By The Skipper:
I am 67 this year (2016) so it appears I will not escape aging after all. So what's up with this aging thing anyway?
I have been noticing that things don't work quite as they once did. I have less tolerance for unnecessary discomforts and less patience with fools. Being reminded daily of the most instructive moments of ones admittedly rather exciting youth is no doubt the genesis of Bette Davis' famous quote: "Old age is not for sissies". Some days are better than others, but the general trend is not promising. Nevertheless, we have no choice but to Deal With It.
Obviously, things like pulling up a hundred pounds of anchor and chain without a windlass, hauling myself up the mast in a bosun's chair or leaping from the foredeck to the dock in bare feet are no longer in the repertoire. I take more time now. I am less likely to take risks, more contemplative and careful. Whenever possible, I con someone younger into doing the heavy lifting. What I lack in physical strength and agility I make up for with experience, patience and pursuasion techniques I learned while selling used cars in Honolulu.
When I was younger I could, and did, live on pizza, Big Macs, burritos and beer without suffering any noticable debilitating effects. Youth and an active, outdoor lifestyle helped me shrug off the harmful effects of my eating habits. Fortunately, by the time I was 35 I had learned the benefits of exercise through experience and observation and was beginning to learn about nutrition from a mentor who was a gym owner and bodybuilder. For the next thirty years I enjoyed the benefits of clean, active living; Kayaking, hiking, trail running, biking, weight training and sailing in Hawaii.
At the age of fifty, in the best shape of my life, I married motorcycle racer, SCUBA diver, marathoner, bicylist and triathlete Laura Wong. Needless to say, we lived a pretty healthy lifestyle. We were health conscious, but not health nuts. We were regulars at the Harbor Pub; at least once a week for Pizza and, for me, two pints of beer. Then we sailed away from all that.
It is even easier to eat clean and get plenty of exercise cruising on a small boat at sea.
"When I'm in port I get what I need;
That American creation on which I feed!
Cheeseburger is paradise medium rare with mustard'd be nice
I like mine with lettuce and tomato
Heinz 57 and french fried potatoes
Big kosher pickle and a cold draught beer
Well, good god Almighty which way do I steer."
Too much time in port? Could be. Still it is obvious I should have known better than to make occasional treats into a daily habit. Since I turned 65, I have noticed that drinking beer every day, even just one or two, will cause serious, and by that I mean excruciatingly painful, health problems. My enjoyment of a pint or two of IPA four or five times a week was not the only culprit. As the above quote from Jimmy Buffett indicates, my daily ration of beer was usually accompanied by a cheeseburger or slice of pizza which I consumed while seated at the bar in Kito's Kave talking sports, politics, hunting and fishing with with a handful of out of work deck hands and loggers. It has its appeal, I know, especially for Jack London or Ernest Hemingway fans; but it is not a long term habit one should cultivate if one aspires to good health and long life.
Once the problem is identified and acknowledged a remedy can be effected.
I know, and have always known, that a steady diet of beer and cheeseburgers is unhealthy. Whatthehellwasithinking?
I was thinking that I was being "Moderate". By my own standards from thirty years ago, I was. Two beers a day, I thought. That's moderate. Make it one pint of draft. Sorry Chuckie. Not good enough. Not every day. You are not thirty seven anymore. Beer can no longer be an every day thing; not even a once a week thing for me. If you have arthritic joints and are prone to gout you should avoid certain foods. The list begins with beer. Beer is followed by other forms of alcohol, then shellfish and red meat, especially organ meats. The penalty for ignoring this is chronic severe pain.
Now, I don't want to go all preachy on you but it is a plain fact that most of us have been poisoning ourselves with too much of a good thing to one extent or another for decades. It is just too easy to buy and consume the finished product of the food industry (Note to self: Don't preach) and too difficult and time consuming, in our busy 21st century lives, to eat only natural unprocessed foods, let alone foods that we pull out of the ground or catch and kill ourselves. While choosing what to eat may seem a simple thing, it is in truth the most important choice of your life and there are more serious questions than "Would you like fries with that?"
Numerous studies have shown that eliminating all forms of refined sugar and alcohol and maintaining a proper Ph balance in the body cures or relieves the symptoms of just about everything and boosts the immune system to better ward off contagious diseases and infections. Regular exercise and a diet consisting of fresh, natural, unprocessed foods has been proven to promote general health. It is only good sense preventive maintenance.
Active cruisers don't have to worry too much about getting plenty of fresh air and exercise. Just remember that regular exercise is even more important than diet as we age. When in port, a daily walk or bike ride to the grocery story for a backpack full of fresh natural food is all it takes but the more the better.
No matter what your personal image of cruising into retirement might be, the tall cold brightly colored, sugary drink, heavily laced with rum and garnished with a miniature parasol or the ice bucket full of bottled beer should probably not be a regular part of the picture. For me, the cheeseburgers and beers will have to be few and far between in paradise. But there are plenty of apples and berries in the Northwest; and plenty of mangoes, bananas and papaya in the tropics.