Monday, 24 June 2013 19:39

Head to Toe

The Mane Event
It's no secret that a head of healthy hair is sexy. Keep yours intact by eating a diet of salmon, walnuts and spinach. These foods provide essential nutrients for growing health such as protein, vitamins D and E, biotin, and omega-3 fatty acids. Don't worry if you don't see immediate results. It can take several months before you see a difference in your hair, depending on how quickly your hair grows. Losing some off the top? Maybe it's time to consider implants or hair restoration surgery – make sure to see a professional before starting any treatment.

Skin Deep
According to a new study published in the "Journal of Investigative Dermatology," men get more cancer in the "peripheral" areas of the scalp, forehead, temples, ears and neck. The Skin Cancer Foundation found that men over 50 are more than twice as likely as women to develop skin cancer. The reason for this is they are less likely to visit the doctor. The bottom line? Protect all areas of your skin by applying sunscreen (at least 30 SPF), wearing protective clothing and limiting your time in the sun. Also, make sure to get an annual skin screening.

Gut Check
Stomach troubles can originate from foods you may be eating every day. An elimination diet can help you identify foods that have been causing the low-level chronic conditions such as heart burn that have been plaguing you for years according to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, developer of the GAPS (gut and psychology syndrome) diet. To start an elimination diet, cut out common allergenic foods for three to four weeks. This would mean avoiding foods like dairy, wheat, nightshades (eggplant, tomatoes), conventionally raised meats, legumes, sugars and citrus. After the initial 21 to 28 day period, add back in one type of food per week. Take note of any changes in your mood, energy level, or general state of wellness. Consult a professional to make sure you are cutting the right foods from your diet.

Leg Go
Your legs may not seem like an area of major concern, but as the essential method of getting from place to place, you should keep them in top condition. Dr. Marc Hamilton of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, the nation's leading obesity research facility, tells us that one of the biggest threats to your leg health is sitting in a chair all day. Sitting creates unnatural points of pressure, which can cause poor blood circulation and (in extreme cases) deep vein thrombosis. So, get moving and walk around! Take frequent breaks throughout the day to get moving. The simple motion of walking helps blood pump through your legs, improves muscle tone, and can actually improve your insulin sensitivity. Another trick used by professional athletes to help with legs is to blast them with cold water at the end of your shower. According to a study published in the "Journal of Science Medicine," cold water helps improve circulation. It can also help reduce soreness and swelling after a workout.

Eye See You
If eyes are the windows to the soul, make sure you keep those windows clear. The two biggest dangers to eyes are the sun and a computer screen. Protect yours by wearing sunglasses that block 100 percent of UVA and UVB light. Spending hours a day staring at a computer screen or cell phone can cause eyestrain, dry eyes and headaches, so take frequent breaks. If you find your eyes hurting, try using glasses specially designed to reduce glare. As we age the muscles in the eyes weaken, however by maintaining a healthy diet, you can slow this progression. The American Optometric Association recommends getting five sources of nutrients to support eye health: lutein and zeaxanthin, found in green leafy vegetables, can help reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases; Vitamin C can help reduce the chance of developing cataracts; Vitamin E helps protect eyes from free radical damage, and omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to support development and function of retinas.

Tough Tooth
Brushing and flossing daily is essential to keeping teeth and gums healthy, but diet is also an important factor. The key is choosing foods that promote mineralization and suppress bacterial growth because your teeth are living tissue, and need the proper building blocks to stay healthy. Eat foods high in calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D such as sesame seeds, dried herbs, almonds and herring. The bacteria that live on your teeth and gums are responsible for producing plaque and dental decay, so keep bacteria at bay by avoiding sweets. Try anti-bacterial foods like coconut which has been shown to be effective against oral bacteria. Lastly, make sure you go in for regular dental check-ups.

Keep It Pumping
You're probably aware that risk factors like being overweight, stress and smoking can increase the chances of having a heart attack, but what you may not know are two of the latest findings in heart health research:

• Work stress may be a killer, but as it turns out, the stress of unemployment has been connected to heart attacks in recent years. The study, sponsored by the National Institutes of Aging, suggests that you are 22 percent more likely to have a heart attack if you are unemployed.

•Probiotics, foods rich in healthful microorganisms, like sauerkraut, yogurt and fermented pickles can help your body increase beneficial levels of HDL cholesterol, which are associated with low levels of inflammation and relaxed veins and arteries. The healthier your pipes, the healthier your pump.

What's Up Down There?
Keeping everything south of the border functioning normally depends a lot on good health. According to the Centers for Disease Control, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men in the U.S., after skin cancer. There are two tests to screen for prostate cancer, a digital rectal exam and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. This test looks for PSA, a substance that may be found in high amounts in men with prostate cancer. However, a high PSA level does not always point to cancer. Consider your own health and lifestyle and talk with a health care professional about your personal risk for prostate cancer. Keep your groin and prostate functioning well by paying attention to diet, stress levels and fitness. The leading physical cause of erectile dysfunction is inflammation associated with high blood pressure. When a man becomes aroused, the constrictions on the blood supply to the penis are relaxed, allowing an erection to develop. But if you have high levels of inflammation, those constrictions cannot be relaxed. Lower your body's level of inflammation with proper diet and exercise. A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids will help to balance the pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids found in processed foods. Other causes of erectile dysfunction can come from certain medications, depression, low levels of testosterone and stress. Be sure to consult a physician if you suspect any of these might be causes.

Plant Your Feet
Home to 52 bones and approximately 15,000 nerve endings, your feet are critical for your overall health. Unfortunately, the shoes we wear do little to help us in this regard according to authors Michael Sandler and Jessica Lee of the book "Barefoot Walking." Shoes push your toes together, which creates a narrower plank on which to stand. This creates abnormal stress on arches and ankles. Additionally, the sole of a modern shoe can tilt your hips forward and create hip and back pain.

The good news is that going barefoot for a little bit each day can help address all these problems. Taking a walk in your yard barefoot will accomplish several different things. First, it helps strengthen the muscles in your feet and legs. Second, walking barefoot will improve your gait so that you glide smoothly over the ground rather than stomping and causing shock waves to travel up your body. Third, in a discovery made recently by UK researchers, the exposure of your feet to beneficial microorganisms in the soil can actually lighten your mood and prevent depression.

Monday, 24 June 2013 18:57

Men on a Mission

While their lifestyles, jobs and goals in life are different, these five locals do have one thing in common: their desire to stay fit and active. These guys are passionate about their health and have different ways of getting their hearts racing.










don-carllDon Carll
CEO of Natural Health Atlanta

Don began his career selling real estate, and before long, he was renovating and managing apartment complexes across the southeast. Now he is active in a diverse group of companies, dealing with everything from commercial food service equipment to naturopathic medicine. He combines his work experience and personal enthusiasm for wellness into his role as CEO of Natural Health Atlanta.

What is your favorite way to stay fit and active?
Golf would normally be my favorite way to stay fit, but time constraints allow only for occasional golf anymore. To be time/result efficient, I rotate biking or swimming into my weekly routine. For me, staying fit requires constant motion, and that's good because I'm no good at sitting around. I also lift weights and do various fitness machines for one hour three times a week.

What is one healthy habit that every man should have?
The most important health habit by far is to eliminate deficiencies. If you have deficiencies in your body you need to fix them. By deficiencies I mean vitamin, mineral, thyroid, HDL (good) cholesterol and hormone deficiencies. Our environment is loaded with forces that constantly attack our bodies: pollution, genetically modified foods, pesticides, herbicides, and the list goes on. If your body has deficiencies it cannot effectively fight these forces.

What is your favorite way to spend your free time?
In the past it was Little League baseball; I was a coach for 15 years at Frankie Allen Park in Buckhead. I also like to travel and visit my three wonderful and incredible children.

What is the last book you read?
"Golf's Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia" by David Lamar Cook​.

What is the best place in Atlanta to relax and unwind?
The Silver Comet Trail.

What challenges you?
I'm a perfectionist, or so I am told. My challenge is to constantly improve in everything I do. Making mistakes is expected, but making the same mistake twice is something I find unacceptable.

What motivates you to lead a healthy lifestyle?
Competition, I guess. I don't need to be the fittest person in the room, but I don't want to stray too far from the top.

Who are the people that help you be your best self?
I am lucky in that I work with a lot of medical professionals who have tremendous knowledge of the human body. When it comes to making yourself your best, knowledge really is power.

What is your favorite place to visit?
I like the ocean, probably because I was born in a small coastal town in Florida, and sometimes it calls to me. A close second would be Italy. Historically speaking, there's nothing quite like it.

What is a quote that inspires you?
I have lots: "Lead, follow or get out of the way" - Ted Turner, and "You want to be successful? Hang out with successful people." - Terri Savelle, just to name a few.

What is a fitness goal you have?
My goals are simply to continue my fitness routine with enthusiasm and to test for and eliminate nutritional deficiencies in my body.

Name one thing you are looking forward to doing before the summer is over.
I have a new invention. It took the past three years to get my first patent on a better designed food service product. I am looking forward to launching it!


john-sloan-2John Sloan
General Manager at High Country Outfitters

John was born in the outdoor industry, beginning his quest at High Country from the time he could crawl through the front door. He has been the acting general manager of High Country for over five years, parlaying his business degree from Auburn University into his current position. For John, this is not just a job, but a family business that he runs with integrity and passion.

What is your favorite way to stay fit and active?
Stand Up Paddleboarding is my new passion. It challenges me from head to toe. Not only is it fun, but it keeps me fit without the monotony of a treadmill!

What is one healthy habit that every man should have?
Every man should break a sweat at least once a day. Turn your passions into your workout. I call it "earning your dinner."

What is your favorite way to spend your free time?
Free time to me means time to get on the water or in the mountains. With proper planning, you can turn one day into an adventure.

What is the last book you read?
"No Easy Day" by Mark Owen. These guys are the epitome of healthy.

What challenges you?
Surrounding myself with other positive and active individuals. Your peers can motivate you to be the best.

What is the best place in Atlanta to relax and unwind?
The Chattahoochee. The river is the reason I love Atlanta. When you're on the water, you totally forget your busy surroundings. Peace and serenity are only a few miles away.

What motivates you to lead a healthy lifestyle?
My motivation is my youth. I want to feel like I'm in my twenties forever. Health and strength make everything in life more enjoyable.

Who are the people that help you be your best self?
I have to say my dad. He will be 63 this year but can still hang with the best. His energy, drive and positivity are truly inspiring.

john-sloanWhat is your favorite place to visit?
Jackson Hole, Wyoming is like a second home to me. The adventures there are endless.

What is a quote that inspires you?
"The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he's always doing both." - James Michener

What is a fitness goal you have?
My goal is to race on my standup paddleboard in 10 different events this year. By spending my free time doing what I love, this will be an easy goal to reach.

Name one thing you are looking forward to doing before the summer is over.
I'm excited to get back to Southern California and spend a week traveling down the coast, surfing at every beach from San Diego to the tip of Baja Mexico.


harry-woodHarry Wood
Founder and CEO of Six Figure Hairdresser

Harry Wood IV is a leading stylist and educator for Van Michael Salons, and has been in the business for over 20 years. His book, "Six Figure Hairdresser," offers practical steps for stylists to take their business to the next level. Although his target audience is stylists, his formula works for anyone in the beauty industry.

What is your favorite way to stay fit and active?
I like to go to the gym and swim, bike and run. I was an avid triathlete for 12 years, now it's for fitness.

What is one healthy habit that every man should have?
Make sure you stay on top of your diet and exercise. Most successful men have an element of balance with work versus leisure, but most enjoy disconnecting from life for a few hours a week to work out and decompress.

What is your favorite way to spend your free time?
With my daughter. I'm very glad she's old enough now so that we can ride bikes and live a healthy lifestyle together.

What is the last book you read?
"The Thank You Economy" by Gary Veynerchuk, a great read about social media and the art of appreciation.

What challenges you?
Having a goal of some sort. Whether it's a triathlon or to finish reading a book in a certain time frame, it's good to have short term and long term goals to reach your full potential and keep from getting complacent.

What is the best place in Atlanta to relax and unwind?
Going for a bike ride or walk with my daughter at the Chattahoochee River park.

What motivates you to lead a healthy lifestyle?
Knowing that I want to be around for a long time for my daughter. I am also a hairdresser at Van Michael Salon in Buckhead, and you can't be unhealthy if you want to perform at the highest level for your clients.

harry-wood-2Who are the people that help you be your best self?
My mentor, Van Council, an avid mountain biker, and my best friends and personal trainers Jeff Wolfson and David Nassick, who help keep me on track. If you want to be healthy, surround yourself with healthy people.

What is your favorite place to visit?
I enjoy going to the Caribbean and just chilling, completely relaxing and working out and getting some sun, good food, music and fun.

What is a quote that inspires you?
"Spectacular results are preceded by spectacular preparation." - Coach Troy Jacobson

What is a fitness goal you have?
I'd like to do the Tugaloo Triathlon in September again. It's the best and hardest USAT-sanctioned race of the year.

Name one thing you are looking forward to doing before the summer is over.
My 9-year-old daughter is training for her first triathlon and I am looking forward to being by her side every step of the way, especially when she crosses the finish line. I hope I don't cry.


freddy-benschFreddy Bensch
Co-Founder of SweetWater Brewing Company

Freddy Bensch is the co-founder of SweetWater Brewing Company, the second largest craft brewery in the southeast. After numerous kayaking adventures on SweetWater Creek, Bensch, along with co-founder Kevin McNerney, landed on the name SweetWater Brewing Company and they opened the doors in 1997. Bensch is an avid fisherman, outdoor enthusiast, environmentalist and family man.

What is your favorite way to stay fit and active?
Anything that involves the outdoors...paddle boarding, surfing, fishing, golfing and diving are some of my favorites.

What is one healthy habit that every man should have?
An activity or a place to get away and release. For me, it's fly fishing. It allows me to collect my thoughts while also hopefully outsmarting a couple fish.

What is your favorite way to spend your free time?
Drinking beer, fly fishing, surfing and hanging with my friends and family, including my wife and two children.

What is the last book you read?
"Life" by Keith Richards.

What challenges you?
Personally, my biggest challenge is myself. I guess you could say I am wired to constantly strive to do better and do more. I like to win!

What is the best place in Atlanta to relax and unwind?
Hands down, the Hooch.

freddy-bensch-2What motivates you to lead a healthy lifestyle?
Keeping fit has always been one of my core values. I stay fit for myself, which in turn spills over into my work, my family and all other facets of life. I want to be able to stay young and enjoy as much of life as I can, while I can.

Who are the people that help you be your best self?
I'd have to say my wife and the people I'm surrounded with at SweetWater. We all seem to be self-motivators, which fuels an incredible energy and desire to be the best.

What is your favorite place to visit?
Anywhere that has waves, tarpon and beer.

What is a quote that inspires you?
"We're not here for a long time, we're here for a good time" hands down nails it. Live by it, and you will lead a fantastic life.

What is a fitness goal you have?
To me it's not really about specific fitness goals; it's an overall healthy lifestyle perspective applied to everyday life. I live a pescatarian lifestyle and have been for 22-plus years now, alongside keeping active and having fun.

Name one thing you are looking forward to doing before the summer is over.
Going on a safari in Africa with my family and watching the kids' eyes get really big when they see their first lion – sweet!


jeff-wolfsonJeff Wolfson
Owner of Lone Wolf Fitness

Jeff Wolfson is a health professional with a background in nutrition and biochemistry who started an in-home personal training business called Wolf Training Systems in 1999, and later renamed it Lone Wolf Fitness. In addition to being a persional trainer, Wolfson opened hCG Weight Loss Atlanta in 2010. This medical weight loss center focuses on helping people lose weight and stay healthy.

What is your favorite way to stay fit and active?
A combination and plethora of cycling (both mountain and road), trail running and resistance training.

What is one healthy habit that every man should have?
The 80/20 Rule. Eighty percent of time you eat perfectly and exercise regularly. The other 20 percent of the time you can get away with doing pretty much anything you want.

What is your favorite way to spend your free time?
Riding my bike in the North Georgia Mountains.

What is the last book you read?
"Inside a Dog" by Alexandra Horowitz.

What challenges you?
Trying to beat my mom in Scrabble.

What is the best place in Atlanta to relax and unwind?
Teela Taqueria.

What motivates you to lead a healthy lifestyle?
The way it makes me feel - young, energetic, sharp minded, sexy and alive.

Who are the people that help you be your best self?
My best friend and wife-to-be, both of whom happen to be the same person.

What is your favorite place to visit?
Costa Rica.

What is a quote that inspires you?
Jimmy Valvano's acceptance speech at the 1993 ESPY Awards when he received the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage. "There are three things you should do every day - laugh, think and cry."

What is a fitness goal you have?
The Great Wall of China Marathon. My preparation will consist of stair repeats up and down any high rise buildings I can find.

Name one thing you are looking forward to doing before the summer is over.
I'm looking forward to taking my boat out on the Beaufort River to attend Water Festival in Beaufort, S.C.

Monday, 24 June 2013 15:47

Plump Up the Volume

These days, there seem to be endless options for anyone seeking a more youthful appearance. With the abundance of non-surgical procedures, anyone can turn back the clock with just one office visit. And while anti-aging injectablesand fillers are based on science, the results can seem more like magic. "Injectables and fillers are a great way to treat, smooth, or 'fill in' wrinkles, lines, creases, depressions or scars," says Dr. Alan Gardner, board-certified dermatologist with over 20 years of experience and owner of Gardner Dermatology and Med Spa. "Many patients call injectable fillers the 'liquid face lift' and love the instant results they receive without the downtime associated with surgical cosmetic procedures."

Going Under the Needle
These products, which are injected with a fine needle, work in two basic ways. Neurotoxins can be injected into specific muscles of the face reducing muscle contractions so they cannot pull the underlying skin, helping to stop the source of wrinkles. "Fillers literally fill areas that have lost volume due to aging," says Jessica Crawford, a physician assistant with Atlanta Dermatology & Laser Surgery.

When considering injectables and fillers keep in mind there is not one best product or procedure for everyone. There are various treatments available, and it is important to find a doctor who is skilled in the range of injectables so he or she can help you decide which one will best treat your area of concern.

The Starting Point
The category of injectables most people are familiar with is neurotoxins, and many patients will find the best results come from combining a neurotoxin and a filler. While Botox® has become the household name for this botulinum toxin, in recent years, additional products like Myobloc®, Dysport® and Xeomin® have come on the scene. "These are all FDA-approved products that reduce or eliminate wrinkles primarily on the upper half of the face by weakening or paralyzing the target muscle," says Dr. Katia Castillo with WOW Aesthetics. Patients usually get neurotoxin injections for the forehead, glabella (area between eyebrows) and crow's feet area around the eyes.

While injectables like Botox® soften lines, fillers are used to restore fullness mostly in the lower half of the face. The most well-known fillers are hyaluronic acids (Juvederm® and Restylane®, or Perlane®), calcium hydroxylapatide (Radiesse®), man-made biodegradable polymers (Sculptura) and microscopic beads and bovine collagen (Artefill). These fillers are most commonly injected into nasolabial folds (creases from the sides of the nose to the corner of the mouth), marionette lines, cheeks, fine lines above the mouth, hands and upper or lower lip. They are also sometimes used to treat scars, hollow areas under the eyes and earlobes.

It is important to note that the various fillers differ in their thickness and should be matched to the patient's needs. "To reduce fine, thin lines, a very thick filler may not be the best choice because it could result in unnatural looking lumps. However, to add volume to deeper lines, wrinkles or shallow contours, a heavier, thicker filler may be better to use," Dr. Gardner says. Radiesse®, for example, works to boost the body's own natural collagen production. It is a mineral component of bone and is thicker than many other fillers.

Restylane®, on the other hand, is a gel made of small molecules and is used for correcting thin superficial lines around the mouth, forehead and smile lines, according to Dr. Matteo Taerri of Advanced Anti-Aging and Aesthetic Medicine. Fillers can also be used to replenish volume under the eyes. "There are several FDA-approved fillers as well as one's own fat that can be safely injected into the hollowness under the eyes," says Dr. Seth Yellin of Marietta Facial Plastic Surgery.

Options, Options, Options
New products are developed regularly, which means treatments are increasingly specific to patients' needs. "The industry is always coming up with new products, and coming on the horizon are new injectables like Volumna and Belotero®, stem cell injections, a topical Botox® called RevanceTM and new wrinkle repair agents like PurTox. All of these promise to be better options," Dr. Castillo explains.

Belotero Balance® is a new cross-linked hyaluronic acid injectable filler that satisfies a niche in the injectable product market by being less viscous and less stiff. According to Dr. Yellin, it is best suited for the treatment of fine lines around the mouth and is superior to any other available injectable for that purpose. Advancements also work to combat known reactions like allergies. For example, Xeomin® is the newest botulinum product. "It works just like Botox® but has the advantage of being pure botulinum without any additional carrier proteins that can create an allergic reaction in a small number of patients," he explains.

Another anti-aging treatment called Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) uses the patient's own blood that has been transformed into platelet rich plasma to stimulate the stem cells of the dermis. "The PRP is injected into areas to rejuvenate or volumize them by supercharging the body's capacity for healing and tissue repair," Dr. Taerri explains. This method can be used to repair crinkling skin around the eyes, on cheeks, smile lines and even the neck. And according to Dr. Jerry L. Cooper, owner of Atlanta Dermatology & Laser Surgery, "everything old is new again." He uses silicon (brand name Silikon 1000®), which he calls "a very safe and pure, FDA-approved compound" to create a permanent correction for wrinkles and folds.

Sharpen Your Plan
With so many options, the most challenging aspect of injectables and fillers could be fashioning the best and most cost-effective treatment plan. Being armed with information and the right questions will help ensure good results that won't break the bank. Dr. Cooper suggests finding out what to expect from the treatment, how long the results should last and whether there are any unwanted side effects. You will also want to know exactly who will perform the injections and how long the doctor has worked with cosmetic injectables and fillers. Is the injector board-certified by the American Academy of Dermatology, American Society of Plastic Surgery or American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery? If not, what are their credentials and how long have they been administering injections?

Next, find out where the practice obtains injectable products. The best response to this question is that the product is shipped directly from the manufacturer to the doctor. In fact, Dr. Gardner says you should be able to see the box to know it is legitimate, make sure that the product is not expired and that it was shipped properly from the company in the United States.

Finally, develop a treatment plan that is based on your actual needs and considers the long term. Keep your budget in sight by remembering that "more is more and not necessarily better," Dr. Castillo says.

While there is typically no real downtime with these procedures other than some temporary bruising and swelling that can be easily covered with makeup, the length of results vary considerably. Over time the body breaks down and rejects the fillers, which means that repetition of the procedures is necessary. Injections like Botox® typically last three to six months. Fillers usually last longer, from about eight months to up to two years, and silicone injections are more permanent.

The Price Point
Comparing prices on procedures can be another challenge. Most people have seen billboards that advertise Botox® for as little as $10, but in that case, the fee refers to the unit of product, not to the entire treatment cost. Each area of the face will typically require several units. Many doctors charge by the area treated rather than by the unit, and it gets even more complicated than that. "Pricing can vary based on anything from location to amount of product used to injector experience," says Dr. Robert Colgrove of Vinings Surgery Center and Blue Divine Aesthetics.

Beware of very low prices, which could indicate that the products were not purchased in the United States. This may allow the injector to offer a cheaper price, "but could be dangerous to patients," Dr. Castillo cautions. In fact, it is very easy to "cheat" when injecting a neurotoxin because the product comes dehydrated and must be reconstituted with saline. There is no standard dilution, and therefore no way for a patient to know how many units she receives per area, according to Dr. Yellin.

The average price per unit for Botox®, when injected by a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon, is about $12 to $15 per unit. If a patient needs 25 units for full correction of forehead wrinkles, and the doctor charges $12 per unit, it would cost the patient $300. If that patient went to another doctor for a second opinion, he may recommend injecting only 15 units, resulting in a partial correction, but the patient would pay a lot less. "The results, of course, will depend upon the placement, skill and ability of the injector," Dr. Gardner says.

Although legally, many professionals are permitted to inject these products, choosing the right injector is as important as selecting the right product. "When entrusting your face to a health care professional, the provider you choose can mean the difference between looking fabulous or freaky," Dr. Yellin says. "From the initial analysis of your face, to the products and techniques selected to correct sagging skin, textural changes and volume loss, the rejuvenation of your face is an artistic endeavor honed by years of experience."

Physicians, nurse practitioners, physicians' assistants and registered nurses who have been trained in injectables can inject, but experience and training of the injector are always most important. "Referrals from other patients are a great way to find good injectors," Dr. Colgrove says.

So if you are considering injectables, discuss the many options available with your dermatologist or plastic surgeon to develop a treatment plan that is ideal for your face. When done correctly, these small, non-surgical procedures can take years off your appearance.


New Cannula Injecting Technique Decreases Bruising
The most common concern regarding fillers is bruising or swelling. Any time a sharp needle is used for a treatment, it can lead to discoloration or inflation; however, using a blunt cannula, (a tube that can be inserted into the body), as part of the injecting technique has many benefits including:

  • It can significantly reduce swelling from injectable fillers.
  • They are especially helpful for decreasing bruising and swelling with lip augmentation and nonsurgical rhinoplasties (nose jobs).
  • The cannulas are not a guarantee that you won't bruise, but it definitely decreases the likelihood by 90 percent.

— Courtesy of  Mike Majmundar, MD, Northside Facial Cosmetic Surgery


Editorial Resources

Katia Castillo, MD – WOW Aesthetics

Robert Colgrove, MD – Blue Divine Aesthetics and Vinings Surgery Center 

Jerry L. Cooper, MD – Atlanta Dermatology & Laser Surgery

Alan Gardner, MD – Gardner Dematology & Med Spa

Mike Majmundar, MD - Northside Facial Cosmetic Surgery

Matteo Taerri, MD – Advanced Anti-Aging

Monday, 24 June 2013 15:13

Vitamins and Supplements:

Chances are you’ve been told from a young age to take your vitamins. But just how important are they in our daily routines? Is a multivitamin “one size fits all,” or can vitamin supplementation be targeted to your specific dietary needs? Do vitamins really ward off ailments like the common cold, or could they be doing more harm than good? We’re answering some common questions about vitamins and nutritional supplements, and clearing up some misconceptions surrounding their ability to protect against cancer and other chronic diseases.

Vitamins: Exactly How Important Are They?
“In a perfect world, we would get all of the nutrients we need from our dinner plates,” says Melissa Bennett, certified natural health practitioner at Natural Health Atlanta. “Unfortunately, with today’s processed food and our natural affinity toward refined flour and sugar, we really fall short of the nutritional mark.”

Bennett says the best way to determine what vitamins you need to be taking is to have a nutritional evaluation and micronutrient test. This will determine if you are absorbing nutrients, or if you need to increase the amount through supplementation or food sources. “As a general baseline, I always recommend a good whole food multivitamin, a probiotic and opti DHA/EPA as foundation products,” she says.

That is not to say that taking vitamins gives you a free pass from eating healthily. “Food cannot be replaced with vitamin supplements,” says Amanda Bakalar, lead nutritionist at Dramatic Weight Loss. “The body absorbs vitamins much better in their natural state from fresh foods rather than taking a supplement.”

Also keep in mind that over-supplementing could be too much of a good thing. “Some vitamins have toxicity levels, and getting too much of them could actually cause harm,” Bakalar says. “A lot of foods are already fortified with vitamins. So if you are already a healthy eater, then it is probably best to focus only on supplementing certain vitamins where your diet may fall short.”

Could You Be Vitamin Deficient?
It is possible to be vitamin deficient and not know it because it usually develops slowly, and in the early stages, there are no classic symptoms. According to Mayo Clinic, some common characteristics of low vitamin status include fatigue and lethargy, insomnia, irritability, loss of appetite and poor concentration.

It is also important to note that “clinical” vitamin deficiencies result in specific diseases. For example, a lack of vitamin C eventually produces scurvy and is characterized by swollen joints, bleeding gums and aching bones. Scurvy is  treatable by increasing vitamin C intake with supplements or citrus fruits.

Other cases of vitamin deficiency could be the result of a medical procedure. “Some people who have had bariatric surgery, for example, need supplements because they are unable to absorb vitamins normally,” explains Dr. Sylvia Morris, a board-certified physician in internal and holistic medicine at Emory University. Certain health conditions, especially those that affect how our bodies absorb nutrients, can cause vitamin deficiencies as well. “People suffering from celiac disease are extremely sensitive to gluten, which is a type of protein found in wheat, barley and rye,” says Dr. Kelly Degraffenreid, chief of primary care at Kaiser Permanente of Georgia. “Doctors often prescribe vitamin and mineral supplements to ensure those patients get the nutrients their bodies need.”

But more often than not, a vitamin deficiency is easy to diagnose and requires just a simple fix. “People who avoid sun exposure may be low in vitamin D and need supplementation,” Dr. Morris says. “Bone fracture in elderly or post-menopausal women may be an indicator of vitamin D or calcium deficiency. Change in memory may indicate vitamin B12 deficiency. Cheliosis (splitting of corners of mouth) is associated with vitamin B deficiency.”

Organic vs. Synthetic Vitamins
With so many multivitamin supplements on the market, it can be difficult to decipher what’s what. “Always look for a ‘whole food supplement,’” Bennett says. “These supplements are easily assimilated and processed by the body. If a supplement has too many additives, dyes and other fillers, your liver has to process these as well as the supplement. I always say ‘if you can’t pronounce it, don’t ingest it.’”

So just what makes a vitamin “natural” or “organic”? “Natural vitamins often have a plant-based source, rather than a chemically manufactured source,” explains Dr. Tasneem Bhatia, Medical Director at Atlanta Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine. “Organic labeling means the products comply with certain requirements as regulated by the USDA and have minimal pesticides, phthalates or parabens. A product cannot claim it is organic unless it meets the certification guidelines.”

It’s also important to understand that there are two types of vitamins—water-soluble and fat-soluble. “B vitamins, such as folic acid and biotin, are water-soluble,” Dr. Degraffenreid says. “If you take too much of those vitamins, your body can flush out the excess through your kidneys. Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble. The body can store these vitamins, which may lead to health problems. Although you will find ‘mega’ doses of vitamins on the market, the most efficient and cost-effective is a regular multivitamin.”

And when considering a new vitamin, always read the labels. “All ingredients should be listed, in the appropriate amounts,” Dr. Bhatia says. “Some supplement companies seek certifications that verify authenticity of the product. Common seals are the NSF, GMP and USP.”

Vitamins and Drug Interactions
It is always important to tell your doctor or healthcare provider what vitamins or supplements you are taking due to the risk of certain drug interactions. “Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) can inhibit magnesium, calcium and iron absorption,” Dr. Morris says. “Iron supplements and thyroid medications should be taken separately (morning and night or at least two to three hours apart), as iron causes reduced concentration of levothyroxine. Iron also reduces the concentration of levodopa (Parkinson’s medication).”  

Certain medications can also make your body deficient of certain nutrients. “For example, antibiotics may cause nutrient loss in zinc and iron,” says Saira Gillani, naturopathic doctor at Natural Health Atlanta. “And antidepressants may cause nutrient loss in vitamin B12 and CoQ10.”

Do Vitamins Help Prevent Disease?
Unfortunately, the jury is still out on supplements and disease prevention. “Vitamins’ role in cancer and disease prevention is not clearly understood,” Dr. Morris says. “Vitamin E and beta carotenes were reported to prevent cancer, however, the study results have not been consistent and therefore recommendations cannot be made.”

Dr. Degraffenreid concurs. “With the exception of vitamin D and calcium supplementation being beneficial for bone health and possibly colon cancer, additional vitamins are not needed, according to evidence-based medicine,” she says. “Researchers initially thought many vitamins would help prevent heart disease, cancer, dementia and respiratory illnesses, but that has not been proven by controlled studies.”

Still, many experts do see a connection between vitamin deficiencies and certain diseases. “Many diseases can be traced back to pathways that begin as a result of dietary or genetic nutritional deficiencies,” Dr. Bhatia says. “Breast cancer and heart disease, for example, can be diseases of B vitamin and magnesium deficiency, or poor utilization. If caught early enough, these micronutrients can prevent disease.”


Did You Know? Vitamins and the FDA

Unlike medications and prescription drugs, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have to approve or even inspect vitamins sold in the United States. Federal law classifies vitamins as a “dietary supplement,” which places them under the category of food and not drugs.

As a dietary supplement, the FDA does not need to “authorize” a vitamin for sale, so it is the job of the manufacturer to ensure that the vitamins it sells are safe before entering the market. However, the FDA can limit the sale of vitamins if it finds a product is unsafe.

Manufacturers have to be sure that the product is safe, and if the manufacturer receives any reports of harmful health effects from people using its product, it has to report those to the FDA. The FDA can then investigate these claims and issue a recall if it concludes a product is unsafe.


Editorial Resources:
Amanda Bakalar - Dramatic Weight Loss

Melissa Bennett ND, Saira Gillani ND - Natural Health Atlanta

Tasneem Bhatia MD - Atlanta Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine
Kelly Degraffenreid MD - Kaiser Permanente of Georgia

Sylvia Morris MD - Emory Healthcare

Monday, 24 June 2013 13:49

The Adventures of Ty

Ty Pennington can't seem to slow down. Whether he's renovating the storm damaged homes in New Jersey as part of the Craftsman "Make a Difference Tour" or building a "First to the Future" home with NextGen TV, he is passionate about building stronger communities and giving back to others in need. Pennington spoke with Best Self Atlanta about his different projects with the same enthusiasm he was known for on the show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." And that excitement is contagious. His interest in building began at a young age when he and some friends decided to construct a three-story tree house. Years later, Pennington took his love of carpentry and parlayed it into a successful career. During his commencement speech at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) graduation ceremony, he admitted to the graduating class of 2012 that he had no idea at first how to turn his love of design into a job, but he believed in himself and was ready when opportunities came knocking.

At the Starting Line
The world was first introduced to the Atlanta native on a TLC reality show called "Trading Spaces." Before then, Pennington had done some modeling and commercial acting, however, he really wanted to find something that would give him a creative outlet for his design ideas. His career picked up momentum in 2003 when he became part of ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," a show that took him all over the U.S. helping deserving families by redesigning their homes in a week or less. "You become very connected to their stories—they become part of you," Pennington says. "The experience of seeing what can happen when a lot of people come together, that's inspiring." When the show ended in 2011, Pennington and his team had rebuilt over 200 homes. Next Pennington went on to host the short-lived, lifestyle-based talk show "The Revolution." After only six months on the air, the show was canceled, but Pennington continued to work, focusing on personal ventures.

Opportunity Around the Bend
Pennington kept busy with various projects of his own including expanding his furniture and home decor line, but once again television came calling, this time in the form of a new series on HLN called "American Journey." Launched in January of this year, the show gives viewers an inside look into the lives of different people striving to better themselves and follow their dreams. With Pennington as the host, the episodes have included everything from occupants of a nature commune to lobster fishermen. "The thing I like about (the show) is it dives into the subculture of America and shows you what people are really going through," he says. "In 'Extreme Makeover,' I traveled around the country and we focused on telling the story of the family that we were helping, and I always wanted to come back to that. I think 'American Journey' really does that – takes you into these untold stories of interesting people doing amazing things with their lives."

A Bump in the Road
Going from project to project and still loving what you do can seem like a daunting feat. But for Pennington, keeping busy through different design ventures is how he channels his creativity, his seemingly boundless energy and deals with his Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). After being diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 17, Pennington found that juggling various building projects helped him stay focused. As his career grew, Pennington did not shy away from sharing his disorder with the public, even naming his L.A. design boutique ADHD(Art Design Home Decor), as a nod to his condition. He has remained very outspoken about treatment and support for adults with ADHD. "I really wouldn't be the person I am today if I hadn't gotten treatment," he says.

Bringing it Home
Pennington knows firsthand that life will give you obstacles, and it's up to you to find a way around them. "The best thing you can do is find out what it is that makes you happy. What are you passionate about? Is it music, art, dancing, writing? That thing you want to be doing when you've got time on your hands - keep that in your life. That's the key. And hopefully you can turn that into a job," he says. "It's really hard to do, but go after whatever it is that really makes you happy and don't let it leave your life." Pennington reveals he is working on some more TV ideas and has additional projects on the horizon, but is hesitant to give out details because he can be "really superstitious." And in between it all he is just trying to live his life to the fullest and have fun while doing it. "I think my life is a project, the best project in the world."


The Last Word

Last book you read that really inspired you?
I read Keith Richards' book, "Life." I think it is books like that that make you realize you have to live every single moment in the moment and really appreciate every breath.

How do you stay fit and active?
I grew up being very active, I played soccer and skateboarded. I'm not a weightlifter or anything, but I like to run. I also like to stretch and do some yoga.


What do you do to relax?
Honestly, a lot of people don't know this but I play a little bit of music, I like writing funny songs and playing my guitar. The other thing that helps me come down is just laughing at funny things that come up, spending time with family and friends – that's how I relax. I also find it calming when I'm working on the next project. For me, I like working on a project because I'm creating solutions to the problems and it elates me. I was one of those kids who got tested a lot. And my mom noticed the only time I was calm was when I was drawing something, when I had a pen in my hand. And I think that still holds true today.

In an interview with "Parade" earlier this year, you spoke of the 50 things you'd like to do before turning 50 (including swimming with whale sharks, coaching a Little League soccer team and going white water rafting down the Snake River). Have you accomplished anything on that list yet?
I have. I've started the process. One of the things on my list was to visit national parks, take really good pictures of them and then figure out a way to raise awareness to help protect them. I've started to knock some other the things off the list too—it is a big list and hopefully I can get it all done!

What do you miss about living in Atlanta?
I love the South. There's something so charming about it, maybe it's the fireflies, maybe it's the kudzu, maybe it's the sweet tea, but when you grow up there, you never lose it. Of course there's some of my favorite restaurants like Little Bangkok. I think Atlanta has some very good restaurants and the music scene is one of the best in the country. All we need now is to figure out a way to deal with traffic and we're good.

What is integrative medicine, and how does it differ from holistic, homeopathic and alternative medicine?

Integrative medicine is defined as healing-oriented medicine that takes into account the whole person (body, mind, spirit), including all aspects of lifestyle. (Rakel and Weil, Integrative Medicine, 3rd edition) Alternative medicine is everything they don't teach in conventional medical schools and may encompass holistic and homeopathic approaches. Integrative medicine may include theories and practices that are beyond the scope of our current conventional medical model, but without dismissing its therapies or accepting alternative ones uncritically. It offers so many valuable tools, some of which may be perceived as common sense, but with profound effects when applied

Who is an ideal candidate for integrative medicine?

In the midst of our current health care crisis, everyone would be a candidate for some aspect of integrative care. Conventional medicine focuses on the study and management of disease processes, which usually involves expensive diagnostic testing and treatment with synthetic therapies. This current model is what is slowly mortgaging our country's healthcare system with virtually no emphasis on healing.  You can treat asthma with a drug without healing the asthmatic subject. Healing facilitates change, such as stress reduction, a healthy diet, encouraging regular physical activity, and promotes a sense of community in which one can thrive spiritually.

Does insurance cover integrative medical treatment?

Third parties are starting to accept and reimburse more integrative models.  For example, Dean Ornish has developed a comprehensive system (stress management, diet, exercise, love and support) that actually reverses heart disease, a claim which no statin drug or coronary stent can make. His system is covered by Medicare as well as some private payers.

What should patients look for in a physician or practice that offers integrative medicine?

Someone who recognizes the critical role of the doctor-patient relationship and develops sacred, intimate relationships with their patients by listening intently and offering therapeutic, evidence-based options individualized to their patients' needs.


Avicenna Integrative Medicine
1000 Johnson Ferry Road
Suite E200
Marietta, GA 30068
(770) 977-9300

Maziar Rezvani, MD, FAAAAI serves as director of Avicenna Integrative Medicine and Avicenna Allergy and Asthma. He specializes in integrative medicine and allergy, asthma and immunology, and his interests include the role of inflammation in various disease states, diet and nutrition, and botanical medicine.

Friday, 21 June 2013 17:43

Turn Back the Clock on Your Skin

Who is the ideal candidate for the fractional CO2 laser?

The ideal patient is light skinned with acne scars, or has scars from trauma or wrinkles from age and sun exposure. Former smokers are also good candidates for treatment. Fractional CO2 laser in darker skin is generally not recommended since the laser will heat the skin, causing it to darken. Lighter skinned people may also have some temporary darkening of the treated areas of skin, but this will fade over time.

How does the procedure work?

The fractional CO2 laser works by drilling tiny pin sized holes to a specific depth in the skin surface. These "holes" heat the deeper portion of the skin, causing the collagen to "remodel," thus smoothing wrinkles and other defects.

Is the procedure painful?

Prior to the procedure, a topical anesthetic is applied the skin, so any discomfort during treatment is minimal. Immediately following the procedure, you will be pink to red, and may feel swollen and tender for a few hours. This can be relieved with ice packs, topical or oral steroids and anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen.

Is the treatment safe for all skin types?

People who are active outdoors should have the CO2 laser treatment in the late fall and winter to avoid excessive darkening. Tanning bed users, tattooed skin, pregnant women and anyone who has recently taken Accutane should not be treated.

What types of results can patients expect, and how long will these last?

Most people take about two weeks for the redness to go away. If the laser darkened the skin, this may take 8 to 12 weeks to fully fade. Wrinkle reduction and scar improvement may take 6 to 12 months. The longevity of most cosmetic procedures depends upon your lifestyle and genetics. If you do not wear sunscreen, expect less durability from your cosmetic results. If your parents aged gracefully, you will likely do the same.


North Atlanta Dermatology
3850 Pleasant Hill Road
Duluth, Georgia 30096

Dr. Damian Dhar is board-certified by the American Board of Dermatology. He is a member of a number of professional societies including the American Academy of Dermatology, Atlanta Dermatological Association, Medical Association of Atlanta and others.


As the niece of author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, Christy Ziglar didn't have to look far for inspiration. "He inspired so many people to take action to change their lives," she says. "I think one of the things that most impressed me about Zig was the very unique way that he was able to deliver perfect nuggets of wisdom in humorous and practical ways that would resonate with everyone." Christy decided to continue in those footsteps with her unique children's book series, the Shine Bright Kids stories aimed at helping kids learn to make better choices in life.


How did you first decide to write these books?
Because of my background as a financial planner, I was asked to help develop a financial literacy program for first and second graders in the Atlanta Public Schools several years ago. It was during my work on that project that I first became aware of the need to teach our kids how to make better choices. It became clear that until kids could learn to say 'no' to the instant gratification, no amount of talking about saving or budgeting was going to make a real difference. As a mom, I'm always looking for creative and fun ways to teach valuable life lessons. My twins have always loved books so it seemed natural to write a children's story to provide a relevant context to convey this concept of delayed gratification and waiting for the very best. As soon as I started working on my book, "Can't-Wait Willow!," I began to think of other characters and stories that would highlight equally valuable life skills and so, the Shine Bright Kids series was born.

How has your uncle influenced your career and personal life?
I love hearing stories from so many people who share how one of his tapes or books directly impacted their life. It wasn't very long after I'd written the stories that I had a "middle of the night" moment when it occurred to me that the life lessons and values I was trying to teach through my children's stories were the same leadership principles and motivational messages that my Uncle Zig had spent his life teaching to adults.

Best takeaway from becoming an author?
It is so much fun to see a book come to life! I never realized how challenging and how rewarding writing a children's book could be. My favorite thing is seeing childrens' reaction to the story and hearing from the parents about how the book is helping their family become more purposeful and proactive in general.

Best message to pass on to children?
It's simple. Choose Right. Shine Bright.

Best accomplishment?
My family! I am so blessed to have a wonderful husband who is my best friend and two incredible kids that make everything more fun.

Best way to spend your free time?
I love to have adventures and I love to be outside. Whether it's exploring a new part of town, going on a hike, having a picnic, or just hanging out in the backyard, there's nothing more cherished than some unscheduled time.

Best thing you've learned from your uncle?
My two favorite quotes from him are, "It's not what you've got, but what you use that makes a difference," and "You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want."

The people who help you be your best self:
My husband, my kids, my family and my favorite friends.

"Life begins at forty." –W. B. Pitkin

The winners of the 2013 Over 40 & Fabulous! contest have followed their passions, achieved rewarding careers and stopped to help others along the way.

These amazing Atlantans seem tireless in their efforts to continue to improve themselves and the world around them in their own special way.

This year's top 10 winners were nominated by their friends, family and peers, and in accordance with contest guidelines, choosen by the number of votes they received. Here we celebrate this year's fabulous top 10!





kim-vaughnKim Vaughn – Winner

"In 54 years, I have learned that today I am the youngest me I will ever be. As a result, I choose to celebrate life every day and live it to the fullest."

Bio: Kim is a professional model as well as an image and pageant consultant who has coached numerous local, state and national title winners. She also served as a national spokesperson for the Sjögren's Syndrome Foundation.

What is the best thing you've learned about yourself since turning 40?
I have learned that beginning my day with a positive attitude is critical and impacts everything and everyone. As a role model and mentor to young people, I must lead by example. This means that I must take care of myself first, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

What is your favorite quote?
"And will you succeed? Yes, you will indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)" –Dr. Seuss

What is your favorite getaway?
Maui - it is heaven on Earth!

Name something on your bucket list.
Going to Australia.

Where do you go for "me" time?
I like to wake up early and have my quiet time with God before my family gets up. For me, beginning each morning with calmness and a heart filled with gratitude makes for a blessed and productive day. My daily motto is, "I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection."

Who are the experts/professionals that help you be your best self?
I achieve my best self by surrounding myself with people who love me simply for being me. I am thankful for the "village" of folks who help me maintain optimum health. Living with a disease has made me keenly aware of how important it is to take excellent care of myself. In addition to my traditional physicians, I have gone to Body Logic for bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. I believe chiropractic care (Dr. Jason Regis at Transition Chiropractic) as well as massage (Christine Klusovsky at Healing Solutions, LLC), have proven to be beneficial to my health. In addition, Tracey Prinzbach at Personal Best Personal Training has been an excellent trainer and helped me to gain a greater understanding of nutrition and taught me to love weight lifting. I highly recommend Barbara Weber, RN at The Image Academy for injectables and advice on skin care. For hair care, I love Siggers Hairdressers. My hairdresser, Brittany, is an amazing stylist and friend. Lastly, for my fashion advice, I rely on Randall K. Smith. His sense of style is amazing and he always knows how to make me look and feel like a star.

What is your favorite new experience/discovery?
Currently, I am learning deep breathing exercises as a form of relaxation.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community?
By far, my favorite ways to give back to my community involve youth and raising awareness for the Sjögren's Syndrome Foundation, Inc. (SSF). I became an advocate for SSF after being diagnosed when my first child, Davis, was born. I was honored to serve as a national spokesperson, and currently I am focusing my charitable efforts on fundraising events for the foundation. My goals when working with youth include helping them achieve high levels of self-confidence through honing communication skills and earning college scholarship money. As a former teacher, I believe that education is the key that unlocks a lifetime of opportunity. In addition, I encourage my clients through my image and pageant consulting business to achieve their personal best.


ursula-lentineUrsula Lentine

"I feel centered, and no matter what happens to me, I am steady inside. I have happiness from within."

Bio: Ursula is a certified Pranic Healer, a practitioner of Self Leadership Therapy and has founded several programs for youth like Mountain Wisdom's First Rites of Passage Experience and Girls to Women teen camp.

What is the best thing you've learned about yourself since turning 40?
I would say the fact that I design my life now. Everything about my world is because of my consciousness. I have peace. It takes work, but it's worth it. I am dedicated to my spiritual practices. I feel centered, and no matter what happens to me, I am steady inside. I have happiness from within. I am my only limitation. I may have learned these things the hard way, but it's mine now; I can own it!

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
I am living my purpose; that is my greatest accomplishment. It's to the degree that each day the choices I make are deliberate and along with the spiritual truths as I know them. An effective way that purpose is expressed is through Pranic Healing®, which is a refined energy healing for emotional, physical and mental issues that are beyond what the eye can see. I also facilitate subconscious healing work at Internal Family Systems. Witnessing people's lives change is truly the best job in the world.

What is your favorite way to work out?
I absolutely love dirt bike riding and I go nearly every Monday. My runner-ups are West Coast Swing dancing, Red Hot Yoga and straight-up, hardcore yard work.

Who are the experts/professionals that help you be your best self?
My teachers: Master Glenn Mendoza, MD, Master Marilag Mendoza, Dr. Valerie Davis, Master Choa Kok Sui and Dr. Dick Schwartz. Pranic Healing® and Internal Family Systems are the two models I use in my practice as a healing therapist. The children and young adults I have the privilege of serving at the Spiritual Living Center on Sundays definitely call me to be my best self.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community?
Twin Hearts Meditation is a meditation group I started four years ago. It is an incredible gift to witness the personal growth of others and lives changing in such profound ways.



doug-barronDoug Barron

"Being able to raise ovarian cancer awareness though social, fundraising and educational events across the state is so rewarding."

Bio: Doug is the executive director of the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance, an organization that spreads awareness and education about ovarian cancer throughout Georgia and the Southeastern United States.

What is the best thing you've learned about yourself since turning 40?
Not to take myself so seriously, to quit trying to impress everybody [and] to be comfortable with who I am and just be myself.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Finding a career I truly love. After 30-plus years in the financial services industry and following the death of my mother-in-law, Wendy Sheron, to ovarian cancer, I became the executive director of the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance. Being able to raise ovarian cancer awareness though social, fundraising and educational events across the state in her memory is so rewarding.

What is your favorite book?
"For One More Day" by Mitch Albom. It focuses on the importance of living in the now and making the time and effort to recognize and appreciate the people who are always there for you.

What is your favorite way to work out?
Swimming. I have been a competitive swimmer for over 45 years and still compete in the Atlanta Adult Summer Swim League.

What is your favorite getaway?
Any beach – it is the one place I can truly shut down and do nothing.

What makes you laugh?
Silly, sophomoric humor.

Where do you go for "me" time?
The nail salon for a manicure and pedicure. There is something about a good pedicure and foot massage that is so relaxing. I do catch some grief from friends, but don't knock it until you have tried it. Also, [I like] being outside doing yard work.

Who are the experts/professionals that help you be your best self?
I would have to say my mother-in-law, Wendy. Right up until the time of her death, her strength and composure never ceased to amaze me. I became involved with ovarian cancer awareness in her honor and continue to be guided by her actions.

How would your family and friends describe you?
Trustworthy, dependable, goofy, dedicated and devoted.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community?
Educating women of all ages across Georgia about the risks and symptoms of ovarian cancer.



dr-neil-cooperDr. Neil Cooper

"I try to find something enjoyable in every day and try to perform one act of kindness daily."

Bio: Dr. Cooper is the chief of diagnostic imaging services for Kaiser Permanente of Georgia. He is also a physician, husband, father, volunteer and motorcycle enthusiast. After surviving a heart attack, he changed his diet and became even more passionate about his health and the health of others.

What is the best thing you've learned about yourself since turning 40?
I know my strengths and weaknesses, have learned to accept who I am, understand my limitations and realize I can only control what I can control and not worry about the rest. The most important thing I have learned since passing 40 is not to take life's ups and downs too seriously. I have learned that staying connected with friends and family is most important. At this age I realize our time here is limited. So I try to find something enjoyable in every day and try to perform one act of kindness daily.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Recently, my best accomplishment has been returning to school for a Master's degree in health administration and now working on a Master's degree in health promotion and exercise science. Studying at this age is good exercise for the brain and keeps the cobwebs cleared.

What is your favorite book and why?
I have many favorite books, but the one with "staying power" that can be read over and over is "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey. It's a reference book and a way of life. My favorite chapter and the one thought that stays in my head is Begin with the End in Mind. Very powerful.

What is your favorite way to work out?
I have exercised routinely for years with many good trainers. Up until a year ago, I thought training meant lifting heavy weights for strength. If it didn't include a bicep or a pectoral, it wasn't worth my time. How wrong I was! More recently, my trainers and my own reading have helped me see the light. I have learned that working out starts with a strong core. Next is flexibility, followed by balance, then strength, endurance and power. My favorite workouts are at FormWell Personal Fitness Training where they mix it up with circuit training, resistance, CrossFit and endurance.

What is your favorite new experience/discovery?
My new favorite discovery is the benefits of a whole foods, plant-based diet. With my wife, Shelley, leading the charge, we are on a path of discovery — learning how to stop and reverse chronic disease such as coronary heart disease. Together we are reading books by authors such as Dr. Neal Barnard and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, attending conferences like Georgia Organics and Farms to Forks, and discovering wonderful vegan restaurants and ways to eat vegan in any restaurant. Giving up animal products and substituting with healthy grains, vegetables, legumes and fruits makes mealtime empowering, healthful and energy-boosting. After I became convinced that plant-based nutrition truly leads to a better lifestyle, I have found the journey to be a lot of fun, full of new flavors and experiences, and very satisfying.



dr-Leslie-C-grayDr. Leslie C. Gray

"I've found that in my 40s, I'm more able to appreciate my strengths, and that gives me confidence in all areas of my life."

Bio: Dr. Gray is a passionate dermatologist who founded Dermatology Center of Atlanta in October 2000. She is also a wife and mother of three. Today, she and her staff donate to North Fulton Community Charities, among others.

What is the best thing you've learned about yourself since turning 40?
The best thing I've learned is the peace and satisfaction that comes with accepting yourself as you are and not feeling the pressure to measure up to other people's expectations. I've found that in my 40s, I'm more able to appreciate my strengths, and that gives me confidence in all areas of my life. I also know my weaknesses, but I am better able to work on them than when I was younger.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Finding balance in my life with the things that mean the most to me. Especially after 40, I know what my priorities are and I keep myself accountable to them — family, faith, fitness, home, health, work and fun!

What is your favorite way to work out?
I have a library of the Beachbody DVDs and I mix and match cardio and strength. I also love that my children can see that my health and fitness are a priority and I hope that will positively influence them too.

What is your favorite getaway?
I have two favorite getaways. The first is Seaside, FL, where we have gone for our family summer beach trip for more than a decade. It's a great place for reconnecting and family time. My other favorite getaway is our lake house at Lake Burton.

Name something on your bucket list.
Learning Italian and then going on a trip to Italy.

What makes you laugh?
My husband, Glenn, has always made me laugh. He has a great sense of humor and he's especially funny with our kids.

Where do you go for "me" time?
Working out in my gym is the best "me" time. I always feel more energetic and clear-headed after a great workout.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community?
Donating the services and resources of my practice to the many local charities, schools and causes that approach us. As a group, we also try to give back. Last year, instead of our traditional secret Santa gifts, employees could opt instead to donate to North Fulton Community Charities. This year, we are planning a group volunteer day at the Murphy-Harpst Children's Center, which helps children who are severely abused.



ann-marie-weeksAnn Marie Weeks

"Teaching fitness has never felt like a job to me; it is my passion and I would do it regardless of if I got paid."

Bio: Ann Marie is a Flywheel instructor and passionate about fitness. She is also a wife, mother of three and supporter and volunteer at Mary Hall Freedom House.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
I am able to do what I love every day and get rewarded for it both financially and spiritually. Teaching fitness has never felt like a job to me; it is my passion and I would do it regardless of if I got paid. I look forward to every class I teach. I love my clients and feel so fortunate to be able to encourage and motivate them in their pursuits of a healthy lifestyle.

What is your favorite book and why?
"The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle. It provides great insight on the benefits of staying in the present moment instead of holding onto the past or worrying about the future. It is about enjoying exactly where you are at the present time and fully embracing the experience.

What is your favorite way to work out?
Flywheel. I cannot get enough of this spinning class! I have taught in the fitness industry for over 25 years and this is hands down my favorite class to teach.

What is your favorite getaway?
My home on Peaks Island, Maine. I was born and raised in Maine and feel so fortunate to be able to go back and spend the summers there. Being on an island forces [me to] slow down and provides a perfect place for quality family time without being pulled in a million directions. My children love choosing the activities of the day with no schedule and the freedom of independence afforded to them with the safety of being on an island. There is just nothing more relaxing to me than laying in a hammock on the deck, and seeing and hearing the crashing of the ocean waves.

Name something on bucket your list.
Hiking the Inca Trail in Machu Picchu, Peru is number one on my bucket list.






kitsy-roseKitsy Rose

"I wake up feeling excited, creatively challenged and energized by my clients."

Bio: Kitsy has run her own boutique PR firm (KitsyRose PR), specializing in fashion and hospitality for the last eight years. She also sits on the board of the Humane Society and is an avid breast cancer awareness supporter.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
I would have to say that, to date, my career is my biggest accomplishment. I have been extremely blessed to work with the people and businesses that I do every day over the past six years [and] that I have had my own business. I actually can say that I wake up feeling excited, creatively challenged and energized by my clients, [who are] the great media of Atlanta and so many [other] partners that I call for various event collaborations. Working hard never felt so good or rewarding.

What is your favorite way to work out?
As I started to approach 40, I really wanted to be my best self for the big day. I hired a friend and personal trainer from H.E.A.T. (High Energy Alternative Training) and was introduced to Flywheel. I quickly became addicted and loved the results.

What is your favorite getaway?
Traveling is a huge passion of mine and I feel fortunate to have experienced many places and different cultures. But my softest spot is for Paris – I love the art, food, fashion and the champagne! It was an honor that 14 of my closest friends made the journey to Paris to celebrate the big 4-0 with me. I will treasure those memories forever.

Name something on your bucket list.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community?
I'm a softy for dogs and was thrilled to have been invited to spend the last four years as a member of the 1873 Society Club, which is the "junior board" for The Atlanta Humane Society. I am also a huge breast cancer supporter. Every year for the past four years, I have walked with my friend Mia's family. It is an early Saturday rise, but [it's] such an empowering feeling when you see the masses decked out in pink.




mary-pompeo-williamsMary Pompeo Williams

"My son makes me laugh - the innocence and honesty of a six-year-old is priceless!"

Bio: Mary is a dedicated champion for Open Hand, having successfully co-chaired and elevated their event Party in the Kitchen from 2010 to 2012. She is also a mother, wife and community advocate.

What is your favorite way to work out?
I enjoy running with friends every morning! Since all of us have such busy schedules, it is a great way to catch up and work out.

What is your favorite getaway?
One & Only Palmilla Resort in Cabo San Lucas.

What makes you laugh?
My son, Harrison, makes me laugh. The innocence and honesty of a six-year-old is priceless!

Where do you go for "me" time?
My afternoon walk. It gives me a chance to unwind a bit and clear my mind before the nighttime routine starts. I have always said my morning run is for my physical health and my afternoon walk is for my mental health.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community?
I volunteer for several charities and organizations; however, I am most passionate about Open Hand. They do so much more than deliver meals to people in need; they cook and prepare fresh, nutritional [and] healthy food that is medically appropriate for homebound seniors and those who are chronically ill. Their main focus is the importance of preventive health care and nutritional education. One of the things that really impresses me about Open Hand is that they don't just deliver meals to the person who is ill, but to every member of the family.




maryclaire-andresMaryclaire Andres

"Life is too short not to do the things you want to do."

Bio: Maryclaire is a dedicated mother of four. She also owns a promotions and event company. She sits on the board of Arts with Heart and works with the Boys & Girls Clubs, among others.

What is the best thing you've learned about yourself since turning 40?
Don't sweat the small stuff. I plan events for a living, so I am used to being in a high stress, high-energy environment. The key to succeeding at that is to be flexible and not too easily rattled. I also realized that life is too short not to do the things you want to do. I have learned how to live in the moment.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Besides my four children, it's the work I have done on events in Cobb County and building my business from scratch. I have been working with Taste of Marietta for 14 years now and we are now the largest one-day food festival in Georgia. I am also proud of another event that I started with a wonderful committee from the Boys & Girls Club of Cobb County in 2009. It is called the Whole Hawg Happenin' BBQ & Music Fest.

What is your favorite way to work out?
I use the StairMaster. I also get a lot of exercise through my work and keeping up with four young children! I like to hike and do things like zip-lining, skating and bike riding.

Name something on your bucket list.
I want to visit the current Seven Wonders of the World.

What makes you laugh?
Almost everything! My children do — they are 8, 10, 10 and 13. I have two boys and twin girls and they are my joy. My husband and friends make me laugh too.

Where do you go for "me" time?
If I do get any free time, it would be to go out with my girlfriends or go away on a girls' trip.

How would your family and friends describe you?
Probably bubbly, crazy, funny — always going and not ever resting.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community?
I work with several non-profit organizations. In addition, I donate my company's (Promo-Photo) services to many different organizations for their fundraising events. I also involve my children in non-profit charity work.



sean-okeefeSean O'Keefe

"Most of my life has been dedicated to the belief that even the smallest effort can be rewarding."

Bio: Sean is an event stylist, designer, chef, non-profit specialist, equestrian and founder of Sean O'Keefe Events. He has helped raise nearly $2 million for the fundraising community.

What is the best thing you've learned about yourself since turning 40?
I would have to say that it has to be that I am truly happy being me.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
Creating Sean O'Keefe Events and finding my voice in the Atlanta non-profit community.

What is your favorite way to work out?
I love hiking!

What is your favorite getaway?
Anywhere my car feels like taking me — most often it is Kentucky. I just love the Highway 127 garage sale. It is always so very beautiful there and the people are almost as nice as the people in Georgia.

Name something on your bucket list.
Does it have a handle to help me carry it? Buckets can only hold so much and there is way too much on my list.

What makes you laugh?
To be honest, almost everything. I find that in order to survive in this world we have to laugh. Everything is funny if you take the time to feel and see the laughter.

Where do you go for "me" time?
The river in Roswell. There is something so peaceful about walking along the banks of the Chattahoochee. It's such an amazing place to be and it is the best alone place that I have ever known.

Who are the experts/professionals that help you be your best self?
There are so many people that I consider to be blessings in my life. As they say, "It takes a village..."

How would your family and friends describe you?
I think that my family and friends would describe me as a fun, loving and dedicated man. Slightly odd, but definitely fun, loving and dedicated.

What is your favorite way to give back to your community?
Most of my life has been dedicated to the belief that even the smallest effort can be rewarding, and that if we can tap into our best self, all that we do can be a way of giving back.

What is the miraDry® procedure?
The miraDry® procedure is a quick, safe, non-invasive treatment that is FDA cleared to eliminate sweat glands under the arms. No surgery is involved. The hand piece of the miraDry® System is placed on the underarm area and delivers precisely controlled, localized microwave energy to the region where the sweat glands reside. The result is elimination of the sweat glands in the targeted area. The glands do not grow back, so there is a dramatic and lasting reduction in underarm sweat.

What is the procedure like?
The clinician customizes treatment for each underarm with multiple placements of the miraDry® System. The underarms are numbed prior to the procedure for your comfort. You should be able to return to normal activities or work right after the procedure, and you can typically resume exercise within several days. Some localized soreness or swelling is normal, and typically clears within a few weeks. Some patients have temporary, short-term altered sensation in the skin of their underarms or upper arms, which gradually disappears.

What results can I expect?
Most patients report a dramatic reduction of their underarm sweat – in a recent clinical study, the average underarm sweat reduction was 82%. You should see a reduction in sweat immediately after treatment. Two procedures spaced three months apart are required to maximize the results and duration. As with any medical procedure, results will vary by person. The results are lasting because the sweat glands do not come back or regenerate after they have been eliminated.

Is the miraDry® procedure right for me?
If embarrassing underarm sweat outbreaks, stained clothing or frequent antiperspirant application interfere with your daily life, then you may be a good candidate for the miraDry® procedure.

DERMATOLOGY CENTER OF ATLANTA is one of the first in Georgia to offer the FDA Approved miraDry® technology. We are experienced and well-trained in performing miraDry® treatments. To learn more about this revolutionary procedure, call our office for a consultation.

Dermatology Center of Atlanta

Dr. Leslie C. Gray is board certified in dermatology and founded Dermatology Center of Atlanta in 2000. She built the practice on her belief of combining the highest quality dermatologic care with outstanding patient-centered customer service. At Dermatology Center of Atlanta, our board certified dermatologists provide comprehensive Medical, Surgical and Cosmetic skin care services.