Take Me out to the Ball Game: But Please Do Not Buy Me Some Peanuts and Cracker Jack

    A trip to the ballpark is a summer rite of passage, something so indelibly a part of our culture that I can no more mythologize this experience – I can no more romanticize the sounds and sights of a big league stadium – because the material belongs to too many gifted poets, novelists and essayists.

    I will, therefore, spare you the purple prose about stadiums as cathedrals and verdant grass akin to Elysian Fields, where the ghosts of Ruth, Mantle and Gehrig walk alongside the spirits of Jackie Robinson and Ted Williams; rivals in life and brothers in the fraternal heaven of Cooperstown, New York, and the American psyche.

    Instead, I will tell you this: Take yourself out to the ball game, but please do not buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack. Or hot dogs, French fries and potato skins, or two ($8 per order) 16-ounce draft beers and oversized cups of soft-serve ice cream.

    And, while you refrain from this "coronary feast," remember to protect your skin from the sun's ultraviolet rays (and the neighboring mosquitoes, too) that can make an afternoon at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, home of my beloved Cardinals, or Nationals Park in Washington, DC, a day of physical anguish equal to the emotional pain of seeing your team squander their home-field advantage with missed catches, wild pitches and bad calls.

    The first part of this effort, to eat better and reduce your consumption of sugar and alcohol, is not hard. There are healthy alternatives to chili dogs and giant pretzels, such as salads (with dressing on the side), lean protein (be mindful of the sodium count, though) and bottled water, that are superior to the processed, artificially colored meals and snacks that contain several additives and preservatives.

    As for the seasonal elements, I write the following words as the Founder of Kiss My Itch Goodbye®, which is an organic means of alleviating the symptoms of chronic itch and irritated skin: Do not succumb to the intense itching sensation – the scrapes, scratches, cuts and sores – caused by pests that treat your skin as their respective feeding grounds.

    For, despite being in the "House That Ruth Built," you are in the open air that Mother Nature controls. Meaning: Neither the iconic frieze that lines the roof of Yankee Stadium, nor the Indiana limestone, concrete and granite that forms its exterior, can repel the swamp-like conditions of July in the Bronx.

    Which is to say, you should be aware of the risks associated with spending three hours (or more) in the heat and humidity of a ballpark. The alcohol will dehydrate you, the hot dogs, peanuts and Cracker Jack will bloat you, and the insects will (attempt to) devour you.

    My advice, which is easy to follow and affordable to maintain, involves a return to wholesome foods – an emphasis on whole foods – complemented with the safe, over-the-counter resources that can make your skin feel better.

    Think of these things as accessories to the pennants, banners, rally caps, t-shirts, jackets and assorted team paraphernalia that fans bring to the ballpark of a regular basis. Surely there is room in that person's pants pocket for a small tube of anti-itch lotion, or space in their cooler for some apples and oranges.

    This dual approach to health and wellness extends to watching any number of outdoor activities, fromsoccer and tennis to beach volleyball and swimming.

    The key thing to remember is that a prepared fan is a protected fan, someone who can root, root, root for the home team…and not get sick in the process.

    Play ball!

    Merry Richon is an entrepreneur and the founder of Kiss My Itch Goodbye®, an all-natural and holistic means of alleviating the itching sensation caused by variety of external factors.

    Posted on WholeFoodsMagazine.com 6/30/2015