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Eating Well for Optimum Health: The Essential Guide to Food, Diet, and Nutrition [Deckle Edge] [Hardcover]

Andrew Weil M.D.
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 7 2000
At last, a book about eating (and eating well) for health -- from Dr. Andrew Weil, the brilliantly innovative and greatly respected doctor who has been instrumental in transforming the way Americans think about health.

Now Dr. Weil -- whose nationwide best-sellers Spontaneous Healing and Eight Weeks to Optimum Health have made us aware of the body's capacity to heal itself -- provides us with a program for improving our well-being by making informed choices about how and what we eat.  

He gives us all the basic facts about human nutrition. Here is everything we need to know about fats, protein, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins, and their effects on our health.
He equips us to make decisions about the latest miracle diet or reducing aid.
At the heart of his book, he presents in easy-to-follow detail his recommended OPTIMUM DIET, including complete weekly menus for use both at home and in restaurants.
He provides eighty-five recipes accompanied by a rigorous and reliable nutritional breakdown -- delicious recipes reminding us that we can eat for health without giving up the essential pleasures of eating.

Customized dietary advice is included for dozens of common ailments, among them asthma, allergies, heart disease, migraines, and thyroid problems. Dr. Weil helps us to read labels on all food products and thereby become much wiser consumers. Throughout he makes clear how an optimal diet can both supply the basic needs of the body and fortify the body's defenses and mechanisms of healing. And he always stresses that good food -- and the good feeling it engenders at the table -- is not only a delight but also necessary to our well-being, so that eating for health means enjoyable eating.

In sum, a hugely practical and inspiring book about food, diet, and nutrition that stands to change -- for the better and the healthier -- our most fundamental ideas about eating.

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From Amazon

Hopefully, years from now, Eating Well for Optimum Health will be looked upon as the book that saved the health of millions of Americans and transformed the way we eat--not as the book we overlooked at our own peril. It clarifies the mishmash of conflicting news, research, hype, and hearsay regarding diet, nutrition, and supplementation, and further establishes the judicious Dr. Weil, the director of the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, as a savior of public well-being. If you've ever wondered what "partially hydrogenated soybean oil" really is, been perplexed by contrary news reports about recommended dosages for supplements, or questioned the safety of using aluminum pots for cooking, Dr. Weil will make it all clear.

Weil (pronounced "while") bravely criticizes many of the major diet books on the market, and backs up his admonitions with science. He warns readers to not fall under "the spell" of the anticarbohydrate Atkins Diet, but also criticizes the eating plan advocated by Dr. Dean Ornish--which has been granted Medicare coverage for cardiac patients--as being too low fat for the majority of people. (The omega-3 fatty acids missing from Ornish's diet are essential for hormone production and the control of inflammation, he says.) It's also fascinating to learn that autism, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease may be caused by omega-3 fatty acid deficiencies, while an excess of omega-6 fatty acids--very common in the typical American diet--can exacerbate arthritis symptoms. Weil's explanation of the chemistry of fats will prove difficult for most readers, but few will want to eat fast-food French fries ever again after reading his appalling reasons for avoiding them, which go way beyond their well-documented heart-clogging capabilities.

After a thorough rundown of nutritional basics and a primer of micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals, Weil unveils what he feels is "the best diet in the world," with 85 recipes, such as Salmon Cakes and Oven-Fried Potatoes, that are healthy, tasty, quick to prepare, and complete with nutritional breakdowns. He includes a stirring chapter on safe weight loss (he sympathizes with the overweight and comically recalls his one-week trial of a safflower oil-diet while an undergraduate). Other, equally enlightening sections include tips for eating out and shopping for food (with warnings on various additives and a guide to organics), and a wondrous appendix with dietary recommendations for dozens of health concerns, including allergies, asthma, cancer prevention, mood disorders, and pregnancy. Eating Well is an indispensable consumer reference and one not afraid to lambaste the diet industry and empower the public with information about which the majority of doctors--to the detriment of the public health--are ignorant. --Erica Jorgensen

From Publishers Weekly

Now considered one of holistic medicine's most authoritative voices, Weil (Spontaneous Healing; 8 Weeks to Optimum Health) provides a common-sense approach to healthy eating. While much of this information can be found in other volumes, Weil illuminates the often confusing and conflicting ideas circulating about good nutrition, addressing specific health issues and offering nutritional guidance to help heal and prevent major illnesses. Of particular value is his examination of recent fads, such as low-carbohydrate, vegan and "Asian" diets, with an eye toward debunking the myths about them while highlighting their valuable aspects. Readers will appreciate the brief stories of individuals who have made big changes in their eating habits and solved chronic health problems, as well as recipes for foods that Weil feels will satisfy nutritional needs and the taste buds. Although not the first to link the rise of cancer, heart disease and obesity with the now-prevalent consumption of fast food and processed foods that contain a lot of sugar and few, if any, micronutrients, Weil's articulate plea to reflect on the consequences is convincing. Despite Weil's emphasis on a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, unprocessed foods and much less meat and dairy products than most Americans are used to, readers will notice a profoundly realistic observation of what changes they can readily incorporate into their busy lives. And they will be heartened to learn that they can eat nutritious foods and still get much pleasure from them. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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IN THE COURSE of my work, questions always come up about food and nutrition, diet and health. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This is an excellent book as many other reviewers have noted but please be aware of the following:
1)It is not a "diet" book in the sense of magical ways to lose weight
2)It is not a book on "fitness" nutrition for people who want huge muscles and low body fat.
3)Health in the sense of the absence of disease, the optimum functioning of the organs of the body and a long-life has much more to do with body chemistry, blood pressure, cholersterol levels, the condition of your coronary arteries, the presence or absence of free-radical damage, etc than it does with the amount of lean muscle mass that sits on your frame or whether or not your body looks good in a bathing suit.
I make these points because many people complain the Dr. Weil doesn't look like John Bastow or the author of "Body for Life" so what can he know about "health". Get a clue!! While regular moderate exercize is related to longevity there is NO evidence that "Body for Life" types are healthier the way it really counts just because they have better looking bodies than Dr. Weill. Which do you think is healthier: a lean muscular body combined with high blood pressure, clogged arteries and a colon lined with intestinal polyps? or a body that looks pudgy in a bathing suit but with low BP, low cholesterol, clean arteries and an otherwise clean internal bill of health?
This book is about eating well for health and it is excellent. One of things I like most is that there is nothing "flaky" about it. Weill reviews what we know about nutrition from solid scientific research and is always clear to distinguish that from his own opinion about nutritional matters that may not be fully supported by current research.
Buy it and live longer.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading April 30 2004
This is the first time I have read any of Dr. Weil's books and I found this one full of new and useful information that I took to heart.
Some good points Dr. Weil made were quite interesting For example he mentions that in the 1950's, scientests thought vegtable oils were healthy and they lowered the risk of a heart attack. This turned out to be false but to this day many foods still contain high amounts of this substance leading to more calories in peoples diets and more weight gain.
Another point that Dr. Weil makes is that it is not the toatal amout of fat that we have in our diets but which foods contain more of saturated fats instead.
Then he makes the point that the idea a of a balanced diet is in consistant due to the vast amout of complex foods. Because he says the best way to get good advice for a healthy diet is to ask a professional or read books not from most doctors or nureses. The reason why is that people particulary doctors get this thought is because of the poor or lack of nutritional education in America.

For people who are looking for new ideas on how to diet this book is one of the best options for both finding out which are the best and the worst diets in the world. Also for various recepies with less fats and chemecals.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Eating Well For Optimum Health Review April 27 2004
Eating Well For Optimum Health
Review by: Kehaulani Marciel
Eating well for optimum health is the concern of many Americans in today's society. The book written by author Andrew Weil is an outstanding book for obtaining optimum health. Dr. Weil draws out how exactly our body works and what our body needs to perform at its peak. Throughout the book you will learn how to improve your health, dietary advice for chronic ailments, as well as recipes to help you reach your optimum health.
Proteins, fats, micronutrients, and carbohydrates are all necessities of life. These are the three basics of human nutrition, which help us to obtain a healthy lifestyle. Yet, eating these things in large or uneven amounts can be very unhealthy likewise. It is important that we get proteins, fats, and carbohydrates in our diets because our body uses them and breaks them down and produces glucose, maltose, disaccharide, lactose and many other components that the body needs to maintain optimum health.
Dr. Weil lists the "Worst" and the "Best" diets that have been studied through many people's eating habits. He continues to pinpoint the benefits as well as the downfalls of each diet. He compares the United States to other countries and explains how and why that particular country is so much healthier. We see that here in America, we are constantly eating fast foods and grabbing a quick snack on the way out. In Asian countries, food selection is much different resulting in healthier life styles. When dining out, Americans often load up on bread and dive into oily and fattening dinner platters which offer a beautiful display. If we were to substitute our gourmet dinners for something a bit healthier, America would not be the top country for obesity.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book on nutrition from leading expert. June 11 2003
This is a great book. The author shares how the Western medical profession gets virtually no training in nutrition, and what a huge gap in medical knowledge this represents. By reading this book, you will know far more on nutrition than any doctor who has not made a personal effort to educate himself on this topic. The author states that studying this book is like taking a college level class in biochemistry. And, it is true. Because the material is presented in such a fun anecdotal style, you don't even realize you are learning rather dry technical stuff. He covers all the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate, fats), and micronutrients (vitamins, and minerals) in scientific details. He explains how these interact with each other and our own metabolism to provide the necessary healthy fuel we need.
He goes on describing the worst diet in the World. Some of us may be horrified, as it describes a very average American diet that some of us have to eat (otherwise it would not be the average American diet). This includes plenty of very convenient, tasty, processed foods that have their share of saturated fats, partially hydrogenated oils, and few nutritive calories of any kind. In any case, this is a pretty healthy wake up call for some of us. The author indicates what this diet leads to if maintained over a life time. This includes a far greater incidence of cardiovascular diseases and greater risk of numerous cancers.
The author also covers what are the various diets that could qualify as the best in the World. There is no great surprise there. Such diets are rich in fresh produce (fruits and vegetables), avoid most processed foods, sugar, excessive salt, and saturated fats. They can run from Asian to Mediterranean style(s) with a wide variety in between. So, there are plenty of healthy and delicious ways to eat.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor ideas about exercise, advice is paranoid
Dr. Weil has a lot of odd advice in this book, and questionable ideas. For instance, rather than partaking in proper fitness training, particularly high intensity training which... Read more
Published on June 24 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars Andrew Weil is a big fat............
I'm sorry, but I just cannot take seriously a man this overweight writing on eating for optimum health. I mean, if I follow his guidelines will I be big and fat like he is? Read more
Published on April 28 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars McDougal Redux
I was sucked in on this one. And disappointed. This is largely evangelism; I would imagine that the program rarely fails because it is rarely truly tried. Read more
Published on Feb. 12 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!!
A friend of mine told me to read 2 books this fall...'Eating Well for Optimal Health' and 'The Power of Positive Habits'....WOW!! what a great health combination!! Read more
Published on Nov. 18 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great review from the master
An inspirational and practical guiding resource for persons concerned with their digestive health. Natural remedies are stressed to get the best and the myths about some diet fads... Read more
Published on Sept. 27 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most informative books I have ever read!
I truely believe that if you read this book you will change your lifestyle! Read this book and then read it again! It's definitely a keeper!
Published on July 22 2003 by E. Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome food and healthy too
I am a nurse and have read most of Dr. Weil's books. This cookbook is awesome not only for the increadable food, but for the nutritional summaries he put through out the book. Read more
Published on May 26 2003 by mom of 4
1.0 out of 5 stars A sure way to look like Dr.Weil
Dr.Weil looks like the before picture in a bad diet product ad. He is clinically obese. Follow his advice which recommends eating a low protein, high carb, moderate fat diet and... Read more
Published on May 1 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Information about health and nutrition
Eating well for optimum health by Dr. Andrew Weil is a great book that offers very informative information about health, nutrition, and the food that we eat. Read more
Published on April 25 2003 by Stephen Alsbrooks
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