21-Day Tummy: A Diet for Your Tummy Troubles (with a Giveaway!)

21day
As a rule, we’re pretty anti diet books around here. (It’s why we wrote our anti-diet book, after all!) But when the 21-Day Diet by Liz Vaccariello landed on my doorstep, I knew I wanted to review it. Many of us want to get rid of extra weight around the middle, and with the book’s promise to lose up to 19 pounds in three weeks, I was skeptical. The diet said it will soothe and shrink any belly fast — which seemed like one of those quick but unsustainable fixes that chronic dieters would fall for looking for a miracle cure. But getting past the hype of the cover, it’s actually chock full of some great information.

It’s not just about getting bikini-worthy abs: The book makes the connection that foods that cause weight gain can also lead to tummy troubles, like heartburn and acid reflux, gas, bloating and more fun digestive issues. In 21-Day Diet, the author leads you through some food rules that will help get digestive issues under control should you suffer from them. The bonus is that those foods are also healthy foods, hence the possibility for a slim-down.

The book breaks down Belly Bullies — foods that can wreak havoc with your system — and Belly Buddies. Some of the Belly Bullies are ones we should try to limit anyway: white flour, sugar, processed foods, fast food. But some of the Bullies are foods you’ve been told to eat your whole life, like beans, apples, pears, plums and nectarines. Now, we hate when foods are off limits. It screams deprivation — and that’s a surefire way to have someone fall off their diet. But if you’re someone who is trying to get to the bottom of chronic digestive issues, you should hear them out. The foods that are off limits are no-gos for good reasons, like they’re pro-inflammatory (certain meats), high-fructose (those yummy fruits) or high lactose (certain dairy products). I won’t get into all of the science as they do it way better in the book, but there are legitimate reasons for nixing these noshes for the 21 days.

Belly Buddies, on the other hand, are meant to help with losing weight while keeping the digestive system humming along happily. That means these are high in fiber, magnesium and anti-inflammatory fats, so the list of Buddies is quite extensive — nuts, seeds, Greek yogurt, lean proteins, and all kinds of delicious fruits and veggies like bananas, blueberries and potatoes. Even better, they include recipes and shopping lists to make your diet as accessible and easy as possible. They even include tips for dining out on the diet.

The dieters who are featured in the book — 11 colleagues of Vaccariello’s — shed some serious inches and dropped some lbs. But their pictures and testimonies say a lot: there is a noticeable difference in the before and after pictures, and their stomach aches and pains and issues were drastically improved.

So what happens when the 21 days is up? Glad you asked, because it was one of my questions, too. The thing that makes the diet a winner in our book is that it’s designed to improve your overall digestive health — not just drop some pounds. So those foods you nix for the three-week plan? They have a clear strategy mapped out for identifying your personal Belly Bullies — those foods that just do not agree with your system but have never been able to pinpoint. So once your diet is up, you can test certain foods to see if you reactive. For instance, you’ll take the lactose test by drinking a cup of milk or eating yogurt for two to three days in a row to see if your digestive issues reappear. If not, you’re cleared to enjoy those items again. The testers were able to identify foods that didn’t work for them and nix them, with improved digestion and decreased pains as a result.

So while yep, it’s a diet, and nope, I hate when foods like apples are off limits, this book has a clear reason for the deprivation. (And testers swore they didn’t feel deprived because of the delicious foods they could eat!) And if you’re someone who deals with constipation on a regular basis or notices frequent tummy upset but don’t know why, this might be a cool way to try to narrow down those problem foods for you and design a healthy way of eating that really works for you.

If you’re interested in reading the book yourself, leave a comment below telling me why! (You don’t have to get too detailed!) I’ll pick a winner in about a week. U.S. residents only, please.

Do you have tummy issues you’d love to cure? Think a diet like this might  help you narrow down the suspects? —Erin


Comments

  1. Margaret says

    I’m interested – I carry my extra weight around my middle, and have long wondered if it was related to diet and bloat/gas issues, which are my frequent nemesis. I’d be interested to see if cutting certain foods would help, but have been reluctant to do a full elimination diet experiment and could use a more targeted plan (e.g. with meal plans and shopping lists, not just “don’t eat x food”).

  2. Denise says

    After having my second child, my digestive system hasn’t been quite the same. Trying to minimize the belly and determine the cause would be great!

  3. Jessica says

    I have developed several food sensitivities over the past couple of years, most recently it was magical (hugely disappointing). I want to work out my digestive issues, but have no idea where to start or now to make it work without eating bland and boring fish. This would be useful in the belly battle.

  4. Mami2jcn says

    I would love to try this book. My belly has been out of control since I had my 3rd child 4 years ago.

  5. Jennifer says

    Honestly I just never been brave enough to be on a diet. In my twenties I workout two to four hours a day. Cardio walking swimming and playing with my three children. In my thirties I was dealing with car pools, coaching, vacation and showing my children how to balance work and personal life. I forgot the diet part. Last year my hubby of 22 years surprised me with a 40 birthday party. LOVED IT ….. but then I saw the pictures oh my I hadn’t realized how big I had gotten. It was time to change my diet. It been a long journey and today I’m only five pounds less then last year. I feel better less refined sugar white breads and boxed foods.
    Think it’s time for a change in diet to help my 42 inches of belly. Larger then any of my three pregnancy!

  6. Katie says

    I’d love to try to cute my tummy issues!! I’m sure my family would appreciate it too,
    If you know what I mean! :)

  7. Jane says

    I eat what I think is really a healthy diet, i exercise 6 days a week, and still have trouble getting rid of that stubborn belly fat. Am curious to see what this book has to say because i am at the end of my rope!

  8. Caitlin says

    I would love to try this plan for a happy belly! I can’t remember the last time I had a day without an upset stomach. I have tried watching what I eat and it never seems to truly help. Having a plan that tells you what to stay away from AND gives you meal plans could make such a difference. The losing weight thing doesn’t sound too bad either ;)

  9. Kline630 says

    I would love to read this. I have struggled for years with tummy troubles (as my daughter would say). I’m tired of the pain I feel. I’m ready to take my life back; and stop allowing my stomach to hold me back.

  10. Stephanie says

    Me!!! My family definitely has a serious history of tummy troubles…Crohn’s disease, reflux, and all around timmy grumpiness. .This is a subject that I feel so strongly about and have done my reading in, glad to see another good read on the market :-)

  11. Kristin says

    I would love to learn more about the belly bullies and buddies especially since you say to cut out apples! Gasp! I’ve thought they are a great fruit to be eating! I hope I can have this book to learn more about what I can be changing in my diet! I get random pains in my stomach that I feel are related to certain foods I eat so this book would be great to see if it would make a difference!! Thank you!!

  12. Deb E says

    Getting the gluten out really seemed to help but honestly, smaller portions and waiting to see how I feel is the best thing I can do. I don’t eat processed foods and my diet can look a bit boring to most people so maybe this book can help. Doing some more research on it. Thanks for the review.

  13. Rachel DeHart says

    I’d love to have this book, because I have so many stomach problems. I need to be on the fodmap diet but just don’t know what to cook, because so many things has garlic and onions in it. tall_person13 at yahoo dot com

  14. Lauren says

    I have digestive issues and have my whole life and to have this book to help me would be wonderful especially when I know it is food and anxiety related. The weight loss would be an added bonus. I just want to be able to live my life without always having one eye on the nearest restroom

  15. Renee says

    I have adapted to a vegan lifestyle almost 15 years ago. I have always had digestive issues and have never been able to pinpoint what causes them. I would like to give this 21 day fix a try to see if I can finally be pain and bloat free:)

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