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’21-Day Tummy’ book promises weight loss that soothes and shrinks your belly

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“Readers Digest” editor Liz Vaccariello was on “The Doctor Oz Show” today to unveil her latest weight-loss plan, “The 21-Day Tummy” (Reader’s Digest Books, $25.99), which is out now.

“This plan is the only one that nourishes your body’s own secret weight-loss weapon, which is skinny gut bacteria,” Vaccariello said on Wednesday’s show. “This is the missing link in every other diet plan.”

Vaccariello said improving your gut flora will help you lose weight and have you feeling better overall, reducing inflammation.

The plan works by balancing your gut bacteria and feeding your “skinny gut bacteria.” Recent studies have shown that thin people’s gut flora is quite different from overweight people’s.

(We won’t elaborate on the “fecal transplants” going on in the name of science, but they have had promising results in improving gut flora.)

Vaccariello, author of the “Flat Belly Diet” series of books as well as the recent “Digest Diet” books, said today that this plan was born of her own digestive issues. “I had gas, I had pain, I had bloating. I had gained 10 pounds and I was constipated. I was a mess,” she said.

After working with registered dietitian Kate Scarlata on the plan, Vaccariello and a group of testers tried out the plan and Vaccariello’s unwanted 10 pounds came off and she felt better.

There are a few not-so-secret weapons to this plan. They are:

  • Magnesium in the morning: Vaccariello suggests getting this mineral with seeds, like chia or pumpkin. You also can try a magnesium supplement – our favorite is a lemony powder called Calm, which you can mix in water.
  • Low-FODMAP foods: What are FODMAPS? They are rapidly fermentable carbs – or “fast food for your gut” as Vaccariello calls them. Oat bran, brown rice, polenta and quinoa are the good guys. Highly refined grains, especially wheat, are the bad guys. She’s a fan of red quinoa, as are we.
  • MUFAs: This has been a favorite of Vaccariello’s since her very first “Flat Belly Diet” book. The monounsaturated fats include olives, nuts and avocado among others.
  • Ginger: Ginger is a powerful tummy soother and Vaccariello mixes it with maple syrup – a low FODMAP sweetener.

“The 21-Day Tummy” also includes a 21-day eating plan that minimizes foods that cause discomfort and weight gain, while replacing them with soothing foods. There are also more than 50 recipes with lots of photos. Some of the dishes featured: Thai Curry Rice Bowl, Belly Soother Smoothie, Tomato-Ginger Flank Steak, and Parmesan-Crumbled Kale.

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