It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way

Your article, “It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way” is right on the mark. It’s shameful how hospitals disregard the basic nutritional needs of their patients. In reading your article, I noticed that you are a vegan. My wife was on a strict vegan diet for 12 years. She researched veganism extensively and thought she was taking sufficient supplements to maintain her seemingly excellent health. She became a vegan for all the right reasons, as she was alarmed about the cruelty subjected on animals in slaughter houses and so-called turkey and chicken farms. The reason I am taking the time to write you is that my wife over the years changed from the very fit, energetic, happy individual to an almost listless, tired and unhappy person. Also, she developed severe dental problems resulting from a deficiency in her diet. Her jawbones badly deteriorated causing her to undergo several surgeries to repair the damage. You seem to be a great guy and I just wanted you to know what happened to my wife as a result of her vegan diet. Keep up the great articles!

Ken Colbo

Thanks for writing, Ken. Veganism is definitely not for everyone, and it’s the kind of thing that has to be approached carefully, since it is really easy to get malnourished if you are not careful. My family does it because we were vegetarians for many years, and my wife and daughter both are allergic to dairy, and we just had to cut it out of our diet. So I suppose we became default vegans of some kind. Personally, I said for years that I would never become a vegan because I almost always found them annoying, and some of them take it to crazy extremes – like not eating honey because it’s technically an animal product. No honey in my tea? I’d sooner eat beef tartar.

I’d Like to
Thank the Academy

Your Gamut in the 3/21/11 issue was the best I ever read in your publication–it is what a journal that provides important access surrounding a particular industry and should be about.

Craig Chambers

Thanks for writing, Craig. Covering the news is really enjoyable. But it is serving an audience that is truly rewarding. And National Underwriter has a truly excellent audience. As it turns out, the night I came home, my daughter hand-crafted for me a “Neal Awesome” award for being her dad. That made any lingering disappointment go away.

Children
of the Atom

My wife is a registered rep. She leaves her industry magazines in the…um, the reading room. Great writing, excellent perspective. I especially liked, “…people went on pretending that there was never a risk in the first place.”

Heck Bill, this risk is just another of the big invisible gorillas seated in all our living rooms these days. Since it’s impossible to live WITH them all, we have to make them mostly invisible in order to live at all. I know, yours is the risk business. It’s your readers’ job to help us glimpse the gorillas and size ‘em up too, I guess. Whenever one of those gorillas jumps out of the statistical weeds and becomes visible, it’s I-told-you-so time. When high-echelon PR kicks in to prevent otherwise justifiable panic, it’s they’re-lying-to-you time. I was curious how people would order their lives if done according to some rational expected-value calculation. I communicated for a while with those Harvard Risk Analysis folks and I learned a really useful word: Dread. That’s how we order things. According to how much we dread them at the time. Is it a “scare tactic” to tell a child why not to reach for pot handles on the stove? Stand in the street? Take drugs? How about “Most things around you, even the air, have become deadly. Invisible rays will slowly kill you. Run.”

I’m curious how TMI would have affected those farmers had there been today’s 24-hr news cycle. TMI would have been howled into the ears of everyone day and night, pro and con, scientific and fanatical. All of it. Simultaneously. Those hapless farmers would have learned the difference between a Roentgen and Rad, understood ionization and contamination. But would they dread it? Enough to relocate? Or would they bid it be seated in the living room with all those other gorillas? Your article implies it was offered the seat. Due to ignorance. I can understand. I doubt they were offered the simplicity of that three-letter word, RUN, because it would look like panic, seem extreme. (Did anyone skip the esoteric scientific reasons, grab the baby, leave the milk behind, run far away, and start over?)

David Allburn, CEO,

National Fingerprint Inc.

Thanks for writing, David. A friend of mine in the Department of Energy has been writing about the effects of TMI for weeks now, and the evidence to be found is disheartening, to say the least. Turns out the county I grew up in has had elevated levels of thyroid cancer ever since 1979. Hmm. Is there a causal link there? Hard to say. But I certainly dread one.