I must admit I’m a moderately serious physical fitness freak. You’ve already heard here about my constant dancing, and I can also report a couple ecstatic decades of running. Now for the past thirty-some years since the knees gave out, I’ve gone almost daily to the Santa Fe Spa, the one looking out at the vast and expanding National Cemetery where ranks of white tombstones are a morbid motivator for keeping fit. Truth be told, I religiously take a sauna every day, but I’ve been known to cut myself some serious slack on the workout schedule.
In the sauna I generally stand close to the stove and ‘rotisserate.’ Casually nude, I’m distinguished by my white mustache and what I call my ‘cockadoodle.’ It’s a short steel stud through the little loop (called a phrenem) just below my glans penis, a curious aftermath of circumcision. (Think about that for a minute.) A vain old man, I’ve felt that this, my sole adornment (no rings or jewelry at all), is an eloquent secret understatement in this age of tattoos and piercings. Remind me to do rant about body decoration sometime.
Recently I’ve been virtuous about a daily half-hour on the treadmill, same time on the machines, and likewise in the sauna. I don’t think it’s unrealistic to credit this physical regimen for a large part of my excellent health. It has held me at around 160 pounds, and (I hope) kept my pecs, abs, and glutes from sagging. At 5’ 9+” now, I’ve lost an inch and a half since my prime.
At least as good for my physical well-being, I’m sure, has been my unprocessed diet, heavy on vegetables, salad, and chocolate, which helps maintain a positive outlook. The only alcohol I bother with is a glass of cheap red wine at dinner (on doctor’s orders). Beyond nuts and berries, I also swear by a remarkable item which I’ve been consuming it daily for about twenty years; it costs virtually nothing except time for easy preparation; and it tastes good.
Enough with the riddles. I’m referring to a tea-based drink called Kombucha, which has gained a certain chic in the health-food industry. I’ve never tried their expensive bottled stuff, doubting it could be as good as my home-brew. The sparkling taste I compare to a slightly “hard” cider. To prepare it, you float a slab of yeasts, enzymes, fungi, and who knows whatever (often called a “Manchurian mushroom”) on a vat of sweetened tea for 10-12 days. That’s it.
I started the symbiosis with my mushroom (Some folks name theirs!), at the ripe age of 52, shortly after my mustache and beard had turned white. The graying of my head hair apparently stopped in its tracks, still only touching the lower sideburns. For many years I’d suffered from a testy digestive tract with almost constant heartburn, and that disappeared immediately. Almost as quickly my energy level ramped up some notches from the middle-aged lethargy I’d been experiencing before, and the energy has maintained now into my seventies.
I won’t claim that this tonic is some miraculous elixir. But it sure does seem like my aging process sort of stopped, or at least slowed way, way down when I took Kombucha into my life. Everybody, and I myself not the least, is surprised that I don’t look like the old coot that I really am. I’m properly grateful to Providence for this blessing, but I could use a nicer nose and fewer hairs in the ears. And I’m thinking about shopping for a fancier cockadoodle.