Integrative medicine practitioners gather to hear Dr. Andrew Weil

By Mera Kelley

The physician generally credited with establishing the field of integrative medicine, Dr. Andrew Weil, delivered the keynote address Feb. 1, at the 10th annual Natural Supplements Conference, presented by the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, Jan. 30-Feb. 2 at the Hilton San Diego Resort.

Dr. Weil’s address focused on true food (which he defines as seasonal, sustainable, simple and pure) optimum diet and the role of supplements. A book signing followed.

Combining his Harvard education and a lifetime of practicing natural and preventive medicine, Dr. Weil founded and directs the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona. He is the New York Times best-selling author of “Eating Well for Optimal Health,” “The Healthy Kitchen” and “Healthy Aging.”

His latest book, “True Food,” was published in October 2012 and is the inspiration behind the True Food Kitchen family of restaurants, including one in the Fashion Valley Mall in San Diego.

Dr. Weil broke new ground in the U.S. medical field with his view that mainstream and alternative medicine are complementary approaches that should be used in connection with one another, in a model he terms “integrative medicine.”

When it comes to diet, Dr. Weil encourages people to avoid processed, refined and manufactured foods, and advocates a diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables, and the regular consumption of fish.

Co-founded by Dr. Erminia (Mimi) Guarneri in 1999, the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine blends evidence-based complementary and alternative therapies with conventional Western medicine, in a “best of both worlds” approach to preventing and treating disease, healing and improving health.

The center cares for people with chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stress, pain, weight management and other issues in the mind-body-spirit health arena.

Dr. Guarneri, a conventionally trained cardiologist, said she came to recognize that cardiovascular disease — the No. 1 killer in America — needed a more comprehensive and holistic approach. She has gathered a community of the most dedicated and visionary instructors and practitioners at the Center.

She also authored, “The Heart Speaks,” a poignant collection of stories from heart patients who have benefited from this unique approach. Her book and clinical work have been featured on NBC Today and PBS’s special “To the Contrary and Full Focus.” Her work was also featured in a two-part PBS documentary, “The New Medicine.”

Dr. Guarneri was recently elected president of the American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine.