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Jewish World Review Dec. 27, 2004 / 15 Teves, 5765

Lenore Skenazy

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Consumer Reports

Read this and call me in the morning | What evaporates quicker than a New Year's resolution? The health advice it's based on! "Take Vioxx." "No, wait - AVOID Vioxx. Take Celebrex instead." "For G-d's sake, DON'T take Celebrex! Take milk - just not internally. Hold a gallon over your head to build muscles. Actually drinking milk could gum up your entire immune system!" Etc., etc.

That is why the Daily News has compiled a list of resolutions for health experts themselves - resolutions to help them stop driving their patients nuts. If you are a doctor, nutritionist, personal trainer, shaman, guru, quack, quack's underpaid assistant, drug manufacturer, drug lobbyist or plain old kibitzer like my Aunt Flo, please read aloud these resolutions come Jan. 1:


  • I pledge never again to tell anyone to drink eight glasses of water a day, since that's basically like asking you to drink two buckets of liquid, which no one has ever proved does anything other than make you go to the bathroom, where you will end up washing your hands with the anti-bacterial soap that kills off so many germs that you no longer build up your natural immunity to common viruses, thereby rendering you more vulnerable to disease. Talk about ironic! On the other hand, once you do get sick, you really should drink a lot of fluids. So remember: Drink plenty of fluids. Just not that plenty.

  • And speaking of fluids: I will tell my patients to drink more tea, because it just might prevent heart attacks. Then again, it just might cause cancer. Sort of like hormone replacement therapy, except in reverse - I think. Oh, wait! My resolution was not to confuse anyone! So, uh, from now on: Skip the tea and hormones and drink hot chocolate. But not the aspartame kind, because that could cause tumors. Or was that saccharin? And didn't scientists eventually figure out it wasn't the saccharin that was killing their rats in the 1960s, it was that the rats were being force-fed too many fluids? So my advice is: Don't drink too many flui - oh, wait! I'm doing it again!

  • Let's talk obesity, which may or may not be caused by bad genes, too much TV, McDonald's evil marketing geniuses or the very food pyramid we health types send to every classroom in America. Anyway, from now on when I tell you to lose weight (and I will), I also will tell you how to actually do that. Not some cockamamie scheme like, "Avoid all fat and pig out on carbohydrates," or, "Avoid all carbohydrates and pig out on fat." No, I will give you a sensible plan that really works. For some people. Who are skinny to begin with. And taking hiking vacations. And have live-in chefs. I'll explain it all later.

  • Meantime, when I tell you to have a nightly glass of wine for health, I will not add, "which, by the way, might also cause breast cancer," or, "blimp you up," or, "lead to a debilitating addiction." Because, frankly, that would only make you drink MORE. And as we were just discussing, too many fluids is not a good thing. Or ... maybe it is.

    I hope that's clear. Have a healthy year!

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    JWR contributor Lenore Skenazy is a columnist for The New York Daily News. Comment by clicking here.

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