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Feature Stories

Your letters to "LifeTimes"

Your letters to LifeTimes

Thanks for the wake-up call

Dear Editor:

Why belly fat is so dangerous is an excellent article on this very dangerous health problem. I really appreciate the detail. Although I'm not in this category, I will do all I can to keep out of it.

I understand how nutrition is a key factor and for the most part I practice as I learn more about the do's & don'ts.

The issue of exercise has always been important to me but I have degenerative osteoarthritis and my L-hip and knees cannot tolerate walks beyond a half mile. I'm one of those who used to run 30 miles a week when I was in my 40s.

I have recently begun to work with 5-pound dumbbells and also work with my old 'Solo-Flex' weight machine that you probably never heard of.

The bottom line: This is the only body we will ever have on this earth, but due to normal aging, will never be the same, so why speed up this process?

The key is Daily Duty Discipline in what we consume. Us older folks cannot eat and drink like we did when we were in our 20s and 30s. But we must keep our bodies in motion as we continue to lose muscle mass.

There is an old saying - Keep movin' and keep livin'.

Keep on doing this excellent work of "wake up calls" to us slumbering sleepy heads. Sooner or later this information will kick in for some.

Harry K Berg
Richardson, Texas

Good health begins with healty eating

Dear Editor:

To be healthy is to eat healthy. That means avoid consuming dairy and any kind of oil (120 calories/tablespoon) or meat. We are what we absorb in our bodies.

People talk about how dairy is so good for you. If that is the case, then why does a baby calf stop drinking milk after it is weaned? The calf gets all its calcium and protein from greens. Cow's milk is baby calf fluid.

The white mottling in meat is fat and that is what clogs people's arteries. I am trying to rid myself of arthritis and its attacks. I was pretty good for two years and then had two bad ones that sent me to the ER and put me on prednisone for any more outbreaks. I am not licked though. I am eating more greens and will not give up until I get rid of it and off of medication.

One good thing: With this new way of eating, I have not been sick for almost a year and a half with colds or flu.

I believe our health begins with the good we eat that our bodies can absorb without all of the fat in the standard American diet.

Insurance and health care costs are spiraling out of control. A good sound nutritious way of eating is what people need to lose weight and remove disease from our bodies.

Thomas A. Nowak
Chicago, Ill.

Where's my crossword puzzle?

Dear Editor:

I am very upset that the crossword puzzle is now moved to the Internet. I rarely use the Internet for anything except out of state correspondence. With the paper copy, I can do the crossword as I watch TV. I think other seniors do the same as I.

Why did you change a good thing?

Dorothy Switzer
Wonder Lake, Ill.

Editor's note: We knew that some people would be unhappy with this decision. That's why we insisted that moving the puzzle online would have to make it better. Now, you can get a new puzzle each week. And every puzzle can be worked in two ways: as an interactive puzzle online and/or as a downloaded puzzle that can be printed and worked offline, while watching TV for example.

Please ask an Internet-savvy friend or family member to print out the puzzle for you each week. Or, the next time you go online for your out-of-state correspondence, take a look at the crossword puzzle download page and print out all of the puzzles we have. They're all available there.

Not all docs take the Hippocratic Oath

Dear Editor:

Before you quote the Hippocratic Oath (How can time-pressed doctors learn to really hear us?) and state that this is something that doctors "vow to uphold," you should do your research. Many medical schools no longer have their graduates take this oath. Yes, it was a shock to me as well.

Last May when a young doctor advised my siblings and me that the quality of my mother's life was not good enough to keep her out of hospice, I wondered what happened to the Hippocratic Oath because while she was confined to a bed and a wheelchair, her mind was sharp. She beamed when her great grandchild entered her room.

I naively thought that doctors took an oath to preserve life at all costs or something to that effect. I did my research, and I invite you to do yours and share your findings in "LifeTimes."

Ronald E. Ferris
Dickinson, Texas

Editor's note: We did research the relationship medical schools and doctors have to the Hippocratic Oath in the 21st century. The matter is a bit complex, and you're right: Some medical schools no longer require graduating doctors to make the vow.

But Weill Cornell Medical College in New York does require its graduating doctors to "solemnly vow" to 11 specific oaths. One says, "That above all else, I will serve the highest interests of my patients through the practice of my science and my art."

This hints at the quotation used in "LifeTimes:" "I will remember there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug." This comes from the Oath of Lasagna, written in 1964 by Louis Lasagna, then Academic Dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University. It is considered a "modern" version of the Hippocratic Oath, stressing the importance of treating patients as human beings and not mere medical cases.

This is the point of the article and is thus totally appropriate for use in the story.

Those aren't "good" fats

Dear Editor:

You sure messed up putting shortening and margarine under "good fats." (Here's the skinny on fats we eat) They are some of the worst.

Rosmarie Wergin
The Woodlands, Texas

Editor's note: You question "LifeTimes" for listing "shortening and margarine (no trans fat)" in the "Good Fats' column.  As you interpret it, you are right. The shortenings and margarines most of us grew up using were all loaded with fat, trans fats included. This is not good, of course, and such products are still common.

But what we were trying to convey is that there are now many shortening and margarine brands available in your dairy case that are at least somewhat better because they are produced using the "fully hydrogenated" process.

Here is how the Mayo Clinic puts it online: "It sounds counterintuitive, but 'fully' or 'completely' hydrogenated oil doesn't contain trans fat. Unlike partially hydrogenated oil, the process used to make fully or completely hydrogenated oil doesn't result in trans-fatty acids."

We should have added this point to our story to make it more complete.