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Food Irradiation: An Unnecessary EvilIt is hard to comprehend how so many highly educated and reasonable individuals can produce so much verbal gas. What is interesting is that in discussions about food irradiation, there is a role and tactic reversal between the pros and counters.

Food Irradiation: An Unnecessary Evil
It is hard to comprehend how so many highly educated and reasonable individuals can produce so much verbal gas. What is interesting is that in discussions about food irradiation, there is a role and tactic reversal between the pros and counters.

The pros are roughly the same people who are pro-genetically modified foods. While they were highly verbal about the impossibility of labelling and segregating GM foods, they now ensure us that irradiated foods will be labelled to ensure consumer choice. They don't point out that regulatory agencies have programs for speciation of meats, fish, oils and sugar to detect fraud. In other words, the label will not necessarily prevent mixing of irradiated and non-irradiated meats!

Now for the counters: They fret about cobalt-60 when there are alternatives such as electron beam technology available. How dare they say I should not be able to have freedom of choice (which is usually the position of these groups) to buy my burger after it has been treated with electron beam technology! Who appointed them as my guardians? They also claim that "irradiation has been used to clean food unfit for human consumption-odorous bacteria are killed so we cannot smell whether or not the food is fit for human consumption" (alive, March 2003). "Smell and sell" is hardly a valid method of determining if food is safe for human consumption; however, any food processing method such as cooking, pasteurization or canning does not remove bacteria, as they are simply inactivated and bacterial residues stay right there in the product.

The reason we don't have the money in Canada to do the things we need to do is because we spent too much time and resources on things (like food irradiation) that we don't need to do but like to do!

G.W. (Bill) Riedel, PhD

Serving Canada's Emotional Health

In the February alive, Carolyn DeMarco writes about HeartMath as part of her article "The Heartfelt Life." I was thrilled to see a Canadian publication make a reference to HeartMath. Canadians will be happy to know certified HeartMath Providers are here in Canada teaching these programs.

The writer gives a very simplistic explanation of one technique called "Freeze-Frame." This could leave readers thinking this is all there is to HeartMath. The practical techniques are only a part of what we teach. We offer a full program of information and techniques that is based on more than a decade of scientific research conducted by the Institute of HeartMath.

Canadians have stressful lives and we all need to learn to manage our physiological and emotional reactions in order to become healthy. So, my last point is that the HeartMath system encompasses programs not just for education, but also those for individuals and professional organizations. People wishing to know more about the HeartMath System should go to or e-mail

Lauren Capill
via e-mail
Ottawa, Ont.

Re: Success Story

I have just finished reading your magazine, which I thoroughly appreciate and enjoy. I was stimulated to write after reading a success story in your letters section.

I am a family physician who promotes complementary medicine. I am also past president of the Association of Complementary Medicine of BC and have a great interest in psycho-spiritual aspects of wellness.

The biggest temptation for us mortals is to divide problems into one of two camps-an either/or type of argument. Regular medicine versus complementary medicine, or antibiotics versus natural products are just a couple of examples.

What we must avoid is the temptation to say that one way is the only way-that our preferred brand of treatment is the only one. We would only be promoting the split between these two systems, which is certainly not a wholistic approach. In the end, there is no such thing as complementary medicine or allopathic medicine. There is only "good medicine"-an integrated medicine that uses the best of both approaches and benefits everyone.

Stephen Faulkner MB,ChB
via e-mail

Cholesterol Counting

First of all, may I compliment you on a superb health magazine! You are the best source of health information available and I intend to keep on reading alive for many years to come.

Brad King's article "The Truth About Cholesterol" in the February 2002 issue was so informative and interesting. I had my cholesterol testing done recently. I was anxious to check my readings against those by Mr. King, but when I looked at the guidelines he provided, I was unable to interpret my scores. The readings appeared to be in different measurements. For example, my total cholesterol is 6.8, but I have no way of knowing how this co-relates with the 200 that Mr. King recommends. Perhaps Canadian readings are scored differently than in the US? If so, how can I do a conversion?

Barb Jones
Vancouver, BC

Thank you for your kind comments. I apologize for any confusion regarding Canadian cholesterol values. Since I also write for American health magazines, I often have to remember to alter Canadian calculations to American ones. Unfortunately, this time I neglected to use Canada values.

The Canadian cholesterol value calculation is attained by dividing the number (mg/dL) by 38.6598 to arrive at mmol/L. I have taken the liberty to break them down for you below.

Brad King, MF, MFS

Total cholesterol

optimum: less than 200 mg/dL = less than 5.18 mmol/L
borderline high: 239 mg/dL = 6.19 mmol/L
high: 240 mg/dL and above = 6.22 mmol/L and above

HDL cholesterol

optimum: 65 mg/dL or higher = 1.68 mmol/L or higher

LDL cholesterol

optimum: 130 mg/dL or less = 3.34 mmol/L or less
borderline high: up to 159 mg/dL = up to 4.12 mmol/L
high: 160 - 189 mg/dL = 4.12 - 4.90 mmol/L
very high: 190 mg/dL and above or more than 4.90 mmol/L



Your winter wellness game plan

Your winter wellness game plan

Stay healthful when the weather outside is frightful

Joshua Duvauchelle

Joshua Duvauchelle