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mountainhealth

bag with a Little Green Riding Hood face-hole cut under one peaked corner can keep you dry and alive. Signal Whistle and Mirror: Unlike your voice, these will never go hoarse on you. These items won’t just help you get un-lost, says Muckerman, they’ll also help you to survive. Perhaps just as important, he says, is to “Stay calm. Finding that calm self within you is the most essential item.” —D. Dion & Peter Muckerman

[ get more ] learn about first aid and wilderness survival techniques

www.firstlead.com

ryan bonneau

[ NUTRITION ]

[ SURVIVAL ]

What’s in Your Backpack? Everyone, it seems, gets caught unprepared on a hike. Whether you’ve forgotten your sunscreen or run out of water, you’ve probably been chagrined to find yourself without something you need in the unforgiving environs of the mountains. So what items are essential for survival? Peter Muckerman, a wilderness first-aid expert and owner of First Lead Medical Training, helped Telluride Magazine come up with a list of the basics. “Comparing lists of ‘essential items’ has provided countless hours of contentious discussions around campfires,” says Muckerman, “and for good reason: There is no definitive list. But any meaningful examination of contenders should revolve around this one, simple principle: surviving the unexpected night out. Things can go wrong. Thinking ‘it’s just a day hike’ lulls people into a sense of complacency. A couple of wrong turns, a sprained ankle, and… welcome to the food chain.”

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www.TellurideMagazine.com

Muckerman’s Essential Items: Compass: Even if you aren’t adept at orienteering, a compass can illuminate your world. “South? The car’s back that way. I could’ve sworn it was the other way.” Edged Tool/Good Knife: We humans are otherwise not on a level playing field in the “fang and claw” department. This is your primary tool in the wild. Fire Tool: Wooden strikeanywhere matches in a brightly colored match safe, or a butane lighter with an adjustable flame. Flashlight/Headlamp: And don’t forget spare batteries. Even the right trail is black at night. Shelter: Mylar space bags pack up as small as a soap dish and are easy to carry with you. You’ll wake up somewhat wet from condensation, but you’ll wake up. Warm Hat: Yeah, I know, it’s a sunny day. Trust me: You’ll be glad you packed this. Calories: On cold mountain nights, if you don’t generate as much heat as you are losing…it’s simple math. Water and Water Purification Tablets: Water is life. Dehydration can kill you. Poncho: Even a lawn and leaf

summer/fall 2010

The Many Varieties of Milk Choosing milk used to mean deciding between whole, skim or 2 percent. Now the choices range much wider, with everything from cow’s milk to soy, rice or nut milk. There are as many opinions about what type of milk is best as there are varieties of milk. One thing we have learned about food is that the more it’s processed, the more it’s stripped of its nutritional value and inherent health benefits. This also holds true for milk. Breast milk is perfectly designed by nature for the mental and physical development of a child. It is high in quality fat and loaded with necessary nutrients, probiotics and enzymes that enhance digestibility and provide protection to the immune system. Organic raw milk, be it from a cow or goat, is as close as we can get to those health benefits. Raw milk is alive with the enzymes and probiotics needed to easily and properly digest the milk while supporting healthy bacterial flora in the intestinal tract. In pasteurizing milk, we kill off the “aliveness” that benefits the body. Pasteurization also kills the pathogens that raw milk can contain, which is why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns against drinking non-pasteurized milk—but when basic sanitation

measures are followed, raw milk is completely safe. For consumers who don’t have access to raw milk, it’s best to choose whole cow or goat milk, preferably organic. Organically raised cows and goats are typically grass fed and reared with minimal use of hormones and antibiotics, and the quality of milk is therefore more nutritious. Whole milk is best because of its concentrated source of calories and fat content. Fat is necessary for the absorption of calcium, as well as for proper brain and nerve development, and it helps satiate the drinker. To restore enzymes to pasteurized milk, it can be cultured with kefir, a fermented milk containing bacterial flora. Dairy allergies and lactose intolerance are becoming more common, a phenomenon some nutritionists attribute to the lack of enzymes in pasteurized milk. Soymilk is an alternative, but it comes with a host of health concerns. In 1990, the FDA issued a warning that soymilk should not be used for infants because it “grossly lacks in the nutrients needed.” Most soymilk, unless labeled organic, is also made with genetically engineered soybeans. It also contains phytic acid, which inhibits absorption of minerals; protease inhibitors, which block digestion of protein; and it has high levels of toxins such as aluminum. Elevated levels of phytoestrogens and isoflavones in soy have been found to depress thyroid function and wreak havoc on the hormonal system—all health concerns not just for infants, but also for growing children and adults. Soy should be consumed in moderation. Two more dairy alternatives are almond and rice milk. Almond milk has an advantage because it has a high protein and fat content, while rice milk is largely a source of carbohydrates. With both, it’s important to carefully read labels— sugar, synthetic ingredients and flavoring are often added. When eliminating dairy milk be sure to add good sources of complete protein and quality fats. It’s great to have choices, but the golden rule with food is to stay as close as you can to the bounty of Mother Nature. —Lynn Mayer, CNC ▶▶


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