8 Weeks to Optimum Health: A Proven Program for Taking Full Advantage of Your Body's Natural Healing Power Paperback – Aug 28 2007
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“If there is a heaven, sixtysomething Weil is headed there, but if he practices what he preaches, probably not for some time yet.”
– London Times
“Dr. Andrew Weil is an extraordinary phenomenon.”
–The Washington Post
About the Author
Andrew Weil, M.D., has worked for the National Institute of Mental Health and for fifteen years was a Research Associate in Ethnopharmacology at the Harvard Botanical Museum. He has traveled extensively throughout the world collecting information about the medicinal properties of plants, altered states of consciousness, and healing. He has written for the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Nature, The New England Journal of Medicine and other national publications. He is under constant demand to lecture and appear on radio and television. He is currently Associate Director of the Division of Social Perspectives in Medicine, and Director of the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he practices natural and preventive medicine. Eight Weeks to Optimum Health is his seventh book.
From the Hardcover edition.
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In it he provides an eight- week health plan for optimum health. Each week he gives his recommendations for changing one's self. Diet, exercise, breathing, overall mental and spiritual attitude are the fundamental subjects he deals with.. He provides case - histories which recount the cures of those who took his 'medicine'
Weil recommends a number of changes in Diet which most nutritionists would accept wholeheartedly. He recommends a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, fibre, and fish - derived Omega- three..
Where Weil is controversial is in his wholehearted recommended of various alternative medicines and vitamin supplements. I do not know whether or not he is right in his claims for Gingkao Bilbao,, Milk Thistle( LIver illness) ,Saw Palmetto ( prostate ) but his use of anecdotal rather than statistical evidence is less than wholly convincing.
I found most interesting his emphasis on ' breathing techniques' as basis for improved health. And I will perhaps make efforts at exploring it.
He has special sections for those fifty years old, and for those seventy years old.
On the whole I have a sense that he is sane, balanced and by and large correct in most of his recommendations.
But I think caution is required in undertaking many of the supplements he recommends. Perhaps it is best to read this book, and take whatever practical messages one derives from it, to one 's own personal physician for evaluation.
After going through this book, I stopped paying attention to my diet and just wanted to see what habits would remain. I think about 1/3 of what I learned in Weil's book I still practiced after about a year. I bought the second edition as a reinvestment into the program. It is essentially the same as the first edition, but with updated information (vitamins and such) and also new recipes. I think there are enough changes to warrant purchasing it.
It doesn't say "don't eat carbs" or "don't eat fat". Instead, it says "eat broccoli", "eat salmon", and "eat soy protein". It doesn't say "do 50 pushups", it says "spend a few minutes walking" and "spend a few minutes observing your breath". It offers a few suggestions that are unconventional ("ignore the news for a few days"), but very helpful. It starts very simple and slow, and it adds a few small steps every week. So it's a very manageable way to build some good habits, particularly if you are starting from the absolute beginning.
I don't know how much science there is behind certain things, especially some of the supplements. Do I really need to eat ginger root every week? I don't eat it regularly now, but it was easy enough to try it once. Dr. Weil uses a lot of anecdotal "evidence" to make his points, but that's OK. It's an easy plan to implement, and if something doesn't work for you, there's nothing saying you have to do it forever. Try it once, and then choose what works for you and what doesn't.
I did lose a substantial amount of weight during my eight weeks, even though this book isn't necessarily intended as a weight loss plan. Whether you are trying to lose weight or not, you will build some very good habits, and you will feel better about yourself right off the bat. If nothing else, it will make you think about how you eat, how you exercise, and how you medicate. I don't view this as a plan to cure disease or even to lose weight, but rather as a foundation for a better everyday lifestyle.
This is a great launching pad to healthier living, especially if you have no idea where to start.
As a former biochemist and physiology teaching fellow, I can understand the reasoning behind many of Dr. Weil's supplement recommendations. However, it is important to proceed with caution especially in the area of herbal medicine. Some of these compounds do have a powerful effect and they don't mix well with other medications and sometimes each other.
A lot of this material is recycled, but it is updated. It worth having the updates, but if you have read the first version, you will see a lot of material that is familiar.
This is a very encouraging, easy to follow, common sense approach to making permanent changes in your life. It covers every realm of fitness from physical to mental and even spiritual. The breathing section is also good and I have seen these techniques work in using biofeedback with my clients and myself. They really do produce profound physiological effects.