8 Weeks to Optimum Health

8 Weeks to Optimum Health

by Andrew Weil

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Listen to the good doctor!

In Eight Weeks to Optimum Health, Dr. Andrew Weil translates the brilliant insights and discoveries he outlined in his acclaimed bestseller, Spontaneous Healing, into a practical plan of action: a week-by-week, step-by-step program for enhancing and protecting present and lifelong health.



Listen to the good doctor!

In Eight Weeks to Optimum Health, Dr. Andrew Weil translates the brilliant insights and discoveries he outlined in his acclaimed bestseller, Spontaneous Healing, into a practical plan of action: a week-by-week, step-by-step program for enhancing and protecting present and lifelong health.

The Eight-Week Program sets up a foundation for healthy living that will keep your body's natural healing system in peak working order. With clearly defined and authoritatively informed recommendations, Dr. Weil explains how to

* Build a lifestyle that protects you from premature illness and disability
* Fine-tune your current eating habits so that your diet is more nutritious
* Walk and stretch in regimens that satisfy weekly exercise requirements
* Safeguard your healing system by adding four antioxidant supplements--vitamin C and E, selenium, and mixed carotenes--to your diet
* Incorporate five basic breathing exercises for greater relaxation and energy
* Benefit from visualization, overcome sleeping problems, and test and filter your water supply
* Make art, music, and the natural world more important parts of your life

PLUS--a dozen tailored programs that address the specific needs of pregnant women, senior citizens, overweight people, and those at risk for cancer.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Weil (Spontaneous Healing), a Harvard-trained physician attuned to alternative healing, delivers a concrete and convincing program in this holistic health guide. In a low-key but earnest tone, supporting his positions with reports of his own experience and those of others who have followed the program, Weil eases people into adopting new, beneficial habits (e.g., better breathing techniques) and the relinquishing of old, unhealthful ones (e.g., drinking coffee) in small steps. Thus, Week One introduces brief walks and some simple dietary changes such as eliminating saturated fats and adding broccoli, salmon and vitamin C. Gradually, the walks grow longer, the antioxidant supplements increase and further dietary changes occur, with green tea being introduced in Week Two, soy products in Week Three and herbal tonics and one-day fasts by Week Eight. To ease the process, a half-dozen or so recipes are included each week. What makes this program unique is Weil's emphasis on avoiding environmental toxins and the attention he pays to the mental and spiritual aspects of health. Whole grains, organic produce and use of sunblocks are essential elements of his approach, as are "news fasts," listening to music, buying flowers and performing service work. Specific guidelines for special cases-pregnant women, children, travelers, the elderly-are included, as are sources for some hard-to-find products, all of which adds to the persuasive authority of Weil's approach. BOMC selection.
Library Journal
Weil (Spontaneous Healing, LJ 5/15/95) has designed an easy, step-by-step program for wellness. The book's audience is the over-40 crowd. Weil's philosophy is that "most bodies come with warranties for eighty years of productive...trouble-free service, if basic requirements for preventive maintenance are followed." This book is meant as a guide to such maintenance. Its strength lies in its design, which uses small, easy steps to achieve big changes. For instance, Weil suggests eating broccoli just twice in Week 1, then builds on this to create a complete change of diet by Week 8. Recipes reinforce the message and make it palatable in every sense. Weil also stresses the importance of the holistic approach and includes a simple mental/spiritual component in each week's program. As a physician, Weil is careful to substantiate every claim, and he debunks some of today's more extreme alternative health theories. He also includes chapters outlining the special needs of seniors, children, and people at risk for cancer or cardiovascular disease. Sure to be a winner; libraries should stock many copies. BOMC selection. -Elizabeth Braaksma, Thunder Bay P.L., Ontario

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
6.57(w) x 9.56(h) x 1.18(d)

Read an Excerpt

From Chapter One:

You have in your hands a tool for changing your life, an Eight-Week Program for improving your health and gaining access to the power of spontaneous healing in your body. I will guide you through this program step by step, explaining the changes I will ask you to make in how you eat, how you exercise, how you breathe, and how you use your mind. I will recommend vitamins, minerals, and herbs you can use to protect your body's healing system, and I will give you ideas about how you can change long-standing patterns of behavior that impair optimal health.

The Eight-Week Program consists of small steps that build on each other until, but the time you complete it, you have laid the foundation for healthy living. You can then decide how much of the program you want to maintain on a permanent basis. I assume that you want to make changes in your life -- otherwise you wouldn't be reading this book. I see my job as pointing you in the right direction. I have no doubt that you can change, because I know from my own experience that people can do so if they really want to.

In moving files recently, I came across a yellowed clipping from The New York Times of August 12, 1971, with the headline: "Meat-Eating 230-Pound Doctor Is Now 175-Pound Vegetarian." The story concerns a twenty-nine-year old physician in rural Virginia who gave up animal foods except for dairy products, with a resultant increase in energy, well-being, and overall health. There is a photograph of the doctor in his kitchen preparing fresh corn. He has a full black beard, is wearing blue jeans and a work shirt, and looks content. Next to the picture is his recipe for a rich cornsoup containing milk and butter, and another recipe for a barley-and-vegetable casserole that calls for a quarter-cup of peanut oil. According to the article, the doctor's interest in consciousness led him to experiment with yoga and meditation, and "since yoga calls for a vegetarian diet, he gave up meat 'in order to really do it right.' He has been a vegetarian ever since, to the amazement of his friends, who remember him as a voracious meat eater and a fat person while at Harvard ... In one year on his new diet he has reduced from 230 to 175 pounds. His recurring colds and allergies have vanished..."

My beard is no longer black, and I have not been able to maintain my weight at 175-pounds. I am still mostly vegetarian (I have eaten fish for the past 10 years), though now I don't make rich soups with milk and butter , use oil in such quantities, or ever cook with peanut oil. I think I am wiser with age and in general feel much happier now than I did when I was twenty-nine.

I will try to accomplish three things in the pages that follow. First, I want to try to share with you my vision of the body's healing system and encourage you to rely on it in all matters concerning your health. Second, I want to convince you of the importance of developing a healthy lifestyle and the possibility of doing so quickly and easily. Third, I want to give you very specific suggestions about those aspects of lifestyle I consider most important to health and healing. I know that I cannot motivate you to undertake the Eight-Week Program -- you must do that yourself -- but since you have read this far, I believe you are already interested in moving forward, and I will assume that you now want to know what moving forward entails and how to do it.

Meet the Author

Andrew Weil, M.D., has worked for the National Institute of Mental Health and for fifteen years was a Research Associate in Ethnopharmacology at the Harvard Botanical Museum. He has traveled extensively throughout the world collecting information about the medicinal properties of plants, altered states of consciousness, and healing. He has written for the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Nature, The New England Journal of Medicine and other national publications. He is under constant demand to lecture and appear on radio and television. He is currently Associate Director of the Division of Social Perspectives in Medicine, and Director of the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he practices natural and preventive medicine. Eight Weeks to Optimum Health is his seventh book.

Brief Biography

Tucson, Arizona
Date of Birth:
June 8, 1942
Place of Birth:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
B.A. in Biology, Harvard University, 1964; M.D., Harvard Medical School, 1968

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