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Eliminate high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes

—Dr. Richard Moore

The latest science shows that drugs are not the best way to treat these two conditions. In the case of high blood pressure, in a study of 17,000 hypertensive patients, the British Medical Research Council decisively showed that successfully using drugs to lower blood pressure has no over-all effect on mortality. This study found that although lowering blood pressure to normal with drugs in men produced a slight drop in the rate of death, use of anti-hypertensive drugs in women produced a 25 percent increase in the rate of death.

The treatment of type 2 diabetes is based upon the assumption that the main function of insulin is to regulate the activity of the sodium/potassium pump and the hormone’s role in regulating glucose is secondary. About thirty years ago, while giving a talk at the University of Illinois, one of their scientists pointed out that several species of animals have normal levels of blood glucose that are two to four times that of humans. Although evidence shows that higher than normal blood levels of glucose are associated with bad health consequences, there is no evidence that high glucose per se is the cause of the damage that diabetics experience. We do know the changes that cause the damage of diabetes and how to prevent that damage. Becoming a vegetarian is one of several ways to get rid of type 2 diabetes.

To learn more about these issues, join Dr Richard Moore at the Placitas Community Library on October 7, at 2:00 p.m. Dr Moore is the author of The High Blood Pressure Solution as well as several other books available at the Library.

New wine room to open in downtown Los Alamos

—Jim Fish

Anasazi Fields, Black’s Smuggler, and Vivac Wineries have joined forces to open a wine room at 145 Central Park Square in downtown Los Alamos. These three small, unique wineries will be offering a wide assortment of their wines for tasting and for sale by the glass and by the bottle. Light snacks to complement the wines will also be available for purchase.

We are nearing completion of the interior remodel of the 1,400 square-foot space and are hoping to open in mid-October. Seating will be a combination of chairs around small tables and bar stools at the serving counter and along twenty feet of window counters. All of the counters are topped with beautiful Rainforest Green Marble.

Manager Seraph Cortez and the three winemakers are dedicated to creating an inviting, entertaining, and educational experience for Northern New Mexicans to enjoy and to share with their friends and visitors. At least once a week, the Wine Room will be hosting special events, including poetry readings, musical performances, winemaker dinners, library wine tastings, art openings, and seminars on wine making.

Visit to track our progress and for a definitive opening date.

Flash in the pan

The garlic equation 

—Ari LeVaux

Sowing garlic in your garden means that you will always have something growing. It’s planted in autumn, when the rest of the garden is about done. The cloves send out roots but don’t sprout and patiently brood through the winter before making their moves in spring. The shoots are a foot tall when the rest of the garden is still brown. By the time garlic is harvested in early summer, the rest of the garden is in full swing.

I planted my first crop of garlic in Portland, Oregon, behind a house known as The Farm. It was another millennia, we were young and foolish and idealistic, and my garlic partner and I mulched our crop with leaves from the nearby hardwoods. The winter rains turned that brown foliage into a thick mat that was all but impenetrable to young garlic plants. When only a few shoots emerged, we dug into the mulch and found the rest, about six inches long, colored pale yellow, and growing sideways against a ceiling of dead, wet leaves.

We pulled off the mulch and let the garlic stand up over the next few days. Then we put the leaves back in between the garlic plants. As soon as the leaves dried out, they blew away.

But garlic is hearty, and despite our mistakes we got an amazing crop. The following autumn we planted some of our harvest, and I quit buying garlic.

That changed a few years later, when a bushel basket full of Romanian Red garlic caught my eye at the Okanogan Barter Faire, in central Washington State.

For those who haven’t been to a barter faire, it’s a Pacific Northwest tradition that’s something of a cross between a farmer’s market, a flea market, and a rainbow gathering. It’s people camping out together in a temporary community, partying around fires by night and trading goods with one another by day. The goods include almost anything you can imagine, handmade or mass produced.

Okanogan’s barter faire is revered in the barter faire community. It’s the mothership of barter faires—the stuff of legend. I know a woman who forgot to bring her sleeping bag to Okanogan. She ended up meeting her future husband, and stayed warm in his. Something along those lines happened when I first set eyes on that Romanian Red, waiting in the back of a pickup truck. That was the moment I met my garlic soul mate.

I found the grower, David Ronniger. I did not barter for my twenty pounds of Romanian Red. I did not offer him a jar of homemade pickles. I handed over cash for my new stash, and I brought it home and planted it.

The garlic that resulted from that planting, and the generations of Romanian Red that have followed, have made me very happy. It has a great flavor that’s complex, earthy, and spicy, but without the blinding white fire of some garlic. The cloves are large and easy to peel; the bulbs are large, and they store a long time without getting soft or drying out.

I quit planting my other garlic, Spanish Roja, and I’ve been living on Romanian Red ever since—except the one time I didn’t plant enough garlic, and I had to pay for it again.

“Enough garlic” is a slippery concept. In my case, it means having enough that after planting for next year, enough remains that I can enjoy a bulb a day until harvest.

Romanian Red is a variety of garlic in the so-called “hardneck” category, which means it sends up an edible flower, called a scape, each spring. Scapes are delicious, and fun to cook and eat. If a hardneck grower runs out of garlic in spring, he or she can at least get by on the flowers until the bulbs are ready. But the year I didn’t plant enough garlic, I didn’t even make it to garlic flower season before I was buying Chinese softneck garlic at the supermarket. It was disgusting. It was humiliating. And I swore it would never happen again.

To make sure of this, I came up with an equation with which I could calculate how much garlic I must plant in order to generate a self-sustaining crop. Deriving this equation was a cathartic experience that finally allowed me to put my algebra studies to use, and should keep me in garlic for the foreseeable future.

One needs the values of two variables in order to calculate how many bulbs worth of garlic you should plant.

The first variable, “Y,” is how many bulbs of harvested garlic you wish to eat in a year. In my case, that’s one per day, or 365.

The other variable, “Z,” is the average number of cloves per bulb of your variety of garlic. The lower the value of Z, the more bulbs worth of garlic cloves you will need to plant in order to grow enough.

If Romanian Red has one weakness, at least from a grower’s perspective, it is in the “Z” department. The cloves are so big that the number per head is small, averaging about five. Some softnecks, by comparison, can have 15 or more cloves per bulb, which is great if you want to grow lots of garlic. But I’m more a cook than a gardener. I’d rather plant more cloves and peel fewer for the same amount of garlic.

Here is my equation, where “G” is the number of garlic bulbs you must break apart and plant in order to grow enough garlic.

G = Z/(Y-1)

Plugging in my values, G = 365/(5-1), or 91.25, which I round up to 92. Checking my math, 92 bulbs contain on average 460 cloves, each of which will grow into a bulb. If I harvest 460 bulbs, and subtract the 365 bulbs I intend to eat, I’m left with 95 bulbs for planting next year. The extra three bulbs, a bonus, are the result of rounding up from 91.25.

After that brain-cramping mathematical marathon, planting the garlic is the easy part.

If you want some Romanian Garlic seed, David Ronniger has it. He can be reached at Camas Natural Food Store in Hot Springs, MT. Call (406) 741-2148.

Ari LeVaux, a former Placitan, writes Flash in the Pan, a syndicated weekly food column that has appeared in more than 50 newspapers in 22 states. Follow him on Twitter @arilevaux.

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