8 Weeks to Optimum Health

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2007-08-28
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
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Now expanded and updatedthe #1New York Timesbestselling book in which one of America's most brilliant doctors shares his famous program for improving and protecting your health Eight Weeks to Optimum Healthlays out Dr. Andrew Weil's famous week-by-week, step-by-step plan that will keep your body's natural healing system in peak working order. It covers diet, exercise, lifestyle, stress, and environmentall aspects of daily living that affect health and well-being. This revised edition includes the most up-to-date findings on such vital subjects as cholesterol, antioxidants, trans fats, toxic residues in the food supply, soy products, and vitamins and supplements, together with a greatly enhanced source list of information and supplies. Inside you will learn how to develop eating habits for greater health and well-being start an effective exercise program based on walking and stretching work with breathing patterns to decrease stress and improve energy solve sleeping problems eliminate toxins from your diet minimize environmental hazards in your daily life Plusprograms tailored to the specific needs of pregnant women, senior citizens, overweight people, and those at risk for cancer. "If there is a heaven, sixtysomething Weil is headed there, but if he practices what he preaches, probably not for some time yet." London Times "Dr. Andrew Weil is an extraordinary phenomenon." The Washington Post

Author Biography

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.

From the Hardcover edition.

Table of Contents

The Capacity to Change
People Can Changep. 3
An Overview of Health and Healingp. 16
A Healing Story: Defying a Prognosisp. 25
The Whole Picturep. 27
A Healing Story: The Spiritual Roots of Healthp. 32
A Healing Story: Better Breathingp. 35
Why Eight Weeks?p. 37
The eight-week program
Week Onep. 47
A Healing Story: The Value of Supplementsp. 66
Week Twop. 67
A Healing Story: Seeing Better with Carrotsp. 87
Week Threep. 88
A Healing Story: Effects of Breathing Exercisesp. 106
Week Fourp. 107
A Healing Story: Giving the Liver a Chancep. 121
Week Fivep. 123
A Healing Story: The Power of Gingerp. 138
Week Sixp. 140
A Healing Story: A Testimonial to Ashwagandha (and Ayurveda)p. 158
Week Sevenp. 161
A Healing Story: The Power of Intimacyp. 175
Week Eightp. 177
A Healing Story: A Couple Follows the Programp. 187
A Healing Story: Mind over Back Painp. 189
A Healing Story: Report from Michiganp. 191
A Healing Story: K.G.'s Adventurep. 193
Week Nine and Beyondp. 196
A Healing Story: Selected Elements of the Programp. 198
A Healing Story: Report from a Barberp. 199
A Healing Story: A Patient with Multiple Sclerosisp. 201
A Healing Story: Peripheral Neuropathyp. 203
The Customized Plans
For Those Over Age Fiftyp. 207
For Those Over Age Seventyp. 211
For Those Under Age Twentyp. 216
For Menp. 220
For Womenp. 224
For Pregnant Women (and Those Considering Pregnancy)p. 229
For Parents of Young Childrenp. 233
For Those Living in Big Citiesp. 241
For Those Who Travel Frequentlyp. 244
For Those Who Are Overweightp. 249
For Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Diseasep. 255
For Those at Risk for Cancerp. 261
Acknowledgmentsp. 267
Finding Information and Suppliesp. 169
Notesp. 281
Indexp. 293
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.


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 corn soup 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.

From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpted from 8 Weeks to Optimum Health: A Proven Program for Taking Full Advantage of Your Body's Natural Healing Power by Andrew Weil
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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