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When we are not in Possagno, Sabin makes dinner at home, at the sweet apartment in the Dorsoduro we’ve rented from his boyhood friend Carlo. It’s all luscious foodstuffs from the supermercato Billa Billa. Tonight  we feasted on mozzarella di bufala con tomate e pesto, and green olives and paper-thin slices of chicken with herbs and a rather nice Dolcetto D’Alba… Molto buono.

We’re on a quiet canal with little traffic and the light from the sky still seeps in late in the evening. A bell tower nearby rings in the hours, and tonight riffs of noise drift up, all discussion about the World Cup. The last few nights have seen raucous thunderstorms, so now the air is clean and fresh and smells softly of the sea. Just before noon, Carlo’s daughter pointed out a fish in the canal, a silvery thing wiggling around an abandoned peach pit with a few tufts of yellow meat still attached. In the afternoons, I stretch out my travel mat and do 45 minutes or an hour of yogaglo, and hope that the repetitions of downward facing dog and chattarunga dundasana will combat the calories, of which there are many, all richly enjoyed.




Agriturismo Al Vecchio Borgo outside of Possagno: A magical experience, with excellent food
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Agriturismo Al Vecchio Borgo outside of Possagno: A magical experience, with excellent food

If I were married to a surgeon, I would hear about cuts and scalpels; if I were married to a movie producer, I would be regaled with stories about talent and above- and below-the-line costs; I am married to a classical figurative sculptor, so I have spent considerable time in Possagno, at Canova’s Gypsoteca and the nearby breath-taking Tempio.

Tonight I wanted to try a new place for dinner. Sabin googled a restaurant and, en route, we passed an Agriturismo.

“Oh, let’s stop there, I love Agriturismos!” I enthused.

Sabin was skeptical, but he was in the mood to please me. I had, after all, endured several hours of waiting for him to emerge from the Canova museum. He raised an eyebrow but drove up the gravel road to the restaurant.

We were greeted by the honks and shuffles of a small pen of ducks and hens. “Dinner,” Sabin observed. But he was happy to note that the immaculate walkway to the Agriturismo was lined with half-life-size sculptures. It was all very neat and manicured.

Once inside, we saw several locals and a few tourists. Nice-looking young Demitri waved us to a table in welcoming fashion and then informed us of the day’s offerings.

The antipasti consisted of two plates of the most delicious salumi. One plate was heaped with prosciutto, pancetta, and salami. The other plate sported paper-thin slices of roast breast of turkey. As a rule, I don’t eat pork. But the salami was mouth-wateringly scrumptious, and I couldn’t resist. I ate every bite that Sabin allowed me—he finished most of it, and he wasn’t sharing, despite the kilo of beef he’d eaten for lunch.

I also indulged in the wine. It was a riot of purple goodness on my tongue, fresh and drinkable and absolutely superb. At night I have one glass of wine at dinner. But tonight a few glasses vanished before I belatedly realized that I really should pace myself. It was just so clean and yummy that I wanted more, and more. Oh, and have I mentioned that the wine is home-made?

Then came the pasta: home-made tagliatelle with duck ragu. Ohmigod. As a professional writer, I really should have a better way to say it than Ohmigod. But that luscious primi deserved devout praise, an exclamation of the purest pleasure. Again, as a rule, I don’t eat pasta. But this was a divine exception.

Sabin devoured his pasta without saying a word or even breathing.

Then I had the steak, and it was fantastic, clean and lean and perfectly cooked and exquisite. Sabin and I shared the secondi because he had, after all, eaten a kilo of beef at lunch.

We passed on dessert. I couldn’t have wedged another bite of anything down my gullet. So Demetri brought me home-made limoncello, and it was another mouthful of bliss and paradise. We fell to talking to him, or rather, Sabin spoke Italian and I understand a lot more than I can say, so I followed the conversation. Then Demetri introduced us to his wife Jessica, a lovely and talented young woman who keeps a sparkling kitchen and cooks like an angel. We begged her to allow us to take a few pictures, because it was overwhelmingly impressive.

And then Demitri brought me a glass of an herbal liquor that he claimed was a digestive, something they make themselves. Have I already used the words delicious, divine, scrumptious, and bliss? Because they all apply to this liquor, which must be tasted to be believed.

So next time you are in the area of Asolo or Possagno, or anywhere in the Veneto, stop by Agriturismo Al Vecchio Borgo. They’re located at Via Fusere 7 – Fietta di Paderno del Grappa, tel 0423 190 14 57. Restaurant open Friday and Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch and dinner.

Agriturismo Al Vecchio Borgo



Agriturismo Al Vecchio Borgo

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Letter to Senators Gillibrand and Schumer re the Leahy Bill

Nov 19, 2010

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Russell Senate Office Building, Room 478
Constitution and Delaware Avenues, NE
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Gillibrand,

I am deeply concerned that Sen. Leahy’s Food Safety Accountability Act of 2010 (S. 3767) may be included in or attached to the Food Safety Bill (S. 510), either via the manager’s amendment package or as a floor amendment.

I was dismayed to read the original language of S. 3767, which contained new and draconian ten-year jail terms for adulterating or misbranding food. This was unacceptable because of the way the FDA interprets the words “adulterating” and “misbranding.” You could have gone to jail for ten years just for citing scientific research from leading universities about your food product!

I was pleased to learn that the bill has been amended. It now says you don’t go to jail for up to ten years unless you “consciously or recklessly disregard a risk of death or serious bodily injury.”
This is better, but unacceptably vague and subjective. Actual harm should be required for such a long jail term. In addition, this amendment included new language which both specifically targeted supplements and made a lapse in filing to the FDA subject to the full ten-year jail term (see the reference to subsection V of Section 301 of the Federal Food and Drug Act). Paperwork violations should not lead to ten years in jail or threats of such jail terms. Why was this new language added? How can it possibly be justified?

Senators are currently editing S. 510 behind closed doors, as they draft the Manager’s Amendment Package, which may be substituted in place of the current Food Safety bill. It could include the Leahy bill language, and the public may not have an opportunity to review such changes before the Senate votes. If changes are made, both the Senate and the public ought to have notice of them and a chance to comment before a vote.

As one of your constituents, I want you to know that I take dietary supplements regularly, and value their help in keeping my family healthy. The Leahy bill, even after improvement in some respects, is still a misguided attempt to protect our food supply or ensure the safety of supplements. There is still too much risk that natural product makers will be threatened, silenced, and penalized.

At this point, I wonder if it will soon be necessary to obtain a medical permit to buy carrots, because carrots are full of Vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, which supports excellent eye health, among other benefits. If I buy carrots and support my eyes, I will not buy some expensive, harmful medication to do that–and Big Pharma loses money. Clearly this bill is the foot soldier of the big pharmaceutical companies, who are out to eradicate competition to their expensive and side-effect laden drugs. Only Big Pharma stands to gain from this bill–which is why they have paid Senators so much money to craft it. The American consumer will not be helped by this so-called “food safety” bill, they will be hurt by it.

If the United States Government wants to protect the American consumer, they will overhaul the FDA, which is a thoroughly corrupt institution and a shill for the chemical, pharmaceutical, bio-tech, and medical establishment industries.

Please oppose inclusion of the Leahy bill and its draconian jail terms in the Food Safety bill!


Ms. Traci Slatton
New York, NY

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We MUST distrust the FDA, the medical establishment, and Big Pharma

Scientists leave Monsanto to work at the FDA during the approval process for the use of Bovine Growth Hormone in dairy cows. The FDA allows milk to be substantially more adulterated for consumer use. After bovine growth hormone is approved, the scientists return to their original jobs at Monsanto. See: NEXUS Magazine, several articles including June/July 2001, vol. 8 #4, “Milking the Truth with GE Hormones” by Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, also Aug/Sept 1998, vol. 5 #5, “The Health Dangers of Dairy Products,” by Robert Cohen, regarding scientist Dr. Margaret Miller

“Ironically, Merck holds the patent on combining the natural substance coenzyme Q10 with statin to prevent a lot of the statin side effects, but none of their patent-medicine statins have coenzyme Q10…. This patent prevents some of the side effects from their patent statin, so it’s possible they are not using the combination of coenzyme Q10 and their statin because doing so might admit liability. If they release this information, everyone will know, and they may have to admit that their drug was harmful.” Dr. Jonathan Wright, in Suzanne Somers BREAKTHROUGH: Life Altering Secrets from Today’s Cutting-Edge Doctors (New York: Crown Publishers) p. 52-53.
Big Pharma Scores Big Win: Medicine Herbs will disappear in Europe

It’s almost a done deal. We are about to see herbal preparations disappear, and the ability of herbalists to prescribe them will also be lost.

by Heidi Stevenson


12 September 2010

Big Pharma has almost reached the finish line of its decades-long battle to wipe out all competition. As of 1 April 2011—less than eight months from now—virtually all medicinal herbs will become illegal in the European Union. The approach in the United States is a bit different, but it’s having the same devastating effect. The people have become nothing more than sinks for whatever swill Big Pharma and Agribusiness choose to send our way, and we have no option but to pay whatever rates they want.

Big Pharma and Agribusiness have almost completed their march to take over every aspect of health, from the food we eat to the way we care for ourselves when we’re ill. Have no doubt about it: this takeover will steal what health remains to us.


Princeton Researchers find that High Fructose Corn Syrup prompts Considerably More Weight Gain
A Princeton University research team has demonstrated that all sweeteners are not equal when it comes to weight gain: Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.

In addition to causing significant weight gain in lab animals, long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup also led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides. The researchers say the work sheds light on the factors contributing to obesity trends in the United States.

“Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn’t true, at least under the conditions of our tests,” said psychology professor Bart Hoebel, who specializes in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction. “When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they’re becoming obese — every single one, across the board.”


Child diabetes blamed on food sweetener

by Lois Rogers

Scientists have proved for the first time that a cheap form of sugar used in thousands of food products and soft drinks can damage human metabolism and is fuelling the obesity crisis.Fructose, a sweetener derived from corn, can cause dangerous growths of fat cells around vital organs and is able to trigger the early stages of diabetes and heart disease.It has increasingly been used as a substitute for more expensive types of sugar in yoghurts, cakes, salad dressing and cereals. Even some fruit drinks that sound healthy contain fructose.Experts believe that the sweetener — which is found naturally in small quantities in fruit — could be a factor in the emergence of diabetes among children. This week, a new report is expected to claim that about one in 10 children in England will be obese by 2015.




The Corn Refiners Association, which represents firms that make the syrup, has been trying to improve the image of the much maligned sweetener with ad campaigns promoting it as a natural ingredient made from corn. Now, the group has petitioned the United States Food and Drug Administration to start calling the ingredient “corn sugar,” arguing that a name change is the only way to clear up consumer confusion about the product.”

see: The New York Times, Sept. 14, 2010, article by Tara Parker-Pope


NOTE: In my opinion, high fructose corn syrup is almost as dangerous as cigarettes, and all foods with this toxic substance as an ingredient MUST be labelled as dangerous and obesity causing. If the FDA were truly an organization for serving consumers, they would require this kind of labelling. However, the FDA is merely a shill for the chemical, pharmaceutical, bio-tech, Big Agra and Big Pharma companies.

There is a pattern at work in the world. The pattern is the slow but steady erosion of civil liberties and individual rights. These are handed over to Big Business so that the few can make money at the expense of the many. BEWARE.

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I’ve been preaching about the dangers of high fructose corn syrup for years, and finally, The Times Online verifies: “Scientists have proved for the first time that a cheap form of sugar used in thousands of food products and soft drinks can damage human metabolism and is fuelling the obesity crisis.”

For years I’ve been trying to stringently avoid highly processed foods in general, and foods with high fructose corn syrup in particular. I steer my children away from it. It’s a relief to see the scientific community rallying around what we in the natural health fields have known for years:

Fructose bypasses the digestive process that breaks down other forms of sugar. It arrives intact in the liver where it causes a variety of abnormal reactions, including the disruption of mechanisms that instruct the body whether to burn or store fat.”


My question is, knowing that the US FDA is only a shill for the chemical, pharmaceutical, and biotech companies, will the FDA finally now warn people against high fructose corn syrup, which is potentially as dangerous to people as cigarettes?

Or will the FDA continue to turn a blind eye to the crippling and sickening of the American people by the aforementioned chemical, pharmaceutical, and biotech companies?

Because those companies do not have Americans’ best interests at heart. They have their cash influx at heart. And the FDA has pandered to that, probably because there is a constant flux of scientists and researchers from companies seeking FDA approval to the FDA, and then back to their original companies, when they’ve gotten their products approved. Yep, it’s true: scientists will, say for example, leave Monsanto to work at the FDA when they want the use of bovine growth hormone approved in milk; then, when the FDA has approved the adulterated milk so that Monsanto can get richer, those scientists return to Monsanto. This is of course purely a hypothetical situation: at least, I present it that way, though I read that it happened.

(See NEXUS Magazine, several articles including June/July 2001, vol. 8 #4, “Milking the Truth with GE Hormones” by Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, also Aug/Sept 1998, vol. 5 #5, “The Health Dangers of Dairy Products,” by Robert Cohen, regarding scientist Dr. Margaret Miller.)

So, how soon before the big $$ who profit over high fructose corn syrup can be silenced so that Americans can be healthy?

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In my next lifetime

In my next lifetime, when I come back, I will ski more and worry less.
I will begin every dinner with dessert, and it will be dark chocolate,
or something gooey
and coconut.
I will choose dresses for color and not for whether or not they make
me look slim. I am thinking yellow,
purple, and butterfly prints
in chintz.
I will start using sun-block when I am 12, the same age
when I will begin practicing
because it makes me feel so peaceful and good.

In my next lifetime, when I come back, I will choose
a comfortably upper-middle-class family to host my wandering
soul. I’ve seen that great wealth imposes anxiety
and demands of its own. Too little to work for
ruins people. So does poverty, my old scourge.
The lack of money–for graduate school, for good doctors,
for guitar lessons, for the occasional porterhouse steak and soul-ravishing
trip to Paris–
is one of the great evils that besets humanity.

In my next lifetime, and I hope the Earth isn’t ruined before
I make it back, I will play outside more, which can mean lying
on my back beneath an oak tree and reading something
like Dickens
or Yeats
or a cheesy romance novel. I will spend more time staring into the sky
and no time at all on a therapist’s couch.

I will say
more often and do the dishes only when they’re piled up to the ceiling.
I will turn off the TV but go to every sci-fi movie
that opens. I will choose more friends who understand
that I’m originally from
the planet Xetron
and that this beautiful blue and green orb
is just a way station on my peregrinations. They will laugh more with me
than at me and they will understand the value of
spontaneous dance.
I have only a few of those kind in this life.
I miss them all the time.

In my next lifetime, since
I’m not enlightened
and I will have to return to complete the balance
I will say “I love you” to the people I love:
on the hour, every hour. Even when I hate them.
And especially when they hate me.

In my next lifetime I will be
the luminous me
I always wanted to be now, and somehow fell short of.
It wasn’t for the absence of an open heart or effort.
Rather, I tried too hard, and let gravity weigh
me down. So in my next life, I will let my
open heart lift, and shine me to everyone I meet.

Traci L. Slatton