by Andrew Weil Sounds True, 2003 Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Oct 3rd 2003
In The Beginner's Guide to
Healthy Eating, Andrew Weil spells out the essentials to his approach to
nutrition and the optimum diet in 70 minutes. This is one of the most
accessible presentations of his ideas that he has set out in many other works.
The book contains a wealth of useful information. He addresses the role of
carbohydrates, fat and protein in the healthy diet. Naturally, he warns
against the dangers of processed food and recommends food as it comes from
nature. He explains that when selecting carbohydrates, it is best to choose
foods with a lower glycemic index, that converts more slowly into blood sugar.
Beans, berries and whole grains have a low glycemic index, while flour (white
or brown) has a high glycemic index. Weil also recommends undercooking pasta
so it is al dente: this keeps its glycemic index down. Repeated spikes in
one's one blood sugar can lead to adult type-II diabetes, obesity and high
blood pressure, and so this is a great recommendation for those who are
concerned with weight issues. When it comes to fats, Weil emphasizes that all
fats are bad -- it is best to reduce saturated fats and most polyunsaturated
fats and have only monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, canola oil or
grape-seed oil. But it is also good to have omega-3 fatty acids, which help to
protect people from cancer and heart disease, such as from fish, walnuts or
flax seeds. He recommends keeping oils in the refrigerator. High quality dark
chocolate is good if it contains cocoa butter, which is mono-unsaturated. Weil
presents all his ideas with great clarity, explaining the science behind them,
and always with an awareness of the practical limitations of eating healthily.
He emphasizes that eating should be a pleasurable experience and food
preparation should not be a chore, so he proposes ways to keep cooking simple
and food full of taste. As various healthy food fads persist, Weil remains a
trustworthy figure among the array of self-appointed experts on nutrition.
This audiobook is an excellent resource for those looking for straightforward
information about eating well.
Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanties
Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island.
He is also editor of Metapsychology Online Review. His main
research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.