The Wine Guy - Nine years later, still going strong

  • Written by Anthony Scarano

  In July 2004, the first article about the health benefits of wine was published in the newspaper. The editor at the time — Jason Maholy, who is still the editor — thought it was an interesting subject and decided to print it. The articles continued, and soon began to include the health benefits and miraculous medicinal qualities of not only wine but fruits, vegetables, herbs and other whole, natural foods.
  This was not the first time articles about the health benefits of wine and other medicinal foods was ever published, but it is safe to say the media scarcely covered the subject nine years ago. When we read the sporadic article, it was usually about how some new study determined something we knew was bad for you was bad for you. The great properties of natural foods was not widely recognized, but it is obvious to me that other people read our articles and woke up. Today, you cannot make it through any publication any day of the week without seeing an article about food and how it relates to health. These stories are in newspapers and magazines, and on TV.

  We also called attention to the importance of cleansing the colon by eating whole, fibrous foods — in other words, fruits and vegetables. This is so crucial to health because the sludge the can build up in the gut contributes to constipation, sickness and chronic illness. Since this article began appearing in this paper, it has become common knowledge through other media that a clean colon contributes to good health.
  Once in a while this article will miss a week, for whatever reason, and when that happens people notice. We get phone calls asking ‘what happened to The Wine Guy?’ Thank you for your concern and for your readership, I am doing well and going strong. The popularity of this column is nothing less than astounding, and with the help of divine providence may it continue to help educate and entertain you for many more years.
  A great many thanks must be given to editor Jason Maholy, who saw that I had knowledge to offer that is helpful to many people who are trying to live healthier lives.

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.

Best of The Wine Guy - Wine vines spread like kudzu across Atlantic

  In the Book of Proverbs there is this advice: “Give strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress. Let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.”
  As we all know, wine can induce a feeling of well-being. In times of great distress, nervousness or excitement — all emotions that are offensive to a peacefully calm mind — a glass of Port wine can bring relief. It is a magical potion; a sedative without the potentially harsh side effects of prescription pharmaceuticals.
  In ancient Greece, as the people gathered together to sip wine and chat, they often mixed wine with water and flavored it with herbs, spices, honey or almonds. The idea was to drink slowly using small cups, and gradually reach a state of happy harmony. It was not considered good form to swill and gulp.
  The spread of wine from the Mediterranean region began thousands of years ago beginning when the culture of the vines spread from Greece to Rome. The Greeks and Romans shipped wine to Gaul — today known as France — where the natives were drinking a brew made from barley.
  The Gauls soon realized wine was far superior to their barleybased beverage. They abandoned their barley fields and began cultivating vines, and in a short time were making a lot of good wine and selling it to the Romans. This upset the Romans, who tried to pass laws of restriction, however, the Gauls found ways to get around these restrictions and went on to make increasingly better wine — which they are still doing today.
  Wine then spread to the Americas via the Vikings, who despite what history books say “discovered” America nearly 500 years before Columbus. Lief Ericcson and his crew of Vikings landed on the coast of North America, near what is today Newfoundland, around the year 1000. Ericcson found so many vines he named the place Vinland, but the Vikings did not realize these vines could produce good wine. In fact, later, these settlers turned up their noses at the American grapes and imported their own wines.
  Because Catholics use wine during their masses, missionaries carried the vines all over the world. The early Spanish and Portuguese settlers brought wine with them to the New World. Cortez and his conquistadores planted vines in Mexico as early as 1524. In 1561, Mendoza was pronounced the wine capital of Argentina, and there were soon were vines growing in Chile and Peru as well.
  Wine’s introduction in the United States began in earnest when Padre Serra, during his Catholic missions to California, planted vines in San Diego in 1769 because the Franciscan Friars needed sacramental wines. In Los Angeles, a Frenchman named Jean Louis Vignes planted more than 100 acres of vines. The Hungarian Count Agoston Haraszthy planted vines and made wine in Sonoma Valley — which he called Buena Vista — during the California Gold Rush of 1849. In 1861 Haraszthy imported 100,000 European vine plants.
  From these humble beginnings, wine has become a gigantic industry in the United States and beyond.

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.

Dee Woods - Mixing It Up For Good Health - Health tips from Cousin Norb

Health tips from Cousin Norb

 This is partially anecdotal, but it’s multi-anecdotal. I find the information plausible both from the numbers and recent published studies.
  My interest began when a neighbor stopped me to relate what she considered lifesaving information that she received from her cousin. She explained she had a clogged artery and the doctors had been watching it.
  She told me the blockage is now gone and that her 82-year-old cousin, Norb, advised her to obtain pectin. You know, the kind used for jams and canning— just plain citrus pectin. Pectin is a soluble fiber found in fruits. Norb told her he had a blockage and it was gone within a year after he took pectin every day.
  I have written of modified citrus pectin (MCP) being used for numerous health issues including both cancer and detoxifying as well as for cleansing arteries. MCP is presently being used in trials as an adjunct to treatment against prostate cancer. MCP acts as an anti-angiogenesis agent to stop tumors from obtaining blood supplies, but I was interested in Norb’s experience with the less expensive plain pectin.
  I met with Norb. He has a full head of hair and doesn’t look like an 82-year-old. He has been a world traveler and enjoyed learning of natural healing methods from around the world. His story is amazing. He is, for all intents and purposes, his family’s physician. He shared story after story about how pectin has provided tremendous healing for his family and friends. He believes it helps arthritis as well. He has been taking it for many years and told me whenever he becomes too busy and forgets to take it for more than a few weeks, he sees negative changes in his own health.
  Norb explained his brother had prostate cancer and a prostate specific antigen (PSA) of 27 but wasn’t a candidate for chemotherapy. Norb told his brother to ask his doctor if he could take pectin and the doctor said it wouldn’t harm a thing. In four months his brother’s PSA was down to 17, and it was progressively reduced and then gone. His brother’s doctor told him to continue whatever it was he was doing. It seemed too easy.
  I decided I would search to see if there were any studies on pectin for prostate cancer or any other diseases. Sure enough, I found studies from 2007 and 2010 that indicated there was a 40 percent cell death among prostate cancer cells after use of pectin. Pectin did not harm healthy cells, just cancer cells. There is an ongoing study using pectin as an adjunct to the cancer drug doxyrubicinn. The developer of MCP has issued a press release on both the study and the latest information indicating the MCP form of pectin is useful for preventing hardening of the arteries.
  Additionally, The European Safety Authority, a counterpart to our own FDA, proclaimed pectin reduced cholesterol levels.
  Always consult your physician before taking anything natural or herbal, especially if you are on medications, but these recent reports are pointing to opening another natural door to healing without surgery. Please let me know if you happen to be using either the MCP form or plain pectin. I would like to hear feedback.

Dee Woods is available to give presentations about alternative health treatments and healthy living. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

The Best of The Wine Guy - Seasonings trump salt in flavor, benefits

  In case you haven’t heard — and let’s be honest, you’ve either been living in a cave or don’t ever read, watch television or use the Internet if this is the case — Americans are eating far too much salt.
  The Reporter’s own Dee Woods has stated as much while noting there is a difference between “good” salt — the kind that comes from the ocean and is unprocessed — and “bad” salt — the kind known as “table salt” that most everyone uses whether at home or at a restaurant. This article will talk only about the bad salt, which should be consumed in amounts of no more than one-half teaspoon a day.
  What is astounding is that we’ve known for years too much salt is bad for our health, yet salt consumption has risen to extraordinary levels. This is in part because of Americans’ insatiable appetites for fast food, which may as well be labeled “salt with a side of (name your meal).” Yes, salt brings out the flavors in foods, but most foods aren’t so terrible that they can’t do without it. We’ve just been conditioned since childhood to believe food just isn’t very tasty without it.
  Salt can be found in almost everything that doesn’t grow in the Earth. Restaurant food, snack foods, microwavable meals and almost everything canned. Chefs on TV make delicious-looking foods using copious amounts of this crystalline compound.
  Sodium is necessary for life, we can’t live without it. But excessive salt intake can contribute to high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack and cardiovascular disease. It can also cause dehydration, which causes myriad ailments including headache and cramps.
  Avoid too much salt by eating fresh raw vegetables and cooking at home, rather than eating out. Steam your vegetables, and resist the temptation to sprinkle them with salt — really, your food doesn’t need it. Try seasoning with onions, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and herbs and spices such as thyme, basil, oregano, cayenne and paprika. Not only are these seasonings good, they’re good for you. Try them in soups and salads, or marinate your meat with them. Cayenne may be the best of the bunch — this powerful pepper (careful, it’s hot) can dilate blood vessels and reduce blood pressure to such a degree it has been documented to stop a heart attack in its tracks. Apple cider vinegar is also great, it may help prevent the buildup and even eliminate already existing arterial plaque.
  Use these seasonings well, lay off the salt, eat healthy and keep drinking wine.

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.

Mixing It Up For Good Health - Better diet may cure mild hypertension

By Dee Woods

  We’re all pretty aware of the dangers of heart attack and stroke. We’re also aware that high blood pressure is many times a precursor to both conditions.
  That may explain why physicians tend to treat high blood pressure — even slightly high blood pressure — so aggressively.
  The question asked by alternative physician Julian Whitaker is whether medication should be given for slightly high or mild hypertension, rather than working to reduce the blood pressure naturally. We already know that when blood pressure is very high (greater than 160/99) treatment is a must. But Whitaker states that until last year, no one ever took the time to test the premise that Stage 1 hypertension should be treated. All studies in the past lumped all hypertension classes together. He explained that 76 million Americans have mild or Stage 1 hypertension.
  The study he spoke of were the findings of researchers known as the Cochrane Collaboration, who reviewed past clinical trials involving patients with Type 1 hypertension. They compared the outcomes of patients who were treated with drugs against those patients who were not treated with drugs.
  Their conclusion? “Individuals with mildly elevated blood pressure, but no previous cardiovascular events, make up the majority of those considered for and receiving antihypertensive therapy. [There is] no difference between treated and untreated individuals in heart attack, stroke and death. About 9 percent of the patients treated with drugs discontinued treatment due to adverse effects.”
  What Whitaker is reporting is that patients with blood pressure between 140 to 159 over 90 to 99 who had no previous heart problems, yet were taking blood pressure medications, did no better than those who had not taken the medication.
  What the study did find was that those with only mild hypertension who were taking blood pressure medications had an entirely new set of side-effects from the medications.
  The list of side-effects included but were not limited to erectile dysfunction, weakness, muscle cramps, depression, dizziness, insomnia, headaches and constipation.
  It is clear the more drugs a patient is prescribed, the more adverse side-effects may be seen. Whitaker points out consumer protection group Public Citizen petitioned the FDA to place additional black box warnings on three types of blood pressure drugs, suggesting that when combined these drugs could create serious health issues or side-effects. If you have Stage 1 hypertension and are on medication, you must not stop suddenly. Work with your physician to reduce you dosage of medication.
  The Cliff’s Notes version is that Whitaker shows those with mild high blood pressure, drugs may not be the answer because of the side effects. Such blood pressure should be reduced; however, he suggests patients adopt a low sugar, low salt, moderate protein diet that includes high-potassium vegetables and fruits as well as unprocessed foods. Exercise, walk, and make certain to have your electrolytes in balance as well as taking a few supplements. Drink low sodium V8. Daily supplements should include magnesium (500 to 1000 milligrams), potassium nitrate (600 milligrams), CoQ10 (100 to 300 milligrams), fish oil, celery and beet juice. His explanation for the minerals is that magnesium relaxes arteries, while potassium nitrate and beet juice boost levels of nitric oxide, which helps dilate blood vessels and improve artery health. Drink at least eight glasses of water per day. In other words, take responsibility for your own health.
  Those with higher blood pressure or dangerously high blood pressure must take medications because it would be dangerous to ignore high blood pressure. He suggests these patients work with their doctors to reduce their blood pressure via diet and exercise, which may be able to help them reduce their dosage or even eliminate medications altogether by becoming healthier patients through healthier living.

Dee Woods is available to give presentations about alternative health treatments and healthy living. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .