The Eat Plants Feel Whole Plan:

QuickStart Guide to Transform Your health in 18 Days—An Overview

If you’re sold on the benefits of a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle, and you want to:

  • see dramatic health improvements now,
  • feel better, have more energy, and more mental clarity,
  • reverse the results of a chronic disease you thought was permanent,
  • bring your lab values down quickly,
  • embrace intensive care now to avoid the intensive care unit later,

then you’re ready to get started with the 18-Day QuickStart Plan to transform your health!

Why 18 days?

In my experience, an 18-day program is beneficial because it allows you to include two weekends along with a significant portion of three weeks. That’s enough time to see dramatic changes in your health status and to develop healthy new habits and tastes. For most people, 18 days is doable, not scary.

What to Expect

If you jump in with a fully committed, all-or-nothing attitude, I’ve seen this 18-day intensive program work what appears to be miracles. I’ve seen blood pressure, blood sugar, and bad cholesterol drop dramatically, and weight loss as much as 29 pounds. You may even be able to lower and eventually wean off some medications. All in less than three weeks!

The first three days are often the most difficult for any new program. You must be determined. Imagine how you’ll feel when you have more energy, less pain, and your numbers are in line at your next doctor’s appointment. Imagine looking in the mirror and feeling proud of how far you’ve come! It will be worth all the effort. And over time, your mind will become clearer, and the changes easier as you start reaping the many benefits of your new lifestyle.

Remember: the more aggressively you make changes, the more rapid your progress will be.

Before you Start

Make a commitment. Write out your intent, sign, and date it. It’s also important to tell trusted family, friends, and co-workers about your goals and ask for their support. They can help by encouraging, assisting, and keeping you on track. They might even like to do the program with you. Or maybe you could start or join a group at work, church, school, or your neighborhood.

Check in with your personal physician. It is especially important to work closely with your physician if you have any condition for which you’re taking medications. As your health improves, your medications might need to be adjusted or discontinued. Hopefully, they will be informed of the benefits of this lifestyle, but if not, you might want to tell them what you’ve learned and show them your resources. It’s great to get lab work before and after, if possible, too. If your doctor sees that you are committed to tackling your health problems, and you show up with improved numbers the next visit, they’ll be much more interested!

Three phases of the QuickStart program:

STEP 1- The Induction Phase, Days 1-3

For the first three days in The Plan, you’ll eat only above-ground, non-starchy veggies, avoid all oils and refined sugars, and drink enough water (6-8 glasses/day) to stay hydrated. During this time, it’s recommended you do a kitchen makeover to create a positive environment for your success. Purge your pantry, fridge, and freezer of food that doesn’t support your new healthy choices. (Learn more “How-tos” in Participant’s Guide)

STEP 2- The Therapeutic Phase, Days 4-18

For the next fifteen days, you’ll expand your food repertoire to include a wide variety of whole, plant-based foods— grains, fruits, beans, peas, nuts, and above- and below-ground vegetables. Continue to avoid refined oils and sugars. Use salt moderately. Keep drinking plenty of water. To ensure success, plan meals and prepare food in advance so you aren’t tempted to make last-minute unhealthy choices.

STEP 3—The Maintenance Phase, Day 19 and beyond

In Step 3, you’ll settle into your new healthy lifestyle for good. Keep eating a wide variety of minimally processed whole plant foods. You can now enjoy very small amounts of healthy, plant-based fats (like avocadoes, coconut, extra virgin olive oil). If you choose to include animal products, use them as condiments (flavoring) rather than the center of your meals. Collect an assortment of 15-18 new healthy recipes that are your new go-to favorites—at least three for breakfast, five to nine for lunch, and seven for dinner (if you choose to eat dinner). Use these as part of your usual Recipe Rotation when time is short. Be on the lookout for new recipes so it doesn’t become boring. There are many new experiences for your palate.

Beside the dietary changes, there are other habits that are important parts of a therapeutic lifestyle—three of those are sleep, exercise, and fasting.


Experts tell us we should all be getting seven to nine hours of sleep every night, but most of us don’t. Sleep deprivation can increase appetite and carbohydrate cravings, weaken the immune system, and cause headaches and even depression. Turn off all blue light screens at least 60 minutes before bedtime and develop a regular nighttime routine to help you get your best rest. Interestingly, making a habit of journalling 3 things you’re grateful for before bedtime helps you sleep better! (Click here to learn more about the EPFW Journal)


If you haven’t yet incorporated it into your daily routine, make a date with exercise. Put it on your calendar as you would any other appointment and stick to it. Thirty minutes of moderate cardio exercise (ex: walking, jogging, swimming) most days, and 2 days per week of muscle-strengthening is recommended. Begin gradually and find a buddy to do it with you. Be sure to consult your doctor if you haven’t been exercising regularly.

Learn more about all the benefits of exercise in my book. (Click Here)


Fasting refers to a state the body reaches when the energy it needs to function is being pulled from storage and not from food sources coming in. It takes 8-12 hours after the last meal for the body to switch over to this fasting state. That’s why the first meal of the day, after we’ve been sleeping, is called “breakfast”- literally the meal that breaks our fast. It should be the biggest. There are many health benefits of fasting— weight loss and increased longevity are two of them. Most would benefit from eating only two meals a day, like my wife and I have done for years. This is why I recommend one of three options for The Plan:

  1. Make evening meal the lightest of the day—vegetable soup, salad, or fruit.
  2. Limit the evening meal to only whole fruit.
  3. No evening meal at all- drink unsweetened herbal tea, water.


Now that you’ve been given an overview of the 18-Day QuickStart Plan, you’ll want to learn all the details— supporting science, step-by-step instructions, how-to tips and tricks, plus other important information and answers to your questions. My books, Eat Plants Feel Whole, and the companion Participant’s Manual are designed to help you succeed on your journey to health and wholeness.

If at any point you fall back into some of your old, unhealthy habits, don’t get discouraged. Simply start over and move forward one step at a time. Don’t give up! The choices you make every day are cumulative and will impact your health for the rest of your life. Choose health and happiness over disease.

Here’s to your success!

Based on over 30 years of clinical experience and a deep understanding of both medicine and nutrition, Dr. George Guthrie has written an outstanding book on the multiple and varied health benefits of plant-based nutrition. If individuals follow his authoritative and user-friendly plans for improved nutrition, millions of lives could be saved. I highly recommend this book.

James M. Rippe, Md

Founder and Director, Rippe Lifestyle Institute, Author of Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease for Dummies