My Machine

Have some fun while learning how to properly care for your body!

By Lana Ash

A printable version of this article can be downloaded here.

Your body is the most complicated machine on the planet! It needs the right fuel and the right care to keep it running properly.

Did you know that your heart beats around 100,000 times a day? The body also has its own military to defend itself, too. White blood cells travel through the bloodstream to reach affected tissues where the enemy lies. We call them pathogens, bad bacteria, or infections. Click here for a video about the white blood cell’s important work in our bodies.

Do you think all of those activities could continue happening smoothly if we didn’t take care of our bodies? No, of course not!

rototilling-300x199STORY: When we first started gardening, we found an old rototiller in our barn. We pulled the crank many times and it wouldn’t start. I thought, Oh, let’s just buy a new one. When I went to the store, I discovered that they cost a lot of money. It was too much money. So, we decided to fix it up ourselves. We changed the filters, put new gas in it, cleaned it all up, and replaced some parts. Finally, we pulled the crank and it started! If we take good care of our rototiller, it runs well. Can we buy a new body if it breaks? No, but we can treat it kindly and fix it up!

 

GOOD HEALTH = HAPPY MIND

Being healthy just means taking good care of our bodies. The better our bodies work, the happier we are and the easier it is to make the best choices. If I’m sick, do I feel happy? Is it easy to be kind to my brother when I have a stomachache? Do I feel like playing with my friends kindly when I’m sick or have low energy?

FOOD = FUEL

How silly would it be if someone bought orange juice to put in the gas tank of their car? For us, food is like fuel for our bodies just like gas is fuel for a car. If I eat the right food, it will help my body-machine operate really well and run for a very long time.

If your body is like an engine, it is very important that you choose the right type of fuel to keep it running well.

Back at the beginning of the Bible, when God created the world, He said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you.” Genesis 1:29. What did God create for us to eat? Grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. The best foods to eat are natural foods. Natural foods are foods closest to how you would find them in the garden, or that went through the least amount of change or treatment with preservatives.

ACTIVITY: Draw or paste pictures of grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables onto a paper plate or circle. Hang it in your kitchen or put it under some plastic on your table to remind you what kind of fuel you will put into your body to help it run well.

BEST FOODS

God puts a little bit of life into each food. Each step in the refining process (chopping, squeezing, cooking, etc.) takes out some of that “life”. Which one is best for your stomach? Circle which of these foods is the freshest and has the most live vitamins in it.

Baked potato, French fries, Potato chips

Peanut butter, Peanuts, Peanut candy bar

Apple, Apple juice, Unsweetened apple sauce

Corn bread, Corn grits, Corn on the cob

Is it hard to choose to eat good food sometimes? Yes! Does it always taste good? No, because we get used to the taste of the food we eat the most often. But God can help you choose to eat good food and even enjoy it. The more you eat good food, the more you’ll enjoy it.

ACTIVITY: White flour is wheat that has been processed a lot. It doesn’t have as much life in it. Whole wheat is more natural and has more life and live vitamins in it. Buy or make a loaf of white bread and a loaf of whole wheat bread. Lay some heavy books or sit on each loaf of bread and see which is flatter. The flatter one had more air and the flour was more processed. Make sure to open any fastener on the bag so air can escape as you put pressure on it. Which one was flatter? Which would be a better choice to eat?

MANAGING YOUR TASTE

STORY: When Lana was a little girl, she hated eating a fruit called papaya. Every breakfast her mother would have some slices of papaya on the table and she’d put a few slices on Lana’s plate. Every breakfast she dreaded eating that fruit. It tasted horrible to her. She tried pinching her nose so it wouldn’t taste so bad. She tried just swallowing a big chunk so she wouldn’t have to chew it. (That didn’t feel so good.) Lana even tried sneaking away from the table. But, her mother always knew and would make sure she ate some fruit for breakfast. You know what happened? After many mornings of this, pretty soon the papaya didn’t taste quite as bad to her and after a while Lana actually started LIKING it. Now, Lana loves the taste of papaya!

ACTIVITY: Take a small piece of peeled potato and a small piece of peeled apple. Have them the same size so it is hard to tell which is the potato and which is the apple. Close your eyes and mix up the pieces so you don’t know which is which. Hold your nose and eat each piece. Can you tell the difference?

Our noses have a big part to play when we taste food. The nose and mouth are connected through the same airway which means that we taste and smell foods at the same time. Your sense of taste can recognize salty, sweet, bitter, and sour, but when you combine this with your sense of smell you can recognize many other individual “tastes”. Take away your smell (and sight) and you limit your brain’s ability to tell the difference between certain foods. Isn’t the body amazing? See what other foods are difficult to recognize without the help of certain senses.

For more information and activities by Lana Ash, visit kidshealthandhappiness.com.

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