hospital.
JJ
The first hospital was like, "No." I was like, "All right." As soon as I was in my own room, I was like, "This is great. We will do this over here." I'm like, "Grant, hurry." He couldn't even talk yet but I'd be like, “Suck this down.” We were giving him loads of liquid fish oil. When I moved to the second one, he was great with them. He would not be here if it wasn't for what they did. This one doctor who stayed beyond a shift, 24 hours straight monitoring everything and making sure he pulled through, and then Carlos Donayre. We get in trouble when we're like, "No drugs." Use the best of everything in anything in life.
Dustin
You mentioned Ensure, that's probably so obvious in your world. What are some of the things that you should take a stance on? Because you're saying use the best of everything, but sometimes you get this information to eliminate sugar or gluten-free. How do we make sense of all this?
JJ
There are some definite things we can say that absolutely should never be: artificial sweeteners. When he was in the hospital, this is one thing I will say at the Children's Hospital, hopefully they've repaired it this time. I remember I came in and they had sushi down below so I'd go get sushi every day. He was totally thrilled about this. They were like, "What is he going to drink?" I'm like, "Water." They wanted to give him Crystal Light. I’m like, "Why do we have Crystal Light here? He has a brain injury. We are not going to give him artificial sweeteners." They're neuroexcitatory. This is the worst thing that could possibly happen to him. There's absolutely not one good thing about artificial sweeteners. They are the science experiment that has gone wrong. They are the worst possible thing that you can do. That's a non-negotiable. Don't do artificial sweeteners.
Dustin
That's like Splenda, Stevia in that category?
JJ
Stevia is a sweet herb. Stevia, monk fruit, erythritol, allulose, xylitol, these are all things that are okay. It's the true artificial because people say, "It's all natural." I go all sugar is natural unless it's artificial. It might be processed, but it's still not artificial. All those artificial sweeteners, we couldn't figure out. It was interesting they were looking at these studies going, "All right." The first one I remember was they looked at people who drank a diet soda a day versus regular soda. The people that drank a diet soda a day had an inch bigger waist circumference than people who drank regular soda. They were like, "They're probably thinking now they can have cookies because they had the diet soda.” All of a sudden they were going, "People who are drinking artificial sodas and using artificial sweeteners have a 33% higher risk of diabetes." What's going on?
This happened by the way within a week, I feel sorry for the poor people who volunteered for this study. Within one week, artificial sweeteners changed the gut bacteria, the gut microbiome to be glucose intolerant, which means you're now going to become insulin resistant, which is the precursor to diabetes because diabetes doesn't happen overnight. It happens over time. You look at the neurotoxicity, you look at the fact that if you eat more sweet, you want more sweet. You look at the calorie dysregulation that happens because you lose the ability to correlate with the degree of sweet with calories. There's no satiety. That's a bad thing. No artificial sweeteners.
Dustin
Are there any other hard fast ones or is it situational?
JJ
Any of the chemical things are problematic. Here are the biggest threats now to our health. The number one threat to our health is it's not what you guess. The number one threat to our health is the lack of connection.
Dustin
Connection to people?
JJ
Yes. The number one threat is social isolation. It's us not feeling connected, us feeling connected in a fake way because we have Facebook friends or whatever. That thing that happens when you physically touch someone, you hug someone, you get the oxytocin release, you do not get that when someone likes you on Facebook. That is a huge one that is such a major threat to our health. The next one is the toxic load in our environment that we were never built to handle. We have 80,000 chemicals that are being dumped into our environment. Most of these are new.
The problem there is they've never been studied in combination. They'll look at one thing and they'll overload mice with it. The problem is to take fluoride, chlorine bromide, so bleached flour and toothpaste. Have you ever read on the toothpaste container because it says, “Do not swallow this? Call poison control.” Chlorine, which is artificial sweeteners, Splenda, swimming pool, those three together will take down your thyroid. That's an example of all of these ones that you can accumulate. If you're not getting them out and you're probably not, you're storing them in your fat. If you're storing them in your fat, your body starts to have hormone problems, insulin resistance. Why do we have diabetes crazy on the rise and what's going on with cancer? All of these things to me are a toxic issue. Autoimmune, huge.
Dustin
How do we get these toxins out because that got my interest?
JJ
This is a hugely important one if we're not getting them out on a regular basis, which is what you want to do. The first way that you do that is you eat a lot of green leafies because that helps pull the heavy metals out and some of the different chemicals. Some of the chemicals, that doesn't work for so sweating, the infrared saunas are the big one. Exercise, making sure that you are pooping, peeing and sweating. If your pee is not clear, you're not drinking enough water. That's why we need a lot of fiber in our diet. The average person gets five to fourteen grams. They should have at least 35 grams. I'm like 50 grams or more. You should be having, I call it the poops you should be proud of.
Dustin
Can that come from supplements or does that always have to come from herbs?
JJ
I'm a big supplement fan there to make sure that you get what you need. Ideally, you're getting it from things like avocados, nuts and lentils. Sometimes you'll get someone, let's say they've gone on a ketogenic diet. One of the problems with the ketogenic diet is quite often they'll be low in fiber. It doesn't have to be but a lot of times it will be. You'll see them starting to have issues. A lot of water, a lot of movement, Epsom salts, good magnesium, liver support, these are the things that we have to be doing every single day because every single day we're being confronted.
If you're not getting it out, you're storing it. Those are all the neurological problems. Look at all these weird, crazy diseases that are starting to happen. There's something going on. It's the change in the environment. It's having all these plastics. You look at it and go, "Don't heat it up." I go, "It traveled here." The worst is never get water bottles, freeze them. I used to have a girlfriend. I was over at her house and she goes, "Yeah, I freeze these water bottles and I send them in my kids' lunches." I'm like, "You don't like your kids, do you?” You absolutely got phthalates into the water doing that stuff.
Dustin
JJ, I want to go back. I want to put you on the spot here, the 1980s, legwarmers, pastel leotards.
JJ
I was teaching aerobics.
Dustin
Is it cold that you needed leg warmers?
JJ
No, it just looked awesome. I used to rock the thong leotard. I was mortified too because I was at UCLA at the time. I still remember I was at UCLA. I was teaching an aerobics studio in Westwood. I would wear it and I was there teaching every single day. I would go to school at UCLA in my leotard thong with a sweatshirt tied around my waist with leg warmers. I walked around like that. I cannot believe that I did that.
Dustin
Do you still have pictures of those?
JJ
I have a couple of pictures from when I was teaching at this place in Westwood. It had a sister studio in Japan. I went there to teach. I have pictures of me in Japan with my high pony, legwarmers. Yes, I do.
Dustin
Back then, personal training wasn't a thing.
JJ
There were three of us. I'm pretty sure personal training must've started in LA. I was at this place called California Shape. Here's the funny thing, there was a big gym called Sports Connection. The guys from Japan came over and said, "We want to build Sports Connection Tokyo." They go, "No, we don't want to do it." They had an international copyright trademark to their name so they did it anyway. They did this little studio called California Shape. They would take instructors from there and send them to Japan. I was managing that place while I was at UCLA. Someone called up and wanted an instructor to come to their house. I was like, "I'll go over there." That's how I started personal training.
We didn't have any equipment or anything at the time. I would use surgical tubing and my own body. I would be like pushing them and using body weight resistance stuff. I was at a nail salon and someone goes, "I want you to come to my house. What do you charge?" I remember at the time, I was in college and this was the ‘80s. I'm like, "$35." I went thinking and they go, "Okay." The next thing I knew, they told all their friends. I then raised it to $45 and then I raised it to $50. I kept raising it up until I finally got to that point where it was like, "You've lost a little bit."
I found something interesting is the higher I raise the prices, the more people wanted it. I was like, "Let's keep going." There was me and Mark Sisson and Mark's Daily Apple and Body by Jake. It's where I learned that I had to learn marketing because of Body by Jake. When I was charging $35 for an hour, he was charging $75 for half an hour. At the time, I graduated from UCLA and I was getting my graduate degree in Biomechanics. I was like, "This guy doesn't even have any background." He's charging twice as much in half the time. Obviously, I need to learn marketing.
Dustin
Did you parlay that into getting a gym?
JJ
I never wanted a gym.
Dustin
Is that like the pinnacle?
JJ
I didn't want that gym. I never wanted a gym. What happened was I was personal training. I had a personal training client who was a Hawaiian Blue Diamond in Nu Skin. On my 30th birthday, I remember walking down the beach with her. At the time, I was in Miami. I was in graduate school. I'd switched over to Miami to go to the University of Miami in Sports Med. She goes, "What are you going to do when you graduate?" I go, "I'm going to go get my PhD.” She goes, "Why?" I go, "Because I want to be more successful." She goes, "That doesn't necessarily correlate." I go, "It doesn't?" Because when I was at UCLA, it was only you went and got your Master’s and you went and got your PhD. I was like, "I was getting my PhD because that's what I was supposed to do." Never mind that I was making six figures in cash in college. Everybody else was graduating and getting crack and say, "That's a terrible thing. I'm not going to do that." Here I am making all this cash and I don't know what I thought I was going to do. She goes, "I can teach you how to be successful." I go, "Great." She did that after I moved back to LA. She called me on my 30th birthday. She goes, "Are you ready?" I go, "I'm ready."
She sent me this little MLM video. It was when Nu Skin had gone into nutrition. Flo Jo was their spokesperson, which was super cool. I went to the gym with Flo Jo. She sent me this. I remember the video because the video talked about trading time for money. That you could leverage yourself through people, tools or technology. The light bulb went on. You could never unsee it. I literally sold my personal training business. I moved to her house in Fort Lauderdale. She would live on Millionaires Mile in between Boca and Fort Lauderdale. I moved in. I was like, "Teach me everything." She started with putting a rubber band on my wrist and saying, "Here's what you're going to be first." I have dropped out of a PhD program. I have sold my personal training business. I've got nothing. I've got this little money trickling in, but that's it. I'm now wearing rubber bands on my wrist. She goes, "Every time you think a negative or limiting thought, snap your wrist." I'm like, "That's great. When are you going to teach me?" She goes, "You're not ready." It totally was.
This went on for months of her training me on mindset, training me on all the stuff that when my son was hit, had I not had it so ingrained in me, I never would have pulled it off. When this whole thing went down, I wanted to thank her, but she'd already passed. I wrote this whole book about Grant and that whole situation. I wrote all of the lessons that you could use to be able to show up when those things happen. I couldn't remember where I learned any of them. People were like, "How did you learn that?" I go, "I don't know. It's in me." One day I went, "She taught me." I lived it so I just live it like it is who I am. If you've every day snap every time you think a limiting belief or say something negative, you knock it off.
Dustin
I want to go to something that I picked up in my research getting ready for you. You said in the twenties you were working out like crazy. You were doing all this stuff and yet you had 25% body fat. I'm a little hesitant to say that now you've passed that age, you work out less.
JJ
Let's do the numbers. I'm completely cool with all this. I remember I was at USC. I was in their PhD program in Exercise Physiology, Nutrition and Aging. I remember we had to do some calibrating. We were doing all this body fat testing, which means we were doing it on each other, like underwater weighing all this stuff. I remember, one of them, I was between 22% and 25% body fat, 25% body fat. I'm in my twenties. I am working out like a fiend hour every day because that's all I did was personal train and go to school. That's it. That was my whole life, personal train and go to school. Nothing else, no other responsibilities. I would like to work out with clients. I will be running and sprinting and then I'd go lift weights on my own. Every day I did not miss workouts and lots and lots of cardio. I remember for my 30th birthday, maybe 25th, I went and ran the Santa Monica stairs. I went and rollerbladed. I went and played beach volleyball all day long. It's like all day long, 25% body fat. Now at 55 is usually about 13% to 15% body fat. I work out 30 to 45 minutes, four to five times a week, sometimes twenty minutes. It's never an issue.
Dustin
What's the secret? What's change? What did you learn?
JJ
Get old, although 55 is the new 25. I wish I'd started to study physiology and bio. The problem back when I was in school is that there was no talk about hormones and exercise. The first exercise under chronology texts didn't come out until twenty years ago. There never was any talk about, what would happen if you go run a marathon? It turns out people who run a marathon had the same muscle mass as someone who sits on the couch. I remember way back when as I started to look at this and what happened was I'm like looking at my clients and they were 45 years old plus. This is a tough time. The men tend to be out 55, the woman 45. This is when hormones all start to go sideways. Your margin for error is shot. What I started to see was what we were being taught in school, which was eat less, exercise more was failing completely. If anything they were getting worse. I thought early on I thought, "If I make them worse, not better, they're probably not going to keep working with me." I went in and I started to research what is going on. I started to look at the way Eastern Europeans trained. They don't do long distance cardio. They did short bursts of training.
You start to look at the diet that they used to have, the exercise they used to do. I thought, "You could run every single day and burn off those calories but if you weight train, you changed the way your body handles those calories." I didn't know at the time that it was because of insulin sensitivity. I understood now that back then if I had more muscle on, I had a higher caloric burn going on. I didn't understand all the hormone stuff. I was like, "I could spend the same amount of time or probably a lot less, put some muscle on and it's going to change the equation dramatically." That was step one. I started to look at the whole diet because everything back then was do loads of cardio. In fact, they said that if you couldn't work out at least 30 minutes, don't bother because you had to get into your fat burning zone. Everything was about the fat burning zone, which is absolutely stupid. When you're in your fat burning zone, it’s when you're sitting on your butt. That's when you should not be in your fat burning zone when you're working out.
You should be in a sugar zone because you are working at such high intensity. Your body has to use all that glucose right there. That's what you're burning off all your glycogen storage. You're using all your glucose so that when you stop exercising, you're refueling into the glycogen source and burning fat. You don't want to burn fat when you're exercising. That's silly. Go for an easy walk, which is not exercise by the way. I started to change that whole thing up of doing resistance training and cardio burst training. I started looking at diet because the other side we were taught was you had to create this 500-calorie deficit, either exercise or diet. We know if you want to lose weight, exercise is the thing that keeps it off.
You're not a skinny fat person but diet is what gets it off. Back then it was like, "Eat low fat. Graze all day long." It was eating barely any fat. I remember at one time it was down to ten grams of fat a day and you're eating little carbs all day long. What that meant was you were boosting your blood sugar because every time you were eating these carbs, your blood sugar would go up. If your blood sugar went up, your insulin would go up. Your blood sugar would drop because the insulin was up. You eat carbs and blood sugar would come back up. The insulin would put it back down but the insulin never got the chance to come back down. You can't access stored fat for fuel. This is very pro-inflammatory too. You're always hungry even though you just ate, you're like, "Why am I hungry again?" I remember always feeling hungry. I remember getting hypoglycemic. It was crazy.
To start to study, if this isn't working, what's going on? What if your body isn't a bank account? What if it's a chemistry lab? What if food is information, exercise is information and we can change the way your body processes things? That's when I started messing around with, "We shouldn't be snacking. We shouldn't be eating every two to three hours," which up until even when I was on Dr. Phil for a couple of years, I used to say that. That was a big part of the Phil show. I had to tell people I couldn't do that because it was going to keep them storing fat instead of burning it. You don't snack. We don't need to snack. You should be able to go four to six hours between meals, which means you're able to burn stored fat for fuel. You need to look back at how we used to eat, which is there's been no people group in history that was eating this high carb, super low-fat diet. There's definitely never been a vegan group in history. They would have died of B12 deficiencies.
Here's the thing, I love what Dr. Mark Hyman calls it. I remember when he said, I go, "Trademark that, Mark." You know the Vegan diet. We need to eat more plants. We should eat lots of vegetables. It's a religious spiritual thing. I'm going to supplement you like crazy. If you're doing it for health reasons, you're misguided. Here's where the vegans make me upset is they'll go, "The cows." I go, "Is it a grass-fed pastured cow or is it a factory cow? Is it a pastured chicken or is it chicken cooped up in cages being shot up? Because they're not the same food at all. That would be calling one of those silly waters, those vitamin waters with all the garbage in it and comparing it to spring water. These are totally different things. Ideally, you're eating a load of plants, a rainbow of them, ten servings a day or more of non-starchy, a little bit of slow, what I call low sugar impact carbs, some good clean protein and lots of healthy fat. It's simple. It's easy. You never have to worry about your weight or anything else.
Dustin
I know you've got a ton of resources. For people who want to dive into it, maybe the entrepreneur that has been hustling and working on their business and they're getting this, where do you recommend someone start to get what comes so natural to you because you've been studying it? What does the layperson start with you?
JJ
With me, we are creating a whole journey on it if you go to JJVirgin.com. The easiest first place would be first to start with sugar impact. It's interesting, I wrote to them. I believe we're doing the whole diet thing all wrong. You hear all the time the recidivism rate for dieting is something like 93%. That's because that's not what diets were built for. Here's the thing, we need two words. Isn't it Eskimos have like 30 words for a snowflake or something like that. We need another word for diet because to me there's a therapeutic intervention and then there's how you eat every day. They're totally different things.
Let's take the diet as a therapeutic intervention. Let's say right now that you are pre-diabetic. You've got some cardiovascular risk factors. I'd say, "I want you to go on the sugar impact diet. I want you to figure out how sugar is sneaking into your diet, how many process carbs you're eating and things that quickly turned into sugar," because your body will make sugar from the food you eat. You don't want to mainline it. You'll start to taper that down because you never go cold turkey on sugar. You will just crash.
You'll figure out where it's all sneaking in. We'll retrain your taste buds so you do not have a sweet tooth possible. You'll notice where you feel best. How many carbs should you be having? You'll find the right place. If you want to do something like intermittent fast or do a ketogenic diet, you've got to become metabolically flexible before you do that, which is what that diet does. If you said, "I've got an autoimmune disease. I've got a lot of pain and inflammation. I've got gut problems.” I say, "Let's figure out first if you've got any food intolerances if your gut has become leaky because of stress or age or medications or toxins." Foods are escaping into circulation. Your body's launching an immune attack against them. It's creating pain and inflammation, headaches, cravings and autoimmune problems.
Let's figure out which foods work for you and which foods don't. Those are not long-term diets. Those are discovery processes to help you figure out how you should eat on a regular basis. You do one and then you stabilize. It's my next thing. I haven't figured out the word yet. I keep saying the word. It's like the 365 plan. The reality is I love that book Gary Keller wrote. To me, this is the best book of all time, The ONE Thing. They have to keep reading it and reminding myself of one thing. Where people go wrong in health as they read to all this and they go, "I need to be connected to other people. I'm going to start sleeping better. I'm going to deal with stress. I've got to exercise. I should be eating better. I need to figure out my food intolerances. I got to lower sugar. I should take some supplements."
They go, "I'm tired. I'm not doing anything." Instead of going, “Step one, I'm going to lower my sugar impact. I'm going to figure out how many carbs I should be having. I'll get stable there. Maybe I'll work on my sleep because I'll never be able to be healthy if my sleep is knocked out. Now that I got that, I'm going to figure out my food intolerances.” You go along a path until you get one nailed. How long that's going take? Who knows? That 21 days is a complete urban legend as we know. It takes however long it takes. That's where having a coach and an accountability partner, especially for any of these types of things, you should hire a coach and pay them more than what you can afford. If you mess up, you have to pay double. It's something like that. I have had the best results in life when I hire a coach and pay them more than what I can afford because then I'm going to take it seriously.
Dustin
You up your game big time
JJ
Hugely, that was my biggest transition in business was when I hired my first coach when I was broke. I went, "I need this. I better do it."
Dustin
I want to ask you about fruit. What's the skinny on fruit because that's sugar? Is that nature's candy or is it dangerous?
JJ
It depends on how you have it. Somewhere along the line, we got this idea that fruit is free food. It's not free food. It's just not. If you are insulin sensitive, if you are able to go four to six hours between meals, so I'm going to call that as someone who is a fat burner, not a sugar burner, someone who can go four to six hours between meals without losing it. The fact that there's a term called hangry should tell us everything. It doesn't give you a headache or that low blood sugar. If you're able to lose weight around your waist, a clear sign you've earned, not metabolically healthy as you lose weight, but you look like a potato on stilts. You became a smaller version of the exact same body. If you cannot lose belly fat, that's why we have to measure our waist, there's a problem. If you're healthy, one or two pieces of fruit a day is fine.
The problem is most of the people you see eating a lot of fruit are like, "This is healthy. I'll have this for dessert." Fructose is a very different type of sugar than any other type of sugar. Granted the worst types of fructose are crystalline fructose or fructose from agave, which is 90% fructose. Fructose can only be metabolized by the liver. You eat it and it doesn't raise blood sugar. We thought this is awesome for diabetics. No, it's horrible for diabetics because it doesn't raise blood sugar, it perturbs your insulin metabolism. It goes straight to the liver where if it can't be turned into glucose and stored as glycogen, it can't because there's not that much room there, it becomes fat. We have elevated triglycerides, fatty liver. We start becoming insulin resistant. It elevates your blood pressure.
It's also more aging than any other sugar seven times. Along the way, it also makes your gut more permeable and it's sweeter. It makes you crave more sweets. It's a rotten thing. Within some berries, it's fine. If you're now glugging in one of those silly green drinks, that's a fruit juice in disguise because if you looked at the first five ingredients like that Naked juice, I'm surprised they haven't gotten mad at me yet. Evolution, I think it is Naked Green Juice or whatever it is, shame on them. It is 44 grams of sugar in sixteen ounces. More sugar than a soda because the first five ingredients are fruit. Fruit juice is soda. Apple juice has more fructose than high fructose corn syrup, sweetened soda. It's got more than Coke. Juice is soda. Dry fruit is candy. All those syrupy, jammy things, those are syrups. They're not okay. Fresh or frozen, frozen because it's frozen at the height of season one or two pieces a day. If you're metabolically healthy, if you are insulin-resistant, pre-diabetic, elevated triglycerides, no fruit. I take it totally out until we get that under control because the more fructose you eat, the better your body is at transporting it straight to the liver and making fat. That is not something that you want to be good at.
Dustin
That's a big eye-opener for me. I thought fruit was safe in moderation. Everything you said, now I'm scared.
JJ
It depends. You're fine. If you're healthy, one to two pieces a day. We have kids with fatty liver disease. This shouldn't be a thing. This is a bizarre situation. It used to be alcoholic, fatty liver disease. It's not that anymore. Now we have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease because of the proof test. They used to blame it on the high fructose corn syrup. Table sugar has the same composition as high fructose corn syrup does fructose. If you're drinking juices, you're getting it too because you're getting a big hit without the fiber. No one would sit down and have four apples. They'll have that in apple juice.
Dustin
JJ, I wanted to get this one in here. TLC's Freaky Eaters, how did this show come to be? What did you learn? Would you do it again?
JJ
It is amazing because I don't know where they're airing this but every time I go on, especially Instagram Live, they're out there. They're like, "Where's Dr. Mike Dow? What are you guys doing? I've got a problem. Here's what I learned about Freaky Eaters. First of all, it was fun. I had a fun co-star. I learned to be very careful about the contracts you sign because they can send you away to some of the places in the country you don't want to spend a whole lot of time. I got stuck in Reading, Pennsylvania in the winter for weeks. You end up in places that you're like, "No." You're stuck there in a residence inn. That was the first thing is to be super careful about contracts. I've done a lot of TV over the years. The big lesson learned on that show was if you're going to do a show, consider the demographics of the show.
Freaky Eaters was a show about people who were absolutely hooked on a certain type of food. It was to the detriment of their health, to their relationships, everything. French fries were a big one. A lot of people are hooked on fries, but this is all they would eat. They would only eat French fries. We had one person who put tartar sauce on everything. We had another person who ate cornstarch. She had pica. We had another person who poured maple syrup on top of everything. We didn't get to do the person who put hot sauce on everything and ate hot chilies and stuff. I literally was so excited about that one because I knew this guy would have some major rectal problems. I was like, "This will be an amazing one.” We get all sorts of fun tests on people. The problem was this was not a show that my demographic was watching. This was a show that people who wanted to watch people who they thought were freaks. It was like Hoarders meets My Strange Addiction. It was not helpful to my career.
As opposed to when I was on Dr. Phil for two years, it was fantastic. We got all sorts of people commenting and trying to find me. I didn't have any way for them to reach me on my website. I neglected to put that part on. Lesson learned. With Freaky Eaters, I made sure I wasn't going to make that mistake again so they could get ahold of me. It was the craziest of crazy. When all of a sudden your son's friends, they were maybe twelve and they thought I was the cool mom because of what I was doing. All the kids thought it was great. It's like still a weird cult classic. I literally after two seasons was like, "Please cancel. Please get me out of this." It was fun.
Dustin
What are you excited about? What are you working on? What does the future look like for you in the empire?
JJ
Some of it's wide open right now. In the consumer side, I'm messing with that. I'm messing with how to create this more of a roadmap that you go on a success path. I feel like so many people have failed at their health because the positioning of a diet is wrong. I'm working on how to reposition that. The only way I ever come out and teach anything because I start to mess with it and talk with it. I start taking people through it and then I figure it out. It's always figuring out in motion. That's my best way to do something. I don't sit at my desk. That's what's going on over there. We're starting a whole membership site and we're starting coaches. We're doing the whole redo of the brand that's going to take me off of it. We're renaming the entire thing so that we can elevate. I believe people need to take personal responsibility for their health, not give it over to other people and then we can help them. We're bringing in coaches and ambassadors and elevating that to be more foot soldiers to help support people because health coaching is massive. It's what personal training was 30 years ago. We're working a lot with that and I teach a lot in the health coaching world.
In the Mindshare world, we are starting the same thing. I have a community of health entrepreneurs, health experts. We did $50 million in book advances alone through that group. It's an amazing group of game changers in the health world. You have to qualify to be a part of it. For every person who's at our event, we have eight to ten people who didn't qualify. To me, you don't change the world by indoctrinating. You change the world by helping people who aren't there yet. I look at it and go, “We need so much help.” If you look at the biggest financial crisis right now, it is the health crisis. The health crisis is bleeding our country and the world dry.
It could be solved so easily if we would go to sleep, eat some vegetables, drink some water and lose those artificial sweeteners. This is our financial crisis. It is diabetes, it is obesity, it is cancer. These things can all be massively changed and fixed quickly. That's what Mindshare is set up to do. I want to help all those people who are coming to us. They have books. They want to teach. They want to do all that. That's my next big mission is we have put a whole membership together on how to help them. I'm doing the same thing with women. That's the one I'll do next. Mindshare is probably the next five to ten years and then I'll move over to building the women's one like I built the Mindshare one small ground up and then I'll move over.
Dustin
JJ, I'm excited about all the things you’ve got going on. If folks want to keep tabs with any of the things that you've talked about, the books, see what you're up to in the world, where's the best place for them to do that?
JJ
JJVirgin.com is the consumer. It's me on the health side. Mindshare Collaborative is our Mindshare side. If you are a seven, eight and nine figure women making a difference, that's the Unicorn Club. We all came up with that. We were all together one day taking a picture. We were all like, "We're a unicorn?” It's ridiculous but it's stuck. It's the Unicorn Club.
Dustin
Thanks for tuning in. I hope that you enjoyed this episode. My big recommendation is you go back because I've had a transformation myself when it comes to health. I was late to the conversation. I'm so glad that I'm in this conversation. I continue to learn because without our health we've got nothing. We can be so much more productive and do more things and be there for our family. Thanks for joining us. Let us know on social what you thought about the show and what your big takeaway is. That's it for now. I can't wait to have you back on the next show.

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