Review of "The Healthy Kitchen"

By Andrew Weil and Rosie Daley
Random House, 2002
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Jun 8th 2002
The Healthy Kitchen

            Eating well is important for both physical and emotional health.  Not only does it directly enable the healthy functioning of body and mind, but enjoying the preparation and eating of food can significantly enhance the quality of one’s life.  Andrew Weil has been one of the main exponents of healthy eating, and his book Eating Well for Optimum Health was a long-running bestseller.

This 3-hour audiobook is an abridged version of his new book, The Healthy Kitchen, written with Rosie Daley, “Oprah’s cook.”  Weil and Daley (but mostly Weil) explain how to choose healthy food and how best to prepare it.  Those familiar with Weil’s earlier books, his PBS TV specials, or indeed, anyone who has read the health sections of newspapers will be familiar with most of the ideas.  Some of it is now common sense – avoid saturated fats, fried foods, carcinogenic toxins, too much salt, red meat, and processed foods with many additives.  Eat plenty of fresh vegetables, and make sure you wash the pesticides off them as much as possible.  Other information is more specialized – it’s better to eat organic strawberries because regular strawberries are saturated in toxins from pesticides; you should eat foods such as certain fish in order to get omega 3 fatty acids, which are needed for physical and emotional health; mushrooms are an excellent source of protein. 

Some of Weil’s suggestions may not appeal widely – he recommends eating tofu (he recommends the baked variety for those who think they do not like tofu) and nut milk.  Neither Weil nor Daley is strictly vegetarian – Weil eats fish, and Daley also eats chicken.  Indeed, their recommendations are never total prohibitions, and they believe that enjoyable food preparation and good tasting meals are extremely important for both physical health and the emotional enjoyment of eating.  Weil explains that both cheese and chocolate can be good for you if they are good quality and are eaten in moderation.  He also pours scorn on fads such as the “no carbohydrate” diet, and he sympathizes with the public who are confused by the oft-changing opinions of dieticians.  He also is ready to agree that the processed health foods and supplements that some people go for are neither appetizing nor even healthy much of the time.  (Who would want to eat carob instead of chocolate?)

Weil is a very impressive speaker on health and diet, and the book discusses many of the main kinds of food, what to look for when buying it and how to prepare it.  There are some recipes in here, and they sound interesting – I never thought of putting miso into hummus before – but the audiobook is mainly useful for giving one a general idea about eating healthily.  Weil’s enthusiasm is infectious, and so even those who are already familiar with the guidelines he provides may find this useful as aide to get back into healthy habits. 



© 2002 Christian Perring. First Serial Rights.

Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is editor of Metapsychology Online Review. His main research is on philosophical issues in psychiatry. He is especially interested in exploring how philosophers can play a greater role in public life, and he is keen to help foster communication between philosophers, mental health professionals, and the general public.


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