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Letters: Nov. 7, 2005

4 minute read

Living Better Longer

Dr. Andrew Weil’s recommendations for maximizing physical and emotional health and happiness as we grow older were welcomed by readers. While some applauded his advice for aging gracefully, others had their own suggestions about diet, exercise, medical aids and the need for effortful mental activity

The excerpt from Dr. Andrew Weil’s book Healthy Aging was well presented [Oct. 17]. Weil gave a balanced view of nutritional advice on aging, and I was glad to see someone point out the dubious nature of the antiaging business. Most of what we spend on vitamin supplements and health food represents unreasonable expectations of our ability to control aging. Such purchases only distract from what is truly important: taking the steps necessary to delay age-related disease. I will read Weil’s entire book and recommend this article to my patients. JOHN KAUFMANN, M.D. Boca Raton, Fla.

Weil’s statement that “there are at present no effective antiaging medicines” shows that he has his head in the sand. Western medicine (through technology) has found a way to extend our lives well beyond what was once considered a normal life-span, but it has not addressed the quality-of-life issue. Bioidentical hormone-replacement therapies, which use hormones manufactured to have the same molecular structure as those made by our bodies, enable us to maintain quality of life by replacing the hormones we lose as we age. The goal is to keep our insides young. A youthful interior manifests itself on the outside. SUZANNE SOMERS Los Angeles

With his baby-bottom complexion and piano-player hands, Weil is unlikely to find his advice accepted by those of us who put up drywall, frame houses, work with horses and repair trucks and cars. By age 60, we are so beaten up that at the end of the day, eating biscuits and gravy is like consuming the elixir of the gods. BILL CROOKHAM Caldwell, Idaho

It is surprising that Weil didn’t mention the importance of continued mental exercise in ensuring healthy aging. In addition to physical exercise, our brains need stimulation. Crossword puzzles, word games and logic problems can help stretch our minds and keep our mental capacity limber. Weil ought to step out of the meditation labyrinth he was pictured in and try his hand at a crossword. JEAN FALLS Milton, Ont.

Weil’s “Wellness Diet” was right on target. This article will help educate people and alert them to the impact that their diet has on their health. But his recommendation that we “strictly avoid all products made with partially hydrogenated oils of any kind” is almost impossible to follow. Nearly all snack foods, especially packaged cakes and cookies, contain those harmful oils. Scientists should try to find an alternative to them as quickly as possible. People need to know just how bad that stuff is. DAVID R. LADEN Virginia Beach, Va.

Weil’s book should be titled healthy Aging for Those Who Can Afford It. I am sure that his “secrets for maximizing health and happiness” are sensible and productive, but for someone living on a fixed income, juggling whether to eat, heat or medicate, much of what he recommends is just not affordable I’ll stick with my father’s regimen. He’s 76 and going strong. His exercise is hours of gardening, tinkering, housework and climbing the stairs. He is active in his church. His secret for staying healthy and happy? Use it or lose it! LISA TILLOTSON Burlington, Vt.

Resurrecting Bush

Joe Klein outlined the failures George W. Bush has to overcome in the remaining 1,000-plus days of his presidency [Oct. 17]. There is, however, one area in which Bush has succeeded brilliantly. By cutting taxes (primarily for the richest few), he has ensured political problems for any Democrat who proposes tax increases to pay, primarily, for Bush’s continued excessive spending. JENNIFER S. ULRICH Rochester, N.Y.

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