The Wine Guy: Tips for dealing with a gas crisis

Best of The Wine Guy

The Wine Guy
with Anthony Scarano

Gas is a huge problem these days, as always, but the gas I will discuss here is not the kind sold by the barrel and that fuels everything from automobiles to airliners to the tanks and supersonic jets used by our military.

The gas I am speaking of comes from the foods we eat and accumulates in our stomachs and digestive tracts. How much gas accumulates depends on what types of foods you eat, what combination of foods you eat and how much you eat. Foods that are difficult to digest such as meat, eggs and dairy products can lead to gas formation because these foods sit in the gut and rot; and, as we know, when organic matter rots it produces gas. Any foods not properly chewed will also form gas because they will not pass easily through the digestive tract. Beans, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and onions can also cause gas.

We know when this gas has accumulated when we feel uncomfortable and bloated, but there are many other symptoms caused by gas of which people are not so aware. Gas can accumulate to the point that it causes spasms in the chest and make a person think he or she is having a heart attack. This causes great fear and anxiety - which are themselves harmful to health - and may send people to the hospital for heart bypass operations they may not need.

Gas can also cause pains and discomfort in parts of the body you wouldn't think would be affected by something in your digestive tract. Any pre-existing pains in the body can be made worse by gas, and it can also contribute to headaches and pains in the shoulders, especially between the shoulders. Gas can also lead to poor circulation, which can lead to discomfort and pain, and arthritis and illnesses in general can be magnified by gas.

Chewing your food into a puree and eating foods that don't produce much gas, such as fresh fruits and lightly steamed vegetables, can help avoid too many of these pains and discomfort. If you can't live without meat, try to stick to small amounts of the ground varieties, and stay away from steaks, pizza and baked goods. These foods not only produce gas, but leave behind sludge that builds up on the intestine walls and can lead to constipation and illness. Sure, you can eat them in small amounts once in awhile, but you're diet must be full of fresh, whole foods so that this sludge can be "swept" out of the body.

Regardless of what you do, though, digestion will always produce some gas. When you feel the need to eliminate it, do so. Where is up to you, but don't let it accumulate in you for too long or you will suffer the unpleasant consequences. And don't use laxatives to help you empty your bowels, they are habit forming and upset the natural balance and muscular tone of the intestines.

Drinking wine with your meals will also help some because this wonderful food and medicine stimulates digestion. It will also aid you in many other ways including boosting your immune system, improving circulation and keeping your heart healthy. It is even good for the mind.

Drinking wine with your meals will also help some because this wonderful food and medicine stimulates digestion. It will also aid you in many other ways including boosting your immune system, improving circulation and keeping your heart healthy. It is even good for the mind.

Anthony Scarano is not a doctor. He is an 88-year-old Evergreen Park resident, winemaker and certified naturopath. Suggestions in this space are solely the opinions of Mr. Scarano based on years of independent study and personal experience, and may not be beneficial to health. Wine should be consumed in moderation, as overindulgence may be harmful to health.

Health Scan

Palos hospital class helps smokers quit

To help smokers quit, Palos Community Hospital is offering the American Lung Association's Freedom from Smoking, an eightweek program for adults who are ready to quit smoking.

This program will meet from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursdays, Jan. 3 through Feb. 12. One additional class will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 22. The program will take place at the Palos Primary Care Center, 15300 West Ave., Orland Park. The cost is $99. To register, call 226-2300.

Cholesterol tests

The Palos Township Health Service will hold a cholesterol screening from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday.

A total cholesterol screening is $10 for residents and $15 for non-residents. This test tells only the total cholesterol value. Fasting is preferred.

The cholestech test tells total value, the high density, the low density, the triglyceride value, and the ratios as well as glucose values. Do not eat or drink after midnight the night before the test. A fee of $35 is charged for residents and $45 for non-residents.

A Hemoglobin A 1 C test can be performed for diabetics which reflects the average blood sugar levels over the previous 3 months. No fasting is required for this test.

The fee is $10 for residents and $15 for non-residents. Fees are cash only.

Call the Health Service to schedule an appointment at 708-598- 2441. All screenings are done at Palos Township, 10802 S. Roberts Rd. in Palos Hills.


Overweight children and teens run the risk of added health problems, as well as low self-esteem and anguish. That's why Palos Community Hospital offers the Shapedown program, a specialized family-centered program that promotes good nutrition, a healthy self-image, and safe shortand long-term weight loss. Participants learn to develop positive eating and exercise habits and address self-esteem issues that often accompany or cause weight control problems.

Led by registered dietitians and fitness experts, the Shapedown class is offered in separate sessions - one for teens, ages 13 to 17, and another for children, ages 9 to 12.

The next 12-week session of Shapedown will begin January 16 at Palos Health & Fitness Center, 15430 West Ave., Orland Park.

A physician's consent is required for admission to the Shapedown class. For additional details or to register, call 708- 226-2330.

Weight management

Palos Community Hospital is offering a unique eight-week weight management program at Palos Health & Fitness Center, 15430 West Ave., Orland Park.

WeightWise with Exercise combines physical activity and nutrition to create an effective method for weight loss and long-term weight management. A registered dietitian and a fitness specialist work with participants on meal and physical-activity planning.

Attend a free WeightWise with Exercise orientation from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. The next session begins Jan. 15. Classes meet on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. For more information or to register, call 708-226-2330.

WellBeingMD Classes

WellBingMD - Center for Life classes are forming including Qigong with Dee Burton and Bill Nielsen, Functional Fitness with Agne Doniela, Zumba Gold with Chris Duba, Sound Life Yoga with Lindsay Foreman The Melt Method with Salle Huber, Melt Method Intro and Book Signing with Sue Hitzmann and Road- Map to Wellness 1.0 Class Free Intro on Jan. 23 and 26.

For further details, visit the Calendar of Events at

Dee Woods: Brown rice curbs fat cravings

By Dee Woods

I've never been impressed with rice in any form. To me, rice used to be a mushy nothing. Years ago, I heard an alternative physician speaking of the benefits of brown rice and I decided to try it. The first time I tried it, it took a little getting used to. There was nothing bad about it; it was just a bit more substantial than white rice. Very interestingly, I couldn't even look at white rice after that.

Today, I love brown rice and the fragrance of brown rice. Cooking it is so easy, I can eat it alone with cinnamon and stevia with a little milk on it as my mother would do when we were young. It's kind of a semi-dessert. I can also use it in place of potatoes, add black beans or lentils, or put it into soups.

I purchased $10 rice maker and have found that to be the perfect instrument for making my brown rice.

Why should we enjoy it? A half cup of brown rice is only 108 calories and only 1 gram of fat, including omegas 3 and 6 fatty acids. Brown rice also has no cholesterol and 10 mg of sodium. It has 5 grams of protein and 14 percent of fiber to allow fat burning. It contains vitamins B6 and thiamin, niacin, choline, pantothenic acid and plenty of essential minerals. One very essential mineral for energy is manganese and brown rice supplies 80 percent of the daily needs for manganese. It is a mineral needed to help synthesize fatty acids to keep the nervous system in balance.

Recently, a study indicated brown rice helps stop the craving for fatty foods. That's no wonder because the fiber content, along with all of the essential nutrients and minerals helps satisfy the appetite as it assists the body in preparing to burn off excess fat. We all crave fats, usually the wrong types of fats, but it does one better. Brown rice has been found to curb cravings for those nasty trans fats and junk food fats.

In the Midwest, for some reason our soil has been pretty depleted of selenium, a cancer fighter, and brown rice contains selenium as well as oils that help reduce cholesterol.

Dr. Robert Rowen points out, "In a recent study, researchers gave mice a choice of fatty food or normal rodent food. The high fat food was 45 percent fat, 35 percent carbohydrates, and 20 percent protein. The "normal" diet was 10 percent fat, 70 percent carbohydrates, and 20 percent protein. The mice chose the high fat meal every time and became obese."

The main carbohydrate in the study was cornstarch which was replaced with brown rice. The brown rice apparently caused the mice to choose the normal food instead of the fatty food and the addition of the brown rice cut the weight gain of the mice in half. You also need to know when white rice was added, the weight control aspect never worked.

Rowen further explained, "The team found that eating fatty food produces stress in the brain's hypothalamus, the controller of appetite. Eating brown rice, as well as feeding gamma oryzanol, reduced the signs of stress. They also found that brown rice inhibits the absorption of fat in the bowel. Brown rice is a complex carbohydrate, not a simple sugar. So the concentration of sugar and neutral fat in blood will decrease, which is great news for diabetics."

While most all of these studies are conducted on mice and not humans, the studies can't be totally translated to humans, but they are certainly a great indicator of the benefits of brown over white rice. Brown rice, while a complex carbohydrate, is a whole food, not processed starch like white rice. Remember to try to use spring water, distilled or otherwise purified water when cooking the rice. It's an inexpensive addition to the diet that may help with controlling cravings for fat while helping to burn fat.

Dee Woods is available to give presentations about alternative health treatments and healthy living. She can be reached at deewoods@comcast. net.

Health Scan

Heart health at Republic Bank

A Royal Benefit Club event on heart health will be held Friday, Jan. 25, from 2 to 3 p.m., at Republic Bank, 9530 W. 131st St. in Palos Park.

Walgreen's pharmacy, manager Ria Kotsis will be administering free blood pressure checks and will consult on your medications. Bring any medications that you have questions on. Everyone is invited to attend.

RSVP by Jan. 23. Contact Joanna Leja at 923-1013.

Memory and aging

Palos Township Health Service will host Kim Kumiega, a community outreach representative, for a seminar on memories and aging on Friday, Jan. 25, from 9 to 11 a.m., at Palos Township, 10802 S. Roberts Road in Palos Hills. Call the health service at 598-2441.

Best of The Wine Guy - Imposter foods sap your strength

  So many people do not take the time to even think about what or how they are eating; they simply stuff their faces as quickly as possible with whatever slop is most convenient. In the process they are consuming food that is destroying their bodies and failing to provide the nourishment we require.
  Be careful not to overeat. We are living in an era of supersized meals where we want the most bang for our buck, but the fact is many people are eating many more calories than they need — then aggravating this by living sedentary lives in which they fail to burn the calories they consume. Eat only when hungry, and know the difference between hunger and thirst. People today are consuming soft drinks in ridiculous amounts, and these sodas are actually diuretics that cause the body to rid itself of water. Thirst, in turn, is often mistaken for hunger, so instead of drinking water the person eats when he shouldn’t.
  Eat simple, plain foods such as bananas, apples, oranges, tomatoes, celery, broccoli, green beans and carrots. While these fruits and vegetables do not typically evoke a mouth-watering response, they contain many if not most of the key nutrients we need on a daily basis to maintain cell health and maintenance. Take advantage of eating fresh apricots, which are in season now and are richer in iron and minerals than most other fruits. Apricots contain vitamins A and B, help prevent anemia and are excellent body cleansers. They also help stave off constipation, bronchitis, obesity, gallstones, pimples and diarrhea.
  It is even OK to skip meals once in awhile. The food you eat will harm the body much more than the meals you miss. It is better to skip dinner or eat a very light healthy snack of fruit or vegetables if all you have to eat is a frozen dinner or stuff you can pour out of a box and heat up in a few minutes. Frozen and packaged foods are packed with horrible additives and preservatives that do not exist in nature and to which our bodies are not meant to be exposed. Refined and manufactured foods sit in the gut, putrefy and poison the body.
  Our children today are loaded up like never before on hot dogs, burgers, pizza, candy, soda pop and other unhealthy foods. This garbage is polluting their bloodstreams like factory’s waste polluted our country’s rivers and lakes during the rise of American industry. Add in the chemical poisons distributed by drug companies and promoted by physicians because of “hyperactivity,” “attention deficit disorder” and other invented “disorders” and many of our children are essentially walking toxic waste dumps. Did you know that in order for something to be classified as a “drug by the Food and Drug Administration it has to contain compounds not found in nature? Think about that, and think about whether God intended us to invent chemicals to medicate our bodies — which by the way are composed of the same elements of which the Earth is made.
  A healthy diet of natural foods ensures that the body is taking in the nutrients it needs and eliminating what it doesn’t. There is no accumulation of acids and poisons that distort the body’s chemistry and slows or shuts down the life force that permeates all living things. Fresh, natural foods are great medicine, so eat them for all of your meals and you will look better, have more energy and start living a healthier life. And include a glass or two of wine — it can only help.

Anthony Scarano is not a doctor. He is an 88-year-old Evergreen Park resident, winemaker and certified naturopath. Suggestions in this space are solely the opinions of Mr. Scarano based on years of independent study and personal experience, and may not be beneficial to health. Wine should be consumed in moderation, as overindulgence may be harmful to health.