Margotte Kaczanowska | Psychotherapist | M.A., S.T.S.R.,  RSW, Member of OACCPP

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Worth-While Reading

The Spectrum

By Dean Ornish

Published by Random House Publishing Group

ISBN: 0345496302

Dean Ornish, MD, is known around the world as the pioneer whose research showed that heart disease could be reversed through a strict low-fat, low-sodium vegetarian diet and healthy lifestyle. His latest book, The Spectrum, is a lifestyle and diet program that can be tailored to suit almost everyone. Whether you want to reduce your risk of prostate cancer, lose weight, or maintain your waistline, you figure out where you fit on the spectrum, (hence the book title) and make changes accordingly. Along with eating more nutritious foods, The Spectrum lifestyle plan also calls for regular exercise, stress reduction, and meditation.

The Spectrum has no rules, no forbidden foods, no guilt -- just a blueprint for determining where you fall on the continuum, and encouragement to make healthful changes.

"Diets don't work" has been a mantra of many dietitians for years, and that's why The Spectrum works. While sticking to a "diet" can be difficult, a gradual approach to healthier lifestyle choices is much more doable in the long run.

The Spectrum is meant to be personalized to your own genes, needs, and preferences. If your goal is to lower your blood pressure, you choose foods closer to the most healthful end of the spectrum, do it for about a month, then get your blood pressure checked and re-evaluate. Trial and error will help you figure out where on the spectrum you need to be. But the further you move toward the healthier end, the more likely you are to look and feel better.

Ornish realizes that pleasure works better than guilt as a motivator, and has built a sustainable program using the joy that comes from feeling and looking better -- not fear of dying.

A bonus DVD on guided meditations by Anne Ornish (Dean Ornish's wife) is included with the book.

By Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD
WebMD

Expert Review