From Drs. David Kessler, Joel Fuhrman and Caldwell Esselstyn, and T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., I learned that we spend more on health care than any other nation and have dismal results.

We are prey to the marketing ploys of the multibillion-dollar agribusiness. Our health is deteriorating. Every year obesity, heart disease and diabetes strike more and more adults and younger and younger children.

About half of the Standard American Diet is processed (white rice, white pasta, cookies, chips, crackers, soda, cakes, brownies), with too many calories and not enough nutrition. We are overfed and undernourished. Forty percent of the Standard American Diet is animal products (meats, meat by-products, seafood and dairy products: milk, cream, ice cream, yogurt, cheese).

Americans eat only about 10 percent of their diet as vegetables and fruits. Half of those vegetables are potatoes. Half of those potatoes are fried.

More than 50 percent of our population have excess weight; most of us eat excess junk food. To turn our health around, we need antidotes to our food culture, and the diseases of excess it creates. We need the opposite. As Michael Pollan writes: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

As a graduate of nutrition courses through Cornell University, I support Avery Kamila’s “Natural Foodie” columns.

Her facts are taken from the scientists listed above. Today’s nutritional research has replaced the old paradigm of needing meat, starch, bread and dessert to make a meal.

How odd to have Avery’s inspiring column about youth learning healthy cooking and eating (“Kids learn to seek luck, not yuck, in healthy food,” Nov. 14) in the same section as “an elegant way to get your serving of carrots” in a recipe using egg, white flour, sugar and one stick of butter (“Lemony, herby tarts an elegant way to get your serving of carrots,” Nov. 14).

There are better way to get our carrots! I’m glad Avery Kamila is helping us learn how.

Susan Lebel Young

Falmouth 

Hiking taxes on the wealthy will have unintended fallout 

Recently, there’s been a call from readers of this newspaper all the way up to the chief magistrate who resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in D.C. That call is for raising the tax rates on the “wealthy” in this country.

It has been argued that this is needed because of the current financial mess this country is in. There are a few questions that need to be asked concerning this matter.

What is the amount of money that would be raised if the top 50 percent of all income earners had to pay 100 percent of their income in taxes? How much would that reduce the deficit? And what would happen to economic activity if this was to take place?

By all means, I’m far from being “wealthy.” I earn between $50,000 and $75,000 per annum. So I’m not looking after my own self-interest in this matter. However, these questions should be addressed by those who try to argue this point.

And finally, it should be no surprise that most wealthy people, if this stupidity is passed, would either take the money offshore, or do what some people are doing right now: throwing away their American citizenship and moving to countries that would welcome their wealth.

The government taxes and spends too much money. That is where the problem lies, and frankly, those dollars need to be returned to individuals who can spend it better than any bureaucrat.

And who knows, maybe some of that money could actually help those who are in need. Wow, wouldn’t that be a shocking trend!

Jean Carbonneau

Portland 

Subcontracting rail service would have several pluses 

Why not have Amtrak subcontract the Boston-to-Portland service from Amtrak to the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad?

First of all, the MBCR does not have to pay trackage rights on Pan Am Railways, which Amtrak must.

Secondly, they could easily take it under their heavy umbrella and run it as part of their normal system. They also upgrade equipment far more frequently.

Peter Folger

Biddeford

Newspaper now mouthpiece for Sussman, Rep. Pingree 

Every time the Portland Press Herald mentions its employer, Donald S. Sussman, the billionaire hedge fund manager from Greenwich, Conn., or his spouse, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, it inserts an obligatory qualifier reminding its readers of their relationship as a married couple and the fact Sussman owns the paper.

Similar to the qualifiers attached to millions of Wall Street-generated documents, like “past performance is not indicative of future performance,” these perfunctory reminders are often skipped over by readers.

But reflexively dismissing warnings is done at one’s own risk, as countless Wall Street debacles have proven.

The Sussman/Pingree alerts are equally instructive and don’t absolve the Press Herald from bias. Indeed, this past election cycle may well go down as one of the most embarrassing debacles in Maine media history.

It’s one thing for Sussman’s servants to be at his beck and call, but quite another when the hired help includes the supposed unbiased editors of Maine’s largest newspaper. Think about it: Can anyone name one significant piece of legislation rubber-stamped by those editors over the past six months that didn’t come directly from the Sussman/Pingree talking points memo? Just one?

A few weeks back this paper listed the 10 largest political donors in Maine this year (“Top Maine political donors betting on Democrats,” Oct. 22). No one came close to the millions Sussman deployed in an egregious attempt at force feeding his “value system” to Mainers.

This is a value system that resulted in Barack Obama calling Sussman’s industry “enemy No. 1″ because of its obscene exploitation of the carried interest tax loophole, which allows the Sussmans of the world to pay a 15 percent tax on ordinary income versus 35 percent for the rest of us.

The Democrats won at the polls, but the loss of media integrity in southern Maine will be felt for generations to come.

C. McLane Smith

Portland