Excerpt: Dean Ornish's 'The Spectrum'

Dr. Dean Ornish has spent the past 30 years studying the effect exercise, a low-fat diet and stress reduction can have on health. Ornish was the first to show that these lifestyle changes could actually reverse severe heart disease without drugs or surgery.

Ornish's latest book, "The Spectrum," offers advice on how to personalize a health plan to fit your goals and preferences — without diets, deprivation or guilt.

Read the first chapter of "The Spectrum" below.

Chapter One: It Works!

The one thing more difficult than following a regimen is not imposing it on others. -- Marcel Proust

I just had a piece of chocolate. Dark chocolate. Really high-fat gourmet dark chocolate. It was delicious. I have a little chocolate almost every day.

Now, you may be wondering if I'm cheating on my very own diet. Well, no, I'm not. I'm enjoying my very own diet.

I'm writing this book to help you understand that you have a broad spectrum of choices when it comes to what you eat, how much you exercise, how you manage stress, and how you live. It's not all or nothing. In the process, I hope to dispel some misconceptions about what I recommend.

In short, this book will show you how to personalize a way of eating and living that's just right for you, based on your own needs and preferences. It has been scientifically proven to help you feel better, live longer, lose weight, and gain health.

It works! Why? Because it's based on pleasure, not pain; abundance, not deprivation; science, not myth; freedom and power, not restriction and manipulation. Joy of living is sustainable; fear of dying is not.

There are many myths and false choices that are confusing to many people. These include:

If I live and eat healthfully, am I going to live longer or is it just going to seem longer?
Is it fun for me or good for me?
Low-fat or low-carb?
Fast food or good food?
Atkins indulgent or Ornish ascetic?

You really don't have to make these choices.

This is a book about how to enjoy life more fully while enhancing your health and well-being. It's based on our latest research showing that you can actually change how your genes are expressed just by changing what you eat and how you live.

In short, this book can empower you to transform your own life.

By now, many people are thoroughly exasperated by the seemingly contradictory information they read about what a sound nutrition and lifestyle program should be. Nowhere are the claims more conflicting than in the area of diet. I often hear, "Those damn doctors! They can't make up their minds. To hell with 'em, I'll eat and do whatever I want and quit worrying about it!"

I understand why many people feel that way. It can be really confusing when even the experts don't seem to agree.

Fortunately, at a time when people are more confused than ever, there is an emerging consensus about what to eat and how to live. The jury is in: a convergence of scientific evidence can help us resolve conflicting claims and distinguish what just sounds good from what is proven to be true.

Now it is possible to cut through the confusion and to customize a diet and lifestyle program just right for you based on your own needs and preferences. You have a spectrum of choices.

People have different needs, goals, and preferences. The medicine of the future is personalized medicine, which this book brings you today.

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