From a familiar, reputable—if sometimes offbeat—source, a worthwhile discussion of how to formulate a healthy approach to eating. Weil doesn’t look for easy answers, or absolute rules for readers. Instead, he begins by explaining the seven basic propositions of his own nutritional philosophy, beginning with the fact that we have to eat to live (“Or do we? Throughout history there have been unsubstantiated reports of persons who survive without eating”). Second, eating is a major source of pleasure in life, and any nutritional recommendations that don’t acknowledge that fact are doomed to fail. Weil’s take on it is that many so-called healthy eating proponents—nutritionists, dieticians, and diet-book writers—themselves derive no particular pleasure from eating. Weil’s third proposition is that foods which are healthy and those that are pleasurable are not mutually exclusive. His fourth and fifth points suggest that we recognize eating as a social interaction, and that what we eat reflects our personal and cultural identities. Finally, how we eat is also a determinant of health; and improving eating habits is one strategy for being healthy. Weil looks in depth at basic nutritional facts—again, happily, making clear that there is much we don’t know. He examines the world’s worst and best diets, offers help with buying food and eating out, and includes some of his own favorite recipes here.
Entertaining, thoughtful, and educational.