Close your laptop. Turn off the TV. And now, perhaps the hardest of all, step away from your phone. In this day and age, many of us struggle to set boundaries with technology. The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project reveals that, as of 2012, “67 percent of cell owners find themselves checking their phone for messages, alerts, or calls even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating.” What’s more, “44 percent of cell owners have slept with their phone next to their bed because they wanted to make sure they didn’t miss any calls, text messages or other updates during the night.”

Suffice it to say that most of us could use a break from the screens. This summer, take advantage of the “Power Down” package at The Lodge and Spa at Callaway Gardens, just outside of Atlanta. This digital detox offers you the chance to stash your electronic devices and, instead, reconnect with nature through a wide variety of unplugged activities. Activity options include watching hundreds of butterflies flutter through the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center, perusing the vegetable gardens, or strolling through the art and colorful blooms in the Sibley Horticultural Center. Lodge at Callaway

The highlight of the package is an old-fashioned picnic for two including delicious fare like black-eyed pea hummus and sanwiches with sweet tea marinated chicken. The picnic is packed with a keepsake blanket, and you can enjoy your meal in the gardens. You’ll be surprised how much you enjoy connecting with your partner face-to-face rather than through Facebook. Perhaps when you return, you will notice more opportunities to ditch your devices and prioritize real-life fun. Package rates start at $199 per night and are available now through August.

Details: 5887 GA Highway 354, Pine Mountain, GA, (706) 489-3300,

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The holistic restaurant True Food Kitchen opens its first Atlanta location in Lenox Square Mall next month. True Food KitchenFollowing the principles of Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet, True Food Kitchen’s menu will feature organic produce, sustainably raised meats and ingredients like sea buckthorn, kale and quinoa that pack a healthy punch. The full bar will even offer juice blends like “kale-aid” that blends kale, apple, cucumber, celery, lemon and ginger juice. Eating meals with ingredients like these may help you overcome symptoms of inflammation like fatigue, headache and joint pain. It’s true!

Details: 3393 Peachtree Road N.E., Atlanta, GA,

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Dr. Marianna Kovitch from Atlanta Smiles and Wellness answers a reader’s question about how to get over your fear of going to the dentist.

Dr. Marianna Kovitch

Q: I have a terrible fear of going to the dentist, yet I know I need to. What should I do?

A: Dental phobia is common, but the good news is dentists now have better tools and techniques. Here are some tips to ease your anxiety: schedule a consultation with a dentist to make sure he or she understands your fears. At your appointment, ask for headphones to minimize the noises and a stress ball to help your hands relax. Ask for nitrous gas, which will also relax you, and to have numbing medicine placed prior to the anesthetic injection. Lastly, don’t do everything at once. Break your treatment down into several appointments to avoid long visits.

Do you have questions for our doctors? If so, please email them to

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Dr. Ruth Celestin from Georgia Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, PC, answers a reader’s question about how to choose the implant size that best suits your body.

Dr Ruth Celestin

Q: What is the right implant size for me?

A: Many women considering breast augmentation say they desire a “full C” cup size. However, plastic surgeons don’t go by cup size when planning surgery. We measure implants in cubic centimeters of filler and take into consideration your body type, the appearance of your natural breasts and how you want to look. That is why you should consult with an experienced plastic surgeon to determine what breast implant size is right for you.

Do you have questions for our doctors? If so, please send them to

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By David Martin, RN, CRNFA

If your grandmother or grandfather complained of aching legs and feet, wore heavy “support socks” or stockings, and had gnarled and distended veins, you may have a genetic predisposition toward venous insufficiency, or the failure of delicate valves in your legs. These valves are meant to keep blood from flowing backward as it is being pumped back up the legs to your heart and lungs. compression sleeve

This failure causes some blood to reflux, or flow backwards. Blood may pool, causing legs to feel heavy, tired and restless. The condition may also cause veins to collapse and become ropey and swollen. Treatments for venous insufficiency have changed dramatically in just the last dozen years. And when it comes to those therapeutic hose and socks your grandmother may have worn – let’s just say she might not even recognize today’s compression wear.

Old-fashioned compression stockings or socks, while effective in providing symptom relief, were not very attractive and were sometimes uncomfortable. Today, you can enjoy therapeutic levels of support in “intelligent sportswear” – garments that provide support as well the promise of increased performance to runners. Perhaps equally as important to fashion-conscious athletes: this compression sportswear looks great. So while you’re enjoying reduced times on your 5Ks and marathons, you’re also wearing a hot trend in athletic wear with the colorful compression “sleeves” for your calves or running tights on your entire lower body.

Likewise, today’s vein treatments have improved too. Old-fashioned treatments for varicose veins were horrific, involving surgery and several days in the hospital, but today’s treatments are office-based, requiring little or no downtime, with insurance covering most procedures.

With these easier, next-generation treatments for venous insufficiency, 50- and 60 year-olds won’t just “live with” leg pain, swelling, restlessness, or the varicose and spider veins that make them feel and look older. Instead, they will seek treatments that can make the next third of their lives healthier and happier. Bottom line? New products and procedures make leg health an easier way than ever to outrun aging.

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Condition Kettlebell Gym’s Delaine Ross is here to give you her best advice on how to get in shape for summer!

Delaine Ross

What aspects of fitness should people pay extra attention to for spring and summer?

People sometimes neglect just getting outside and playing, It’s important to get out, move and have fun.

If someone is looking to revamp her health, where can she start?

Although exercise is necessary for revamping your body, diet is a huge piece of the puzzle. Start by keeping a food journal so you are conscious of exactly what you put in your body.

What should someone avoid overdoing?

People should avoid overdoing cardio. Weight training is very important for calorie burning. People who spend all their time on an elliptical and never hit the weight room won’t reach their fitness goals!

What do you do to personally to get ready for summer?

I do kettlebell swings and get-ups to prepare for the summer months. Swings offer strength and cardio at the same time, and get-ups give strength and mobility.

What fitness trends will be hot this summer?

For recovery, Icebox Cryotherapy is where it’s at. You spend three minutes in a chamber to reduce inflammation and muscle soreness. Also, get out and walk or bike the BeltLine.

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By Cynthia S. Rudert, MD, FACP

Through closer attention to your medications and diet, you can enhance your digestion and avoid common digestive complaints.yogurt

The Good

Ninety percent of the cells responsible for our immune system are found in the digestive system. Our immune system is enhanced by the presence of good bacteria, which should number in the trillions. When we’re in balance, our bodies contain approximately 10 times more bacteria than our own body cells.

The Bad

When these organisms are not in balance (dysbiosis), this may result in a commonly missed condition called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Bacterial overgrowth can result from antibiotic therapy and may also be found in people with lactose intolerance, celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency and decreased gastric acid production. Unfortunately, symptoms of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth such as gas, bloating and loose stools are easily confused with irritable bowel syndrome.

The Solution

Evaluate your medications. Many medications have gastrointestinal side effects like constipation to diarrhea or fecal incontinence, and virtually all antibiotics can negatively affect normal bacterial balance. In addition to taking stock of medicinal influences, people should examine their diets. Patients should avoid high fructose corn syrup, which can aggravate bacterial overgrowth. To restore that balance naturally, nothing beats yogurts and other fermented foods like sauerkraut and pickles, all of which contain a variety of good bacteria.

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Dr. Anna Paré from Dermatology Consultants, PC is here to answer a reader’s question about the new FDA approval for Botox.

dr anna pare

Q: I recently heard about a new FDA approval for Botox. How is it different than others?

A: In addition to FDA approval for treating frown lines, Botox Cosmetic is now FDA-approved for the treatment of “crow’s feet.” The appearance of crow’s feet is the number one are of concern in women for wrinkles. The average woman spends over $500 a year on products trying to reduce the appearance of crow’s feet. Botox Cosmetic provides quick results that eliminate wrinkles within five to seven days of treatment.

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Dr. Anthony C. Carantzas from Resurgens Orthopaedics answers a reader’s question about her soccer playing daughter’s ACL.

Dr Anthony Carantzas

Q: My teenage daughter has taken an interest in soccer, but I’m concerned about her tearing her ACL. Is there anything she can do to prevent this?

A: Injuries to the anterior ligament (ACL) in the knee are common in soccer players. Females actually have a slightly higher risk of tearing their ACL than males. While no one can prevent an ACL tear entirely, important things to do to minimize injury are to keep the quadriceps and hamstring muscles strong, avoid landing knock-kneed (knees pointing inward) and stop playing when your muscles are feeling fatigued. Bracing has not been shown to prevent ACL injuries and is therefore not routinely recommended for prevention.

Do you have questions for our doctors? If so, please email them to

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Guest blogger Alexa Lampasona, from the blog Active Tasty Life, ( gives us an inside look into her interview with Irene Lewis-McCormick about why women need to be building their strength. 

“We’ve worked so many years to challenge the fear that strength training is bad for women, yet the myth still exists. Women believe they have to be rail thin. They think that by lifting a load more than ten pounds will make them look bigger, but research has shown that is not the case.”

-Irene Lewis-McCormick, certified NSCA-CSCS, ACE, AFAA, YogaFit, Pilates and AEA

Irene Lewis-McCormick

We’ve seen it before- men with muscles bulging out their cut-off shirts, sweat glistening off their shoulders, rows of intimidating dumbells lining the wall- and why do the fluorescents seem to be dim and uninviting? The weight room is often dominated by Y chromosomes and bulky muscles, causing women to avoid the area and head straight for the cardio machines.

But strength training is highly beneficial to women, leading to increased muscular strength and endurance, stronger bones, definition, and leaner fat-free body mass. We talked with Lewis-McCormick about her book, “A Women’s Guide to Muscle and Strength” to get her opinion on the importance of incorporating strength training into a woman’s daily fitness regime.

In your book, you talk about women that appear to be thin but are actually “skinny fat.” What makes this unhealthy?

Depending on a woman’s genetic make-up, she can remain thin until her mid-30s.
But if she doesn’t exercise, she tends to have lower levels of lean mass and higher body fat percentages, even if she looks skinny. Lean mass is more important for your health- it is your muscles, bones, connective tissue and organs.

So why are you not an advocate of the scale?

It gives women the wrong message. Research shows that the quality of tissue, for example having more muscle content, is more important than the size of a person.

As women age, what kinds of consequences can inactivity cause?

Fast-twitch muscles decrease over age. If you are always doing the same slow-twitch cardio daily, such as the elliptical, then you never address fast-twitch muscle fibers. Your body adapts over time and you will have to work harder and longer to get the same results.

How is resistance training different?

Weight-bearing aerobic exercise will help with bone formation, making it beneficial for aging women. You can manipulate you muscle fibers based on the type of training you do. And yes, it is possible to do an anaerobic strength workout that will make you breathless.

What kind of weekly workout regime would you prescribe to women looking to incorporate this strength workout?

You can’t go 100 percent in every workout, but you can work out every day of the week if you combine different stimuli. Focus on two high-intensity workouts, like HIIT (high intensity interval training), then do cardio two to three days a week, and once a week do a mind/body discipline like yoga or pilates. This will connect strength with flexibility and range of motion.

What muscles do you believe are most important for women to strengthen?

Women usually focus on chest and quads, because that is what they see in the mirror, but I suggest women do lats and glutes because that has more influence on overall body strength.

What about women who are worried about being bulky and big?

You have to have the genetics to become “big,” and if that is the case, then you focus on other parts of the body to become balanced. For instance, if you get big thighs, do upper body weights.

If you had to choose a favorite workout, what would it be?

I love suspension training, like TRX. You manipulate the intensity based on what you want. By changing loads, it keeps your body fresh.

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