Wednesday, February 09, 2005

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- A diet rich in fiber and vegetables lowered cholesterol just as much as taking a statin drug, Canadian researchers reported Monday.
They said people who cannot tolerate the statin drugs because of side-effects can turn to the diet, which they said their volunteers could easily follow.
David Jenkins of St. Michael's Hospital and the University of Toronto and colleagues created what they called a diet "portfolio" high in soy protein, almonds, and cereal fiber as well as plant sterols -- tree-based compounds used in cholesterol-lowering margarines, salad dressing and other products. -from www.cnn.com

First, I'm glad to see yet more independent verification that a diet high in vegetables, whole grains, and soy is healthy. This isn't news (hundreds of studies, both population and controlled show the benefits of what is essentially a vegetarian diet), but it bears reinforcing. The addition of plant sterols is an interesting twist, but I suspect a relatively minor factor in the overall findings.

On to my whinge: They are recommending eating a healthy diet "for people who cannot tolerate the statin drugs or side-effects"?!? That is exactly backwards. The invasive, potentially destructive drug regimen should be only for those who do not thrive on a healthy diet. The drugs should be the last resort, not the other way around.

Bearing in mind that some of the side-effects of statin drugs may include heart failure and stroke, one would think heath care professionals would agree with me on this. One can only speculate that the profit motive is interfering with better judgment.

Be a smart health consumer, minimize your use of drugs when working to maximize your own health. It's not your job to make pharmaceutical companies richer. (I need you, both of you, to be out there in the world, reading my fiction for as long as possible.)

Whatever happened to "first do no harm?"

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The perfect is the enemy of the good, but the "good enough" is the enemy of the good enough.

Where does that leave me, and all other struggling/developing/new/old writers?

Somewhere between Scylla and Charybdis, I suppose. One can't get bogged down in trying to make every word impeccably perfect. By the same token, one can't brush off all concerns of style consistency and carefully-crafted wording.

Perhaps finding that balance is what it takes to become a regularly published, professional writer.

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