Eastside Medical Center and Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation have announced their groundbreaking partnership for the Live Healthy Gwinnett initiative. This initiative will encourage and engage citizens of Gwinnett County to invest in their personal wellness through diet, exercise and reducing stress levels.Live Healthy Gwinnett

Live Healthy Gwinnett was created after some stirring facts and figures were releases last year.  According to a 2013 report from the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Georgia ranked the 20th most obese state, with a 26 percent rate for adults in Gwinnett County. The 2013 Gwinnett County Health Department Community Health Assessment states, “Gwinnett’s current obesity rate of 26 percent places a quarter of the adult population at higher risk for serious conditions like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, osteoarthritis, respiratory problems, and stroke.” And according to the 2013 Gwinnett County Health Department Community Health Assessment, “20 percent of Gwinnett County residents get no leisure-time physical activity.”

“We are taking a proactive wellness approach to address the preventable chronic illnesses that impact individuals of Gwinnett County,” said Kim Ryan, CEO of Eastside Medical Center. “People can significantly reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases by making simple lifestyle changes: eating healthy, increasing physical activity and reducing stress.”

The new initiative towards a healthy Gwinnett County will combine clinical expertise from Eastside Medical Center physicians and staff along with wellness recommendations and activities offered by Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation and will focus on four overall wellness areas: Be Active, Eat Healthy, Get Checked and Be Positive.Live Healthy Gwinnett

“This initiative will allow individuals in the community to live to play and play to live,” said Tina Fleming, Director of Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation. “Live Healthy Gwinnett encourages the community to combat health issues by combining physical activities with counseling from professional physicians and staff.”

The Live Healthy Gwinnett initiative officially launches this Saturday, April 26 at a POP-UP Park event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Eastside Medical Center. This free, family-fun event is open to the community and will consist of a variety of fitness demonstrations, inflatables, music, free medical screenings, giveaways and fun activities for all ages. Activities range from yoga to life-sized chess games and even a farmer’s market and food demonstrations by certified nutritionists. A kick-off event, 1, 2, 3K Glow and Show, will be held the night before on April 25, 2014 at 8 p.m., with on-site registration beginning at 7 p.m. The event will include a 3K glow in the dark fun walk/run at Alexander Park and a free movie. All proceeds will support the Live Healthy Gwinnett scholarship fund, through the Gwinnett Parks Foundation, which will offer assistance to citizens who cannot afford classes, programs and/or activities.

For more information about Live Healthy Gwinnett, visit LiveHealthyGwinnett.com and the Live Healthy Gwinnett Facebook page.

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Author, speaker and entrepreneur Harold Leffall is here to give you his best advice on how to find the right career path.

Harold Lefall

What is the first step someone should take when trying to find a job they love?

Conduct a self-inventory to determine your true interests and talents, not the ones you may have cultivated in order to earn a living.

Where can you go for guidance?

Talk with a life coach. Like a counselor, life coaches use questions to help you determine what choices to make. They are able to assist you in narrowing your focus and getting clear on what you really want in a job.

What three questions should you ask yourself?

Do the job responsibilities harmonize with my core intention for growth and creative expression? Does the thought of the job energize me? Does the salary allow me to meet my financial obligations?

If you didn’t have your current job, what do you see yourself doing? 

It would definitely have to be a job where I was able to encourage others to be their best, Maybe a therapist.

Who are the people that help you be your best self?

I am inspired by people who are passionate about the work they do. There is such positive energy that emanates from those who really enjoy their work.


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Guest blogger Alexa Lampasona, from the blog Active Tasty Life, (www.activetastylife.com, @ActiveTastyLife) gives us an inside look into what she learned at last week’s ACSM fitness conference. In her first post, she filled us in on barefoot cardio, and today, she walks us through eating foods for healthy, beautiful skin.

“Eat foods that are eye thrilling and gut filling,” Dr. Leslie Bonci (MPH, RD, CSSD, LDN) addressed us at the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) Health and Fitness Summit. Colorful foods not only look appealing on your plate, but they can make your skin look appealing too.

Taste the rainbow does not mean eating Skittles. The big stressor to our skin: sugars. According to Bonci, they can increase inflammation and contribute to collagen breakdown, which causes cell membranes to lose their elasticity.ACSM

“Simply by increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables by one serving per day can change your skin color over the course of six weeks,” Bonci said.

At first, you may notice skin redness, but that could mean the polyphenols (a type of antioxidant that reduces stress) are positively affecting artery elasticity and skin health. Eventually, you’ll notice an overall improvement in skin tone.

Your skin is 30 percent of your body, so seek out these dietary components that will bring the best benefits both inside and out.

These nutrients are essential to stress reduction. They protect cells from damage and disintegration. This time of year, fresh berries, green beans or artichokes are perfect picks.

As the sun shines brighter, free radicals pose a threat to our skin. However, carotenoids concentrate themselves in our skin and can increase the minimum level of UV exposure, meaning they add extra protection beyond sunscreen. Think red, orange and yellow foods for the highest concentration like sweet potatoes, carrots and red peppers.

No diet excludes water. Studies have shown that women need between 70 and 90 ounces of fluid daily. Try to avoid sugary beverages and minimize alcohol intake, although a little wine never hurt anyone. Looking for some flavor? Try green tea, which has been known to reduce damage from UV light.

We shy away from this buzzword, but healthy fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, are beneficial. They keep skin cells strong and elastic and keep out harmful substances by holding water in cells. Avocados and salmon fit both warm weather cravings and essential fat intake.

This isn’t just an element on the periodic table. It’s also in your food, and it combats oxidative damage to skin cells. Find this nutrient in sesame seeds, fresh seafood and whole grains such as brown rice.

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High cholesterol is often a silent condition in women, but it carries significant risk for heart attack and stroke if left uncontrolled.


Know Your Cholesterol 

It is important to know two kinds of cholesterol: the bad kind (LDL) and the good kind (HDL). Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is commonly known as “bad” cholesterol because over time it causes plaque formation in the arteries, whereas  HDL is considered protective against heart disease. In general, a desirable LDL level falls below 130 mg/dL, while a desirable HDL level stays above 50 mg/dL for women. Another form of cholesterol LP(a), which is a genetic variant of a particularly bad form of cholesterol. In addition to getting cholesterol checked regularly, it may be a good idea to get screened for LP(a) early on to help determine your risk of heart disease.

Dietary Changes

Base your meals around fresh vegetables, fruit and whole grains, and keep red meat to a minimum. Also, add things like fish, olive oil, avocado and nuts to your diet to equip your body with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been studied for their heart health benefits. Lastly, drink alcohol in moderation (one drink per day for women) and cut back on salty foods and sugary drinks to help ward off bad cholesterol

Know the Stats

In Georgia, heart disease and stroke account for 28.2 percent of all female deaths, according to the American Heart Association. Some things you can do to minimize your risk from an early age are:

  • Quit smoking.
  • Exercise. Get at least 30 minutes, five days a week.
  • Reduce stress levels. High stress situations may tempt you to overeat high-fat foods, which in turn raise LDL cholesterol.
  • Watch your weight. Weight loss can both raise HDL and lower LDL.
- Dr. Jyoti Sharma 
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Dr. Brian Maloney from The Maloney Center for Facial Plastic Surgery answers a reader’s question about Juvederm Voluma.

Dr. Brian Maloney  Q: I’ve been seeing media coverage on a new filler called Juvederm Voluma. What is it, and am I good candidate for treatment?

A: Juvederm Voluma is the latest FDA-approved power filler from Allergan. Voluma is special because it represents an entirely new level of technology for hyaluronic acid fillers. What this means to the consumer is that we now have a filler that can not only lift tissues better, but can also last up to two years. Results are instantaneous, without surgery. The best candidates for Voluma are those who notice that their cheeks are beginning to droop, giving them a tired look. Older patients with a lot of excess cheek skin are still best treated with a facelift and then Voluma to restore youthful smoothness to the cheek.

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Though commercials and doctors frequently reference arthritis, that term isn’t actually a diagnosis in its own right. According to the Arthritis Foundation, “arthritis”  simply means inflammation of a joint, and it refers to more than 100 different diseases. Taking stock of your symptoms may help you determine which of these common arthritis-related conditions is causing you discomfort.


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Be You Only Better’s Laura Kronen is here to give you her best advice on how to land the job of your dreams!

Laura Kronen

What three questions should you ask yourself?

What is the best environment for my personality? Do the company’s values match my own? If I weren’t getting paid, would I still want to do this?

What is the first step someone should take when trying to find a job they love?

Evaluate your life. Find your passions, what you love doing and what interests you. Once you focus on what makes you happiest, you can start looking for a career that incorporates those qualities.

How can someone stand out to potential employers?

Forget generalities. Really focus on your points of differentiation. Use social media to showcase your expertise.

Where can you go for guidance?

A life coach or mentor. You will focus on passions and strengths and get a clear understanding of what you should be doing. There is no greater investment you can make than an investment in yourself.

Who are the people that help you be your best self?

I love working with clients to rid themselves of self-limiting beliefs and become more confident, motivated and ready to take on the world. It continually reminds me to do the same.

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Cherry Tomato and Basil Pasta Salad 

Basil Pasta Salad


  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 5 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 small sweet onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups cooked whole wheat fusilli pasta or your favorite type of pasta
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, minced
  • 1/4 cup parmesan, shredded


Heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes begin to release juices, 4 to 6 minutes. Add red wine vinegar and remaining oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook pasta according to box directions, and stir to combine with other ingredients. Garnish with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.

- Courtesy of registered dietitian, blogger and chef, Ashley Ritchie, Wisdom Kitchen, www.wisdomkitchen.com/blog 

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As you designate your dollars toward a certain charity, it always feels good to know that your contribution will stay local, helping your neighbors and perhaps even your own family. When you donate to Susan G. Komen Greater Atlanta, that’s exactly what happens. Though the Komen organization is nationally known, few people realize that our local chapter focuses on breast cancer research and awareness in our immediate community.

“At Susan G. Komen Greater Atlanta, our mission is to enable women in Metro Atlanta to detect and survive breast cancer,” says Cati Diamond Stone, the organization’s new executive director, who is also a breast cancer survivor. “Seventy-five percent of the funds we raise stay right here in Metro Atlanta to proved life-saving breast screenings, mammograms, diagnostic testing, education and treatment support.” The rest of the money funds national research to help find better treatments and, ultimately, a cure. Do you Tutu

Not only does donated money stay predominantly in our community, but it also helps the women who need it most. “We believe a person’s age, race or socio-economic status should never determine whether she survives breast cancer,” says Stone, “so our programs target medically underserved women in need of breast cancer screening, diagnostic and support services.”

And this year, giving back with Komen is more fun than ever. The organization has launched new, fresh initiatives like their “Do You Tutu?” campaign, where people are encouraged to put on a pink tutu, wear it around town and share photos on social media. “We’ll be asking the Metro Atlanta community to tell everyone why they tutu,” explains Stone. So whether you tutu for a family member who battled breast cancer or because you believe every woman deserves quality breast health services, put it on and post a photo. Stone says “Expect to see a lot of pink tutus in Atlanta and on social media beginning mid-April!”

You can even gather with other tutu wearers at this year’s Race for the Cure, which will welcome about 14,000 Atlantans to Lenox Mall on May 10. The 5K begins at 8 a.m., and a one-mile family walk steps off just before, at 7:40 a.m. In addition to the race itself, the event will also include a tutu contest, creative tutu designs from local fashion designers, a petting zoo for the kids, as well as a special recognition of breast cancer survivors. Amidst all this fun, the event will raise approximately $1.4 million, most of which will help our fellow Atlantans enjoy the care they deserve.

To learn more about volunteering, participating and rocking your tutu, visit www.komenatlanta.org.


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Utopia Living’s Naya Powell is here to give you her best advice on how to find a job that you love.

Naya Powell

What is the first step someone should take when trying to find a job they love?

Brainstorm a list of everything that makes your spirit come alive, including industries, dream jobs, places activities, colors and things. Second, take an inventory of your strengths, gifts, and areas of passion. From there, begin to take a look at the connection and what industries offer a path to the job love of your life!

What actions can you take to hone your skills?

Internships will allow for experience with a reputable company.  I also suggest volunteering, asking to job shadow someone in your desired field, or asking someone working in an ideal job for a career interview.

What three questions should you ask yourself?

Would I do this job for free? Why do I want to do this job? Does this job give me a sense of purpose and fulfillment?

If you didn’t have your current job, what do you see yourself doing? 

I could see myself being a photographer, fashion stylist, interior designer or college professor. At this time, I play around with the first three in my personal life and have done the latter part-time on occasion in the past.

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