VOICES

THE MAIL

January 31 2005
VOICES

THE MAIL

January 31 2005

THE MAIL

VOICES

‘While Ottawa didn’t know what to do about the tsunami at first, individuals rose to great heights by voluntary donations. It felt great being Canadian.’ -RAVI sharma,caigary

Weighing in on diet fads

Thank you for your articles on the benefits of healthy eating (“New diets,” Your Health, Jan. 17). I’ve been a vegetarian for more than six years and I have never felt healthier. Once I removed meat, eggs and dairy products from my diet, I lost weight, my energy sky-rocketed and the asthma that had plagued me since childhood almost completely dissipated. Aside from the many health benefits, I feel great knowing that I’ve ended my support for the animal abuse rampant on factory farms and in slaughterhouses.

Josh Balk, Takoma Park, Md.

I was very disappointed that you presented a one-sided view of the Atkins approach to weight loss by not asking for input from people who have been successful on it. Before Feb. 4,2003, at age 52 and at five foot 10,1 weighed 280 lb. and I felt terrible. Then I read a diet book by Dr. Robert Atkins and started my lifestyle change. Ten months later, here are the results: I lost 11 lb. a month for a total of 110 lb. I now walk a minimum of one hour a day, 365 days a year. I went to the doctor in April 2004, and she just kept shaking her head and said, “Whatever you’ve been doing, keep doing it!” I now eat some bread, some fruit and share an apple pie and ice cream with my wife once in a while, but I will never go back to the way things were before. The diet was easy to follow—it’s only hard if you don’t understand how it works and don’t want to change. Doug Clark, Aurora, Ont.

I think you did the Zone diet a great disservice, lumping it in with the Atkins diet when, in fact, it has all of the characteristics your nutritionists say are desirable in a healthy diet: low-fat healthy protein with limited saturated fat; low glycémie carbs in the form of fruits and vegetables, including limited quantities of whole wheat bread and pasta; and adequate healthy fats, olive oil, omega-3s and nuts. Three meals and two snacks a day sound healthy to me—and I know that it works.

Erin O’Manique, Ottawa

Why didn’t you describe the diet plans that consist of eating healthy-sized portions and exercise as an excellent way to lose weight and keep it off? You mention the fad diets, but you didn’t discuss SparkPeople or Weight Watchers, which look at lifestyle changes, not just quick fixes for weight loss.

Linda Brigham, Niagara Falls, Ont.

As a nutritionist, I wish dietitian Rosie Schwartz had discussed the latest research on the link between meat consumption and colon cancer. Eating even modest amounts of red and processed meat increases your risk, according to a major study published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Female study participants

Where does charity begin? I Right here at home, say some readers

Now that they’ve had a month to ruminate about the tragedy in Southeast Asia, some Canadians are calling for more aid to the needy within their own borders. Many are still proud of the relief effort. But as Carol Olsen writes from Langley, B.C.: “I wasn’t aware Canada had so much money to give. How shameful that Canadians go homeless and hungry every day.”

who ate just one ounce of processed meat (the amount in one slice of bologna) three days a week were 50 per cent more likely to develop colon cancer. Other research has demonstrated that vegetarians enjoy a much lower risk of this deadly disease.

Amy Joy Lanou, Washington

Reversing the wave

I have just read Steve Maich’s essay “Politics of death” (All Business, Cover, Jan. 17) and I totally agree with his critical comments on government aid-giving to less-developed nations. Why has the West not taken the same notice of the world’s other disasters, especially in Africa? I keep thinking of Stephen Lewis, who must be disheartened and agonizing over what he must do to make the citizens and governments of the developed countries show similar compassion and generosity to overcome the ravages of AIDS, other diseases, poverty and displacement from wars on that continent. The energy and dedication of Lewis and the many other individuals and organizations striving to make a difference in combating tragedies that currently prevail in Africa must not be allowed to fall from the radar screen of humanitarian relief efforts.

Robert Wornell, Dartmouth, N.S.

We have given enough now, along with the rest of the world (“Inside the relief effort,” Cover, Jan. 17). Let the people in Southeast Asia start to rebuild, and let us take care of our own problems. Here we have the elderly waiting on stretchers in hallways of hospitals, people who are waiting all night long to see a doctor and people who are just not going to the doctor because the doctors are too busy to see them. We have people here in Canada who do not have homes. It is time we started to take care of our problems first.

Lawrence Fox, Coombs, B.C.

Wait a minute, Mr. Postman

I want to thank Maryjanigan for her column “The snail mail question” (UpFront, Jan. 17). Postal mismanagement and scandals aside, I try to avoid sending snail mail unless absolutely necessary. I can call long distance anywhere in Canada and talk for five to 20 minutes for the same cost as mailing a letter. I cannot understand why it should take several days for a letter to go from Toronto to Montreal, when faxing or emailing are instant and significantly less expensive. Given all of the other choices available to Canadians, I suspect that may be why only 32 submissions were received in response to the proposed postage increase. Julie Brock, Toronto

Glory on the high seas

Kudos to Nathan Greenfield’s history of our navy for raising a pressing and perennial issue that seems to have lived out its 15 minutes in the spotlight (“A political football,” History, Jan. 10). The simple truth is that Canadians die because our military equipment is not maintained to adequate standards. The HMS Chicoutimi incident was a tragedy, as well as a national embarrassment. I am a 16-year-old and no military expert. Still, I am sick and tired of hearing about the legends of Canada’s faded glory days as a powerful nation. How long are we to continue living in this current state of mediocrity and denial?

Judy Fu, Toronto

The article about the rise and fall (and rise and fall) of the Royal Canadian Navy shows how delicate the balance might be for its continued effectiveness. There is one fact, however, that needs to be revisited: you say the RCN, at the end of the Second World War, was the world’s third largest. In fact, it was the third largest Allied navy.

Tom Martin, Halifax

A purl of a pastime

My parents got me a subscription to Maclean’s for Christmas. It was with joy that I discovered that my very first issue had an article about my new favourite pastime—knitting (“Bullish woollies,” Life, Jan. 17). I’m one of the twentysomethings you mention who has a high-stress, high-energy day job so, for me, knitting is a wonderful, relaxing retreat. This Christmas, people got hats and scarves. Next Christmas, I’m hoping I can turn some heels and make some socks.

Amy Pronovost, Thunder Bay, Ont.

Firing up the coal debate

Coal only looks like a cheap source of energy if we ignore the costs of pollution (“Will coal bury Kyoto?” Environment, Jan. 17). These costs may be difficult to determine, but they are most definitely not zero. The economy-vs.-environment arithmetic is wrong. The economy is the environment.

When the very real costs and liabilities of environmental damage are excluded from the analysis, the balance sheet doesn’t balance, and the so-called bottom line is nowhere near the bottom. When all the long-term costs and benefits of an energy source are included in the price of that energy, we will be able to make informed decisions.

Bruce Warren, New Westminster, B.C.

The Kyoto Protocol is already dead. In fact, it was stillborn. It should be buried forthwith to clear the way for a protocol with better prospects for a successful outcome. Kyoto offered a 20th-century approach to an issue, climate change, that is distinctly different from such earlier issues as acid rain and depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer that were successfully addressed by governments and industry working together during the past half century. That traditional approach, now being followed by Ottawa, does not adequately recognize that climate change is driven by the consumption of energy by 33 million Cana-

Kyoto is already dead. In fact, it was stillborn. Now, we need a stronger protocol with better prospects.

dians and another three to four billion citizens of our earth. Until significant numbers of Canadian citizens are actively engaged in changing their lifestyles, targeting major industrial emitters will not get us very far.

John Hollins, Ottawa

The calm before the storm

I just read with disappointment that Anthony Wilson-Smith will be leaving Maclean’s. WilsonSmith’s editor’s letter was the first item I read in the magazine for his down-to-earth, insightful and moderate tone. With all the bad and sad news that can often be read in the following pages, his column was the calm before the storm. Chris Dylla, Orleans, Ont.

I just wanted to let Anthony WilsonSmith know that he should be proud of what he has accomplished in helping to make Maclean’s a more readable magazine, balanced with hard news and items of general interest.

Andrew Carter, Montreal

You gotta have friends

It’s too bad that Barbara Wickens, in her otherwise excellent essay (“Is anybody there?” Jan. 10), didn’t deal more with the roots of loneliness. Older generations, such as her parents, were raised in more sociable environments while now consumerism, the high cost of living and sprawling subdivisions have led to solitary lifestyles.

Spyridon Moshonas, Toronto

It was intriguing to read Barbara Wickens’s account of adult loneliness, largely because my digital generation suffers at the opposite end of the scale. Our obsession with connectivity, propelled by cellphones and instant messaging, builds social networks that are more vast and complex than ever before. Individual relationships can easily suffer and the merits of personal interaction can get lost in the high-speed shuffle. Wickens might be interested to know that her worrisome abundance of solitude could fetch a hefty price among us socially frenetic twentysomethings.

Chris Clemens, Waterloo, Ont.