Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Mealtime - Eat Good. (And by ‘good’ I mean healthy.)

One of the many revelations of aging is the little things in one’s life tend to become much more amplified. What use to be ordinary and downright ubiquitous can become more meaningful and even quite significant. The importance of eating good (healthy) really exemplifies this notion.

My nephew and wonderful hunting buddy, Dusty, kind of taught me this in an inverse way. When you camp with him you find there are two and only two dinners he will even do. One of them is cheeseburgers and the other one is green chili burros. Now don’t get me wrong, I love both those meals. However, if you are on a weeklong elk hunt way back in Booneysville, at some point, you notice you are eating the same meals over and over.

To compound the problem, there isn’t much in the way of vegetable content in either of those meals, at least the way he cooks them. And the healthiest ingredients tend to be the meat, as it is usually game from some previous hunt. Furthermore, the other ingredients like the buns for the burgers are always the cheapest white bread and the cheese is that sliced imitation stuff and thus not particularly healthy either.

My point is that when I was young, I could easily eat that way and hardly notice anything. These days I just feel sluggish if I eat like that. And the other strange thing I noticed about bad diet is that I always seem to be hungry. I theorize my body is trying to tell me to eat something good like salad. In fact, I even crave fruits and vegetables after a few days of camping if I don’t eat ‘good’ food.    

Here is another ‘old guy’ dietary story for you

While helping somebody move, the back corner of one end of a desk hit me just behind the big toe on my right foot. It kind of hurt but I didn’t think too much of it, so I just worked through it and finished up the move. This was in Flagstaff, but I actually lived in Nutrioso at the time, so I needed to drive home (3-hour trip).  My foot just kept hurting so I put ice on it. Fortunately, the drive from Flag to Nutrioso is almost all ‘cruise control’ so I could get away with not needing my ‘gas pedal’ foot. When I got home, I felt no better, in fact, even worse.

That night was totally miserable. To avert the throbbing, I put a foot stool up on the bed so I could elevate my foot. By now the toe had a big, almost beet-red, spot behind the toe right where I had hit with desk. 

I am thinking I must have broken something. Next day it took me fifteen minutes to just ease my foot down to the floor and walking on it was very painful.  I drove all the way back to Flagstaff where I got into and emergency treatment center. The doctor took one look at it and said, “That’s Gout!”. I said no it’s an injury of some kind because I hit it with something. He told me that was just the catalyst for a condition I had lurking within me for a long time. 

To make a long story short, he did a few test that verified his suspicion and gave me some medicine that did fix it after a few days.

By the way Gout is a form of arthritis. I have heard it described as like having ground glass between the bones of the effected joint. (And I concur with that assessment.) Oddly, it usually only effects one joint. (BTW- Do not ‘ice’ a gout problem. It just makes it worse.)

The big take away is that it’s really caused by a ‘too much beer and too much meat problem’. Technically, I suppose, it’s better described as too much alcohol (especially beer and wine) and too much protein. 

I did manage to get my body pretty much purged of gout by not drinking beer for two years and being much more mindful of my diet. (It can and will come back if you allow your habits to slip.) The long term treatment might be as you would expect - less meat, more veggies and really just a balance diet of a variety of non-processed, fresh foods.  You have heard that caution before, I'm sure. Well, let me tell you the older you get the truer it is. 

Now the big bonus of making this huge dietary adjustment was that I felt a lot better. That is no small thing my friend. Honestly, I think the best thing you could teach anybody would be how to achieve good health. The second-best thing is how to maintain it. Start by eating right!   

Life is all about how you feel, young or old.

Eat healthy, especially when you Go Camping!


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