Letters to the Editor (July 2011)

An Ignored Path

In reading “Chronic Conditions Document Reflects NASW Input” (May News) and the full text of the framework, I was dismayed to not see diet as one avenue of “prevention and treatment strategies for improved health outcomes.” There is much recent research on plant-based diets being effective to this end. To reduce health disparities, NASW should advocate on clients’ behalf to help them make dietary choices that can reverse or ease many chronic conditions, rather than relying on medications that do not heal the body.

According to recent research, a well-planned plant-based diet can reverse type II diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, while easing the pain of arthritis. Of course, if these conditions can be reversed with this eating style, so too can they be prevented.

It would be a wonderful relief for many clients, I am sure, to not have to rely on medication for the rest of their lives for conditions that could effectively be eliminated. Social workers should also be well-versed in all that a plant-based diet can do for world hunger. Animal agriculture is resource-intensive and hurts both the environment and people.

Maybe a continuing education course could be offered on this.

Alysson Thewes, LSW, MSW
Henderson, Nev.


Cuba Report Overblown

After reading “Delegates Visit Cuba” (May News), it’s hard to understand why people aren’t flocking to Cuba to live. Such silliness. Even NPR, hardly a right-wing news organization, admits per Human Rights Watch that Cuba is rife with political repression and the systematic suppression of free speech – even imprisoning those the government believes might commit a crime in the future!

I’m afraid the union activists and other political prisoners locked up in Cuban prisons would take no solace from the observation that “the more stringent level of Soviet controls do not exist in Cuba.” I’ll take a pass on the “advantages of (Cuba) as a place to grow old” and continue to encourage those working to overcome systematic oppression of basic human rights of Cuban citizens.

John Ryan, MSW, LCSW, ACSW
Eureka, Mo.