I was totally blown away when she had both breasts removed. She was a fellow teacher of mine at the Jr. High where we were teaching in Nevada. She impressed everyone with her running.

Getting up every morning at 4 o’clock, she ran at least 5 miles before school. On weekends, she ran 20 to 30 miles. Wow, a marathon every weekend; what good shape she was in. No one I knew could top that.

I was so envious until the day I heard she had had a double mastectomy. I couldn’t understand how someone in such awesome shape could be slam-dunked with a “Big-Ugly” like that so fast.

A few months earlier I had overheard a comment she made to a student. I was teaching PE out on the track and was having the students walk or run around it. She happened to walk across the end of the track eating a snickers bar. One of the students asked her why she was eating something that was “not good for her” and her answer was, “I’m a runner. I can eat anything I want. I don’t have to worry about gaining weight.”

After her surgery, she went through chemotherapy, and I was talking with her about how she felt. She said she always ran with her dog, and it was the only time she felt good. I wondered what she could have possibly done to end up with cancer. Maybe it was just her genetic luck-of-the-draw.

I thought of the question my mother often asked me, “Do you have any idea why Daddy got cancer in his liver?” I never had a clue until I began studying with the doctors who test urine and saliva. They study how the body functions at the cellular level, how it balances its internal fluids, and how to support the body’s design. Our body is designed to survive every Big-Ugly. We only have three things to do; 1) Learn how it’s designed to function, 2) Remove things that stop natural function, and 3) Give the body what it needs to restore its function.

We can take total charge by handling two critical aspects of our health: blood sugar and inflammation.

These two are at the roots of all diseases. They come through the things we eat (carbohydrates and vegetable oils), drink (sugary liquids and alcohol), think (worry, which is fear, and negative drama) and do (either exercise too much or not enough). “Vegetable oils? I thought corn and canola oils were among the healthiest choices,” we say, but come to find out, these foods are highly processed.

They’ve lost their once rich nutrient value and bring inferior, imbalanced molecules to our cells. These things all create free radicals, inflammation and/or blood sugar imbalance in our cells.

The body handles cellular waste and free radicals (cellular delinquents). The waste is burned in little cellular fires like campfires, and the free radical delinquents are paired up with cute little antioxidants that embrace them and bring them into the dance of health.

When the fires and radicals get out of hand, we end up with raging forest fires and unruly gangs that take over our healthy tissues and turn them into “Big-Ugly” diseases.

The raging fires are caused by carbs and sugars that bring out insulin, and insulin causes inflammation throughout the body. The free radical gangs are caused by heated, rancid and damaged oils.

What happened to my fellow teacher? She joined the Expedition Inspiration team of 17 breast cancer survivors that took on the challenge of climbing Argentina’s Mount Aconcagua, the tallest peak in the Western hemisphere. Their goal: to raise awareness about this disease that has reached epidemic proportions.

Why did she and my father get cancer? They didn’t check their urine for inflammation indicators. Inflammation can go off the charts with intense levels of exercise like the teacher was experiencing. They didn’t balance the fluids that bathed their cells with enough free radical reducing antioxidants and acid reducing minerals. They didn’t know how to use methylation to turn off the cancerous genetic expression. They didn’t check for fungus that comes from the sugar-eating candida in the intestines. They thought they were perfectly healthy when they were actually on the fast track to the “Big-Ugly.”

At Family HELM Health Center, we test for these things with our nutritional assessments. We give nutritional recommendations and coach lifestyle adjustments to reduce risk factors for “Big-Uglies.”

Until then … take charge.

(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.)

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