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Eating Well for Optimum Health

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  1,030 ratings  ·  77 reviews
Hopefully, years from now, Eating Well for Optimum Health: The Essential Guide to Bringing Health and Pleasure Back to Eating 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, ...more
Paperback, 307 pages
Published March 6th 2001 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2000)
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It’s hard to overstate how useful and illuminating I found this book. I’ve muddled through life thus far, eating reasonably healthily by using some fairly obvious guiding principles (fruit and veg = good; chips = bad), but I never really understood nutrition. (To quote Mean Girls: “Is butter a carb?”)

Despite my fuzziness on how various foods are categorized, I didn’t expect Eating Well for Optimum Health to be such a revelation. But it really, really was! Andrew Weil really cuts through the nois
T.J. Beitelman
I have learned firsthand how the body changes depending on what it’s given for fuel. One December more than a decade ago, after a twelve-hour drive from Virginia to Alabama, and a steady diet of French fries and cheeseburgers and sodas along the way, I pulled off the highway and into one of Tuscaloosa’s sundry strip malls to buy a book at a mega-bookstore. (Books are -- this may go without saying -- a salve for me.)

I ended up buying two: the very first Harry Potter book and this one.

I can’t re
This is one of the best books I have read on nutrition. Weil discusses each of the macronutrients essential to life: carbohydrates, fats, protiens and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytocmenicals). He does so in layman's language to make the relationship between the food we eat (good and bad) and its effect on our bodies understandable. He spends equal time discussing what is good (and essential) for our bodies and what is harmful. He is not didactic and he often concludes a find ...more
meh. I keep thinking food books will add content to my several years of health-food-store-worker thinking, and being wrong. This would probably be great for someone who didn't have the daily experience of forcible education at the hands of macrobiotics and ayurvedic eaters and raw foodists.

He makes some good recommendations (no meat, less dairy, eat flax seeds and nuts) and some bad ones (cook your pasta very al dente for a lower glycemic index?) and overall this is probably great for someone wi
Andrea James
This comes across as a level-headed and sensible book. The author explains the nutritional of food in layman's terms even though he goes into greater depth than the standard self-help book.

He brought to attention a couple of things that I will look into further, such as high protein diets causing a loss of minerals, especially calcium, from our bodies. And the possible misconception that eating lots of protein, animal protein especially, builds strong bones and bodies. The author gives the exam
Elisa Becze
This was one of the more "real" healthy eating books I've read lately, and by that I mean that nothing was overly sensationalized and he didn't try using any major scare tactics to encourage you to change your diet. I liked how the overall recommendations didn't go to any extremes either - he didn't push you to stop eating carbs, or stop eating meat, for example. Rather, he promoted sensible use of the Mediterranean diet and overall moving to eating more plant-based foods and using fewer foods w ...more
Chris Gager
Picked up at the transfer station. I may have read some of this before but I need to read more. My diet is mediocre at best. Actually, at best it's better than that. I just don't hang out there regularly enough.
I just started this morning and didn't get very far. Wasn't this guy an LSD user years ago? I'm thinking this book might be padded with a lot of non-essential stuff. Like recipes. If you're a reasonably "normal" grown-up and can't prepare you're own food you need to go back to go and sta
May 05, 2009 Tessa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Tessa by: Mom
Shelves: health
Mom gave me this book years ago. It sat on the shelf throughout college & subsequent moves until I finally picked it up one day and started reading it. I was raised on a very healthy diet compared to many families I knew growing up. Mom rarely allowed us to eat fast food, and most of what she prepared for us was high in vegetable content and rarely was processed. I overlooked the wisdom of this for years after I left home. But here was her reminder, in book form.

I can't say that I eat as wel
I’ve currently taken a stab at being mostly vegetarian (I eat fish occasionally) and to aid in that process I’ve decided to brush up on my nutrition by reading three books: this one, Eat to Live, and Vegan for Life.

Weil presents an excellent summary of basic nutrition, clearly explaining the topics of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats without sacrificing scientific detail. I thought this insistence on cleaving to the biochemical facts was wonderful—it’s complicated material and you need to expl
Jul 03, 2010 Jen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: foodies who like science; anyone who wants to know why and how in addition to what
Shelves: non-fiction, food-lit
If you're someone who wants to understand why we should eat a certain way, you'll like that Weil provides fairly involved scientific explanations for his nutritional advice (for a book aimed at a lay audience). There's a lot of detail in this book, and a lot of interesting facts to mull over.

On the other hand, I wish Weil had addressed some of the more hotly contested nutritional issues - how much protein should we eat? is dairy good for us? what's the deal with raw milk? - in more depth. The pa
Jan 23, 2010 Ryan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: humans who eat food
Fantastic book by Dr. Weil! Both practical advice and the medical info behind it. It's not the most well-written book ever (the sceincy chapters seem longer than they need to do a lack of white space and section beraks...and some runon paragraphs), but the content was useful and healthy. I liked the doctor's style because he makes no outlandish promises. If you want to be healthy, you have to eath healthy, there's no special pill or short cut to get there. His number one piece of recurring advic ...more
I really enjoyed this book which focuses on a healthy diet and way of life. I like that it dispells the myths about many well known diets (i.e Atkins diet). Weil talks about how food should be enjoyed and that it is a social event that brings people together. Yet, he talks about how certain foods are more healthy to eat, rather than insisting that we should deprive ourselves of certain foods. I read this book because I have become increasingly interested in the rise of cancer in the United State ...more
What an awesome guy and he explains stuff so well that we can understand it. He has terrific knowledge and impact on nutrition, exercise and how to make it work.

Recommend all the books of his I've read. Good reading.
Jun 29, 2014 Larry marked it as to-read
I registered a book at!
This book really broke down the different nutrients for the reader. While we learned all of that in high school health (and equine nutrition!), this was easy to understand in terms of what specifically can happen to you. It also gave some solutions for certain health problems. Yes, much of it is common sense, but the book takes that a step farther with regard to what to do to fix problems. I liked a lot of the ideas and think some of them will be easy to implement. I actually use part of Dr. Wei ...more
Elizabeth Black
I felt Dr. Weil spent too much time going into the mechanics and chemistry behind nutrition. I think that some people might enjoy that kind of information, but for me, I was just wanting some simple tips on how I can improve my daily diet. While digging through all of that, though, I did find some nuggets of wisdom, such as: food can be both pleasurable and nutritious (Gasp! Who knew?) and food can also be spiritual, which I had never thought of before. I'd recommend this book for people who are ...more
This book sat on my nightstand for a long time, and when I finally started reading it, I skimmed-read it in one evening. Even though this book was written over a decade ago, it seemed like Weil was ahead of current food trends, discussing both organic foods and the paleo lifestyle. The review of what a "good" diet consists of wasn't really new to me at this point in my clean-eating awareness, but I appreciated the breakdown of macro and micro nutrients and how the body uses them. I'll also try s ...more
Kurt Schlanker
Good nutritional and dietary advice.
a lot of his food advice is affordable and ancient (mediterranean inspired choices). i do not diet, and i love food and i incorporate some of his recommendations into my lifestyle. a source of ideas for healthier choices, but kind of a leap for some. anyone who says well prepared kale is a great menu staple is riding the extreme, as far as I am concerned.

and honestly, i can't see americans buying into his sardine sandwiches are so healthy and low fat thing any time soon.
Sheila Derr
A friend from work recently gave me a copy of this book after a long discussion of two other books both of us had read. Andrew Weil, M.D. is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, is Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Arizona and director of the Program in Integrative Medicine at that institution. He focuses on the body's capacity to heal itself & the informed choices we need to make through eating and living that will enable the body to do that.
I think this is the second most important book I have read on food and health. I bought this book about 10 years ago and just got around to reading it. The information has held the test of time well. Barbara Kingsolver's book, Animal Vegetable, Miracle, was the first book on food that really revolutionized the way I was feeding my family - I rate this book a close second - only because it is more scientific and technical in nature.
This book is excellent - I am going to read everything he has written! (I'm well on my way - I can't seem to get enough) I really like his perspecitve on Integrative Medicine. Also, he touched on many subjects like guided image thereapy and deep breathing that I want to investigate further. I feel like every time I read one of his books, I'm inspired to do more reading in many different directions!
Denise Messenger
Andrew Weil has some case studies of people who have done well on his recommendations for changing their diets. He outlines in the book everything we need to know about fats, protein, carbs, minerals and vitamins and the importance they play in our health. He has recipes (lots of them) with nutritional breakdowns. A book we all should have on our shelves and in the kitchen.
The science can be a bit daunting at first but don't get stuck. Skip what makes your eyes cross and absorb the good stuff that Dr. Weil has to offer. It's wonderful to know more about how your body runs and what you can do to help it along (and what you're doing to make its job harder). In the end, he offers simple steps that you can incorporate into your life.
A decent read about food and nutrition, though at times filled with too many details about the chemistry of molecules that isn't really relevant to the average person. I also think the author pushes some vitamin supplements a little too hard, especially as some of them have been proven to have negative side-effects not known at the time of publication.
A great overview of biochemistry and an essential read for anyone interested in diet plans, whether it's low carb, high protein, low fat, etc. This book explains the different types of carbs, proteins, fats, and nutrients and details how your body uses them. I wasn't crazy about the few recipes that were included, but the book was great.
Sherry (sethurner)
Dr. Weil has lots to say about how poorly most American eat, but he also has a wealth of suggestions how how to eat better. Most of it involves getting fresh, not processed foods. It might be quite expensive to eat exclusively as he suggests, but illness is expensive too. This is a good book to keep and read and take to heart.
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This book by Dr. Andrew Weil is a very sensible and well-balanced guide to good health. It has a comprehensive guide to essential nutrients, contains many recipes, and even has a short bonus article on Breatharianism in the back. Dr. Weil also shows why the neither the low-fat or the low-carb diets are best for health.
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Andrew Thomas Weil, MD, is the founder and program director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. He is the author of many bestselling books, including Spontaneous Healing, 8 Weeks to Optimum Health, and others.

Learn More:
More about Andrew Weil...
Spontaneous Healing Spontaneous Happiness 8 Weeks to Optimum Health Healthy Aging Natural Health, Natural Medicine

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