Eating well for optimum health

The Essential Guide to Bringing Health and Pleasure Back to Eating
By Andrew Weil

His Principles of Eating Well

When he use the words eating well, he means using food not only to influence health and well-being but to satisfy the senses, providing pleasure and comfort.

In addition to supplying the basic needs of the body for calories and nutrients, an optimum diet should also reduce risks of disease and fortify the body’s defenses and intrinsic mechanisms of healing. Andrew Weil believes that how we eat is an important determinant of how we feel and how we age.  He also believes that food can function as medicine to influence a variety of common ailments.

The American Council on Science and Health, recently suggested ten resolutions for a healthy new year. The council included obvious ones, such as don’t smoke, wear seat belts, and install smoke detectors, but addressed diet in only one paragraph:

Eat a balanced and varied diet. Avoid obesity and fad diets. There are no magical guidelines for good nutrition.  Patients should resolve to plan their diet around the watchwords “variety, moderation, and balance.”

Eat a balanced diet? What is that? as a doctor, he meets people who think that adding a salad with creamy dressing to a cheeseburger and French fries balances the meal.

Avoid obesity?Sure, that sounds like a good idea, but how do you do it? There are no “good” or “bad” foods? He thinks it is a ridiculous statement. What about soybeans? They contain healthy fiber, a fat that may help lower cholesterol, and unusual compounds called isoflavones that may offer significant protection against common forms of cancer. Soybeans seem like a good food to him.

What about margarine? For years he has been telling his patients to avoid it because it contains trans-fat, unnatural fats that promote inflammation, heart disease, and cancer.  He believes (and I do too) that it is a very bad food, even in moderation.

He believes also that people eat way too much, and they should reduce their portions drastically.

According to Andrew Weil, people are getting poor advice about diet and health from most:

  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Nutritionists

Other sources such as alternative practitioners, bookstores, personal trainers, health food stores, the Internet, for example, there is no shortage of information about nutritional influences on health. In fact, there is much too much of it out there,  most of it contradictory, unscientific, and intended to promote particular foods, diets, or dietary supplements.

While scanning nutrition-related sites on the Internet, for example, he came across glowing recommendations for products made from “super blue-green algae,” microorganisms from a lake in Oregon. he was told that:

Super Blue Green Algae gives us nutrients and energy at almost no cost to the body’s reserves. This algae is 97% assimilable, and many of the nutrients are in forms that are directly usable. For example, the algae’s 60% protein content is of a type called glycoproteins, as opposed to the lipoproteins found in vegetables and meat. As a result, the body doesn’t have to spend its valuable resources converting lipoproteins into glycoproteins as it does with other foods. Super Blue Green Algae contains almost every vitamin and mineral needed by the body … [and] is one of the richest sources of chlorophyll — a cell regenerator and blood purifier.
Should I rush to order this costly “superfood”? Can it be that all my life my body has been wasting its valuable resources converting lipoproteins to glycoproteins when it could have been getting just what it wanted from pond scum? As for chlorophyll, while it performs a vital function in the life of green plants, it has no role that he knows of in human nutrition.

At the other extreme are voices telling us it doesn’t matter. “Eat healthy, exercise, die anyway.” “Just eat a balanced diet.” “My uncle Jake ate big helpings of bacon, eggs, steak, and butter every day of his life and lived to be ninety-nine.” “There are no good and bad foods.” “People who say you can affect your health and treat disease by changing your diet are food faddists.” “It’s all in your genes, anyway. “

To know more about it, order this book on line.

As a personaltrainer and nutrition consultant, I truly advise you to read this book.  Remember also to work out.

For more information, please feel free to contact me.  I work in Palm Beach, West palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens area.

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