Dr. Andrew Weil's Diet
What Is Dr. Andrew Weil's Diet?
No hocus-pocus here, no quick weight-loss promises from wellness guru Andrew Weil, MD. Weil sums up his diet philosophy in four words: "Eat less, exercise more." Weil urges readers of his several best-sellers, including the latest, Eating Well for Optimum Health, and his popular Web site (www.drweil.com) to look upon eating with a sensibility that is more Eastern than Western.
Naturally he points out that our diet does influence our health in a big way. But he adds this caveat: Diet is only one aspect of our lifestyle, and lifestyle is only one variable in the mix of factors that determines whether we are blessed with well-being or whether we feel out of sorts.
That said, Weil claims that diet can positively impact numerous health concerns, from allergies to body odor, from ear infections to irritable bowel syndrome, from arthritis to sinusitis, as well as make it easy to control our weight. He urges readers not to seek solutions promising quick weight loss (since it will almost certainly come back) but to set realistic goals: say, losing one to two pounds a week, max -- the amount that nutritionists and most medically sponsored weight-loss programs counsel as safe, sane, and reasonable.
The science is straightforward. Weight-loss success can be accomplished, according to Weil, by properly balancing the amount and type of food we eat. The trick then is determining the kinds of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins -- the building blocks of food -- to put on our plate.
What You Can Eat on Dr. Weil's Diet
Weil's approach to diet is somewhat similar to the recently touted Mediterranean Diet, a composite of the cuisines of Spain, southern France, Italy, Greece, and parts of the Middle East. That diet does include red meat, but you can be sure that Weil isn't a fan of meat. His inclination can be sensed in how he lists red meat in the index: flesh foods.
Qualifiers aside, Weil's diet plan breaks down the three food groups this way:
- Carbohydrates. They should account for 50-60% of your calories, and as much of these as possible from unrefined grains and vegetables (higher in complex carbohydrates). These release glucose (sugar) into the bloodstream more slowly, and therefore won't as readily cause rapid spikes after meals. Good carbs include apples, beans, oatmeal, and stone-ground whole-wheat bread, among others. Interestingly, while low-carb diet books insist that white rice is banned, Weil contends that basmati and brown rice are acceptable because, once again, they release glucose at a reasonable rate when eaten with other foods.
- Fats. Up to 30% of calories can come from fats, as long as most of that amount is from monounsaturated oils such as olive oil and foods high in what are known as omega-3 fatty acids: oily fishes (salmon, sardines, mackerel), flax seeds, and some nuts.
- Protein. Protein should be limited to 10-20% of your diet, and vegetable proteins (from beans and soybeans, for example) should be substituted for animal ones as often as possible.