Got to focus on something positive and non-wine related. At least our disasterous Syrah was made with purchased grapes. If you made this bad a wine from grapes you’d lovingly grown and nurtured, well, you’d have to slit your wrists. So I’ll focus on an amazing, homegrown cholesterol beating program that just lowered my brother’s cholesterol by an amazing THIRTY FOUR POINTS in less than three months. It’s a program he figured out on his own just through research. (Although my brother is an amazing researcher. Walking by a Civil War monument at West Point that listed all the battles, we could just point to any one at random and he could rattle off who were the commanding generals on each side, what the casualties were on each side, what the result of the battle was and, although I didn’t ask him, probably what the second in command on each side fed his horse that morning.) But I digress: cholesterol.

Steven (AKA Schrid) had a routine test that showed his cholesterol was high enough that the doctor wanted to put him on Lipitor immediately. Steven begged for a three month grace period to develop his own plan. Here it is:

1. NO FAST FOOD. None. Nada. Not even the so-called healthy salads. By the way, Steve’s work takes him on the road every day, so if he could avoid this one, anyone can.

2. No meat on Wednesday and Friday. On these days, his dinners of choice included pasta with vegetables or Atlantic haddock or salmon.

3. Every other NIGHT (I guess this is a snack) a big bowl of cereal with roasted wheat germ and about two tablespoons ground flax seeds. (He gets organic flax seeds and grinds them in a coffee grinder.)

4. No eggs. Egg beaters were used in recipes that would be ruined without eggs.

5. Organic skim milk.

6. Niacin. As much as you can handle up to 500mg per day. Steve’s doctor recommended this, but be aware that some people are sensitive. Steve had pins and needles and dizziness, so he substituted a B-complex vitamin with fewer mg of the niacin.

7. Fish oil tablets once a day. The trick is fish that is low on the food chain and from cold waters like Norway or Iceland. Although with Global Warming. . .

8. Green tea. He started drinking green tea lattes with non-fat milk to replace morning coffee. Note that with hot green tea, don’t pour boiling water on it. You’ll kill the good stuff. Just steep it in boiled water that has cooled for about five minutes.

9. Wheat grass once a week. If you live in San Francisco, you can buy shots of this on most any commercial strip. Steven doesn’t, so he got the powder and mixed a tablespoon in a glass of water. Yeah. It’s like drinking grass, but just pretend you are a cow. So if you can, drink it even more than once a day.

10. No butter. Substitute Olivio for spread and olive oil for every other instance where you’d use butter or shortening.

11. Lots of whole grains. Most of Steve’s breakfasts were Rainforest Granola and real oatmeal. (Just check the ingredient panels. There are a lot of pretenders.)

12. Try to eat non-processed foods wherever possible. (Say an apple instead of a fruit leather.) But check labels religiously for saturated fat, salt, cholesterol and sugar.

Steve’s still on the program and will be reporting his results in within the next three months. Meanwhile, if your cholesterol is high, try this plan and let me know how you did.