Review: 21-Day Tummy by Liz Vaccariello

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21-Day Tummy is an anti-inflammation program for those with sensitive stomachs who need to lose weight.

Liz Vaccariello, currently with Reader's Digest and formerly with Prevention, has created some of the most effective diet and exercise programs. This 21-Day Tummy diet is no different. I took place in a trial for her Flat Belly Diet several years ago, and managed to jump start a year of weight loss with those steps alone.

This book focuses on calming our digestive systems and nervous systems, thus getting rid of excess acid, bloat, and inflammation. If you are overweight and tend to have heartburn, either diarrhea or constipation, gas, bloat, and/or stomach pain, this book is for you.

While there are some obvious offenders - sugar, HFCS, and trans-fats, there are also some surprises. Did you know that cashews and pistachios cause inflammation for sensitive people? How about artichokes and onions? Soybeans and nectarines? How many people have replaced dairy with soy in the hopes of reducing inflammation without any change? This is why.

The good food list in 21-Day Tummy is similar to both the Flat Belly and Digest diets, and includes high-fiber vegetables, lower-fructose fruits, high-protein grains, most nuts and nut butters, seeds, healthy fats, and lean protein. Dark chocolate also makes an appearance, helping to enrich several of the dessert recipes.

As you can see, the foods that cause inflammation and digestive problems are the very foods that also cause us to gain weight - sweets, animal fats, fattier proteins, dairy, wheat, barley, and rye, beans and legumes, and artificial sweeteners. By limiting them, we lose weight and calm our bellies down. It's a win-win!

There are suggested menus and recipes for each of the 21 days, along with shopping lists and substitutes. There are also several simple tests to show which foods you are sensitive to, which will help you decide what to limit.

For exercise, Vaccariello recommends an easy-to-follow program of walking, core strengthening exercises, and gentle yoga. Again, the goal is to calm stress as much as burn calories.

If you are concerned about your diet and your digestive system, and need to lose a few pounds while calming your belly, this book is for you. Devote three weeks to the 21-Day Tummy program and you will lose weight and feel better.