Review: Eat, Drink, and be Healthy

Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy is a book that I have wanted to read for almost 2 years. I could not get anyone to buy it for me, so I stole it off my Mom when I was there a couple of months ago. I finally got a chance to read it and could not put it down. I think I read it in 4 days. Just my kind of book.

Book coverHowever, it is not an easy reading book. It was also not quite what I expected. I was 175 pages into the book before I realized that he was never going to get to the material I was looking for. My expectation was that he would give a list of “eat this” and “don’t eat that.” Instead, he spent the entire book laying out guidelines of what to eat and why. But in general categories, and not specific items. Of course there are many specifics given, but more importantly, he wanted you to understand why you should make the food choices you make. And for that, I loved the material.

He explains how your body processes different types of fats. How your body responds to proteins and carbohydrates. He also talked at great length about different vitamins and what they do for you.

In a nutshell, he advocates a diet high in whole nuts and grains, lots of veggies and fruits along with good fats that our body needs. All of this is coupled with exercise and weight control. I got the feeling that if Dr. Willett could get you to do one thing, it would be to exercise. Though the book was all about food and how it affects your body, he strongly emphasized that the foundation was exercise.

If you have ever listened to Dr. Monte’s podcast, Fitness Rocks, you are familiar with the teachings of Dr. Willett

One third of the 350 page book is dedicated to recipes.

Surprisingly, he did not beat up every other diet program. He said what was basically good about most programs and how they could be altered to be better. There were a few, however, that he recommended the reader avoid. Mostly, though, he gave some suggestions on how to make the program you like, and seems to work for you, just a little bit better.

I found the book very informative. I also found it a bit too technical for most people. Not that most people could not understand it, but I think most people won’t care to try. He enjoys dissecting different medical studies and explaining what the mind numbing numbers mean. While I personally enjoy that type of material, I doubt the book has mass appeal. It would be nice for someone to write a follow up book telling people how to put into practice the principles of Willett’s book. He does have the recipes in back, but I think there needs to be an explanation along with the recipes that are more simplistic in what the purpose of the food combinations are. As the book is now, you have to have read the whole book and understood its concepts to understand why the recipes are designed the way they are.

Now I have to figure out a way to ship this book back to Mom without her noticing it is missing.

Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy, Walter C. Willett, M.D., Free Press, New York, 2001, 348 pages.

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