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SANANTONIO -- What if you could kickstart the way you look and feel in just three weeks? A nationally known doctor who is a nutrition researcher says you can. It s all in what you eat.

Dr. Neal Barnard is a best-selling author and an advocate for plant-based nutrition. He s a man with a simple message: eat my way for 21 days. If you do, he says, you ll lose weight and gain health.

My approach is to put you on essentially a perfect diet so that you see big results very quickly, he said. We use a very short time frame. It s only a three week commitment.

His14thbook, 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart, is filled with evidence, advice and recipes to support what is basically a vegetarian diet. There s no real meat on this one, but Barnard is big on the many substitute that are out there. Since cheese is a big fat culprit, you can even find plant-based alternatives.

The veggie burger is in. The veggie chili is in. The veggie fajitas are in, Barnard said. But that greasy meat taco dripping with cheese? For three weeks, you re not going to have that.

A good meat alternative? Beans. They make up a whole food group on Barnard s list. For three weeks, he tells people to choose from legumes (beans, peas, lentils), whole grains, vegetables and fruit.

Barnard said people who have tried his 21 day challenge have more energy, better digestion, and begin to tackle weighty health problems like cholesterol and diabetes. He said it s all in changing your taste buds.

The idea is just three weeks. Give it a try, he suggested. And I know full well by the end of three weeks, they are going to be hooked on how good they feel.

Barnard is president of the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. He speaks at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 28, 2011 at the Central Library downtown. Call (210) 207-2500 to register.
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