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21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart: Boost Metabolism, Lower Cholesterol, and Dramatically Improve Your Health Hardcover – 28 Feb 2011

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (28 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446583812
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446583817
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 645,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"You want to look and feel better than ever? This is the book for you! Easy to understand information, a well laid out plan, and best of all, delicious food! No one makes plant-based eating more accessible. Dr. Barnard, you've done it again!" -Marilu Henner

"Dr. Barnard's plan is about eating better- not eating less; about finding health, as well as losing weight. The recipes look as tempting as the counsel is trustworthy. This is dietary guidance at its best." -David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP, Director of Yale University Prevention Research Center

"Jump in and begin The 21 Weight Loss Kickstart! You'll have a new-found relationship with healthy foods that can revolutionize your health forever more." -Rip Esselstyn, author of the "New York Times" bestselling "Engine 2 Diet"

"Dr. Barnard is a brilliant visionary, one of the leading pioneers in educating the public about the healing power of diet and nutrition." -Dean Ornish, MD, author of "Eat More, Weigh Less"

"Get ready to transform the way you think about food, and get ready to change your life" -Alicia Silverstone, author of the "New York Times" bestselling "The Kind Diet"

"Dr. Barnard's 21-day program will change the way you eat and live. The research is cutting-edge, the recipes are delicious, and the eating plan is simple as can be. This book is the kickstart you need to finally lose weight and get healthy." -Rory Freedman, #1 "New York Times" bestselling coauthor of "Skinny Bitch" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Neal Barnard, MD is a clinical researcher, author, and health advocate. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and president of the nonprofit Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine. He has been the principal investigator or coinvestigator on several clinical trials investigating the effects of diet on health. He is the author of several books and a frequent lecturer. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9b0ef48c) out of 5 stars 260 reviews
361 of 366 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b0fdc9c) out of 5 stars Success after 21 days 14 April 2012
By Frieda - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Today is my 21st day (April, 14 2012).

I am one of those people who can stick to a diet, but can't lose weight. I've tried everything out there. One some diets I've even gained weight (the 90s Ornish plan with dairy, Nutrisystem, Atkins) while family members have lost weight eating the same exact things. This book explained WHY I didn't lose or even gained weight on diets and what I could do that was different and might offer me some success. I thought I was doomed to feeling and looking lousy, and am so grateful I was wrong.

I lost 6 lbs in three weeks, steadily, easily. If I can lose 6lbs with my stubborn metabolism, then I would guess most people might have even greater success.

I was never hungry, and at the end of each day I'd lie in bed thinking how nice it is to have a sensation of satiety but not to feel bloated, starved, or guilty. To have enjoyed--really enjoyed--my food and felt healthy, had more energy, and been more comfortable in my body and my clothes. I have been craving this kind of feeling on a deep level, but have never been able to figure out how to effect it in my life.

At first, I found the plan a little intimidating. But if you can make it through the first day you can make it through 21 days. Day 2 is even easier, and by the end of the first week you won't even have to think about it.

My retired mother went on it with me, and she had no problem with it either. She is a diabetic and controls her diabetes very carefully with diet. She said her blood sugar fluctuated more than normal the first few days, but then stabilized nicely and she hasn't had a problem since then and is really enjoying being able to eat a wider variety of foods now, including some things she just couldn't eat at all before. She has high cholesterol and I will update when she has her next lipid panel. No significant effect from this diet on her renal or fibromyalgia problems, but perhaps that will change over time. I am hypoglycemic, and do very well on this eating plan in that regard.

Yes, it's vegan. For 21 days. You are not committing to veganism for life, just to see how you feel when you eliminate certain types of foods and increase other types. This diet will not make you start wearing Birkenstocks, join PETA, or grow out your armpit hair. I have no intention of becoming a vegan for ethical or political reasons. I do think that the vegan way of eating presented in this book, however, is based on sound science, and, most importantly, has worked for me.

I will probably start re-incorporating animal products at some point. I travel, I live in a rural community where there are sources for animal products where I know what they were fed and how they were treated. I don't have a need to totally commit to veganism for life, but for now, this works.

I feel great. I thought feeling and looking good were gone with my youth, but I have more energy now that I can remember having in a decade. I never feel bloated. I never feel hungry. My mood has been naturally elevated as a result of this eating plan (this is NOT a diet). Meal prep can be as simple or complex as fits your lifestyle. I no longer feel my joints aching at the end of the day, even though I am much more active every day now.

I am able to eat foods on this plan that I've thought for years would be off limits for me forever. I have really, truly enjoyed my food for the first time since I can remember. Food has become more delicious and I never feel deprived or hungry or feel like it's a struggle to stick with the plan.

Most supermarkets have products you can use to adapt recipes. There are a few things your supermarket might not carry, like nutritional yeast, but if you can't get them at a local Whole Foods or health food store, you can order them on Amazon. Try the frozen foods section of your grocery store and look for brands like Boca, Morningstar, or Amy's for meal components (like veggie burgers or meat substitutes) or entire frozen meals. Keep lettuce and tortillas on hand for quick wraps when you need to eat on the run. Amy's makes a great vegan frozen bean burrito and also a good rice crust vegan cheese pizza. Daiya cheese substitute is the best I've found, but I hardly felt the need to substitute for cheese after the first week. Cashew and nutritional yeast cream (sounds weird, but it's great) is so good and fabulous on salads or veggies or sandwiches. I found many foods in my supermarket as well as Whole Foods to be appropriate, but when I went to Trader Joe's after learning how to read labels, I was amazed at how much fat and sodium was packed into the products there, so I would not recommend shopping there for most of your food if you have other choices.

The book gives a good shopping list and suggestion for new things to try--follow that list for your first week as you explore this way of eating and you should be able to learn how to navigate your supermarket and kitchen in new ways.

Get rid of the mentality of deprivation and allow yourself to EAT, enjoy, and feel satisfied and feel good about being in your own body.

Buy a vegan cookbook or if you don't want to spend the money, google "vegan lowfat recipe blog" and you will find lots of recipes and cooking tips. It takes a bit of adjustment, but really not that much. There are great ways to substitute for meat and dairy. One caveat: meat and dairy substitutes are NOT meat and dairy. They don't taste like meat and dairy and if you expect them to then you will be disappointed. They will, however, satisfy your cravings for those tastes and textures if you give them a chance. And then somewhere along the line you may even discover you no longer even crave them all that much. Along with sugar, fats, and a slew of other things that may be slowing down your weight loss, sapping your energy, and slowly and subtly chipping away at your health.

The book doesn't call for exercise, but after about a week, my activity increased because I had so much energy I just HAD to do more. It's been wonderful, and my productivity has increased greatly.

If you want to make excuses and continue as you are, or if you want someone to do the work for you, then don't buy this book. It is not for you, and you will be disappointed. If you are willing to do the personal work for 21 days to see what a radical (but really not very difficult) positive dietary change can do for you, I highly recommend this book.

This book is for people with a high level of personal responsibility and desire to explore changes that may positively impact their lives. If that's you, then invest in this book, and good luck to you.

There are some good you tube videos featuring Dr. Barnard. Amazon doesn't allow external links, but you can do a youtube search on "Dr. Neal Barnard Part 1" and the parts 2, 3, and 4.

UPDATE: May 6 2012
Went for a regular physical. My cholesterol, although not in the danger zone before the diet, is now down about 50 points on this diet. Triglycerides are down, too, and my cholesterol ratio is 2.4. I'm pretty pleased. I wish I could get my daughter to try this.

UPDATE: May 26, 2012
My mother had a lipid profile done. In two months on the diet her cholesterol is down 72 points. No cholesterol medicine could get her below 200, but this diet did. We are hoping to get her down another 30-40 points so she can get off the meds altogether. She's down a size in her clothes. We watched "Forks Over Knives" and "Fat Sick and Nearly Dead" this month, which although we needed no motivation as the plan is easy once you lose your cravings, were both motivating and inspirational.

I am still doing well. Lost a couple more pounds (10 total on the diet--1 clothing size), eating even less processed foods, and feeling even better. Bags under my eyes are gone, and the dark circles that made me look old and tired are not completely gone, but are much less noticeable. My skin looks and feels better. I have absolutely no desire to eat off plan. When I get the rare urge to indulge, I am perfectly able to do it within the parameters set by Dr. Barnard for healthy eating. Traveling was a bit difficult, but I did it with a little extra planning and preparation.

I burned out my magic bullet mixer so I splurged and bought a Vitamix and it makes whole foods preparation a lot easier and some things just come out so much better than in a plain blender. Soups, smoothies, and hummus are much smoother and creamier in the Vitamix and make it easier and tastier to get in lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. A crock pot is helpful for soups and bean dishes.

I initially turned up my nose at folks who said their tastes changed and food tastes better, but guess what--it does. I liked fruits and veggies just fine before this, but now there's a much greater pleasure in eating them that I can't quite describe.

I am not at all sorry that I bought this book and tried what Dr. Barnard suggests, I am only sorry I didn't start this years ago.

UPDATE: April 2013.

I'm down about 20 lbs, and fit into my old clothes. I've never felt at all deprived and eat until I'm well satisfied every day. My cholesterol is down to 134 and my BP is down to normal as well.

Cooking is easy, and once I figured out a few things, traveling and eating this way is not a problem at all.

UPDATE: December 2013.
Still going strong. I'm down about 35 lbs total, and nearly 4 sizes. I feel great. I've been working with a plant-based doctor and my chronic fatigue is gone.

My mother, who is pushing 70, is off ALL of her meds, including the BP meds she's been on since she was 35. She's been at her goal weight for quite some time and is full of energy. We also got Barnard's newest book, Power Foods for the Brain: An Effective 3-Step Plan to Protect Your Mind and Strengthen Your Memory, and have incorporated some of those suggestions as well.

Eating like this is second nature and we no longer really think about it much. I no longer fear I'm going to balloon back up to my previous weight. No yo-yoing anymore.
197 of 203 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b607024) out of 5 stars Great Information - Probably Not for Everyone 16 Mar. 2011
By Bill Cashell - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is a titled as a 3 week plan, but it really is intended to be more than that. Most people can stick to any diet for 3 weeks, right? Dr. Barnard believes that if we focus on the short term, the long term changes follow. You really can notice the difference in the way you feel after 3 weeks, and that is long enough to shift your eating habits.

This is actually a plan rather than a diet. In fact, Dr. Barnard removes the word "diet" because he wants to remove the diet mentality. This is really more about health, and weight loss becomes a by-product. What Dr. Barnard states is if we set animal products aside and keep oils to a minimum, we will lose weight.

It's that easy! No calorie counting, no carb restrictions and no exercise. You do that by eating more whole grains, fruits and veggies and legumes. These fill you up and keep you from binging on junk food. But......

The challenge for many people is giving up that big steak or burger you have been living on for most of your life. Most people are not ready to give their favorite foods. You will still see benefits if you eat more of the healthy foods and less of the meat products. There are some very tasty recipes, thanks to the help of executive chef Jason Wyrick. This helps shift your thinking away from the idea of bland, steamed vegetables every meal.

Some examples of meals:
*Breakfast: Green apple oatmeal and lemon soy yogurt with blueberries or ginger banana breakfast smoothie and toast with jam.
*Lunch: Pita pizza with mixed greens, orange and fennel salad with tomato soup, rye bread and a fresh pear or balsamic zucchini sandwich, banana slices and French onion sourdough soup.
*Dinner: Curried lentil soup, steamed asparagus, crusty whole-grain bread, mali chips and fresh strawberries or red curry chickpea and sweet potato soup, brown rice and spinach salad.

The concept here is not new or revolutionary. Dr. Dean Ornish and others have encouraged plant based diets for years. What may get your attention is the idea of making a change in only 21 days. Even if you continue to eat some meat, this will help you eat healthier. The book does not address exercise, which is usually a cornerstone of good health.

This is definitely not going to be for everyone, but the health information alone makes the book worth reading. If you are anxious to get a jump start on weight loss or you already know about the benefits of a plant-based diet, but have no idea how to start, this is definitely worth trying.

Bill Cashell - Author of "The Emotional Diet"
178 of 187 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b742fa8) out of 5 stars 11.5 lbs. my First 21 Days 16 Mar. 2011
By R. Bell - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
These are my results from putting Dr. Neal Barnard's 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart into practice.

11.5 LBS. MY FIRST 21 DAYS (February 21 - March 14, 2011):

When I got this book I jumped right in and tried out a couple of interesting-looking recipes, never stopped doing just that, and here I am 21 days later finding my body 11.5 lbs. lighter -- on average, that's a little more than 1/2 lb. a day.


By eating only fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, and by setting aside all animal products, oils, and high-glycemic index foods, as Dr. Barnard recommends, my body's excess weight just melted away, effortlessly, with very little of my usual cravings. This is exactly what Alicia Silverstone describes from her experiences with these same food choices in the Forward. Thank you, Dr. Barnard, for practicing medicine with a fork rather than a scalpel, as you have previously stated.

I really like the fact that the last third of the book is devoted to providing a fantastic example of menus and recipes; what a great jumping-off point. The first two recipes that I tried, Huevos Rancheros and Quick Black Bean Chili from Day 19, were off-the-charts delicious. Since then, my friends and I have been amazed at how tasty every other recipe has been that I've made for them. Thank you, Jason Wyrick!


Before discovering this book on Amazon I was pretty serious about losing weight and was already preparing my own meals in order to have direct control over the content of all food that I ate. I had previously spent some time learning about nutrition, attended some classes at a local university, and had seen a nutritionist. As a result, when this book arrived I was already in the habit of logging: earnestly keeping track of everything that went in my mouth, hydration, weight, exercise, when I went to bed at night, and when I got up in the morning. Obviously, this is not usual or customary, but for the purposes of weight loss and working to make some long-term lifestyle changes, it is totally reasonable.

I was determined to make significant lifestyle changes and was looking for a menu plan from anybody who knew what they were doing. You won't find me complaining about the amount of effort it takes to diligently read this book, put together a shopping list, make many trips to the grocery store, get to know my grocers, and learn my way around a kitchen. In fact, I was delighted that finally somebody could give me a set menu, recipes to follow, and more than adequate pointers about how to prepare these delicious recipes, in addition to explaining why I was eating them. My nutritionist had plenty of knowledge but couldn't provide me with a simple menu plan, surprisingly. The classes at the university couldn't do that either; it was all scientific findings and research -- helpful, but of no practical application. However, when I happened across this book on Amazon it was clear to me, from everything else I had already learned about nutrition, that Dr. Barnard and Jason Wyrick could not only provide me with a menu plan and recipes, but it was the right menu plan and recipes for me, based upon my findings.

So I was very excited to get this book and get started because I knew what it could do for me. I made it my mission to try to fix every meal in the book during the 21 days -- and failed miserably! I believe I only made it through Days 1-3 and, along with Day 19 and a number of other recipes that looked appealing, I ended up just repeating four-to-five day's worth of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for the sake of simplicity and time savings. Regardless, every morning I would jump on the scales before hopping in the shower and, not every time but pretty consistently every time, I would weigh 1/2 lb. less than the day before. THAT felt amazing to me, to have that kind of control. I had never experienced that before; it was habit forming and re-enforced my determination to prepare my own meals and have direct control over my food choices. Some days I gained a little or broke even and a few days I lost considerably more than 1/2 lb. Whatever the daily result, I was determined to stay consistent with my mission of following the menus and recipes.

I'm excited about this book! It has changed my life. Yes, implementation at the grocery store and in the kitchen takes considerable time and effort, but no more time and effort than my Mom does every day in her kitchen. I have two sharp knives, a bunch of crummy old pots and pans, an electric range/oven, and a small kitchen with very little counter space. There is nothing fancy going on here except a commitment to follow the menus and recipes.


I also exercised regularly during this time, roughly every other day, and I made sure I drank plenty of water, at least eight 8 oz. glasses per day starting with 16 oz. first thing in the morning. (15.35 oz. of water weighs one pound, so when I jumped on the scales each morning I would subtract a 1.0 lb.) I used to be a competitive swimmer and now usually swim 4 times a week with a Master's swim team, but during this whole 21-day period I only swam 2,000 meters on three different occasions, which is about 35-45 minutes of swimming for me, and I walked 1.5 miles six times, which is typically around 30 minutes of walking at 3.0 mph for me. That's only nine periods of exercise on nine different days during the 21-day period, which I consider to be moderate exercise by current standards.


Through Dr. Barnard I have finally found some practical guidance where, if I put the right foods in my mouth, my cravings for sweets go away, I no longer get ravenously hungry during the day, I lose weight immediately, and it's all completely healthy -- all while my body is boosting metabolism, lowering cholesterol, and dramatically improving its health in many other ways after years of uninformed eating. What more can you ask for than that?

There is so much conflicting information out there about nutrition from credible sources. This book makes it easy to practice Dr. Barnard's recommendations because all you have to do is jump in and start eating from the menus and recipes, which you can do while getting a real education in nutrition from the rest of the book in the meantime.


Learning how to prepare fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes as deliciously as you can from these menus and recipes was a pretty easy lifestyle change for me. And although I have significantly more weight loss to go, losing 11.5 lbs. in the first 21 days is certainly a great kickstart!

I got immediate results and I believe you can, too.

Bon appétit!
101 of 110 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bb4e120) out of 5 stars An Excellent Read for those looking for easy weight loss! 1 Mar. 2011
By Gia Martinelli - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Barnard creates a "easy" guide to weight loss. NO more counting calories, carbs, or portions. He promotes tasty dishes that are quick, which we all know how fast-paced life makes for crappy food!!!! I was surprised even by the desserts,. try the Apple Crisp and Mango-Lime Sorbet, my Favs! All very low-fat, but scrumptious! I am new to this vegan type of diet and was a bit skeptical, but when the pounds started sheding and energy went up I knew I could follow a vegan diet...
124 of 140 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b41a4c8) out of 5 stars Great Book, Simple Premise, Awesome Recipes 1 Mar. 2011
By David Gonzales - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The 21-Day Weight-loss KickStart is NOT a diet book. It's a guide to help put you on a path to wellness. This book was recommended to me by a friend in the nutrition field. I was skeptical but I loved the premise, try it for 21 Days and then evaluate how you feel. For me, the results were enough to really change my opinion on a lot of things. After 21 days, my insomnia went away, i wasn't tired after work and (hate to say it) but going number two has never been easier. I guess these were my issues i wanted to cure, although losing a few lbs was also nice.
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