I’m still walking around in circles and figure 8s with the injured reserve horses (and will be for the next month at least) and it gives me some time to think. Like almost everybody, I’ve had a few times in my life when I’ve been sick and therefore kept out of the barn for a while. So today I was thinking about our health and how prevention is a pretty smart plan, not only just generally, but as horsepeople, we know we can’t take care of our horses the way we would like (or get to ride!) if we are sick.
Some sickness is out of our control, but many more factors affecting health are in our hands than we used to believe possible.
A few weeks ago I wrote about giving up Coke (the drink not the powder, I’m so not giving up the powder! JOKE, seriously, joke. If you ever met me, Miss Drug Ignorant, you’d be laughing.) Anyhoo, I backslid a little bit on the giving up Coke thing. Not badly, just one 12 oz. can to get the workday started, but even that was buggin’ me for how high it ranked on the stupid human scale.
Last Friday I got the kick in the butt that the Dr. ordered. I was cleaning stalls listening to (nerd alert) NPR’s Science Friday, when Robert Lustig, a UCSF scientist came on the show. He was advocating that sugar be taken much more seriously as a health threat, maybe even to the point of regulation or a tax on sugar. He presented information from studies that indicated that sugar can do all the things you already know it can do: make you fat, help you develop Type II diabetes and give you a sugar crash an hour or two after you eat a bunch of it. Then the doctor went on to explain how eating too much sugar affects your brain. The stall-cleaners’ version is that it clogs up your wiring and can bring on early dementia. Full audio version on the upper left corner of this page.
The idea of being a party to clogging up my own brain wiring seriously scared me. I don’t know about you, but I really would like to have my brain continue to work really well for a long time.
So then I wondered about how many grams of sugar is the RDA. Turns out it is 40 grams max, which is about 10 teaspoons, which sounds like a lot, but I looked at my yogurt today and it had 22 grams. Half a day’s RDA! Seriously, yogurt. If you want to freak yourself out about how much sugar is in food in beverages, visit Sugarstacks.com
So since hearing that Science Friday segment, I have been Coke-free again. I have replaced it with hot green tea when working at the ‘U (partly because there is a superfast, hot water-for-tea heater there; and I’m drinking unsweet iced tea otherwise. I happen to like tea, so I can’t even earn hero points for the sacrifice. Rats. Sort of.
But what I can report is that water tastes better to me now. I always liked water, but now that my taste buds aren’t daily bathing in the rock n’ roll amplification of high-fructose soda, they can better appreciate the subtle symphony that water offers. Pretty sweet. (oh very punny, I know.)
So that was all horse-related because you have to take care of you in order to take care of your horse. Sort of new take on “Love me, love my horse,” except now it is self-love in the most altruistic sense.
Other thought for the day, I love my new nathe snaffle bit, because my horses love my new nathe snaffle bit. It is extremely flexible (you can easily bend it in half and put the rings together. It is gum/plastic over a wire (wire so that it can not be bitten through, which would be unusual.)
I work really hard on having correct hands, using my seat first, and having elastic connection. But I still have one horse that hangs his tongue like a hound dog and another who grinds like a grist mill. I’m happy to report that the hound dog is noticeable less houndy (the thinner bit seems to fit his mouth better) and the grist mill now mouths the bit in a relaxed manner. The more I ride the less I bit.