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Dr. Weil Loses His Way

November 20, 2012

Dr. Andrew Weil’s latest book tour stopped in San Francisco  last week. He’s on the road to promote his latest literary effort, a cookbook  – True Food – based on recipes he cooks at home and are served in his emerging restaurant chain.

Dr. Weil and a fan at his recent lecture and book signing event in San Francisco.

As part of his Weil Lifestyle campaign the book purports to establish a new healthy lifestyle and healthier recipes while rebutting the myth that ‘health food’ has to be  bland or worse.

Dr. Weil was interviewed at Herbst Theater by fellow cookbook author Molly Katzen who spent an hour fawning of the integrative health guru while leaving it to the audience to ask  controversial questions. Dr. Weil’s book offers recipes based on his own food pyramid which, while different from the hated FDA guide, leaves out very few foods that have led to the United States obesity epidemic.

In fact , Dr. Weil probably is a pretty good representative of the US population since he clearly doesn’t skimp on any meals. A doctor approaching obesity levels may not be the best spokesman for a healthy lifestyle.

Dr. Weil said he was also scouting sites for a new restaurant – one featuring good healthfood similar to the locations in Los Angeles, San Diego and Phoenix. The fact that the Bay Area has been a leader in the trend Dr. Weil promotes doesn’t seem to rate a mention even though places such as Cafe Gratitude, Planet Organic or Gather are way ahead of the good doctor.

Dr. Weil was asked about supplements and admitted that, aside from a daily multi-vitamin, most folks can get all the nutrition they need from a healthy diet. This does seem to question the range of supplements marketed and sold by Dr. Weil on his own website.

Dr. Weil also took a minute to chastise the assembled group for the failure of Proposition 37 the GMO labeling question of the November ballot. “How you could let that fail?” has asked.

No one rose to answer, but I would note there were several folks in the room who had worked very hard to get the proposal on the ballot and promote it’s passage. No doubt a few of them were a bit insulted that someone from  Arizona, who did nothing to oppose the $50 million ad campaign put on by the Monsanto and Dow, would criticize their efforts.

Dr. Weil clearly does not oppose GMO food, preferring to wait for more evidence before branding it unhealthy. Of course, some folks would rather that it get proven healthy before allowing it in the food chain.

I’m afraid Dr. Weil has lost his way by promoting a food pyramid that would do little to improve the health of most Americans, selling suplements that he admits are mostly unnecessary and declining to oppose foods that have been shown to be unhealthy.

I’m sure it will do little to hurt his image or  his income.

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Orange and Blue Wine

November 11, 2010

Filed under: observations,Uncategorized,Wine — Tags: , — admin @ 4:02 pm

Spent part of last weekend touring two wineries in Napa Valley with a bunch of other Bucknell University Alums.

Ed Farmer, a BU grad from 1969 showed us around the Kendall Jackson Oakville winery where they process grapes for a number of KJ’s  brands. This is the Napa headquarters for the brand and Ed oversees 5 different vineyards and as well as the press/processing

Tasting from the barrel at Kendall Jackson

operations. Well-known brands such as Freemark Abbey and Alisos Hills get their start here.

Ed, who holds a degree in civil engineering, keeps a watchful eye on all 30,000 barrels. It was great fun to taste barrel samples of a number of wines, although it was more like sampling lemonade in some cases.

It was also the last day of crush and they were hand-sorting some of the fruit that goes into their 0/bottle Cardinale brand. We didn’t get any samples of that, but there was some excellent cabernet, viognier, and merlot.

On the other end of the wine making scale was Reverie Winery on Diamond Mountain in Calistoga – owned and operated by Norm Kiken and his new bride.

Norm Kiken of Reverie Winery

Complete with wine cave and Redwood picnic area, Reverie makes about 3000 cases of highly respected wine, including a Roussanne which is not seen that often in California.

Norm is a 1968 graduate of Bucknell, but admits that he learned by the seat of his pants – moving from investment banking when he accidentally discovered he had a palate.

Norm’s wines have drawn high praise from critics and consumers alike and if you ever seen any if your local wine shop by a bottle or two and have a toast to one of Bucknell’s finest. And by all means try his special blend named for his son, Andrew Scott Kikken – that would be the A.S. Kiken brand.

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