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A fresh look
I pick up Delicious Living from my local grocer, and I usually just flip through it for coupons. This month (February 2005) was different. I really appreciated the veggie recipes. (I’m a vegetarian.) The monthly “What’s in Season” on cauliflower was helpful, too—now I know how to choose the freshest vegetables. Good job.

—Michael Willemsen, via e-mail

Practicing peace
In “Living Peace” (February 2005), you asked how readers bring a sense of quiet and calm to what may be a hectic life.

I play tourist in my city. I load my 35mm camera and walk four miles from my loft to Central Park in New York. I get great pictures and plenty of exercise.

—Joyce Feldman, New York

Sizzling fats
I was very interested in your article “What’s Wrong with Trans Fats?” (January 2005). Although writer Sharon Palmer, RD, makes many good points concerning good and bad fats, I question the accuracy of the statement, “Because of increased awareness (and thanks to customers who speak up), many eateries are now frying with 100 percent corn oil, a trans fat-free, polyunsaturated oil.”

As I understand it, all polyunsaturated fats that are refined go through a heating process, thus converting a good, healthy vegetable oil into a trans fat. I’ve learned to avoid heating all vegetable oils and use only monounsaturated or saturated oils for cooking when I must heat them above 320 degrees—the point at which trans-fatty acid formation begins, according to reading I’ve done.

—Alex Richards, Scottsdale, Arizona

What’s on your mind?
Send comments and suggestions to Letters, Delicious Living, 1401 Pearl St., Boulder, CO 80302, or e-mail us at deliciousliving@newhope.com. Please include your full name, address, and daytime phone number. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

According to our medical editor, Bob Rountree, MD, cooking polyunsaturated oils at high temperatures can create trans fats, but the process is relatively inefficient, and you’d have to reheat the oils over and over before you’d produce a significant amount. As long as the oils are liquid at room temperature, the trans-fat content will remain relatively low. However, other toxic compounds can be produced when oils are heated at high temperatures.

“The healthiest way to use cooking oils is to minimize the amount of time they are subjected to the highest temperatures, and to always keep the cooking temperature below the burn point (when smoke is produced). And never reuse cooking oils,” says Rountree. His top choices for cooking oils are rice bran oil and grape seed oil, both of which have an ideal balance of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats and so handle heat well.

—Eds