Dr. Eugene Hurwitz, from The Center For Allergy and Asthma of Georgia, answers questions about allergy symptoms and treatments.

Best Health Allergies

What key symptoms indicate an allergy?

Allergies can affect the body in many ways, but a key symptom is itching. For those with respiratory allergies, they may have watery, itchy eyes and nose, as well as congestion, coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. Allergies can cause eczema and hives as well.

Why is Atlanta a hotbed for allergy sufferers?

Atlanta’s climate is ideal for plants that trigger allergies, including trees in the spring, weeds in the fall and grasses in the summer. In addition, dust mites thrive in humidity, as does mold. Atlanta and the Southeast are always among the leading allergy areas in the country.

How have treatments evolved in the last five years? 

Allergy shots are highly effective for treating allergies. More recently, allergy drops have become available, which can be given at home and are more convenient. There will soon be allergy tablets available for grass allergies; however, most people in Atlanta have multiple allergic triggers, and the tablets may not control their allergies.

What preventative steps can you take?

Avoidance of indoor allergies may include dust mite control measures, washing bedding in hot water, using dust mite-proof covers for the pillows and mattress and minimizing dust-collecting items in the bedroom. Controlling mold and keeping animals out of the bedroom (or the house) may be helpful. It is difficult to avoid exposure to outdoor allergens.

What foods or vitamins can you add to your diet to strengthen your sinuses? 

A good diet may be helpful. There is recent evidence that people with vitamin D deficiency may have more problems with allergies.

How do you choose a qualified doctor? What credentials should they have? 

If you are undertaking a treatment plan for allergies, it is important to see a board-certified allergist. They are the only specialists who are trained specifically in allergy care.

How can symptoms be managed?

Allergy shots administered by board-certified allergists can reduce symptoms by 80 to 90 percent and give patients long-term relief.

- Eugene S. Hurwitz, MD, FAAAAI

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Hello everyone! I hope you are all having a great weekend. I am going to keep this post short and sweet; I know everyone is busy enjoying St. Patrick’s Day celebrations! Today marks the halfway point of my 30 days of Clean Eating. I have had so much fun getting creative with my meals in the kitchen and trying new and healthy foods. I have really enjoyed this whole experience; it is so much easier than I ever thought it would be. Not to mention eating clean has been super beneficial to my many aspects of my life. For instance, my skin looks clearer, my energy level is way up, I am sleeping so much better at night (I still have a hard time waking up in the morning, but some things never change), I have dropped a few pounds I needed to and even my hair is looking better. It has also been the easiest healthy eating plan I have ever stuck to. The ritual of planning my meals out for the week every Sunday with a warm cup of green tea has turned into something I look forward to and enjoy. Overall, the process has just been an awesome one and one I would suggest to any of my friends or family!

With that said, my meal plan for the week is included below.  One of the new recipes I am trying is to make my own version of Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel bread for breakfast. I will let you know how it turns out! Have a great weekend and happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Meal Plan

 

– Lizzy Stroud

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If you live in Smyrna, don’t be alarmed when you hear the weather alert siren sounding next Friday, March 21; It is just part of a citywide tornado drill. The drill is one part of ReadySmyrna’s PrepareAthon to get residents and businesses prepared in the case emergencies or disasters. Emory-Adventist Hospital at Smyrna will be conducting a full scale emergency preparedness exercise for the March 21 tornado drill. The hospital is home to a Joint Emergency Operation Center with the City of Smyrna’s Emergency Management Agency. The exercise will involve Emory-Adventist Hospital staff, City of Smyrna Fire and Police departments, Cobb-Douglas Public Health, Georgia Emergency Management Agency and Metro Ambulance. The drill will follow protocols developed by Homeland Security through FEMA and will be evaluated by both GEMA and FEMA.

“The City of Smyrna and Emory-Adventist Hospital both strive for the highest level of citizen care and attention. This is especially evident in our approach to emergencies and disasters that impact our citizens, patients, employees, and staff. We are proud to be one of only two cities in the state of Georgia that has its own Emergency Management Agency,” says Bob Crowe, MSN, RN, assistant vice president of EAH.

The hospital will remain open the day of the drill and patient care will not be interrupted or affected.

Citizens and businesses are encouraged to conduct their own disaster drills when they hear the emergency siren sounding. Visit ReadySmyrna.com for more information.

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Psychotherapist Dr. Janet Page is here to give you her best advice about how to get out of a toxic relationship.

Janet Page

How would you define a toxic relationship?

Any relationship in which you feel increasingly bad about yourself. I define it in terms of personal perception rather than behavior because toxicity can be delivered in passive aggressive doses and is hard to recognize as destructive.

Why do people allow toxic relationships in their lives?

Masochism (having expectations that are pathologically low) is major one and is frequently accompanied by the misguided and delusional belief that toxic people, if sufficiency pleased, will become loving and accepting.

What is your advice for removing a toxic relationship from your life?

Cessation of contact: the exit review, if held at all, is best if brief and kept to statement of fact. Accusing will fall on emotionally deaf ears and leave you feeling less good. Ask for change, but if it doesn’t occur, exit rapidly.

Where can people go for support?

Seek out healthy people around you who have seen the relationship in action. Spiritual and therapeutic support are also good choices, as well as reading every book you can find on building self-worth.

 

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Chef George Geary, a bestselling cookbook author and former pastry chef for the Walt Disney Co., is bringing his talents to The Cook’s Warehouse later this month. George GearyIf you sign up for his three upcoming classes, you’ll learn how to make homemade sauces and bruschetta, French appetizers and a variety of barbecue dishes. In addition, to all of those skills, Chef Geary says his students will learn how to be more confident in the kitchen. “If you mess up, we can fix it. Just don’t tell who you are cooking for – they didn’t know what you were making in the first place!”

This jovial attitude keeps Chef Geary’s classes light and fun, as well as educational. He encourages budding cooks to get a good set of pans, take classes and try new recipes as much as possible. And if the recipes you try are from his cookbooks, that’s even better. Geary has authored cookbooks on everything from cheesecake to salads to biscuits, and he says, “I love seeing people come back over and over and using my cookbook!”

Sign up for any of his three classes on March 27 in Midtown, March 28 in East Cobb or March 29 in Decatur, and start honing your culinary skills. Classes are $60 to $75.

Details: www.cookswarehouse.com, www.georgegeary.com 

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When I first started my clean eating journey, I was only working from strictly clean recipes. And while this was great and I loved most of them, it can get a little tiring to only search for clean recipes. That is why this week I took some of my favorite recipes, like lemon chicken and chicken pasta, and either made my own or found a clean version. It is pretty easy to convert a recipe to being clean and it so beneficial to your health; you should give it a try! Below, you will find a small list I complied of good recipe swaps and a chart with a ton of great ideas for recipe swaps.

Clean Eating Swaps

Infographic courtesy of Greatist

My favorite recipe swap so far is for one of my personal favorite dishes, pasta. I have always enjoyed a big bowl of warm pasta with creamy sauce and topped with melted cheese. Spaghetti night was my favorite night of the week growing up and is when I learned that I had the capacity to enjoy an alarmingly large portion of pasta. While in recent years I have tried to switch to only whole-wheat pasta, it just doesn’t have the familiar pasta texture and taste I have grown up loving. And while I can’t totally recreate that fattening and carbo-loaded pasta experience while eating clean, I have found some pretty close alternatives. So far, my favorite recipe swap for pasta has been using spaghetti squash instead of regular noodles. Spaghetti squash is so easy and delicious that it is a perfect fit in almost any pasta dish. If you are working from a recipe that calls for noodles or anything over noodles, just swap in some spaghetti squash. All you have to do to it is throw it in the oven at 375 degrees for around 40 minutes, or until a knife can easily pierce the skin. Then you just cut it in half, pick out the seeds and scrape out the insides that resemble little noodles with a fork. If it is hard to get your “noodles” out, stick it back in the oven for a few minutes. This is such a simple way to make a recipe clean and to make sure you are eating enough veggies. I served this Bruschetta Chicken over spaghetti squash and it was delicious. Another pasta alternative that you can use is thin, noodle-like slices of zucchini, like my zucchini pasta with spinach pesto.

Another way that I make sure my recipes are clean is by substituting any canned ingredients for fresh ingredients. For instance, when something calls for canned spicy tomatoes, I will use fresh diced tomatoes and add some cayenne pepper for heat.

Here is a little list of ways you can make normal recipes into clean ones:

  • Use whole wheat flour instead of white flour.
  • Use honey or agave nectar instead of sugar
  • If a recipe calls for red meat, which I am trying not to eat, sub in chicken if it works with the recipe.
  • Greek yogurt is a great recipe swap for sour cream or mayo.
  • And you can use applesauce, olive oil or bananas in the place of butter in some recipes.

While these recipe swaps might not work for every recipe you try, they will work for most of them! Just use your best judgment and get creative in the kitchen! Check back in this weekend for my second week’s progress report and to see what meals I have planned for next week. As always, feel free to email me with any questions, recipes or general advice you might have at lstroud@bestselfatlanta.com

See you this weekend!

-Lizzy Stroud

And if you want to catch up with my 30 Days of Clean Eating, here is what you’ve missed!

Snack Attack

Week One Progress Report

Pour Some Sugar On Me…Or Not 

Budget Bites

Get Started Eating Clean 

Let’s Eat Clean! 

 

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The hair experts of Atlanta pick their all-time favorite products for different types of hair.

ReFinish by Arrojo

Re Finish

“I love it because it acts as a dry shampoo, detailing spray and light hairspray. Without leaving a film or residue, it “grits” your hair up while still allowing you to get a brush through it even after using it a few days. It’s great for half up half down, fancy ponytail volume or just a soft to medium hold.” $24- Jodi Schwartz Grieshop, master cosmetologist/ owner, Shear Salon, www.shear-salon.com

Thick-It

Thick-It

“This cream is from our own line, and it is designed for both men and women with fine and thinning hair. It will instantly turn your fine hair into a head full of volume. Just apply a small amount into the palm of your hands, massage into hair, blow dry and voila!” $21 -Richie Arpino, owner/stylist, Richie Arpino Salon, www.arpinosalon.net 

Davines-Ol / All in One Milk

Davines-Ol / All in One Milk

“As a multi-functional hair product, it replaces the need for products such as a detangler, moisturizer, frizz control and heat protectant. This leave-in treatment spry is enriched with rouccou oil, derived from the seeds of the achiote trees. Best of all, it is paraben free.” $29.99- Niajee Leigh Smith, stylist, William David Salon & Spa, www.williamdavidsalon.com 

Density by L’Oreal Professionnel Thickening Primer 

Densite

“This is one of my favorite products because of its versatility! It adds texture and fullness while maintaining the natural elasticity and softness of your hair. This product is also great to help create longer wear from your curling iron or round brush style.” $23.90- Traci Williams, international stylist, Three-13 Salon, Spa & Boutique, www.three-13.com

 

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Hi there, everyone! I hope you are having a great week so far! I am thoroughly enjoying this great weather in Atlanta, while it lasts. I think I have come to a milestone in my eating clean journey. I officially no longer crave junk food or candy. I am even able to look at food on Pinterest again without getting hungry or sad that I can’t eat it all. It is a clean eating miracle, and I am so happy about it. While I consider this a lifestyle change rather than a diet, it is the easiest diet-like thing I have ever tried or been able to stick to. Some of that probably has to do with not wanting to disappoint anyone who reads this! Another thing that has made it so much easier is . . . snacks! I don’t know what I would do without them, and this post is going to be all about my favorite clean eating snack foods.

Almonds

My lovely work almonds

Snacks are great; they keep me energized and full. They can even help to raise your metabolism when you eat them every two to three hours, which I do. In fact, according to research from Georgia State University, people who eat every 2 to 3 hours have less body fat and faster metabolisms than those who eat only 2 or 3 meals per day. If that can’t convince you to start snacking, nothing will.

My all-time favorite hunger busting snack has got to be almonds. Since I started my clean eating, I can pretty much guarantee that I have a bag of almonds somewhere on my person at all times. I eat a handful while I am at work in between breakfast and lunch, I eat some after I work out in the afternoon before dinner, and I eat a few if I ever start to feel hungry or even tired. Almonds are not a very wild or crazy snack food, but they get the job done and are very simple. And for the times when I have had too many almonds (which doesn’t happen often!), walnuts do the trick perfectly.

Roasted Red Peppers

Roasted red peppers fresh from the oven

Another one of my snack favorites, which I have already mentioned on this blog, is hummus. I have made the plain, original version and have started experimenting with making different versions of the flavors you can find in the store. The roasted red pepper hummus I made is delicious and filling. It was also pretty fun to make; I had never roasted red peppers before. I like to eat my hummus with some baby carrots or some little grape tomatoes. It makes a great snack and is a good way to make sure you are eating your vegetables. That being said, fresh fruits and veggies also make an excellent snack food. I always have a full supply of apples, oranges, berries, carrots, celery and kale at my house for when I feel the need to snack. My next snack endeavor is going to be a great looking recipe for cauliflower poppers that a Best Self reader sent me this morning! It looks delicious.

Here are a few of the recipes I have tried out this week:

Quinoa Veggie Soup from the Gracious Pantry- I have been eating this for lunch and it keeps me full until my next snack. It even kept my boyfriend full from lunch until dinner, which is impressive!

Bruschetta Chicken from Eat Yourself Skinny- I was going to eat this on Thursday, but I didn’t want my tomatoes to spoil. It was so good, and I served it over spaghetti squash.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus from Inspired Taste- As I said above, this is so good!

If you have any clean eating recipes or any other tips, send them my way at lstroud@bestselfatlanta.com. Check back in later this week, when I will be talking about how to convert normal recipes to clean recipes. Have a great day!

-Lizzy Stroud

If you want to catch up with 30 Days of Clean Eating, here are my previous posts!

 

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Zumba is a great way to have fun while you workout, add giving back to your community to the mix and you have a winning combination. You will get the chance to raise money and help fight cancer while enjoying an awesome Zumba workout at the 3rd annual Shake It For A Cure Zumbathon® event. Zumbathon The high-energy and fun Zumba class will be led by certified instructor Sarah Kerr and all proceeds will benefit the Northside Hospital Cancer Institute, in memory of Claudie Carrington, a nurse at Northside, who passed away from ovarian cancer in 2011. The event takes place on Saturday, March 22 at 10 a.m. and will be held in teh St. Pius X Catholic High School Gym. The cost is $10 per person and refreshments will be provided. Donations are always welcome.

For more info or to register online, visit www.sarahkerr.zumba.com

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The knees and shoulders are two very important and active parts of the body, making them prone to all types of minor ailments. If not treated promptly and properly, minor problems can turn into major ones. Make sure you know when to seek treatment for all levels of knee and shoulder pain and how to take care of these joints.

Have you ever come back from a long walk, developed pain in your knee and wondered what to do? Realizing that your knee hurts is the easy part, but determining whether you need an orthopedic evaluation may not be as straightforward. shoulder painFor most sudden injuries to the knee, the resulting pain can be managed with a short period of anti-inflammatory medication and RICE — rest, ice, compression and elevation. If the knee cannot bear your full weight soon after the injury, a trip to the orthopedist’s office would be advised.

Chronic knee pain, such as from arthritis, can respond well to the treatments outlined above. If it does not, a doctor’s visit with X-rays is in order. Additionally, pain that is worse at night or lasts more than a few weeks without improvement should prompt a visit to the doctor.

Shoulders can be a finicky joint. Because of the many joints, tendons and muscles involved, minor injuries can frequently cause significant pain and disability. Often, shoulder pain will respond well to a short period of anti-inflammatory medication and “shoulder-friendly” activities, such as avoiding reaching about shoulder level or father back than the chest.

If your shoulder pain persists more than a few weeks, wakes you up at night or is accompanied by difficulty lifting your arm overhead, your best bet would be to see your doctor for an evaluation.

By: Evander Fogle, MD

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