A Visit to My Kitchen: Dr. Andrew Weil

Dr. Weil is in my kitchen today, talking about all reasons why he’s organic, his simple-yet-can’t-live-without kitchen staple, and the current news issue on his mind.

Andrew Weil, MD, is a world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, a healing-oriented approach to health care that encompasses body, mind, and spirit. He’s the editorial director of DrWeil.com, a leading Web resource for healthy living. He authors the popular Self Healing special publications, and is the director of integrative health and healing at Miraval Life in Balance Resort in Tucson. As a columnist for Prevention magazine and a frequent guest on Larry King Live, Oprah, and the Today Show, Dr. Weil provides valuable information and insight into how to incorporate conventional and complementary medicine practices in one’s life to optimize the body’s natural healing power.

Why is living organic important to you?

This topic is probably worth a book, but I’ll give you the four main reasons why I think organic food and organic gardening and farming are best for human and planetary health.

No pesticides: We know that conventionally grown foods consistently contain residues of pesticides that may be harmful. Some 865 pesticide active ingredients are now registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and thousands of products containing them singly or in combination are used in conventional farming to kill insects and other agricultural pests. Many of these chemicals have been implicated in human and animal cancers, nervous system disorders, and other serious diseases.

More antioxidants: Organically grown fruits and vegetables appear to have higher antioxidant levels than conventionally grown foods. Data released in 2005 by the Organic Consumers Association showed that, on average, the organic crops studied contained about one-third higher antioxidant content than comparable conventional produce. It also noted that levels of specific vitamins, flavonoids, and other health-protective compounds in organic foods were two or three times those found in matched samples of conventional foods.

Better for the earth: Raising crops organically produces the same yields as does conventional farming, but uses 30 percent less energy, less water, and no toxic chemicals. Organic farming also conserves more water in the soil, causes less erosion, maintains soil quality, and conserves more biological resources than conventional farming.

Efficient: Contrary to arguments that only conventional farming methods can meet the world’s need for food, a series of studies has shown that organic farming is just as productive, if not more so.  These investigations suggest that organic methods produce as much wheat and alfalfa as and 90 percent of the amount of corn, soybeans, and winter wheat yielded by conventional methods, and organic farming methods build up soil instead of depleting it.

To which I would add, in my experience, organic food simply tastes better! Making a commitment to buy, or better yet, grow your own organic food is one of the best resolutions you can make in pursuing a healthy lifestyle.

What was your favorite food growing up?

I never liked traditional American breakfasts. Even growing up as a kid I wanted things other than eggs and waffles, but being raised in Philly in the ’50s I followed a typical dietary course, and I remember being particularly fond of hoagies in my youth.

What’s your go-to comfort food now?

Dark chocolate, definitely. Also very good, organic thin-crust pizza.

What’s the one thing in your kitchen you just couldn’t live without?

Extra virgin olive oil. It’s my main dietary fat and an indispensable part of my cooking.

What magazine, website, book, album, or product are you most obsessed with right now?

I’m not really wired with the kind of intense focus required for acute obsession, but I have always had a strong interest in the storytelling and cultural aspects of movies. Lately, I’ve been spending a little free time each day on the Internet Movie Database (imbd.com). I also frequent Amazon.com for most of my purchases—everything from books to clothing to specialty foods. (I have no financial interest or connection with either site.)

What’s the most important news story today that you think we all need to pay more attention to?

Medical marijuana just passed in Arizona, and I think people nationwide should pay attention to Will Humble’s decisions about doing things right and not repeating the mistakes made in other states.

Where do you get your news?

Good question, as I practice (and recommend) long periods of “news breaks” as part of a healthy lifestyle. I’m still connected, though. In addition to a network of close friends and professional colleagues who send a friendly heads up about relevant topics, I also tune in to NPR and use Google News.

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11 Responses to A Visit to My Kitchen: Dr. Andrew Weil

  1. maria (farm country kitchen) says:

    Hi Andrew! Thanks for stopping by my kitchen! I still have fond memories of visiting with you in Arizona. and I remember exactly what you cooked for dinner: salmon, green beans with a bit o’ garlic and salad. Yum! BUT…HOAGIES?!!!??? Hoagies have a soft spot in my heart too. I will have to do a whole blog post on how to make an organic “healthy” hoagie because they are totally yum! If you ever come to my house I’ll make you one. XO, Maria

  2. Tracey says:

    Thanks for letting us into your kitchen! I love Dr. Weil and always love to hear how he practices what he preaches…

  3. Donna in Delaware says:

    Love Dr. Weil’s website, especially the recipes.

  4. anna walker says:

    we love dr weill and maria! what a combination! thanks for all the tips

  5. anna walker says:

    we love Dr Weill and we love Maria! what a combo! thanks for the tips

  6. renie veltman says:

    Love Dr. Weil as well. He had done so much for us. His interest in preventive medicine or I like “preventive lifestyle”. I am acquainted with your programs as well and appreciate your input into these issues.
    Thanks for posting.

  7. Kathi Robinson says:

    My family physician is actually a student of Dr. Weil’s.

    She did an internship with him I understand to get her certification. So it is kind of interesting to hear him talk because so much of what she and I talk about comes through in his conversation here.

    So I guess to some degree, my current health and my beliefs about the unnecessary toxic environment we daily have to put up with is part of her understanding of his teachings.

    So I guess I do owe you a thank you for my attempts to maintain a safer and healthier living environment for me and my own family.

  8. Maria Toste says:

    I love Dr. Weil. I have been a fan of “preventive medicine” sense I started reading Dr Weil’s book’s.
    I owe you and thank you for my healthier way of living.

    Maria and Dr. Weil what a great combo!!

  9. Greg says:

    great article – you two should do a cookbook!! Please.

  10. Mike Lieberman says:

    Have recently been turned on to Dr. Weil by my girlfriend, so glad to see him stop by your kitchen and get to know him better.

  11. Noushin says:

    I read Dr. Weil’s book, Eight Weeks to Optimum Health and it really changed my outlook on food and the importance of organic farming. My children have also learned about the importance of organic food.
    Three years ago, I opened Heavenly Tea Leaves, a company that specializes in organic loose leaf teas. I believe that every bit of organic food helps our health and the environment.

    Noushin

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