Dr. Andrew Weil is well-known for a being a maverick of medicine. And now, he is at the forefront of a restaurant revolution that seeks to combine nutritious food and fine dining.
Andrew Weil shares the benefits of “true food”Andrew Weil is well-known physician and a maverick of medicine. Now, he is at the forefront of a restaurant revolution that seeks to combine nutritious food and fine dining.
The Harvard educated doctor’s bestselling books have introduced many to the philosophy of “integrative medicine,” a combination of conventional and alternative medicine that was first popularized by Dr. Weil, and has since become somewhat of a phenomenon in the world of health.
A healthy diet is a central aspect of integrative medicine, and according to Dr. Weil, the mainstream American diet, made up of processed and manufactured foods, causes chronic inflammation in the body that can lead to a multitude of diseases.
“Containing inappropriate inflammation seems to be the best overall strategy for maximum longevity and health,” said Dr. Weil. “There are a lot of influences on inflammation: genetics, stress, exposure to environmental toxins – but diet has a huge influence. And I think there’s no question that the mainstream diet in North America favors inflammation and gives us the wrong kind of fats, the wrong kinds of carbohydrates, and not enough of the protective elements that are found mostly in fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices.”
So Weil created the anti-inflammatory diet, a reimagined food pyramid which recommends focusing meals on fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, oily fish, and healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil and nuts.
When Dr. Weil met restaurateur Sam Fox, the concept for a healthy fine dining restaurant was born. Fox was skeptical at first, but after a home-cooked meal by Dr. Weil, he was convinced that healthy food could be delicious.
In October of 2008, the first True Food Kitchen opened in Phoenix, Arizona. The menu is based on the anti-inflammatory diet and draws inspiration from Mediterranean, Asian and Californian cuisine. The enormous success of the Phoenix location prompted Fox and Dr. Weil to expand the concept nationally.
Even though Fox had been in the restaurant business a long time, he told Dr. Weil he had never seen anything like the reaction to True Food Kitchen: “He’d never had people from all over the country begging him to open one of these,” Dr. Weil said. “He’d never had a restaurant where people would come in and eat dinner four and five times a week, the same people. So I think we’ve hit on a really good concept that people like.”
On this week’s episode of Full Frame, Mike Walter met with the holistic health guru at a recently opened location of True Food Kitchen near Washington, D.C., to discuss the benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet – and to get a taste of Dr. Weil’s cooking.
Follow Andrew Weil on Twitter: @DrWeil