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 by Andrew Weil, M.D.. . Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.