October 3, 2004
At the Senator's Side, a 'Nag' for Good Health
By LAWRENCE K. ALTMAN
eresa Heinz Kerry's friends often call her Dr. T because of her no-nonsense counsel on health matters. "I tell them what questions to ask the doctor," she said, adding that she urges them "to take notes."
"That's what I did with my husband," Mrs. Heinz Kerry said in a recent interview, referring to Senator John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee. In the interview, she talked about how she has changed his diet and suggested tests that he should get at his annual checkups.
"A woman or somebody in the family has got to kind of shepherd these things," said Mrs. Heinz Kerry, a doctor's daughter who used to follow her father on hospital rounds in Mozambique.
"Generally, men don't take very good care of themselves," she added. "They don't like to deal with stuff that gets in the way; it's their nature." Sometimes, Mrs. Heinz Kerry said, she is "just a nag."
She has worked hard, she said, to educate her husband "to eat smart" - and to break him of his habit of eating pasta, ice cream, and "bags of chocolate chip cookies from the Faneuil Hall market in Boston that are full of butter."
"He always did eat salad, but he wouldn't cooked greens," she said. "Now he always has broccoli and loves Brussels sprouts." He also eats more salads and tomatoes, green peas, lentils, beans and other vegetables, she said.
And, Mrs. Heinz Kerry disclosed, she has instructed her husband in how to cook healthy foods. "I taught him, although he doesn't do it when I'm not there, to make really easy, very good vegetable soups and puree them, just put vegetable broth or chicken broth, and how to season them."
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company