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iPhone app kickstarts your healthy lifestyle

The free and easy app 21-Day Vegan Kickstart gives you tasty recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack. The health benefits are yours for the eating.

21-Day Vegan Kickstart eases you into the vegan lifestyle with three weeks' worth of tasty recipes.
21-Day Vegan Kickstart eases you into the vegan lifestyle with three weeks' worth of tasty recipes. PCRM

Looking to lose weight? Lower your cholesterol? Control your diabetes? Prevent cancer? These are among the proven benefits of a vegan diet--meaning one free of all animal products (meat, dairy, etc.).

OK, but how do you get started? Without your morning cereal, lunchtime Quarter Pounder, and the like, what are you supposed to eat?

Enter 21-Day Vegan Kickstart, a free app that provides three weeks' worth of meals, complete with recipes. Why three weeks? According to experts, that's enough time to drop a few pounds, lower your blood sugar, and just generally start feeling better. And, hey, anybody can manage 21 days, right? At the end, it's up to you to decide if you want to continue.

The app couldn't be easier to navigate. Each day starts with a brief tip on healthy eating, followed by recipes for that day's breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack. The recipes include checkboxes next to each ingredient, so you can check off items as you toss them in your grocery cart.

If there's a recipe you especially like, tap the star icon to add it to your bookmarks for easy reference. There's also a search option and a list view for all the recipes.

One small point of confusion: the app appears to give you only the first seven days' worth of recipes. But, as explained in the help screen, more will appear on the eighth day (and again on the 15th).

Only a smattering of the dishes have accompanying photos; a few more would be nice. Also, a kale recipe on the very first day? Not a best-foot-forward approach. Newcomers need time to acclimate to that evil green! (I'm kidding. Most of the recipes are excellent. But kale? I just can't choke that stuff down.)

The 21-Day Vegan Kickstart program was developed by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which is headed by renowned health advocate Neal Barnard, M.D. Here's a bit more about the program: