Compared to the years I served in the United States Navy, robust health and nutrition of sailors in the Nineteenth Century – the “iron men and wooden ships” of lore- was less a factor of the sea air than good fortune. Logs of ships’ surgeons from that era contain reports of men lost overboard in storms at sea, accidents, cholera, dysentery, over- consumption of alcohol leading to death, infections, sexually-transmitted diseases, run -ins with native populations )in the then- relatively isolated foreign ports), and poor diet.
In the years just after Desert Storm, fresh dairy products, fruit, and vegetables became available fairly regularly at sea due to underway replenishment. Even in the early 1990s, it was not uncommon to have powdered eggs, and ultra-pasteurized milk ( the sort the US Army Veterinary Service certified as safe for consumption) in place of fresh more than a week out of port.
It leads me to wonder aloud, whether the new health-consciousness of many activists for varied range-fed beef and compassionately-raised chicken, organic vegetables and gluten-free choices, have filtered down to our armed forces.
Most of my peers who retired around 2009 -2010, know that the military began a renewed campaign to fight obesity – discharging members who failed to maintain a standard that – even with body-builders – was difficult to achieve. But we also know that society has gotten farther and farther away from healthy diets and regular exercise.
But there are choices. Although, I do not expect my local Pizza Port to alter the menus just yet. And with virtually every town having small breweries popping up, I do not believe “lite” beer is going to be on the minds of the young men and women today. However, for those fewer of us, where the excesses of youth are around our waistlines, in our zeal to stay off medicines and out of hospitals, may yet find ways to exercise moderately and eat tasty, and healthy, food.
When I heard about this Portobello mushroom pizza, I was skeptical. It is remarkably tasty!
But this also has cancer-fighting properties as well as staying off my waistline. And I surprised my doctor last Wednesday with my complete turnaround in health. Thirty-five pounds lighter, blood -chemistry all in the normal range, and much happier. He didn’t ask me how, but when others may, I’ll tell them, “Pizza, fish, Chinese food, fresh vegetables. Yogurt. And more cooking with garlic, turmeric, mushrooms, and herbal ingredients.”
That gives me the ability to enjoy a nice craft beer. Guilt-free. I’m still a Sailor, after-all.