The focus of this book is to inspire people to just try to eliminate all animal foods and dairy, along with added oils for 21days, and see how you feel. He gives menu ideas, recipes from Jason Wyrick, inspirational messages throughout from other individuals, including world class athletes, doctors, and celebrities, along with testimonials from several participants who took the challenge. He makes it as easy as possible, and includes lists of what to eat if you are traveling, or tend towards convenience foods or eating out. There are even suggestions of what you could order from some of our most popular fast-food chains as well.
If you think about it, what would you have to lose?
Three weeks can be over in a blink of an eye. While there may be an adjustment to shopping and eating a new way, it could open new doors, and be a great adventure. Depending on what you have been eating, you may experience a few days of discomfort as your body purges some stored up toxins. But this quickly passes. Typically, by the 3rd week, most people are feeling really great. There is a renewed enthusiasm and lightness of being, and improved energy, motivation, and sleep. People are pleasantly surprised to not only lose weight, but also experience pain reduction, and clearing up of acne, and more glowing skin as well.
The book discusses how animal foods can contribute to tumor growth, back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and accelerated aging. Dr. Barnard also discusses the opiate like effects that are found within the body after consuming certain foods, especially dairy. The addictive qualities of sugar, chocolate, meat, and dairy are further discussed in his book, Breaking The Food Seduction, but are highlighted here as well.
The challenge in the 21 Day Kickstart is to give up animal foods, dairy, and added oils completely (using spray oil on occasion) to help your body get free from cravings, and the addictive qualities of these foods.
There are also a couple of pages dedicated to explaining the environmental impact of consuming animal foods at our present levels. It takes acres and acres of corn and soy to produce feed for chicken and cattle, which guzzles up millions of gallons of water, far more than is used for watering lawns, home use, and washing cars. The water used for irrigation is laced with fertilizers, which are carried into our main waterways. The fertilizer causes algae to overgrow. As algae decomposes, it uses up oxygen which eventually suffocates all life forms. Fish die, and ultimately it becomes a dead zone. The Gulf of Mexico had an 8,000 square-mile dead zone prior to the oil spill.
Basically, raising cattle and poultry is a very inefficient use of land and resources compared to eating plant-based diets, especially if we keep it front and center on our plates. Having one or two animal-free days, or learning to use meats as a condiment accompanied by a plate full of veggies and whole grains, or subbing beans and any of the meat substitutes in chili, burritos, tacos, and pasta dishes would cut down the demand, and therefor the cost to valuable resources dramatically.
Of course if you really want motivation for giving up animal foods, watch Meet Your Meat video on You Tube. (Click here for another one.) Actually, after watching this one, I decided to embed it as well. Please take a few moments to watch. It is gross, but without watching it, it is easy to remain blissfully ignorant as to how the animals we eat are mass-produced.
Eating meat also poses another problem. Heterocyclic amines are produced when cooked at high temperatures from the alteration of amino acids, creatine, and other compounds found in the muscle tissue. The U.S. government lists them as carcinogens. Restaurants in California are required to warn customers of the presence of these cancer-causing chemicals in the foods they serve. Dr. Barnard's research team tested one hundred samples of grilled chicken found in salads and sandwiches served at places like Burger King, Chili's, T.G.I.F's, and Outback, and they found heterocyclic amines in every single chicken sampled.
Aside from this, animal protein is just too dense and rich. Excess consumption is linked with osteoporosis, and a gradual loss of kidney function. It is high in iron which oxidizes and forms free radicals that lead to premature wrinkling. And it effects blood flow, which is why people report such an improvement in their skin when they skip these foods and opt for oxygen and nutrient rich plant foods instead.
Fortunately, there are wonderful compounds in fruits, veggies, whole grains, and beans that counter the damaging effects of animal foods, dairy, and diets laden with excess oils and fats. Dr. Barnard's 21 Day Kickstart spells it out pretty thoroughly, and offers many kitchen tips, and explanations of the wide assortment of foods available in the plant kingdom.
Jason has created 21 days worth of menus as well, including foods like Mango Lime Pancakes with maple syrup and strawberries or Thai Red Curry Breakfast Scramble with papaya and mango for breakfast, Curried Tomato Lentil Soup, Spicy Baked Beans with Kale, French Onion Sourdough Soup, and Quinoa Verde with Black refried beans with salsa as some lunch and dinner entrees. There are several intriguing salad ideas, like Insalata d'Arance (Salad of Orange and Fennel), and suggestions for how to eat more protein earlier in the day if you tend to have energy and mood swings to help stabilize blood sugar.
Most of these meals are designed to suit a wide audience, especially busy people who do not like to cook, or are really short on time. Many of the breakfast ideas can be prepared very quickly, or even the night before. Oatmeal, muesli, and breakfast burritos are some examples. Eating lower glycemic foods like pumpernickel or rye breads or bagels with all-fruit preserves and serving it with veggie sausage and Huevos Rancheros would be a good breakfast for someone who tends to have an afternoon slump, craves sugars, or has diabetes.
So go ahead, jump in and take the 21-Day Kickstart Challenge! You have much to lose (excess weight, pain, oxidized cells, cholesterol, high blood pressure, and gummed up blood-flow), and a lot to gain (prevention and even reversal of many major diseases including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, improved elimination, glowing skin, and a renewed skip to your step.) Plus, you would be doing the animals and the environment a world of good.