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March 19th, 2000

Dr. Weil

In some previous Pings and periodically on my web site, I’ve mentioned Dr. Andrew Weil, a doctor that encourages the idea of integrative medicine (a combination of clinical practices with alternative and herbal medicine). In a day and age where people are willing to believe anything to simply be thin, it really makes me happy to see someone like Dr. Weil recognized for his work.

Yesterday Dr. Weil came to the Borders near me to promote his current book, Eating Well for Optimum Health. Before the obligatory book signing, he read a portion of his book (a section titled “The Worst Diet in the World,” where he creates a lineup of food guaranteed to shorten your lifespan and make you feel terrible) and did a 20-minute Q&A session. One of the things he stressed is that losing weight should not be the goal of a diet. Rather, the goal should simply to be healthy. He made an interesting point that weight is generally genetically determined (similar to height) and can’t really be changed too much from what nature determines it should be (except in extreme cases, of course), and unless someone is morbidly obese, it’s not likely that weight alone is going to shorten an individual’s lifespan. A good self-image and healthy habits are the most important thing to remember, no matter what your weight is.

I’m looking forward to reading his book — his web site is extremely easy to read and offers quite a few suggestions on how to eat well (in a healthy manner) while continuing to eat well (ie, foods that don’t taste like crap) as well as general relaxation techniques to reduce stress and information on supplements. It’s funny — three years ago I was just starting to study herbs (basic ones like Ginseng and Ginko Biloba) but I looked at a lot of “herbal extremists” and considered them over-the-edge. Now, I take a few more herbs and vitamins, but I still look at the “herbal extremists” and wonder how they can totally shun traditional medicine. Fortunately, Dr. Weil preaches a good balance of traditional medicine as well as a more holistic approach. He’s someone that pretty much anyone could get something useful from. -ram

Posted in Miscellaneous

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