Thank you for the superb article about eating smarter [Nov. 3]. It certainly proved that spending millions on fad-diet books is a waste of time. Why is it that people who want to lose weight don't understand that they have to adopt eating habits they must maintain for the rest of their life? Everything they need to know was included in your reporting. After I read your story, I danced around the room saying, "Yes, yes, yes!"
We already know the basic tenets of nutrition, so why are so many of us getting fatter? People are looking for a magic bullet, but they can't ignore the basics: eat healthy food, exercise and stay away from fast food, the scourge of the American diet. It's not rocket science, just common sense.
Incline Village, U.S.
"How To Eat Smarter" didn't fully explain the benefits of complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits. These foods promote health because they are high in fiber, vitamins and minerals and low in calories. They should not be compared with the highly processed simple carbs that are virtually empty calories. The choice is easy. As I advise my students: go for brown, not white, grains. Read labels. If you can't pronounce it, don't eat it. Eat whole foods. An apple does not come with a label; nature packs it with the nutrients our bodies need.
Antonia Demas, President
The Food Studies Institute
Veggies? Does that include beansies, squashies and yammies? And presumably we are to eat our fruities also? Come on! Baby talk is O.K. up to age 3, maybe, but intelligent adults use adult language. If I read or hear veggies one more time, I'm going to barfie.
Who Needs Bollywood?
Re your reporting on India's changing film industry [Oct. 27]: Many people from the West are hugely interested in Bollywood—the vibrant colors, the family dramas, the singing and dancing and so forth. But some moviegoers in India have grown to hate these movies. The stories are almost always the same. How do all the heroes know how to dance perfectly, fight 20 bad guys with one hand and get high-powered weapons whenever they need them? We are tired of idiotic, mushy love stories. To us, almost all the movies made in Hollywood are at least interesting. I have been watching U.S. movies since I was 13. Hollywood has an endless list of fantastic actors. There are no idiotic coincidences in the movies, and there are a thousand different plots. I don't know why Westerners should care about Bollywood films when they have such a treasure trove.
B. Krishna Chaitanya
Still at War in Afghanistan
In your article on the continued fighting in Afghanistan along the border with Pakistan [Nov. 3], you quoted a U.S. soldier who said, "Back home, nobody knows what's going on over here, how bad it is." Those words nearly broke my heart. Not only are we not hearing much about the war in Afghanistan, but the news media have returned to celebrity stories like the Kobe Bryant rape case. If 9/11 was a wake-up call, I fear we are dozing off again.
In writing about Afghanistan, Tim McGirk noted, "This war isn't ending anytime soon." That is probably true, but I had a different perspective when I visited the country recently. I teach at a Karachi school and visited Afghanistan for a week in October. I went by car, without a guard, and traveled in an area around Kabul. Everywhere I saw people going about their lives, harvesting wheat and putting up hay for the animals to eat in winter. I visited some schools, including one with 5,700 students, who come to classes in shifts starting at 7 in the morning. At no time did I feel threatened. I would say the majority of Afghans simply want to get on with living.
The Whirlpool of Iraq
The continued attacks in Baghdad only show that U.S. President George W. Bush and his allies committed a massive blunder [Oct. 27]. Iraq is nothing but a whirlpool of disaster for America and has resulted in a waste of money and loss of lives. If the same amount of money had been spent on health care and jobs in the U.S., Americans would be singing the praises of their President.
Praveen K. Malhotra
The coalition troops are anything but an army of occupation in Iraq. Whatever the merits of having gone to war in the first place, these forces are doing their best to restore civilized authority over a nation used to dictatorial suppression. Saddam Hussein's regime was not at all innocent, and its agents have been lying low only to inflict maximum damage in the subsequent guerrilla war.
Jagmohan M. Manchanda
Equality of Belief
Michael Kinsley, in his essay "The Religious Superiority Complex" [Nov. 3], wrote about Lieut. General William Boykin's preaching that Christianity's God is superior to Islam's God. I have no patience with people who say their God is bigger than that of others. In fact, it's mere nonsense and maliciousness, especially in reference to Christians, Muslims and Jews, all of whom believe in one God. Religious fundamentalists of any faith who slander and sow hatred against those of a different creed are using religion as an excuse for pursuing their personal worldly interests. In a spiritual way, we are all God's children. So let's stop hating and killing each other.