Sylvia Harral, left, and Michele Stewart

When we look around our community, what do we see? A pretty nice place to live, actually. I know; we’re coming to the end, of a long, dry summer. Some of our lawns are dead. Our cars may be a little dirtier than usual, and we didn’t have many apples for our apple festival, but we’re surviving.

If we look a little deeper, we’ll see that the drought that’s happening under our skin greatly outweighs the drought we’ve been worrying about all summer. Our heart cells all prefer to bathe daily rather than try to function in a smelly, lymphatic swamp.

Drinking a nice glass of water first thing in the morning is a great thing to do to give our heart cells a bath to start their day. Many in our community prefer to run the water through the coffee pot before drinking it. Imagine taking a bath or shower with coffee, tea, soda, or orange juice coming out the faucet. Yes, there’s water in all the beverages, but we don’t use sugary water to clean our table, floors, laundry, or hair, so why do we expect to have a clean heart when we give it anything else but water to bathe in?

How would we know if our heart cells are choking in a smelly swamp? Do we use deodorant, smell up the bathroom, or need breath-mints in the morning? If the body smells, it’s because the cells are swimming in a smelly swamp instead of bathing in nice clean water. Yes, our cells may be experiencing a drought that’s worse than the one our lawns have been going through all summer.

When the water arrives at the cell’s door, what is it bringing with it? A load of sugar or artificial flavors and colors? Those ingredients in our foods help create the smelly swamp. Look what happens when three students take charge of what they put in their mouth.

Student #1: “The experiment I did this week was reducing my sugar intake. The action I took was to avoid any food that had sugar in it. You had commented on my previous Health Experience assignment that if I kept sugar out of my diet, it would help me achieve more results faster, and I would keep the results longer. I paid attention to the foods I ate and would avoid sweets. Whenever I got cravings, I would eat fruit or drink water. My results were that I had more energy and it lasted longer. I also noticed that my abs were more defined and I figured I had lost some fat. I was amazed and proud of the results. I will put into practice any advice that you give me. Thanks!”

Student #2: “This week for my Health Experience assignment, I chose to reduce my sugar intake. The action I took was no late night pop-tarts or lunch time sweets. I also watched my carbohydrates which turn into sugar inside my body. My results were that I felt more energy every day. I did not feel lethargic or depressed as much. I noticed that it was not that hard to give up sweets once I started. It is more of a habit than anything else. What I can do to improve is control the sugar intake of my little ones, because with them, it’s more of an addiction than a habit. This class has changed the way I look at how my family eats.”

Student #3: “The experiment I did this week was chewing each bite of food until it was juice. I’ve always eaten fast and have never taken my time, so this was truly a challenge for me. The action I took was to use a fork and knife to cut my food into smaller pieces. That way I was able to chew it until it was juice. It felt very strange at first, I’m not going to lie. I never realized that I could chew that way and liquefy my food. It was hard. At times, I slipped, but then I remembered and tried again. My results were that I felt full a lot sooner than usual. I’m not sure if it was because I chewed so much, lol, but I wasn’t able to finish the plate I had served myself. That was a great feeling. I am training myself to continue eating this way, and I look forward to seeing the changes in me.”

Until next week, take charge like these students. — Sylvia

Sylvia J. Harral is a digestive health specialist and Michele Stewart 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.

Recommended for you