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8 Weeks to Optimum Health

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From the best-selling author of SPONTANEOUS HEALING, a brilliantly conceived, safe and effective eight-week programme for improving and maintaining health. Dr Weil first explains, then shows how, week by week, gradual changes can lead to long-term benefits such as greater vitality, weight loss and a body which heals itself. Incorporating alternative medicines and treatments, he provides specific and detailed information on diet (with 50 recipes), exercise, stress reduction techniques, and vitamins and supplements. He also customizes programmes for a dozen categories, such as pregnant women, people at risk of cancer, overweight people, and senior citizens. Building on the breakthrough thinking of SPONTANEOUS HEALING, Dr Weil provides an invaluable means to maintain health and lessen the need for medical intervention.

322 pages, Paperback

First published March 4, 1997

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About the author

Andrew Weil

206 books586 followers
Andrew Weil, M.D., is a world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, a healing oriented approach to health care that encompasses body, mind, and spirit. He is the author of many scientific and popular articles and of 14 books: The Natural Mind, The Marriage of the Sun and Moon From Chocolate to Morphine (with Winifred Rosen) Health and Healing, Natural Health, Natural Medicine; and the international bestsellers, Spontaneous Healing and 8 Weeks to Optimum Health, Eating Well for Optimum Health: The Essential Guide to Food, Diet, and Nutrition The Healthy Kitchen: Recipes for a Better Body, Life, and Spirit (with Rosie Daley) Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Well-Being; and Why Our Health Matters: A Vision of Medicine That Can Transform Our Future (issued in paperback with new content as You Can’t Afford to Get Sick).

Combining a Harvard education and a lifetime of practicing natural and preventive medicine, Dr. Weil is Director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, where he also holds the Lovell-Jones Endowed Chair in Integrative Rheumatology and is Clinical Professor of Medicine and Professor of Public Health. The Center is the leading effort in the world to develop a comprehensive curriculum in integrative medicine. Graduates serve as directors of integrative medicine programs throughout the United States, and through its Fellowship, the Center is now training doctors and nurse practitioners around the world.

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Profile Image for T.J. Beitelman.
Author 10 books29 followers
December 20, 2011
I have learned firsthand how the body can change drastically depending on what it’s given for fuel, and this book is the primary source of that knowledge/experience. 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 — I think I may have mentioned this — a salve for me.) I ended up buying two: the very first Harry Potter book and Eating Well for Optimum Health. I can’t remember precisely why I chose to pick the book up in the first place, but it must have had something to do with the queasy feeling in my stomach, the concomitant throbbing headache I had been nursing since northeast Georgia. I just didn’t feel right and I blamed it (not erroneously) on the food I’d eaten that day.

After sitting on the floor of the aisle where it was shelved and reading the first chapter, I bought the book and immediately forswore processed food. The next day I began shopping the fringes of the supermarket — the outer rim being where the less processed foods, like fish and vegetables, are kept. I started making weekly forays to the whole foods store for things like whole grain breads, soy waffles, and almond butter. (This was before these things started creeping into the larger supermarket chains, before “Wholefoods” was an actual brand.)

I started exercising too. Swimming. Jogging. Lifting weights. It sounds kind of obtuse to say it now, but I didn’t expect the appearance of my body to change noticeably — I didn’t really think about that one way or another, which is strange because I’m pretty vain. I have to say that, eventually, my main focus with the change in my eating and exercise habits was my emotional health. I’ve always been a moody person, capable of pretty intense emotion one way or another. Mostly I’m fine with that, but at the time my personal life was really in flux and so my emotions were that much more intense. I chose to subscribe to the theory that eating well and exercising would help my mood level out over time. I would be calmer, less anxious and/or sad, more able to cope with the stresses of my so-called adult life in the Western world.

Looking back, I’m pretty sure I had already read Walt Stoll’s Saving Yourself from the Disease Care Crisis, but for some reason I hadn’t had the gumption yet to take him up on his ideas. They’re ostensibly the same ones in Weil’s book, but Stoll didn’t really present a systematized approach. Weil does. There was also something about the rhetoric and packaging, I must admit. Stoll was a truth-telling crackpot, a la that locust-eating loony, John the Baptist. But something about Weil — maybe (let’s be honest) that I’d seen him on Larry King? — made him seem less a far-out/cranky voice in the wilderness and more a mainstream Nazarene.

At any rate, I don’t remember how much my moods changed for the better. I’d like to think they did. I’d like to think I at least understood them a little bit better, but I know they still fluctuated. I’m not sure moods are supposed to do anything else, actually. Mine aren’t, anyway.

Another thing happened, though: I lost twenty-five pounds in about three months. It was twenty-five pounds I didn’t really think I had to lose, but I did feel better. I slept better. I was stronger. There was a spring in my step. Etc. I felt like I was managing my life better by managing what I put into my body. I have tried to use this metaphor to better understand all kinds of consumption: TV, relationships, work. What you put into your body, mind, life can consume you. What you eat can also eat you. It doesn’t have to, but it will if you’re not careful.

Something else was instructive. People around me reacted with great interest to my body’s transformation. Some were impressed, but I have to say a great many of them seemed uncomfortable with it. Even (or especially) the ones who were most impressed. I was bombarded with questions about my eating habits. Do you eat this? Would you eat that? I eat this — I know you don’t eat that! You eat chocolate! How does that fit into your diet? How much do you exercise? People would ask me whether I could eat what they were serving, or if I could go to a certain restaurant. While there was certainly a level of courtesy they were trying to extend, it often felt strange to me — or maybe it made me feel strange, weird, Other. Instead of leaving me to manage my own eating, my eating became a topic of public discussion, maybe even when I wasn’t there, to the point where I consciously decided to go back to eating more like I had before.

There were other factors in that decision, to be sure: I was kind of worried that I had lost so much weight so quickly, without even trying. I also worried that I was starting to feel guilty if I ate a not-so-unhealthy chicken gyro from my favorite “fast food” Mediterranean restaurant. But mainly I just wanted to shut people up about what I ate. It took a long time — people would watch me eat a cheeseburger and fries one day, and the next, they’d wonder if barbecue fit into “my diet.” Over the course of a couple of years, I went back to my original weight, and maybe even added a few pounds to it.

Only a routine physical exam that showed I had high cholesterol scared me back into eating “cleaner” again. As before, there was the precipitous weight loss. As before, there was the hubbub around me, my waist size, what I would or wouldn’t eat, whether or not I was sick. This time I tuned it out, focusing instead on the cautionary tale of my father’s massive heart attack at age 54. In the whole process, I learned that food is not just food. It is psychological, interpersonal, communal, metaphorical, spiritual, and probably a bunch of other things that either A) I’m forgetting or B) I don’t yet know. What we eat and who we eat it with (and when and where and why, for that matter) is as complicated as it is vitally important to who we are.
70 reviews178 followers
November 4, 2009
الكتاب يعرض نصائحه الصحية في 8 أسابيع.
تجد أنه في بداية كل أسبوع(فصل) ينصح بإجراءات و طرق عملية متدرجة للوصول إلى الصحة المثالية .. ثم يعلق عليها تعليقا يشرح فيه أسباب اختياره لهذه الطرق و كيفية تنفيذها بشكل تفصيلي.
الكتاب يتميز بأنه يعرض فكر جديد -بالنسبة لي- فيما يخص الصحة المثالية. فهو يهتم بالجانب الغذائي و الرياضي (كأغلب الأطباء) بالإضافة إلى الجانب النفسي و الأغرب من هذا أنه يهتم كذلك بالجانب الروحاني. فالإنسان جسد و عقل و روح .. لهذا وجب الاهتمام بجميع جوانب الإنسان.
أضاف إلي الكتاب كثير من المعلومات الصحية , و كذلك أكد لي بعض المعلومات الصحية التي تتداول بين عامة الناس. و لكن الغريب أنه كان ينصح بالمقويات و الفيتامينات على شكل كبسولات .. لهذا ردت أن أتأكد من هذا بسؤال بعض المهتمين بالجوانب الطبية و الصحية.
عموما هو ينصح:
1. الاهتمام بغذائك:إضافة الفواكه و الخضروات إلى وجبات طعامك, و إنتقاء الأكلات التي تناسب جسمك.
2.الاهتمام المكملات الغذائية: و إنتقاء ما يناسب وضعك الصحي و البدني.
3.الاهتمام بالتمارين الرياضية: عموما المشي و أهميته و التدرج في التمرن.
4.الاهتمام بالروحانيات و الجانب النفسي: و هو يدخل في ذلك التنفس بشكل صحيح و مستمر, و الذهاب للأماكن التي تعطيك الراحة النفسية و الإحساس بالسعادة, و إيجاد علاقات حميمة.
أنصح بقراءة الأسبوع الثامن أولا .. لتعرف ملخصا عن ما سيقوله لك في الأسابيع الماضية .. إذا أعجبك بعض الكلام .. اشرع في قراءة الكتاب.
و لاتنسى أن التحدي الأكبر الذي سيواجهك هو تطبيق ما تعلمت .. و أنا بإذن الله سأبدأ بالاهتمام بصحتي بشكل يضمن لي حياة سعيدة طول عمري.

خالد الجابري
Profile Image for Samantha.
107 reviews19 followers
June 19, 2009
When it comes to personal health and wellness, I'm a supporter of integrating both Western and Eastern medicine into my lifestyle. Dr. Andrew Weil, a Harvard Medical trained physician, and advocate of alternative medicine is a good combination of the two (and forgive my saying this, not too crunchy birkenstock, which is often my worry with seeking alternate remedies for my health issues).

In this (not quite diet/ mostly lifestyle) manual for health, Dr. Weil explores the adoption of healthy habits into everyday living, including walking, drinking water, and the addition of vegetables, etc. into a balanced diet.

The book is broken down into different sections in a step by step approach, although is easily readable and adopted in less than eight weeks, although, I think for most people, slowly adopting habits is the way to make them stick.

Most of the stuff in this book I already knew, but Dr. Weil frames the issue in an informative and inspirational way. I'd recommend this to most people I know, just to take another look at how they are living, and what they can do to achieve optimum health.
Profile Image for Donna.
3,901 reviews19 followers
December 31, 2016
If you want a book to give you a diet and exercise plan, this in not that book. The author is in to whole foods, natural healing and supplements. He takes a holistic approach to being healthy. I liked the way he presented the information. It was laid out well. I listened to the audio and didn't care for the narrator. I think if the author had narrated his own book, I would have responded to this better in the very beginning. I hate to admit that so much of my mind is made up within the first 20 minutes.

Overall, I liked the idea of natural healing. I wish this had a place and was a normal part of the medical community where I live, but it's not. So, 3 stars. It would have been 4 if I had liked the narrator.
29 reviews3 followers
March 16, 2009
Mostly stuff I knew already. Didn't actually do the whole 8 weeks thing (yet) but prefer to understand the recommendations as they fit into life already. I'm learning that I know most of what I need to know and that I do a fair amount of what I should already (while knowing what I need to do more of ...I'm looking at you, exercise shoes...).
Profile Image for Ingrid.
69 reviews
June 26, 2017
Most of the advice in this book is standard stuff, eat whole and fresh foods, get enough sleep, find outlets to reduce stress, etc. A few of my favorites included avoiding news for one or more days per week, focus on walking as exercise, and taking naps. Dr. Weil has good suggestions for new habits to incorporate into life.
Profile Image for #AskMissPatience.
161 reviews20 followers
March 28, 2021
Upon discovering 8 Weeks to Optimal Health, by Dr. Andrew Weil when it was released my world changed into a healthier path.

Prior, did my best to eat well and live what I knew as a healthy life. This book opened my eyes to nutrition and lifestyle in a new way. From understanding what the food industry did to manipulate what is considered food to lifestyle choices to help me feel well, fresh, and happy most of the time.

Since the first book, an updated version was released of which the book cover here is of that version.
I reviewed the original every few years. And, now the updated version.
I've finished the eight-week review in the coordination of enjoying a fitness goal with Vshred.

I noticed a few food changes over the last ten years that I now realize meant missing nutrients. When the original was published it was very difficult to find many products like bread without enriched bleached flour.

Now, every store has organic bread options and the flour of old is reserved for those who don't read the packaging and remain unaware of the nutrient differences. Which are substantial over time. The difference between pharma taking over life or no meds and well-being soaring as we age.

I've watched people I love suffer and die prematurely in part due to lifestyle including crappy nutrition. Not my fate to be certain.
Even though a complete nutritional overhaul is at times cost-prohibitive for the newbie. Over time, one item at a time with amazing health you begin to recognize pharma costs way more and so do those medical bills to deal with what ails you.

I'll be 56 in a few weeks and other than a few forming lines in my face dare say I'm about as strong as I was in my 20’s. Just smarter about how I use this.

My bloodwork is ideal and if something shows up that is a change immediately evaluate what could be the cause and make adjustments.

I've healed a .18 hypo or low thyroid in my early forties in less then two months with verification over four months to regained my sight from glasses to 20/20 and no glasses.

Now though using hand held devices and shifting nutrition plus some major stress outside my control contributed to eye wear again, but since have minimized the need for them under daily circumstances for most activities. And, am working in further improvement to potentially no need for eyewear once again.

Although, truth be told, dig the specks as an author. They make me look like a librarian or scholar, so don’t mind them at all :).

This book and lifestyle is a guide. Supplemental ideas come from other areas. This book is what can be a beginning of a regular practice. Why I revisit the suggestions periodically over my lifetime.

This round was super easy as I’d already successfully use the encouragement and have incorporated much of the recommends on a regular basis prior to this reread. This round it was easier to shop and order for things over twenty years ago were no where to be found. Now, included in my subscribe and save on Amazon to show up at my door.

Aldi with all its many organic products sells frozen organic broccoli so yummy. Why frozen over fresh? If you research quality of nutrients will learn fresh lose its vitality in shipping and quickly. Frozen is done so shortly after cultivation trapping the nutrients to the original for preservation.

Plus, with a little practice the frozen can be prepared to be as delicious as fresh in most circumstances. From pasta dishes to roasted for dinner. With practice any home chef can master the process of creating delicious in season style meals anytime of year with frozen and canned products. By canned I mean farm style in jars or BPA free cans with beans to other products similar to what farmers do for their own families.

As a NYC girl who grew to live on a farm eventually learned the way of the indigenous :) plus, live in a community for of veggy and fruit gardens around the city to feed neighbors of any background and especially the financially challenged.

Everything from food to mindful moments this book inspires a sense of personal responsibility and in some cases healing from the throws of pharma and early suffering from what could turn into early death, like for my father and aunt, but not before suffering many years of poor health that finally took their lives too soon mentally and physically.

The past about news fasting never was an needed as it is today, in 2021. Although, we are seeing more happening compared to 2015-early 2021, this is something to keep in mind when crap hits the news fan. Whether a war to weather or bombardment of so many murders of people of any color or mass shootings.

The world will still be on the news when you are back from a news fast of a day or more.

Plus, news today is very different. Rather then an 30 minutes evening news or a morning program with a mix of global to national and human interest stories, there’s 24 hour commentaries that don’t quit on cable designed to indoctrinate and subjugate listeners. This is literally destroying the fabric of our discourse and harming mental well being.

Regardless of the side your on or beliefs, if common ground can’t be found like the days of Charles Kuralt (too young to know him, Google) then you may be addicted and need to ween for your own well being.

The stress of news into the brain is substantial. Altering the ability to find peace and sooth stress levels as evident from the condition of the American landscape and beyond, in my opinion.
This book may be your proscription for a new path to well being.

Many products can be ordered online or found in local retailers depending on where you live. Begin with a single try of one thing if it’s all you can afford. Many free things we can do. Do those.

By the end of 8 weeks I’m sure you’ll see a whole new sense of self and well being.

I’d say, start over at the end of 8 weeks. It’ll be easier to navigate from experience. Try adding something else to the lifestyle shift on the second read. And, so on.
For me, it’s become annual or every few years. After the loss of my spouse to YOPD side effects I’d forgotten for a few years. This review has really been an awakening and realization of how embedded wellness is and how there’s always room to improve.

What this all means until I die? A well lived life with virtually zero pharma and a lot of really tasty meals.
One thing I’m doing beginning this year after three years of preparation. As I trim back a pollinator garden for appearances I’m giving the flowers to the neighbors around me.
This idea excited me so much I’m surrendering a small veggy fruit garden to pollinator to have even more flowers to give away to more neighbors.

This book inspired the idea. Plus, now that some of the gardens are established on a property I’d purchased a few years ago can begin trimming the many variety of wild flowers to groom the gardens for better production and happy bees and butterflies while loving on neighbors around me building friendships and a happier neighborhood.

Nutrition and lifestyle are not a one size fits all. Depending on your income to where you live will present challenges. Along with personal stresses from PTSD to anxiety depending on who you are.

This book and others can guide toward a healing restorative process toward living ones best happiest life.

Empowering happiness through literacy of knowledge to understand for wisdom insight for choices is key.

To they own self be true as the saying goes.

Two other reads, Brain Maker, by David Perlmutter and This is Your Brain on Food, by Uma Naidoo.

Any book that backs up benefits with research or minimally expertise and hypothesis based on experience is a worthy exploration to creating a personalized plan.

What I know about Western Medicine is one size doesn't fit all and to these doctors feeding pharma and more pharma before prescribing nutritional solutions that frankly were a part of the hypocritical oath before the take over of industrialized lobbied for medicines.

Capitalism with limits is a good thing. The food pyramid taught to our children in schools driven by the dairy, meat, and sugar industries... Vicious cycle.

I'm never surprised when people I know are on multiple meds, overweight, and constantly complaining of health issues when learning of options to pursue elect not.

Watching people I love die from poor nutrition and lifestyle has me use to the probability this will continue to occur with friends and more family.

As I step into my platform, release books, blogs, video content knew it would be very important to pursue stewardship of myself. Not only because it's part of my faith belief system, but to be an empowering representative for followers and those people who become fan friends.

My hope is as I live an aesthetically healthy life including sharing what's been or is a struggle this may help save and or improve life or maybe thousands.

Life has enough difficulties along the way. We can make things a little easier and more manageable with quality self-care.

I often hear, ”that's kinda expensive.” Do what's free. Pick the thing you need more and make a way to afford the one thing. Shift spending from fast food to buying fast home cooking. Like, a roasted store chicken over Chick-file’. Read this in This is Your Brain on Food, but already do and teach this.

It's my hope we all find happiness a little more often and less stress on a daily level through personal responsibility and being first in our lives. Self-care is the same as loving others. Because not only does this set an example from others, but it'll keep those doctor co-pays and drug bills down.

Funny how we send people to prison for drugs but not Pharmaceutical companies.

Just because it's legal doesn't make it right for human beings. How ’bout them opioids, huh.

This will always be a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💯 and to this effect, the recommendations are never outdated. Just some of the suggestions. Like in the update, a CD player was mentioned. Now, we have streaming music.

These recommendations are based on human history's ability to live happily nutritionally and personally.

Curious how nutrition became the guiding force to wellness? Fun short article with an overview of facts originating from the Greek lifestyle guru Hippocrates.

Profile Image for Helynne.
Author 3 books44 followers
May 18, 2009
I have long admired Dr. Andrew Weil for his honest, down-to-earth philosophy about staying healthy, strong and flexible into old age. He is a big proponent not only of the of the usual advice -nourishing food, exercise, moderation in all things--but also some spiritual and New Age-style approaches to keeping the health and quality in our aging lives. Some of his advice includes: enjoy flowers, art, parks, and music, take a 45-minute walk every day, go on a "news fast" once a week (or choose the news you watch and listen to very carefully), fast occasionally on water or juice, take 800 IU of vitamin C dailiy, do yoga and breathing exerices, think about healing, and forgive others. His book includes a lot of healthy recipes, such as muffins made with a fruit juice base instead of oil or butter. As for diet, he recommends lots of fruits and vegetables, especially broccoli and other cooked greens, fish, flax seed, soy foods, whole grains, olive and canola oils, garlic and ginger. He also says to avoid the use of articial sweeteners and products that contain them. If everyone lived by this wonderfully logical and sane advice, we would be a nation of people who virtually would never die. Sadly, we tend to neglect such basic and logical counsel. After all, how are we supposed to give up Diet Pepsi and not turn into blimps? This is why Dr. Weil's books should be read and savored regularly--to keep prodding us all into his simple path to better living.
Incidentally, Dr. Weil also has available "The Heathly Heart Kit," which consists of two CDs, a booklet, and a set of cards with suggestions on exercise, diet, recipes, stress relief, and all sorts of advice for keeping our heart in good shape as we age. I bought one of these for myself and for my brother, and I highly recommend this kit, too.
Profile Image for Za Kia.
32 reviews3 followers
July 11, 2018
كتاب يعلمك كيف تحافط على صحتك ويعطيك برنامج كامل يضم الاكل والمكملات والرياضة وحتى الروحانية
يوجد فيه الكثير معلومات عن التغدية والاعشاب وكيف تأثر على اجسامنا
Profile Image for Kristi.
33 reviews
June 12, 2022
I saw this book at my doctor’s office and decided to read it. Eight weeks to health? Sounds good to me! Applying some of the nutritional and other lifestyle advice from the book along with continued treatments with my doctor, I hope to be back on the path to “optimal health” very soon. Dr. Weil does address the spiritual/mental aspects of health. His advice consists mostly of what I would call “soul” care: enjoying nature, forgiveness, creativity. All good. I will skip the yoga and Buddhist meditative suggestions in the book in favor of Christian practices like corporate worship, Bible reading and Scripture memorization, prayer and journaling.
Profile Image for Mikejencostanzo.
189 reviews40 followers
September 8, 2008
Eight Weeks to Optimum Health presents a really neat summary of health from what I guess you'd call a holistic or natural perspective. It's a perspective I've not had much exposure to, but came to appreciate through reading this book.

Author Dr. Andrew Weil asserts that our bodies were made to be able to heal themselves. Coming from the perspective of believing that humans are created by God, I can really appreciate this acknowledgment. God knew what he was doing when he created our white blood cells, for example. Weil goes on to describe how, in our prime, our bodies are generally able to maintain good health through the ups and downs of your basic colds & illnesses. It's as we age, or encounter injury that we are particularly in need of extra interventions.

In this book, Weil presents elements of a healthy lifestyle that one can adopt to help or encourage the body do what it's naturally supposed to do. Also, Weil presents good, commonsense lifestyle tips that when applied throughout one's life, can help avoid some of those premature breakdowns of health (such as cancer, heart disease & diabetes).

I was intrigued in reading this book by Weil's summary of the place of traditional medicine (drugs, surgical procedures, etc.) in healthcare. Rather than saying that there is no place for this type of medicine in a holistic health plan, he suggests that there are times when the body's natural healing system is simply overwhelmed and needs the intervention of drugs or surgery. I like the way he puts that.

Weil appeals to a very wide audience in writing this book. He manages to describe things like meditation without totally alienating me as a Christian. I definitely read this book with discernment, and did not agree with everything Weil proposed, but did not find myself totally gagging at new-agey mumbo-jumbo at any point.

Here are the take-away points I gleaned from this book that I'd like to apply to some degree. This is not a comprehensive summary of each week's plan, but rather the elements from each week that I think are realistic for applying in my own life right now:

Week One:
-Use mainly (or only) Olive oil
-Use less (or no) artificial sweeteners
-Start eating fish (like salmon, sardines) once weekly
-Start eating brocolli twice weekly
-Start taking vitamins (like C, E, Selenium, Carotenoids, & Coenzyme 10)
-Begin walking daily

Week Two:
-Drink non-chlorinated water
-Start eating soy
-Eat more whole grains
-Try green tea

Week Three:
-Try growing some of your own food
-Keep electric appliances (hairdryers, alarm clocks, microwaves) away from your body & especially your head

Week Four:
-Use garlic in cooking regularly

Week Five:
-Remember, sweating is good for you
-Use ginger in cooking regularly
-Use special breathing exercises

Week Six:
-Eat more cooked greens
-Up fish & soy intake to twice weekly
-Take low-dose aspirin daily

Week Seven:
-Connect with someone from whom you've been estranged
-Become involved in service or ministry

Week Eight:
-Use turmeric in cooking regularly
-Less cheese & animal product intake (meat as a side dish)
-Avoid fruit/veggie pesticides
-Keep some spider plants at home to improve air quality

The idea is to gradually be adopting these lifestyle changes over the course of 8 weeks, so it's not so overwhelming all at once. There were plenty of things I didn't mention (such as getting an expensive water filtration system), so if you are really interested in trying the program, definitely read the book yourself! I haven't been strict about adopting all of these measures, but I am more conscious & deliberate now about healthy eating than I have been in the past.

One more take-away from this book that I really appreciated learning about was the "Relaxing Breath." Breath in through your nose while counting to four. Hold your breath while counting to seven. Breath out through your mouth while counting to eight. Repeat this (maybe up to 10 times). It's amazing how it proves to be instantly relaxing!

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Joanne Annabannabobanna .
37 reviews32 followers
March 4, 2015
4.5 stars. Bias alert: I have loved Dr. Weil since 1999 and everything he says makes perfect sense. I continue to refer to his timeless books as I attempt my daily exercise and diet regimen. That's right. I said timeless.

No trending fads, lame gimmicks or conceited trickery here. Dr. Weil is considered the leading proponent of integrative medicine and he is so Not-Dr.Oz inspirational. He's been combining traditional medical practices with alternative and herbal remedies and writing about them for at least 25 years. As the "guru of alternative medicine" his practical, no-nonsense advice is unparalleled, imo. And there are definite links to Eastern spiritual traditions in Weil's approach that I appreciate: various breathing exercises, with benefits as vital to health as diet and exercise, are discussed and detailed. Exceptional.

A clue as to the kind of human being he is: In an appendix to the companion guide book: "Eating Well for Optimum Health" (2000) the doc includes a brief description of people living today who never eat food but survive on their stored chi. Totally esoteric and fascinating! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8...

Btw: Found the mysterious Qigong, and it rules. If you're unfamiliar and plan to live past the age of fifty-five Weil (and more and more other 'aging experts') highly recommends it.

To a healthy oldness!

Profile Image for Jeremiah.
175 reviews
March 4, 2008
Weil may not be as cutesy as Rachael Ray or as studly as Richard Simmons, but the dude is right on the money for the most part. I've devoured several books by Weil with no indigestion so far, and I've savored every last morsel of his wisdom. Though the "New Age" fluff didn't sit well with me I still found 8 Weeks to be a meal fit for a king: he's realistic, holistic, & correct about what it takes to be what he simply calls "wellness". The program is about a holistic wellness: body, mind, spirit & emotions which is a nice antidote to merely losing weight. The more philosophical/spiritual parts of the book are thin gruel indeed, but I'm not so starving for truth that I'll devour anything without a proper cleaning.
Profile Image for Jostalady.
455 reviews5 followers
June 29, 2010
I appreciate some of the suggestions, such as visiting the sauna twice a week and make gradual life changes in steps to create lasting habits. This book is a nice introduction to healthy choices, but doesn't go into depth like other books. I already had many of the recommendations in place, but it is a quick read and I had never understood the point of saunas before.

I disagree with his controversial recommendation for full vaccination and not only adding fluoride to your diet, but to make sure you begin consuming it in the third term of pregnancy while your fetus is developing teeth...

I am not familiar with all of the supplements he lists, but many were in line with the ones recommended by other books I have read, such as Dr. Amen's series of Changing your brain.
Profile Image for Andrea James.
338 reviews37 followers
December 12, 2013
This is a detailed prescriptive book about what to do to potentially optimise your health. Some of the suggestions feel like they need more investigation. I say this not because the recommendations are necessarily dangerous or wrong (unlikely to be, though I can't say for certain) but more because they require quite a lot of effort especially for people with busy full-time jobs and a non-generous budget. Nevertheless, there are some reasonable sounding suggestions and it is a quick read.
The book has lots of case studies/anecdotal stories and testimonials as opposed to broad studies with large sample groups.
Profile Image for Abi Wallis.
8 reviews
August 2, 2020
I've managed to make a few health changes to my lifestyle, but wouldn't call it optimum health in such a short time. The title of this book promises more than the book delivers.
Profile Image for Shannon Hunsel.
171 reviews
January 17, 2023
Things I liked: I like the format of having a bullet point list of projects at the beginning of every chapter. That is easy to follow. I like inclusion of breathing techniques and other mental suggestions like viewing art, bringing fresh flowers into your home, etc., which is often ignored.

Things I disliked: everything else. The lack of focus on the diet is truly shocking considering that’s probably the number one thing that Americans should change to find the biggest improvement in health. And it’s the hardest thing for most people to change. This book offers one bullet point at the first week that essentially says throw everything away but then there is very little guidance in the remaining weeks on what to do instead. It’s leaves you saying “ok, now what?” Eat fish and tofu and broccoli. That’s the extent of the diet advice. What a huge missed opportunity to baby step people into a more healthful eating pattern. It also recommends vitamins to an extent that you have to wonder if the good doctor has investments in the supplement market. The amount of time spent on supplements is also shocking. Why not advise people to eat foods that contain the vitamins? You’d spend a small fortune on supplements if you followed this book for eight weeks and then have made no sustainable changes for your health. Also, the commentary section contains no references to medical studies. It is truly reading a word vomit of someone’s preferences and then taking them as the Bible because he happens to have an M.D. and some anecdotal stories. There are other complaints, but I’ll leave it there. I think this book is a real miss.
Profile Image for Alison.
164 reviews6 followers
July 3, 2019
If you don't have a sauna or access to fresh, organic produce, you might find this book a bit presumptuous. If you're a health foodie already, you might scoff at the recommendations to buy soy products that imitate meat. But if you're just about anyone else, you will find something in this program that will improve your health. Some of the suggestions feel a bit dated, since the book was originally written in the 90s, but most of it still stands. Readers with insider knowledge about the biochemical processes of the body might find the scientific information a bit simplistic, but I'm not one of them, so it was helpful to me.

Even if you aren't interested in reading this whole book, I recommend the first forty or so pages. Weil makes very compelling distinctions between functional and structural medicine and between healing and treatment. He emphasizes holistic models of wellbeing with all their preventative powers and explore the "invisible" sources of disease that eventually manifest in the physical body. This book is an excellent beginner's guide to practicing (scientifically sound) alternative medicine in one's own life.
Profile Image for Susan.
583 reviews
March 21, 2019
Dr. Weil provides a lot of valuable health advice in this book and he breaks it to you gently in his 8 week program. I chose to do this a little slower, more of a 16 week program and made my own adaptations to suit my needs. Dr. Weil not only encourages this, but gives a lot of modifications for age, gender and other health circumstances. His own words best summarize the flexibility of the program: "I suggest that you look over all of this information to get a sense of how the program can be modified; please understand that it is very flexible in its details. I want you to adhere to the spirit of the program, to its essence, and modify the details so that they work for you without being a burden or making you feel deprived or constrained. Improved health should bring with it a sense of greater freedom, joy, and lightness of being."
284 reviews1 follower
March 7, 2020
I read the New Edition updated in 2006. While most of it, and really most of it, I already knew, I was needing a reminder of simple ways to improve your health. Exercise being the one I avoid most, otherwise we do a lot of what is in the book already. As I age I am beginning to see the need of taking steps to improve my health and this is a very doable program for anyone looking to make simple adjustments over time that add up to a whole lot in a few weeks. By adding small increases each week in exercise time or eating broccoli, there are some significant changes to be made in just 8 weeks. Seems way more easily integrated than some other ideas about healthy living to me and requiring less extreme changes than many systems touted today.
8 reviews1 follower
September 1, 2018
I've read many diet and health books. This one exceeds them all. It focuses on what's most important in life. Your health by providing a sound ramp plan that addresses diet, exercise, supplements, mental health and optional additions for the very enthusiastic. Separate chapters after the core plan cover additional information by gender, age, if you live in a city, are a parent or if you're expecting.
Profile Image for Ankit Dewan.
22 reviews
July 18, 2021
I read it not to follow any regime but for information only. The author does a good job in getting the most complex and least understood stuffs like vitamin supplements, dietary and physical changes very well.

The accounts present in each chapters are also thought provoking. Specially a lady diagnosed with cancer and how she changed her lifestyle, diet and habits to escape from the clutches of death. Other stories are a very good read as well.

All in all a very good book.
Profile Image for Luca Pendu.
16 reviews
December 1, 2017
The advice offered by dr. Weil made a lot of sense to me on the paper, but the changes to be made to one's current lifestyle seem too drastic. Moreover, not a lot of data are provided to support such advice, making me think that, once again, we have to just blindly trust the advice of another "guru".
Profile Image for Akhil Jain.
563 reviews31 followers
May 22, 2018
My fav quotes (not a review):
-Page 20 |
"For a variety of cultural reasons—one being the unthinkability of dissecting a dead body—Chinese medicine also developed without detailed knowledge of the internal structure of the human body. Instead, it concentrated on identifying body functions and clarifying their relationships to one another."

115 reviews2 followers
April 14, 2021
Outdated in some sections, at times conflicting advice. Recommended diet is very supplement-heavy with very little evidence provided that any of these supplements would actually help the underlying issues. I know he’s written other books since then and I’m open to reading them, but this one you can skip.
3 reviews1 follower
February 25, 2019
I loved this book. It offers simple solutions, added in small increments that add up to great benefits overall. I was really impressed by Dr. Weil's insights and knowledge and have implemented nearly all of his suggestions in my every day life.
Profile Image for Dorothy.
235 reviews
January 12, 2020
I read this many years ago and adopted many of his ideas. Picked up the audio version at the library yesterday and listened to it. Still solid lifestyle info. I think I’m gonna go buy some flowers though and visit an old friend. Breathe!!!!!!
Profile Image for Robin Hunt.
Author 1 book14 followers
November 10, 2022
This book was chock-full of ideas and take aways. Something practical for everyone and it was easy to listen to the author share his knowledge.

Lots of wonderful ideas to improve health. I will plan on eating more broccoli, exercising more and adding selenium back into my vitamin routine.
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