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Haatiishaa ool yee? Autoimmune Disease (part 2)

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As we approach the 150 year anniversary of the treaty of 1868, a signing that would release the Navajo and other native tribes from imprisonment at Fort Sumner, it’s time to celebrate another form of freedom, freedom from disease.

Last week I wrote the column “Haatiishaa aaldi nei? (Autoimmune Disease)” and described what autoimmune disease is and what it does to our bodies. In this week’s column I was asked go a step further and tell you what it means for you, the native.

Let’s start with a little history.

When I went to the Navajo Museum in Window Rock, AZ for the first time about 4 years ago I was struck by the fact that no pictures contained any native person, child or adult who appeared overweight. The answer was simple. Obesity as we know it today, along with diabetes did not exist in the tribes of your ancestors regardless of tribal affiliation.

Let us proceed.

For those who read last week’s column I said that diabetes is classified as an autoimmune disease that creates many serious health problems such as elevated blood sugar, obesity, kidney, heart, liver disease and blindness. This is true.

Haatiishaa ool yee? (What does this mean for me?)

In order to heal the medical problems created by autoimmune diseases like diabetes that plague our communities, our tribes, and our loved ones it starts with accepting unavoidable truth and hard facts.

Do everything in your power to avoid eating artificially made food.  Like the path to adulthood this will not be easy, but necessary to enjoy the health available to you.

Food that is considered artificial is created through laboratory and technological means. For instance, any plant or fruit that does not produce a seed on its own and will not produce fruit the following year (such as seedless water melons) is not a product of your natural environment or Mother Nature.

Avoid Glucose. Glucose has many names, such as high fructose corn syrup and other big words that confuse our understanding, but do not be fooled. Glucose is a chemical used to artificially sweeten nearly everything we consume. To put it another way, glucose is a substance the food industry uses to get you to eat something that you would normally avoid.

According to the head of the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) glucose is 8 times more addictive than crack cocaine.  This is the main reason you struggle to stop drinking the soda, candy and other products you know are unhealthy for you.

If you are diabetic, understand that insulin will never cure diabetes. Insulin, which is an artificially made substance will help manage your elevated blood sugar levels to a degree, but it will NOT cure your diabetes. The cure for diabetes has always been in the hands of the individual or parents in the case of children.

Combating the plague of diabetes and obesity

The structures at Canyon de Chelly (Canyon de Shay) were not built in a day, so when it comes to making healthy lifestyle changes we need patience.  We take control of our health in small steps or one brick at a time. However, there are some things we can do now to improve our health immediately.

Instead of using lard, corn or vegetable oil to make fry bread or other foods we like, use grapeseed oil. Grapeseed oil is healthy for you, has great flavor and it will not add fat and cholesterol to your arteries (atherosclerosis). You can find grapeseed oil at Wal-Mart. If grapeseed oil is not on the shelves you can order online at www.walmart.com.

Instead of using sugar or other artificial sweeteners use agave nectar.  Sugar is just another form of glucose, the dangerous enemy to all those who seek better health and a slimmer figure (physique). Agave is sweet, but it is from a natural plant. If you have diabetes or diagnosed with pre-diabetes agave is the way to go. Again, you can find agave nectar at Wal-Mart or order online at www.walmart.com.

Autoimmune disease (diabetes) as a medical term might sound scary and complicated but for the native it is simple to understand. Your bodies were not designed to eat foods that contain glucose, corn syrup and other substances produced artificially. Your ancestors ate what the earth provided and they lived long lives with great health.  Native Americans are not obese people, but natives, like so many others on the planet have been victims of poisons sold as food.

Healing one step at a time.

Coach G

By Greg McNeil

Greg McNeil is a StrongFirst Instructor, Professional Strength & Conditioning coach, Licensed Clinical Counselor (LPCC), Life Coach, Author, and the owner of Gallup School of Strength (www.gallupschoolofstrength.com)