What goes through our minds when we think about taking charge? Are we even thinking the kinds of thoughts that give birth to becoming healthier? Do we even know what to think or where to start?”

A good place to start is at the very beginning. For many, that beginning starts with the Father of Medicine “Dr. Hippocrates” (they must have called him that back then). He said things like, “A man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings.” What’s our most important thoughts about; our health or our money?

In the Hippocratic Oath that Dr. Hippocrates wrote “… and first do no harm”. Every doctor to this day has been sworn in to that oath. What does “first do no harm” mean? It means that nothing gets hurt by our efforts to make something else better. Hearing the list of side effects that could happen when certain drugs are taken means we’re hearing the harm that can be done to one part of our body while we try to make another part stop being a problem. It seems so crazy; what are we supposed to do?

I think of the ads on TV when I read this quote from Thomas Edison, “The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.”

“So what did Thomas Edison know back then?” His doctors didn’t have all the cool stuff that our doctors have today, and his food was not as processing and “fast” as ours today. Every time food goes through another step in its process, it loses more of its nutrient value; vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, etc. Fatty acids are ruined as well. We don’t take charge when we take drugs and medicine, the doctor that wrote the prescription is the one in charge.

When I took my nursing course in college, it was not easy. Then, a few years later, when I saw a book called, “How to Be Your Own Best Doctor”, I laughed and said, “Yeah right! You have to really know a lot to be a doctor.” Then, as I began to learn some of the things in that book and others, I discovered that taking charge of my health got easier instead of harder.

To make it easier, I began to think of my body as if it were a living sports car. If we want our car to burn gasoline, we put gasoline in the tank. If we want it to burn diesel, we fill the tank with diesel. “But”, I hear you say, “The car is a gasoline engine. If you put diesel in the tank, you’ll ruin the engine. You can’t teach a gas engine to burn diesel.”

“OK”, I say. “You’ve got it.”

Now, ask this question. What are our muscles (our living engines) designed to burn? Fat or Sugar (Carbs)? They are designed to burn fat as their preferred fuel, but they will burn sugar in an emergency like when they are running from a bear or having a road-rage attack. We send them signals that tell them what fuel to burn. Filling the sugar tank definitely signals them to burn sugar. But, muscles that are running from bears are not the only sugar-burning cells in the body. Cancer cells burn sugar and so do the candida and bad bacteria in our intestines. How do we fuel our muscles and not feed the bad sugar lovers? Train our muscles to burn fat instead of sugar. Change the emergency signals we’re giving our body.

Our liver helps us reduce the sugar in the blood by hiring the Reductase enzyme to turn the extra sugar into cholesterol. The liver knows we can hang out around here longer with high cholesterol than it can with the inflammation that comes with high blood sugar.

In the June workshop that begins this Tuesday, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., I’m teaching how to train the body to burn fat instead of storing it. This Fat-Burning 101 workshop continues through each Tuesday in June.

Our body is designed to have energy all day with no aches, pains, malfunctions or sugar cravings. When we complete the metabolic switch from Sugar-Burning to Fat-Burning our body heals and builds muscle.

The June workshop’s $97 enrollment fee includes: $25 manual, $70 of assessments, and $120 of instruction and materials.

Until then … take charge.

(Sylvia J. Harral is a digestive health specialist and Michele Stewart-Buller is a pilates master trainer. They each have more than 15 years experience. Send your questions by e-mail to familyhelm@hotmail.com; by mail to Family HELM Health Center, 379 N. Hockett St., Porterville, CA, 93257; or by phone at 202-9105.)

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