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Eating Well for Optimum Health

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,238 Ratings  ·  83 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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Community Reviews

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Oct 31, 2011 Nicola rated it really liked it
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
Feb 05, 2012 T.J. Beitelman rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 22, 2011 Craig rated it it was amazing
Shelves: health-nutrition
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
Jul 06, 2008 Reb rated it it was ok
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
Feb 10, 2014 Andrea James rated it really liked it
Shelves: nutrition
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
Jun 14, 2013 Elisa Becze rated it really liked it
Shelves: foodie
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
Jul 30, 2012 Chris Gager rated it really liked it
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 really liked it
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
Dec 14, 2013 Nick rated it really liked it
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 liked it
Recommends it for: foodies who like science; anyone who wants to know why and how in addition to what
Shelves: food-lit, non-fiction
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 16, 2015 Shari rated it it was ok
Bland. There were some good points in the book, but for me, most of it was just review. Not much new or exciting. Geared for a reader with minimal nutritional knowledge, though the book isn't promoted as such.

If you are hunting around for basic info, you may like it, but if you already have a solid understanding of how to eat, you'd probably do better reading Dr. David Perlmutter, who has a more cutting-edge style (for a doc) and a higher level of content.
Jan 23, 2010 Ryan rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 04, 2008 Kimberly rated it really liked it
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
Oct 23, 2015 Tracey rated it it was ok
I picked this book up looking for info on anti-inflammatory diets. I got some of what I wanted, but skimmed large portions of the book that I didn't feel were very relevant to my interests.
Feb 25, 2015 Nigeyb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The extent to which you might find this book useful will largely depend upon how much you already know about nutrition. I take an interest in the subject and was already familiar with most of the information contained in the book. That said, it is well written, thorough, and although published in 2000 still relevant.

The author is particularly good at deconstructing fashionable diets and distilling them down to what is helpful, and less so, with each approach.

As another reviewer pointed out - an
Dec 05, 2014 Carol rated it it was amazing
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.
Joanne Annabannabobanna
Mar 04, 2015 Joanne Annabannabobanna rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
4.5 stars. For the book with the actual 8-week program (published 1997) and my review see:

Jun 29, 2014 Larry marked it as to-read
I registered a book at!
Andrew Klimkowski
Sep 13, 2015 Andrew Klimkowski rated it really liked it
Pretty good. A lot of science in the beginning, but it's good to build that foundation.
Jul 17, 2009 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: educational, personal
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
Apr 25, 2013 Elizabeth Black rated it liked it
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
Aug 11, 2013 Cassandra rated it really liked it
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
May 20, 2014 Kurt Schlanker rated it really liked it
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
Jul 31, 2008 Sheila Derr rated it liked it
Shelves: health
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.
Aug 13, 2015 Linda rated it it was amazing
Great book
Apr 23, 2012 Dayna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it, food, health
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.
Aug 19, 2008 KellyWells rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 04, 2012 Denise Messenger rated it really liked it
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.
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My Health and fitness Thoughts 1 2 Dec 09, 2012 03:04AM  
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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.

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