♪ Yá’át’ééh and welcome to Four
Directions of Wellness. I’m
Roberta Diswood. (Navajo introduction of clans) Stopping sugary drinks is key
to controlling blood sugar and
weight. Not long ago, our guest Lavonna
Johnson, who is a Nursing Assistant in
the Women’s Health Clinic at
Northern Navajo Medical Center, took notice of this cart and
other diabetes education
belonging to our other guest,
Karen Bachman-Carter. Karen is a Public Health
Nutritionist with the Diabetes
In Pregnancy Program. The accidental exposure to
these health education
examples, changed Lavonna’s lifestyle
and overall health. And she is here to share that
change with us. Thank you Lavonna for being
here with us. Can you
introduce yourself before we
hear your story? Hi. I’m Lavonna Johnson. I work
here at the Northern Navajo
Medical Center as a Nursing
Assistant at the OBGYN Clinic. My clans are Red-Running-Into-
The-Water,
born for the Mexican clan. Thank you. Karen, thank you for
being here as well. Can you
introduce yourself? Sure. Hi Roberta. I’m Karen
Bachman-Carter. I’m a Public
Health Nutritionist and a
certified Diabetes Educator. I work in the Health Education
Center for Wellness and three
days a week with Lavonna in the
OBGYN Clinic. Thank you guys again, both
for being here. Lavonna, can you tell me what
it is about this cart and Karen’s education examples
that started you on your
lifestyle change. Well, first off. It was
accidental. I wasn’t actually thinking of
making the lifestyle change. It was in the back of my mind,
but I never actually thought, you know, this is
something I want to do until
I started to hanging out with Karen here. And I would go
by and she would have this cart
sitting out. And it was right in my
direction, my view. So I would
sit there and I’m like, okay Karen, what’s this all
about? What’s going on with the
sugary drinks? And I would constantly ask
questions and I thought… I’m having a little too much
sugar. It’s time. I need to slow it
down a little bit. Bring it
down a notch. That’s what I was thinking. And so, Karen, I guess it would
help to lead in. So can you
tell us what this poster is
all about? Sure. Just as Lavonna said the
poster is great because it
sparks conversation about
beverages. And people are just shocked at
how much sugar is in the
different drinks. And not just sodas but energy
drinks and chocolate milk,
juice, sweet tea. And so it really brings that
awareness up about how much
sugar is there. And in fact, today sweetened
beverages are the biggest
source of sugar in our diets. Okay, and is there anything
when you’re doing this
education that people
really kinda say, oh wow? I think it’s recognizing, in
their particular drink that
they like, actually how much sugar is
there. And some people are
just absolutely not aware of how many teaspoons of sugar
are in every single drink that
they have. And the other thing that’s kind
of tricky about beverages, is
that most bodies don’t recognize the beverages
as food. So these are extra calories
that sneak in without people
being aware. So it can really add on the pounds and spike
the blood sugars without people really being aware of
how much they’re taking in. Wow, that’s really interesting
to hear that. So Lavonna, when you saw this,
can you explain in detail more why you decided to stop
drinking soda and other
sugary drinks? Well first off, the poster
explained itself. I was
thinking oh my god. Look at all that sugar and I’m
thinking when I’m over at a restaurant,
you know, and I order an iced
tea, just a regular iced tea then I’m putting like two
scoops of sugar, and I’m
thinking, that’s way too much. Then looking at this, then
I’m like, no. I’m drinking way more soda
than that. So something’s got
to stop. Something’s got to be
done here. And what was it about, you know,
yourself that made you say okay
I think maybe I need to stop drinking the soda or stop
what I was doing? Well, every night when I would
go to bed, my fingers would
actually start tingling. And they would feel so numb and
I would always freak out. I’m
like, alright this is a new
change. This is happening. What’s going on with me? Felt a
little bit like Spiderman.
Something was going to happen. Something was ready to pop off
and I was thinking, okay, something’s serious here. So,
talking with Karen a lot. She
was saying, you know, maybe it’s something about the
sugary drinks. Maybe it’s
something in that order. And I was drinking, two, three
cans a day, and I would have it
like first thing on the way to
work. or here at work I would have a
Dr. Pepper, a 12 oz. Then during lunch time, I would
have another one. And then, after work, and then
at night, and If I wanted a
little snack at 3 am in the
morning or something. I would just be on soda,
like, around the clock and that
was terrible. And I felt, this has got to
stop. I can’t have all of this. I
can’t be consuming all that
sugar. All at once in my tiny little
body. And my grandpa, he would
always tell me, “you don’t need
anymore sugar. Your’e already sweet.”
So I’m like, I know grandpa.
(laughter) And so, I know a lot of times,
when you talk about people
drinking sodas so much, are there any like, I know, did
it put you at risk for diabetes
or was that in your family? Yes, actually. Diabetes runs in
my family through the long
vine. It’s so crazy because my
grandfather has diabetes. And
then, my father has diabetes
and his family and all. It just goes on and everybody
in the back, they all have
diabetes. And I thought that’s
not something I want to do. I haven’t been diagnosed with
diabetes. Thank the lord. So,
that’s something I want to
prevent, now. That’s something I want to stop
because I don’t want to turn
into this person. You know, If it can be
prevented, that’s something
I want to do and I want to
start today. That’s what I started. Well, that’s good to hear. So
how did you feel when you
stopped drinking the soda, the
pop, how did you feel? Actually, in our work area they
started saying, hey let’s just
have a water competition or
something. It was something in that area.
And I was like, yeah I’ll give
it a try. I kind of was against it but
then I was like you know what? Seeing this poster, I was
thinking, nope. I’ve got to do this. This is
something I have to do. So then, after that whole 30
days or so of December, I
completely stopped. Within the first like day, my
body craved it. I had a headache. And I was very irritable. And I didn’t like that feeling.
Day two happened. It started
getting worse. I thought, you know what? I’m
going to fight this. I’m going to do this. You know,
the struggle got real. I was
not feeling this at all. And days went on and I thought,
you know, this is getting
better. I feel better about myself. And that Spiderman
transformation that I was
telling you about, I was
changing for the better. I felt better in the morning. Drinking glass of water and I
started replacing all those
sugary drinks with just nothing
but water. And that helped out a lot, and
I felt better. I felt more
alive. I felt like a fresh
apple. (Laugh) And so since you stopped
drinking the sodas and the
sugary drinks, did it have any
effect on your weight? It actually did. I was up to
160. I am now down to 148-149.
It’s still going around there. But, it dropped significantly
since I stopped the sugary
drinks. And I love that. Everybody
loves to lose weight. And I’m down for that. I’m okay
with that. That’s good. And I just need,
If I can continue this, you know, and that’s something
I’m going to do, because I don’t want to get
diabetes and it’s in my family
and everyone across the world. I think it’s something we all
just need to take back.
Everyone just needs to get in
control. Don’t let that soda control
you. You know? Yeah. And not even like just
soda and like the energy
drinks. And the orange juices and then
all the deliciousness that’s
happening. That deliciousness is actually
bad for our bodies. So we just
need to take control of that. And so, now that you stopped.
What do you drink now? It took awhile. At first, it
was just water. Then I thought, Dasaani water
with lemon or anything, you
know, flavored water. Then I thought, no this is not
enough. Something needs to be done
here, so I started freezing
grapes and then popping it in my water
to make it look more appealing
to the eye. And I started slicing
strawberries, some kiwis,
some mint. Everyday was something
different and I thought this is
actually good. And also not only was it good
for me, it tasted pretty good. And I thought, you know hey,
there’s no craziness in this
drink so I’m going to drink it. Yeah, well that’s good to hear.
And so, what advice do you guys
have for people who drink sugary
drinks? Karen, let me start with you. Okay, sure. Well I think
Lavonna took great initiative
to improve her health. And is willing to share her
story so other people can have
hope that they can stop drinking
sugary drinks because I think
a lot of people feel like it’s impossible. But we have
living proof here that it is
possible. And I just wanted to show for
people that stop drinking two
drinks a day, for one month. This is how much sugar, 12 cups
of sugar, they will have saved.
So Lavonna, took in 12 cups of sugar less
than she would have by stopping
two cans of soda a day. And so, you can see that’s a
lot of calories, a lot of sugar coming into the body. So, I
just think it’s tremendous what
Lavonna did to improve her
health. And I hope others can learn
from that example. Okay, Karen. And then how about
you, Lavonna? First thing, like my
grandfather said, you’re
already sweet. You don’t need to be adding
anymore sweetness to yourself. That’s okay.
You’re a natural. (Laugh) Well, I want to thank
you guys both for being here
today. This has been Four Directions
of Wellness.
Hágoónee’. ♪