Feeling more energetic is important for outdoorsmen


I’m obsessive about some things. I dislike air conditioning turned up too high. Naturally, I’m married to someone who’s warm most of the time. I take a jacket to all restaurants, to grocery stores and to movie theatres. I have to have the right pillow at night and the right texture of sheet and cover. I need something to eat every two hours. Even though I’m 73, I want to feel energetic every day and wonder why some days I’m sluggish. If I’m going to fish, hunt, play golf, swim, play ball with my grandkids, go for a walk, or wash the dishes after supper, I need some energy and get-up-and-go. You’re probably that way too, so what’s your formula for a healthful life?

If you were around in the 1970s, you might recall the TV series "Hercules", starring the muscular and handsome Kevin Sorbo. I listened to Kevin’s biography on audio. Right in the midst of a successful career, he contracted a mysterious ailment that affected his brain, body, the works. It brought a super fit man to his knees. There was no medication that helped. Eventually, he felt that there wasn’t much hope for a normal life. That is, he felt despondent until after he got connected with a nutritionist. Headaches and exhaustion were daily challenges, but over time, nutritional eating and the right kinds of exercise made a large difference in his life. One takeaway from the book for me was the advice his diet guy gave him, “Remember that sugar is the enemy.” Heeding that, Kevin eventually made a good recovery and gradually resumed a productive life.

I once had an allergy test of sorts. A fellow I went to for nutrition advice responded to my complaint about sinus trouble and general fatigue by suggesting he test me. I said okay, calling to mind the uncomfortable skin prick tests a couple of my kids suffered through at an allergist. Simply by holding a vial of a certain liquid up to my chest, without even opening it, he claimed to know what would cause me problems. I was skeptical, to say the least. He asked me to hold my arm out and not allow him to push it down. Three vials later, my arm suddenly was weaker. What the heck? Try that again, I said. He did. Same result. I asked him what was in the vial. He said that’s dairy. What? No more ice cream for me? No, he said. Just eat it in moderation, if you want to avoid problems. The other two triggers for me were wheat, and yes, sugar. So, if I’m smart, which is a big stretch, one clear way to feel better is definitely through eliminating as much sugar as possible, and that’s not easy for me or anyone. But I’m pretty typical.

American sugar use is high

The World Health Organization website says the recommended dose of sugar per day should be around 11 grams and never more than 25. The average American consumes an astounding 126.4 grams every day, which is about a fourth of a pound. Germany is second at 102.9, possibly due to Bavarian sweets. Australia, the Netherlands, and Ireland (milk and sugar with tea) are also way up there. The Diabetes Council backs up those statistics.

The problem is manufacturers sneak in sugar to, duh, make their products taste better. Use of high fructose corn syrup and other sneaky sweeteners is common in so many products. My symptoms are worse on days after I’ve consumed more than the usual amount of sugar. Or maybe it’s wheat. Or maybe it’s dairy. Or maybe there’s some other trigger for inflammation in my body. Or maybe it’s a combination of factors. I keep trying to figure out what causes some days to be more of a struggle than others. I’m pretty sure what I’m putting in my mouth has a lot to do with it.

Pro fishermen understand the importance of steady energy

Several professional fishermen, especially the young guys, have started emphasizing that consuming the right food and drink can help them keep tuned in during a long day of intense fishing. Drinking plenty of water, avoiding caffeine and sugar, and eating fruits, vegetables, nuts, and lean meats helps. One needs sustained energy to fish non-stop attentively for seven or eight hours. Sugar and caffeine give a temporary boost, but there’s the downside when the effects wear off. The goal is keeping one’s blood sugar at the proper level, with fewer drastic ups and downs. With temptations all around us, from cookies to cakes to pies to ice cream to processed snack foods and sweety drinks, it’s hard to resist that good taste. I’m making an effort.

Got a suggestion for an outdoor topic? A fish or game story to tell? An experience in the outdoors to relate? A photo of a fish catch or game bagged? Email me at lagrange237@gmail.com.

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