By: Lycia D. Ortega of Kwatsan Radio

I do not pretend to be an expert on health but I have spent the past several years listening to my body and becoming in tune with how outside elements affect the way my body functions. Everything we consume from personal care products to food and beverages dictate the performance of your body. Native Americans were once the purest beings (people) on this earth. We ate only natural products of our earth and were virtually free of diseases and other health issues.

Quechan people made their home by the Colorado River and used the fresh water to produce vegetation, consume fresh fish and small game. Our ancestors did not have preservatives or other chemically altered products in what they consumed. If you are able to, study photos of our ancestors, pay attention to their unbelievable physiques! It is amazing what physical activity and pure, wholesome food does for our bodies.

Now fast forward to 2011. Do you or your loved ones suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, hypertension, obesity, alcoholism, drug addiction? Sadly, the list goes on. We punish our bodies with poor choices of food and beverages, as well as other products containing substances our bodies are not meant to digest. It is easy to continue the unhealthy lifestyles we live but it is also easy to make small changes in our daily choices.

When I was 16, I read an article in one of my teeny bopper magazines about how fatty meats can take days to digest. Heavy, fatty meats make our body become fatigued and less efficient in metabolizing our food. The article also discussed the health effects of cholesterol, saturated fats, and preservatives. The longer the toxic fats and chemicals stay in our body, the more damaging the effects can be to our system. At that point, I decided to give up pork. Just pork. I began to study portion control and slowly but surely incorporated small spurts of physical activity into my daily routine. In college, I met a few vegetarian classmates. They convinced me to give vegetarianism a try and I did. I did not realize how much energy heavy, fatty foods weigh your body down until I no longer had that problem.

Living vegetarian does not mean you have to eat lettuce 3 times a day. You would be surprised at all of the delicious recipes available! For instance, when making your favorite folded tacos, substitute ground beef with vegetable protein, soy meat, or beans. You get the same flavor and protein without all of the fat content and calories. Another option is to get all of your favorite vegetables, (squash, corn, celery, etc.) and make a great stew. Ask your grandparents or an elder what their recipe is and fill your pot with all of the fresh ingredients. However, if you are not quite ready to give up all of your meat, try switching to leaner meats such as turkey or even fish.

It does not take much to change your lifestyle except the will to live healthier. Think of what ails you and also think about who your ailment affects. What would that person do without you? Make small changes for yourself and become a role model of health for your loved ones. Baby steps people, baby steps.

Together We Progress!



  1. “Great article, Lycia! Come on, pipa kwatsan — once in a while, let’s try a chicken sandwich, instead of our usual double cheeseburger! Change it up, because change is good, and you might just feel better.” — DJ BGS

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