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274 of 276 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2012
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.
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178 of 183 people found the following review helpful
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"
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148 of 157 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2011
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!
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101 of 110 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2011
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...
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124 of 140 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2011
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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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on April 25, 2011
I have never tried going Vegan before, but I have been "semi-vegeterian" on and off. I saw Dr. Barnard on a PBS show and decided to buy the book for more information.

I have tried and completed the 21 Day Kickstart and I have decided to continue eating Vegan! I LOVE the way I feel. I have TONS more energy, my skin looks and feels better and I've lost weight without exercise. It's not hard to do at all. To those who say they don't like fruits and veggies, I say I was the same way! But, as you start eating a plant-based diet, your taste buds start craving healthy things. I no longer have urges to eat cakes, cookies, pies or even cheeseburgers (my favorite).

This is a MUST BUY book.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2011
We first saw Dr. Barnard on PBS, lecturing live. We immediately became highly interested in what he was saying. We are seniors and have the usual problems that set in with time: too many pounds; high BP; high blood fats, etc. For many, these problems begin when they are younger. We feel we did pretty good for many years, but found it increasingly difficult to stop the health slide.

This is credible book, written by an actual MD, with a simple method. Yes, it is a vegan diet, which means no meat, fish, dairy (of any kind) or eggs. But you don't count calories. You eat until you are full. You will find foods you already like that fit the plan. You will feel better, be healthier, have more energy, sleep better and lose excess weight. We have experienced all of this. Dr. Barnard, is not trying to sell products, other than books, which are the means to spread his knowledge. It seems his main interest is advancing health and well being through food choices. Give it a try. You will learn A LOT!
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47 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2012
Let me first say that I really do love Dr. Neal Barnard, he's very sharp, knows his stuff, and backs it up with solid research. He's also an amazing advocate for animals.

In this book, however, he makes it very clear that it is THIS way or the highway to regain health and lose weight. I'm 100% on board with the vegan lifestyle (the cornerstone of what Dr. Barnard is talking about), but he loses me at the "low-fat" zone (it is more like "no-fat"). I simply cannot do it. I cannot spray my pan with oil or measure out a teaspoon of olive oil--a teaspoon?!! OR worse yet, sauté with NOTHING in the pan. This spells out one word to me D-E-P-R-I-V-A-T-I-O-N!!! And I hope everyone knows by now that when one feels deprived, they don't stick to what they are doing (at least I don't). Sure, I could change my perception/perspective and then low-fat would be appealing....right? Well, I don't want to and the reason I don't want to is because I do not believe this is the only path to get to where Dr. Barnard wants you to go. I don't think you need to be low-fat to regain your health and lose weight.

Why do I think this? Because I've taken a different path and gotten the same results! I'm losing stubborn weight, lowered my total cholesterol, raised my HDL (the "good" cholesterol), and lowered the "bad" one (LDL) to a safe level. Yes, I am vegan, but low-fat is not part of my regime. I do not use nuts sparingly like Dr. Neal cautions although I do eat them raw and mostly soaked. Nor am I judicious with avocados as he advocates--what can an innocent avocado possibly do to me? I eat as much as I want, when I want. So what's the catch? No junk! No processed food, no white flour, no junk! And it is that simple. Focus on WHOLE foods--the further something is removed from its natural state things start to get murky. Instead of processed cereal, for example, eat oatmeal (steal cut oats are surprisingly good simply soaked overnight, NOT cooked). Eat sprouted or raw breads which are nutrient rich, toss out the long shelf life loaves. Try stuffing raw almond butter into a date instead of reaching for a donut! Oh, yes, and don't forget the veggies (lots of them and many raw, if you can). What you'll probably find is what I've found, this food is dense in nutrients therefore VERY satisfying and your body gets the message loud and clear. You'll be more in balance, cravings vanish, you'll detox, you'll lose weight without hardly trying...truly.

If you don't like fat, then Dr. Barnard's regime will speak to you, but if you absolutely love fat, you'll probably be like me and feel like you're being sent to jail.

Above and beyond all of this, I think the Buddha said something like this, "listen and do what speaks to you, and toss the rest"!
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46 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2011
I found Dr. Barnard's book to be so helpful. I have read his other books, but this one has given me a structure to commit to a truly scientifically based healthful way of eating.

Since I have been following Dr. Barnard's plant based eating plan, I have lost 15 pounds and maintained my weight for a year. The book claims that this way of eating will boost your metabolism. I have found that to be so true. In the past, when I have over done it on sweets and fats, it has taken a couple weeks to lose those extra couple pounds. OK, so I fell back into the American eating habits during the Holidays, gained a few pounds but lost those ponds in 3 days as soon I continued the plant based way of eating.

My friends are becoming very interested in plant based eating, asking me many questions about it, and changing their habits as well. I truly believe Br. Barnard is leading us out of the American obesity, diabetes, and cancer epidemic.
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81 of 99 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2011
I have enjoyed Dr. Barnard's other books and respect his work, but this info in this book is basically the same as his last few books. Why do the same thing over again? Go vegan, write down meal ideas based on his guidelines, go shopping and try it out for 3 weeks to see how it goes. I don't see anything much different, just a new title and some celeb endorsements. Also, although I like the taste of many (processed) substitutes for animal products that he suggests, I would like ideas and recipes for more meals based on whole foods so I don't have to rely on boxed, frozen, chemically-laden "foods." I'm trying to get healthier and that doesn't seem like the way to go.
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