Banks County Opinions...

APRIL 21, 2004


Column

By: Rochelle Beckstine
The Banks County News
April 21, 2004

Good news for dog dieters: low-carb diet debut
There is good news for pooches with a few extra pounds: they, too, can jump on the low-carb bandwagon with an Atkins-inspired line of dog food by Pedigree. Pedigree Weight Loss Dog Food is 50 percent protein and guarantees to trim dog pounds by 10 percent over 12 weeks. Pedigree advises that once the ideal doggie figure is achieved, switch to Pedigree Maintenance Formula, a low-fat dog food with 27 percent protein.
And dogs cheer across the nation.
But really, what do the dog doctors say? The American Veterinary Medical Association sees the theory as sound since dogs nearest relatives in the wild exist on meat alone. And dog diets are certainly needed with 30 percent of dogs overweight or obese, but the doctors believe Pedigree’s new line of dog food is merely a good marketing ploy. Diane Levitan, an internal-medicine specialist at the Center for Specialized Veterinary Care in Westbury, N.Y., said that the new dog food is the lowest carbohydrate diet on the market, but she believes it is not low enough to cause ketosis, which is what causes weight loss in low-carb diets. The weight loss instead is caused by cutting calories since the new dog food has 20 percent fewer calories. Eureka! Fewer calories—why didn’t human dieters think of this first?
And in other news, two separate studies have found that humans who eat a varied diet are more likely to achieve an ideal weight and stay there and they are healthier, too.
The studies used data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Continuing Survey of Food Intakes. One study found that women who ate three or more servings of whole grains had a significantly lower body mass index than those who ate less than one serving per day. (Body mass index is the proportion of fat in a person’s body.) One possible reason for this is that whole grains make people feel more full and make them less likely to overeat. But finding people in the study who do eat whole grains was tough as more than half of all Americans eat less than one serving of whole grain foods a day. In addition, the study found that people who met nutritional guidelines through food, including eating whole grains, were less likely to suffer from cancer and heart disease.
Meanwhile every restaurant and big food vendor is advertising new “low-carb” items high on saturated fat, low on carbs, ignoring good medical sense. And the real evil is getting away—white flour, white rice and white sugar. They have been bleached and pounded and processed to the point that they make no sense in a good diet. They should be eliminated (or at least saved for a special occasion since whole-wheat cake is hard to swallow, literally).
I dream of a world where the new diet craze praises good fats like those found in salmon and in nuts, lauds the benefits of brown rice and whole-wheat bread and exalts eating healthy servings of fruits and vegetables. I believe that people can eat carbohydrates and still lose weight. Push away the white flour snack foods and empty calories and bring on the whole grains. Afterall, our closest relative in the wild exists on a diet high in fiber, fruits, nuts and vegetables. Visit Zoo Atlanta and see for yourself.
Rochelle Beckstine is a columnist for MainStreet Newspapers.

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Column

By: Jana Mitcham
The Banks County News
April 21, 2004

Rites of passage
I came home recently to find my husband had a new silver razor on the counter in the bathroom. That sight took me back quite a few years to another silver razor and my initiation into the rites of leg-shaving.
The summer before I started seventh grade, my cousin and I spent several weeks in Ft. Myers, Fla., with my aunt and uncle, who had moved there from Georgia not too long before. In hindsight, I realize they were a young couple and not married very long, and I think that my aunt was homesick and made the long drive back to Georgia fairly often.
So, that trip we traveled back with her to stay for a while, to keep them company and liven up things. How brave they were, I think now.
My cousin was older — she was on the verge of eighth grade. Keep in mind, she looked like an eighth grader (at least by that day’s standards, probably not by today’s) and I looked like I might be about ready for a fifth grade field trip.
Being older and more mature, my cousin wore a little makeup and shaved her legs. I did not — spindly legs with blond fuzz. But during that trip, I decided to remedy that.
One night, I snuck into the bathroom of the apartment and opened the medicine cabinet. Ah-ha. There was my uncle’s heavy-handled silver razor with a retractable cover. Nice. Just what I needed. A few nicks and stuck-on bloody toilet paper scraps later, it was done, the rite of passage complete.
Next day, we paraded along the boardwalk at the beach, sure of ourselves, or at least pretending to be. Was I still wearing my thick glasses with brown frames? Maybe I had already graduated to the next level — pale frames with elaborately curved sides and with my initials in tiny gold letters stuck on the right lens.
Never mind. My newly-shaved legs were stinging in the sun. Femme fatales, no doubt.
Sweet and sad days.
CALLED ON THE CARPET
Da- dum. (Think of the Law and Order sound.)
My cousin and I sat while our aunt and uncle stood above us.
“Not that anyone is in trouble,” my aunt began, “but who left your uncle’s razor like this?”
She held the offending implement before us, unwashed, caked with goo and blond fuzz.
“Not me!” my cousin said.
Huh? What? Huh?
“Oh, no, not me,” I said firmly, decidedly, innocently. Nope, not me.
Who was it? The cat, maybe? Who ruined the nice razor? An expensive gift, probably. Oh, it was all a mystery.
I believe that was the same trip that we shrilled about
LOBSTER ABUSE at nice restaurants as we stood alongside tanks watching those doomed creatures crawl around with their claws taped together and their antennae waving in the water.
We would not order lobster, but instead got giant helpings of fish — grouper, I think — so large that the sides hung over the edge of the plate, dripping a rich white sauce.
We didn’t want that! Who would want that?! we exclaimed in indignation to one another in the restaurant’s bathroom after hearing that we would eat some or have no dessert. (Again, in hindsight, I think about the large bills we surely generated for our young relatives with these strange, large servings we never wanted to eat.)
I think that same trip involves yet another story, this time about me and the cat in the hot backseat of their little unairconditioned Toyota Starlet on the 10-hour drive back to Georgia, but that’s for another day.
Needless to say, I haven’t touched my husband’s silver razor, except to pick it up and look at it — it’s lightweight and doesn’t have a retractable cover.
I wonder if my uncle would like a nice razor for Christmas.
Jana Adams Mitcham is features editor of The Jackson Herald and a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers, Inc.


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