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Eating Well for Optimum Health: The Essential Guide to Bringing Health and Pleasure Back to Eating Paperback – March 6, 2001

4.2 out of 5 stars 177 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (March 6, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060959584
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060959586
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (177 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #221,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover
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.
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By A Customer on July 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover
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).
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Format: Hardcover
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.
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