Spaghetti Squash and Chicken, 1Good nutrition can be the best medicine of all. Local integrative practitioner Dr. Tasneem Bhatia focuses on just that concept in her new book, “The 21-Day Belly Fix.” In it, she features recipes that promote optimal gut and probiotic health, including this simple weeknight option. It combines lean protein to build muscle, olive oil to slow digestion and garlic to promote good gut bacteria.


1 small spaghetti squash

1 4-ounce chicken breast

1 tsp olive oil

1 clove of garlic, crushed

½ cup canned tomatoes, diced

1⁄8 tsp oregano


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut the squash lengthwise, scoop out any seeds and rest both halves on a baking dish. Roast for about 45 minutes or until a fork can easily puncture the skin.

Using a grill pan or countertop grill, cook the chicken breast until cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side.

While the chicken breast is cooking, heat the olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, tomatoes and oregano and cook for about 5 minutes.

When the spaghetti squash is ready, remove strands from the skin, place in a large bowl and top with the tomato mixture and grilled chicken breast.

Note: These amounts make enough for one person, so adjust accordingly.

Courtesy of Dr. Tasneem Bhatia, “The 21-Day Belly Fix,”

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Day 30 of Fitness – West Coast Workout 

Best Self staffer: Aubrey Campbell 

Tammy Stokes, Aubrey Campbell

Tammy Stokes, Aubrey Campbell

If you haven’t taken Tammy Stokes’ 60-minute West Coast LIFT class at West Coast Workouts, grab a friend, a water bottle, and head there now! Tammy has created a wonderful atmosphere and following, as there are two locations—one in Buckhead and another in Sandy Springs—for you to choose from depending on where you live. For Day 30 of Fitness, I enrolled in class at her Buckhead studio.

Given that Tammy is the owner and creator of West Coast Workout, I was excited to say the least. Her class was packed, and I could tell I wasn’t the only one excited to learn from Tammy! Before the class she let me know that West Coast LIFT is designed for women and all about using your own body to help sculpt and tone.

To begin our workout we started with a warm-up to get our bodies moving and then jumped right into class. From start to finish, we were constantly moving. On top of sculpting we also incorporated cardio and used a variety of high kick routines and lunges to create a long, lean appearance to the core and lower body. The last 20-minutes of class required us to use two-pound weights and a heart rate elevation that shaped the upper body. Also, with the two-pound weights we completed a variety of punches and movements to isolate our biceps, triceps and shoulders, but still moving to the music and keeping our heart rate up.

Before arriving to West Coast Workout I was excited because I’ve heard so many great things about Tammy and her studio! During, I felt great. The music was upbeat and everyone seemed to be having fun! The hardest part was toward the end. My body felt tired, but I made sure to push myself in order to keep up with Tammy and everyone else in the class.The most enjoyable part of this workout was with the two-pound weights. It was tough. The two pounds felt like 20 by the end of class, but I loved the burn and feeling that I was really toning my arms. Once the workout ended I felt even more awesome than when I arrived! I worked up a great sweat and think that this is an awesome morning workout to start your day!

Tammy truly has a passion for helping her clients live their healthiest and happiest life.  If you are a woman looking to get a great workout to sculpt a long, lean body, the West Coast LIFT is for you!

Details: 107 Paces Ferry Road Set 100, Atlanta, GA, (404) 467-0602,

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Day 29 of Fitness Atlanta Personal Trainer Program of Atlanta School of Massage

 Atlanta Home Improvement staffer: Jeret Adair 

Atlanta Personal Trainer Program

Atlanta Personal Trainer Program

For Day 29 of Fitness, I arrived to Atlanta School of Massage’s Personal Trainer Program studio  at 7 a.m., and was greeted by Tony, my enthusiastic and knowledgeable personal trainer. He explained that he would be walking me through an incredibly thorough examination of my body composition, and told me to remove my shirt so that I could stand in front of the mirror with my arms to my side. Smiling, he assured me that everything was going to be fine and that it wouldn’t hurt one bit. In about one-minute he measured my height, weight, neck circumference, thigh circumference and waistline. He then measured my body fat percentage by pinching together my excess skin with calipers on certain folds of my body. All of these measurements contributed to my BMI (body mass index) which he told me was just about right for my height and age.

After the examination, Tony put me through an endurance and physical fitness assessment. This is where the tough part began.

I held an abdominal plank for as long as possible, did as many push-ups as I possibly could in one minute, and I hopped around on one foot to different corners of a mat for two minutes. From there, we then moved on to a strength assessment with weight training. We did a few warm-up sets to get comfortable, and then he recorded my one rep max of my barbell bench press and barbell squat. From there I was completely gassed, but I retreated to the great downstairs bathroom/locker room to take a much needed warm shower. I left Atlanta School of Massage’s Personal Training Program with a great reading on personal fitness and new fitness goals. Overall, this workout was wonderful

Details: 2 Dunwoody Park South, Atlanta, GA, (877) 291-4485,

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Day 28 of Fitness – UFC Gym Perimeter 

Best Self staffer: Chela Counts

Chela Counts, Coach Floyd

Chela Counts, Coach Floyd

More likely than not, you’ve either heard or read about undefeated American professional boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. But what you probably haven’t experienced first-hand is UFC Gym Perimeter’s UFC Fit class with Coach Floyd. Nicknamed “The Philosopher,” Coach Floyd may not be the actual Floyd Mayweather, but his expertise in the fitness industry and own personal experience as a boxer will lead you to believe you are being trained by the best! So with only two days left of Best Self Atlanta’s 2nd Annual 30 Days of Fitness blog series, for Day 28 of Fitness, I decided to revisit this gym (but try a different class) because of its close-knit fitness community.

UFC Fit is a 60-minute high-interval training class that focuses primarily on strength, stability and your core. My fitness goal has been to tighten and tone, and this class does just that! Once arriving to the gym, there was lots of parking available and a warm staff to greet me. For an evening weekday class, this gym was packed! After Floyd introduced himself to me and the other regular class members settled in, we immediately began our warm-up. From calf raises to squats, push-ups on a medicine ball and light jogging within the gym, before I knew it I was sweating.

Chela Counts

Chela Counts

The hardest part of my workout was fully completing each rep, but the best part was pairing with other members in the class. For one of the partner exercises, Floyd instructed us to face our partners while completing reps of push ups, cheering one another on throughout. That motivation and Floyd’s positive energy kept me motivated to give it my all. Before arriving to the gym I was tired from the day and didn’t think I would make it through his class, but toward the end, I wished that the workout hadn’t ended.

As a first-timer to the class, I felt welcomed and re-energized to finish my week strong! I highly recommend bringing a bottle of water to replenish yourself during and after the class is complete, and I recommend this class to those of all fitness levels. I look forward to another class at UFC Gym Perimeter.

Details: Perimeter Village, 4745 Ashford Dunwoody Road, Atlanta, GA, (404) 445-8324,

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Rick Hirsch from R.T. Hirsch & Associates is here to share his positive resolution advice!

Hirsch, Rick_cred Rick HirschWhat was your resolution? 

Many years ago, I became addicted to prescription opiates. I worked very hard to free myself from that misery and went on to enjoy over 15 years completely free of all drugs. Then, due to some significant spinal damage and surgery, I had to use painkillers continually for quite some time. Having opiates back in my system again was terrifying. As soon as I got through the surgery, I knew I had to get off the drugs immediately or risk a total relapse.

When did you achieve your resolution?

I consulted a good friend and colleague, Dr. Jacquie Damgaard from ExecuCare. She introduced me to a new intravenous protocol called NTR Brain Restoration. I experienced minimal withdrawal symptoms, and in 10 days, I was completely free of all cravings for the opiates, my back felt better and my energy was back!

After conquering this goal, what’s your resolution for 2015?
To learn more about myself and use Dr. Damgaard’s coaching and support to reclaim my optimum life.

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Day 27 of Fitness – Stability Pilates and Physical Therapy 

Best Self associate publisher Patti Stephens 

Megan Hunter, Patti Stephens

Megan Hunter, Patti Stephens

This past Sunday, I was in a morning fog only wanting to curl up in my favorite reading chair with coffee and the paper. But, the fitness goal I set reminded me that I had different plans. If you’ve never taken a cardio reformer class at Stability Pilates and Physical Therapy in Sandy Springs, now is the time to go! For Day 27 of Fitness, I attended their 10 a.m. hour class taught by Megan Hunter.

I arrived to the studio at around 9:50 a.m.—parking is a breeze right in front of the studio at the corner of Hammond Drive and Roswell Road—where there was a 9:00 a.m. class finishing their workout for the day. This class is not for beginners! I highly advise taking a private session with an instructor before taking a class (maybe a few) because the reformer tables have cables, springs and many other moving parts that you must first know how to adjust. More importantly, you need to know how to adjust your body, engage your core, imprint, protect your lower back and so much more. Each of the instructors at Stability are great with helping and advising, but you don’t want to be a novice in a class and slow everyone else down!

Meagan was fantastic! She was very motivating and her timing was impeccable! She moved from machine to machine to ensure that we all received the same amount of attention and advice. She even went so far as to give us each a little neck massage during the stretch! The class was timed perfectly so that she could convert the reformers while we were standing at the end of the tower, on and off the balance ball (Bosu ball). This really helps to keep the flow of the class going and your heart rate up!

Meagan added jump boards to the ends of the reformers, making them like mini trampolines. Imagine lying on your back and jumping with springs attached for added resistance. Megan also ran us through different positions and timing to keep things interesting! When we weren’t jumping, our “rest” time was football running. Yes, mini-steps in place on the jump board!

Before I knew it, my hour had flown by! The music was upbeat and so was the entire vibe of the class! I felt great and had even forgotten about my Sunday morning coffee and paper that I always enjoy. In fact, I even signed up to take another class this Sunday. Consider giving it a try!

Details: 5975 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs, GA, (404) 303-9153,

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Dr. Stephanie Michael from Village Podiatry Centers answers a reader’s question about painful heels.

Michael, DPM, Stephanie_cred Village Podiatry CentersQ: I recently started an exercise program, and now my heels are painful when I first wake up in the morning. What could this be?

A: Low arches, high arches, unsupportive shoes and activities such as running or aerobic exercise can all cause heel pain. The most likely diagnosis is plantar fasciitis, which is inflammation of a ligament that starts from the heel and attaches in the ball of the foot. Treatment includes calf stretching, more supportive shoes, cool water soaks and anti-inflammatory medications. Cortisone injections, night splints and custom arch supports can also be used to relieve heel pain. Very rarely does heel pain require any surgical intervention.

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Jennifer Hankey from Health Green Schools is here to share her positive resolution advice!

Hankey, Jennifer_cred The Studio SarmientoWhat was your resolution?

I was diagnosed with a rare chromosome disorder when six weeks pregnant with my first child. This led me to question: What could I do to give her the best chance? This was five years ago and has led me on an eye-opening journey to eliminating toxic chemicals from my life.

What positive changes have resulted from you achieving your resolution?

I have created a healthy home free of toxins (or what I can control) for my children and family. We have seen the health benefits of avoiding toxic chemicals and opting for healthy and organic foods. And ultimately it led to the creation of Healthy Green Schools, my organization that removes toxic chemicals from schools and sets up healthy food guidelines.

After conquering this goal, what’s your resolution for 2015?

I hope that 2015 leads to exponential growth in the program, leading to positive, sustainable changes in all Atlanta schools. 

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Dr. Timothy Horton from MedZed answers a reader’s questions about influenza.

Horton, MD, Tim_cred MedZed

Q: Can I get influenza from the flu shot?

A: The injection version of the flu shot is not a live viral vaccine, so patients cannot get the flu from this method. Common side effects include local reactions at the site of injection, mild fever and minor achiness. What is most confusing for my patients is that the flu shot does not protect from everything they consider the flu – it will not prevent patients from getting other common winter colds.

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Day 26 of Fitness – exhale Atlanta

Atlanta Home Improvement staffer: Jeret Adair 

Brianna Norton, Jeret Adair

Brianna Norton, Jeret Adair

For Day 26 of Fitness, I enrolled in Exhale Atlanta’s high-intensity Core Fusion Extreme class led by Brianna Norton. This workout facility is located on the seventh floor of the Loews Hotel in Midtown, with convenient valet parking in front. Once arriving to the seventh floor, I could not believe my eyes. The spa was huge! And not only was it enormous, but it was just as luxurious and beautiful.

I proceeded to the locker room to change and was greeted with all of the amenities of a five-star luxury spa—a steam room, sauna, warm towels and all of the toiletries I could imagine. Once I was changed, I went to the exercise studio where I was handed a number by my instructor Brianna. This number was not only a representation of the group I was in, but it ultimately dictated my fate for some hard care intense circuit training. Brianna divided us into groups and stations, and from there the class quickly catapulted into an interval training workout with movements varying from push-ups, TRX straps, kettlebell swings and aerobics. We were given one minute to complete each movement before rotating to the next station. After the second round, I noticed that the music brought me into a trance where I felt extremely focused on my workout. Brianna’s enthusiasm and instruction made the class fun and challenging because she pushed everyone to beyond their perceived limitations.

Before I knew it, the hour was over, and I was completely exhausted in the best way possible. I returned to the locker room and took a well-deserved steam and shower, got my parking pass validated by the front desk, and enjoyed a mineral water on the way out. Truly an excellent way to start the day!

Details: Loews Hotel (7th floor), 1065 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA,(404)

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