Doctors and Celebrities Guide 21-Day Health Challenge

Alicia Silverstone, Padma Lakshmi, and Dr. Neal Barnard Lead Online 21-Day Vegan Kickstart; Consumers Get Meal Plan, Recipes, Expert Advice

21 Day Weight Loss Kickstart COVER

Millions of people start diets on New Year’s Day, but many of those weight-loss plans won’t be healthy or sustainable. That’s why doctors and dietitians with the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine are teaming up with actress Alicia Silverstone, and NBA champ John Salley to guide the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart. The online nutrition program—which goes live August 1 at will provide all the support dieters need to try a healthy plant-based diet. The program runs the first day of each month and there is no cost to join. The program launched on Jan. 1, 2010, and has guided more than 250,000 Kickstarters in the United States and throughout the world.

“Losing weight has never been easier,” says PCRM dietitian Susan Levin, M.S., R.D. “There is no need to count calories on a low-fat, vegan diet. Kickstarters can lose about a pound a week and many experience significant health benefits, including lower cholesterol and increased energy.” Kickstarters will receive daily e-mails with recipes and cooking tips, a 21-day meal plan, a free iPhone application, and an online health tracker, which enables participants to monitor their blood pressure, weight, and cholesterol. They’ll also get access to online videos and discussion boards featuring registered dietitians and physicians such as Neal Barnard, M.D., Dean Ornish, M.D., and John McDougall, M.D.IMG_4955Celebrity diet counselors, including actress Marilu Henner, Top Chef star Padma Lakshmi, vegan firefighter Rip Esselstyn, China Study author T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., and wellness expert Kathy Freston will offer advice on food choices and grocery shopping, as well as personal stories about the challenges and benefits of new eating habits. Several Kickstarters, including Naomi from Pa., who lost 90 pounds and reversed type 2 diabetes, will share their story, favorite recipes, and top nutrition tips. Adopting a vegan diet is surprisingly easy, according to a recent study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Study participants lost weight, lowered their blood sugar, and reduced their need for medications used to treat diabetes and other health conditions. Other studies have found that vegan diets can lead to significant weight loss sustained over several years. Plant-based diets also reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.



Breakfast: Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal (make enough for day 3)

Lunch: Couscous Confetti Salad (make enough for a side with tomorrow’s dinner) and Carrot and Red Pepper Soup (make enough for tomorrow’s lunch)

Snack: Toast with apple butter and banana (easy option: apple or banana)

Dinner: Hoppin’ John Salad and Kwick Kale


Breakfast: Cereal, plant milk (your choice), and banana and berries

Lunch: Vegan veggie burger (use whole grain bread topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, and your favorite mustard) and cup of Carrot and Red Pepper Soup (leftover from yesterday’s lunch)

Snack: Air-popped popcorn topped with curry powder or nutritional yeast

Dinner: Southern Beans and Greens (toss in your leftover black-eyed peas here) with side of Couscous Confetti Salad (leftover from yesterday’s lunch)


Breakfast: Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal (leftover from day 1; add sliced banana and consider using agave nectar, a delicious, low-glycemic index sweetener)

Lunch: Hummus and veggie sandwich (use pita or whole grain bread, spread with hummus, and top with lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, and any other veggies you wish)

Snack: Soy yogurt with berries

Dinner: Curried Lentil Soup with leftover Couscous Confetti Salad or a side salad (if you are making your own side salad, think greens, such as romaine or red leaf lettuce topped with tomato, cucumber, onion, broccoli, and your favorite low-fat vegan dressing; an easy pick is balsamic vinegar, which is very easy and a little goes a long way)


Breakfast: Cereal with plant milk (your choice) and fresh or frozen berries

Lunch: Vegan cup of soup (McDougall’s or Amy’s) with whole grain bread

Snack: Carrots and apple

Dinner: Kickstart DIY: couscous, lentil, and kale


Breakfast: Smoothie Day: Fantastic Fruit Smoothie
Lunch: Curried Lentil Soup or Southern Beans and Greens
Snack: Edamame or leftover Hummus with carrots
Dinner: Kickstart Dining Out: Mexican


Breakfast: Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes and Facon Bacon

Lunch: Easy-Bean Dip with Oven-Baked Tortilla Chips and a side salad (if you are making your own side salad, think greens, such as romaine or red leaf lettuce topped with tomato, cucumber, onion, broccoli, and your favorite low-fat vegan dressing; an easy pick is balsamic vinegar, which is very easy and a little goes a long way)

Dinner: Easy Stir-Fry with Always Great Brown Rice (make extra for tomorrow’s breakfast rice pudding; use either frozen veggies or your leftover vegetables from the week)

Dessert: Chocolate Raspberry Mousse


Breakfast: Breakfast Rice Pudding (use leftover brown rice from last night’s dinner) or frozen waffles (with berries, banana, or both)

Lunch: Spinach Salad with Orange Sesame Dressing (add garbanzo beans)

Snack: Ambrosia

Dinner: Whole wheat pasta with Simple Marinara Sauce (add broccoli, spinach, and any other leftover veggies)


Breakfast: Cinnamon-Raisin Oatmeal

Lunch: Missing Egg Sandwich (use whole-grain bread and top with lettuce and tomato); add a side of Oven-Baked Tortilla Chips and baby carrots

Snack: Frozen mango chunks (buy a bag of frozen mango or eat fresh ones if available)

Dinner: Barbeque-Style Portobellos over quinoa (quinoa is easy to make and cooks up in no time) with steamed or fresh spinach


Breakfast: Cereal, plant milk, and sliced strawberries on top

Lunch: Kickstart Dining Out: Salad bar gone wild! Here’s a suggestion for making salad at salad bar: Choose a green, top with a bean, add a grain and tons of veggies, and choose a low-fat vegan dressing or keep it simple with balsamic vinegar (or make your own salad at home with romaine lettuce, garbanzo beans, cucumber, tomato, and balsamic vinegar)

Snack: Oranges and raisins

Dinner: Simple Bean Tacos with Mexican Corn Salad (use leftover salad for tomorrow’s lunch)

Dessert: Berry Mousse

DAY 10

Breakfast: Oatmeal with mango and cinnamon (add plant milk)

Lunch: Veggie burger with leftover Mexican Corn Salad

Snack: Carrot and apple

Dinner: Creamy Broccoli Soup with Quinoa Pilaf

DAY 11

Breakfast: Cereal with plant milk and a banana

Lunch: Leftover Missing Egg Sandwich and cup of leftover Creamy Broccoli Soup

Snack: Fresh grapes

Dinner: Farmhouse Salad and leftover Quinoa Pilaf


DAY 12

Breakfast: Smoothie Day! Mango Delight

Lunch: Baked sweet potato with leftover Farmhouse Salad

Snack: Air-popped popcorn with curry or nutritional yeast

Dinner: Kickstart Dining Out: Japanese (try the seaweed salad, edamame, a vegetable sushi roll, such as a cucumber roll or tofu roll, and miso soup)

DAY 13

Breakfast: Fruited Breakfast Quinoa and Kickstart DIY Smoothie (use plant milk, banana, and any fruit you have around;

Lunch: Ethiopian Tomato Salad and Asian Guacamole with pita bread

Snack: Edamame

Dinner: Almost Instant Black Bean Chili and Easy Corn Bread Muffins

DAY 14

Breakfast: Zucchini Scramble and Breakfast Homefries

Lunch: Pasta salad (make leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch)

Snack: Fruit salad

Dinner: Beans, greens, and grains (consider using barley, lentils, and any leftover kale or bok choy)

DAY 15

Breakfast: Oatmeal with peaches (thaw frozen peaches)

Lunch: Leftover Pasta Salad with a piece of whole grain bread

Snack: Orange slices

Dinner: Spicy Thai Soup (make extra if you want to work it into lunch this week)

DAY 16

Breakfast: Frozen vegan waffles with peaches and maple syrup or cereal with plant milk and fruit

Lunch: Vegan cup of soup (or leftover Spicy Thai Soup) with baked sweet potato (try adding cinnamon on top of your sweet potato)

Snack: Red Pepper Hummus with raw vegetables or pita bread

Dinner: Buckwheat Pasta with Seitan and side of sautéed kale

Dessert: Chocolate Banana Smoothie

DAY 17

Breakfast: Oatmeal with berries or banana

Lunch: Kickstart Dining Out for Lunch: Chinese cuisine (look for the vegetable and tofu dishes with rice and ask for them to be steamed or sauteed with no or light oil)

Snack: Soy yogurt with fruit

Dinner: Lentil Artichoke Stew

DAY 18

Breakfast: Frozen vegan waffles with Berry Applesauce or cereal with plant milk and fruit

Lunch: Leftover Buckwheat Pasta with Seitan or a veggie burger with whole wheat bread or roll, lettuce, tomato, onions, and mustard

Snack: Frozen grapes

Dinner: Zippy Yams and Bok Choy with Always Great Brown Rice

DAY 19

Breakfast: Smoothie Day: Green Goodie Smoothie

Lunch: Tomato, Cucumber and Basil Salad with add can of garbanzo beans

Snack: Berry Applesauce (leftover from yesterday or just eat an apple)

Dinner: Kickstart Dining Out: Italian

DAY 20

Breakfast: Spinach and Mushroom Frittata with side of fruit

Lunch: Quickie Quesadillas

Snack: Air-popped popcorn with curry powder or nutritional yeast

Dinner: Chunky Ratatouille Sauce (save some sauce for lunch tomorrow) served over a grain, like pasta, brown rice, couscous, quinoa, or orzo

DAY 21

Breakfast: Banana Oat French Toast with soysage (try Gimme Lean or another vegan brand)

Lunch: Homemade loaded baked potato with leftover Chunky Ratatouille Sauce or make your own toppings, such as salsa, steamed broccoli, and black beans

Snack: Cantaloupe or another available fruit

Dinner: Hearty Chili Mac with leftover mushrooms and spinach from yesterday’s Spinach and Mushroom Frittata

Dessert: Blueberry Muffins (make enough to have for breakfast or a snack this week)

Serving Sizes: Don’t worry too much about the serving sizes of beans, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Thanks to the fiber and low-fat content, you would be hard-pressed to consume more calories than you need from these four food groups. (Exceptions include avocados, olives, etc.)