254 of 259 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2000
I usually have to force myself to read nutritional type books, but I found this book to be quite different. The approach taken by the author is a very rational one, and it makes a lot of sense over the course of a lifetime. There are no short term diet or health solutions presented, but rather the focus is on healthy, enjoyable eating as a way of life. The author strongly emphasizes that healthy eating does not need to be a miserable experience; but that it can and should be pleasurable. A wealth of information about food is provided in the book, including the best and worst diets in the world. In several chapters the components of food and nutrition are broken down and explained. There is a section of the book that contains 85 recipes, and another section that answers specific questions about food and nutrition. Much of the information given is scientific in nature, but I found all of the chapters to be very informative and interesting. I greatly appreciated the sense of compassion and humor that Dr. Weil brings to his book. This is a very well written book, and I recommend it to everyone.
170 of 176 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2000
With certainty, compassion and humour Dr.Weil addresses management for the intake of our food - whether eating at home or in restaurants. I've taken the highlighter to it and have the recipes copied on the counter for ready and easy use. They sound delicious enough to eat the menu! The coverage of micronutrients made the book a must have reference for myself and my family.
145 of 150 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2000
Of the many health books I have read, this is undoubtedly one of the best. In addition to providing a wealth of nutritional information, Dr. Weil evaluates various diet plans and exposes the dangers inherent in a number of currently popular ones. He offers medically sound and practical guidelines for healthy and enjoyable eating, stressing that for a diet to be followed successfully over a lifetime it must be a source not only of ample nourishment but also of ample pleasure and that healthful food need involve no compromise in taste. An especially useful feature of the book is the tips it contains for shopping and menu planning as well as for making sensible choices when dining out. Readers will also find Dr. Weil's advice very helpful when consulting cookbooks. For example, following the basic principles set forth in his book, I have discovered a gold mine of great eating in Sonia Uvezian's masterpiece, "Recipes and Remembrances from an Eastern Mediterranean Kitchen," which is filled with easy-to-follow recipes for a myriad of dishes that are both wonderfully healthful and exceptionally delicious.
73 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2000
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Not being a doctor or biochemist, I don't feel competent to comment on whether Dr. Weil's theories and advice are accurate. However, I strongly recommend this book because it is packed with a tremendous amount of information. I have found that I am able to read most popular health, nutrition and fitness books I've picked up from cover to cover in just a couple of hours. Some are practically disposable (maybe literally so, considering the cheap paper used). Eating Well for Optimum Health, however, has taken me a great deal longer, which I think is testament to the sophistication and substances of its content, much the way it takes longer to read 50 pages of Proust than a 300 page who-dunnit. There's a lot one can learn here. And whether Dr. Weil's views are wrong or right, most come with thorough and convincing explanations -- the "whys" of human nutrition, as well as reports of study conclusions. I also found the correlations Dr. Weil draws between different world/ethnic cuisines with the types of illnesses experienced by those populations to be very interesting, if a bit speculative (which Dr. Weil generally acknowledges, to his credit). I doubt I would have found biology and chemistry quite so dreary if I had read something like this to put all the stuff I had to memorize into context. Stylistically, the writing is usually engaging. I am taking off a star, however, because of the recipes. They might be wonderful, but I think actual specific recipes should stay in recipe books, just as I would not care for a book on Beethoven to have a big chunk about how to tune a piano. They have different places, uses, and audiences. Still, recommended without reservation.
95 of 99 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2000
I was fascinated to realize that there are so many MIS-understandings we (collectively speaking) have had-- about nutrition, until now.
In his book, Dr. Weil indicated that table sugar, is not as "bad" as we tend to think, as the results from the Glycemic list show that there are worse things (such as white flour).
FAT is another issue which Dr Weil makes quite clear, as it has its place in our diets, both in terms of taste, as well as the Omega 3's (or 6's).
This book is NOT about "the basics", as it is much more involved. Actually, given the current media "fights" between both diet "extremes" (e.g. Pritikin (no fat) and Atkins (lots of it), THERE ARE NO BASICS, rather an acceptance of various beliefs about what is best for our health.
I am grateful for Dr Weil's book, as it is comforting to know that meat is not always the "ememy", nor are carbohydrates always the enemy either. I think he does an excellent job explaining how the various carbohydrates affect us in different ways.
I have read many, many diet and nutrition books. I appreciate whatever information I gained from them, yet with Dr Weil's book, I feel a greater level of CONFIDENCE in what he has to say, as he goes into the scientific detail (some of which I get, some I don't).
64 of 65 people found the following review helpful
If you are tired of trying to make sense out of all of the conflicting claims about foods, diets, and various diseases, this book is your answer. The author bravely takes on any school of thought about food (including unhealthy ones), and provides a balanced perspective on what is wrong with that approach.
Health is not only about eating. It is also about exercise, sleep, relationships with others, genetics, and environment. But for the part of health that relates to food, this book is the be-all and end-all for now. I say that not because of any weakness the book has, but simply because scientific information about health is expanding so rapidly.
As Dr. Weil points out, the information he shares in this book is often news to medical students and physicians. Food and health are subjects that are poorly connected in our minds at this time.
The book begins with an excellent section on what food means to us. While most health books focus on the disease related issues, Dr. Weil points out that food not only runs our bodies as fuel, but also is a source of pleasure (did you ever think you would hear that from a physician?), a way to create social interaction, a part of health, and a way to address some diseases toward restoring health.
The second section is on the basics of what our bodies need. This is where scientific studies are neatly put together into a consistent description. I was especially impressed with the section on fats. It is very easy to omit getting the right fatty acids in your diet, and I was pleased to see this issue addressed well here.
The third section then looks at the worst diet you could possibly eat (the fast food diet) and explains why the food is so appealing, yet why those french fries could be the death of you (for more reasons than you probably now know about -- beware of reused cooked fats!).
The fourth section goes on to look at the best diet you can eat. Don't worry! It's nothing extreme. In fact, those who are a bit fanatic about their food regimens may be disappointed. I was pleased to find that my regular Saturday lunch of vegetable soup and a half a tuna sandwich are a good idea. There's also no harping on the need to maintain some extremely low weight.
Weight is the next subject, and he looks both at how you should think about what your weight should be and how to get to that weight and stay there. A lot of the material on the satisfaction duration of the food you eat will be new and of interest to you.
The next section was also very helpful to me. It talks about how to buy food and how to decide what to eat and order in restaurants. Since I travel a lot, I always need help with the latter. I got a number of good ideas.
The final section was on recipes that are healthy and quick to make. Many of them sounded very appealing to me, and I was pleased to see that there were more for desserts than for any other part of the meal!
The appendices are very helpful. One summarizes the optimum foods to eat; another looks at how foods can help you deal with various diseases; and another summarizes nutrition information.
Dr Weil can definitely help you have a good time with your food and enjoy a healthy life, too!
66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2000
You have to like reading about nutrition to truly enjoy this book. It has a lot of great information that makes us all understand why none of the current diets work. Dr. Weil's focus is not eating to lose weight, but eating to be healthy. We all need to go back to basics - If you don't understand what is on the label don't buy it. I've read many diet and nutrition books and have tried many diets. There are always too many restrictions that cause fast burnout and weight-gain. After reading this book I just want to eat food that is good for me!
62 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2000
All of the fad diet books out there advocate dangerous, unbalanced diets that do more harm than good. These include the protein diets that have seen so much publicity recently.
Weil's book presents a sensible diet of balance, moderation, and variety, and while he has no selling point to lure weak-willed, gullible dieters to buy his book, what he does have is a clear expertise in the field of nutrition. It is deplorable that other "certified" doctors of nutrition would compromise their morals to sell their fad diets, just for money, while any college biology student can tell you that those diets severely compromise the health of your body.
Buy this book if you want the real facts of nutrition. It's not a pretty truth that there is no EASY way to lose weight and be healthy, and any book that would tell you otherwise would be selling you snake oil. Eating well is a prescription for life.
100 of 106 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2000
I think that this book is best for people who are beginning to explore natural health - a lot of the information was things I already knew, but then I've read most of Weil's work and avidly read many books and magazines on natural health. The fact that doesn't go into enough depth for some of us certainly doesn't prevent it from being an excellent book for most readers, though.
48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2000
This is another top book by Dr. Weil and like his others before, it's highly recommended. In this book e.g. he explains exactly how the metabolism works and herewith helps us understand what type of foods are healthy and why others are harmful. Every reader will get something valuable out of this excellent nutritional guide. Sure, this time Dr. Weil explains scientific stuff, but the book doesn't lack practical advice which everybody can understand and utilize. Regarding the philosophical aspect to mental and spiritual health I highly recommend Dietmar Scherf's "I Love Me: Avoiding and Overcoming Depression."