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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Plenty of factors convince Americans to take better care of their health: recommendations from doctors and increased awareness about diseases, for example. The motivation that really hits home, though, is family. That’s the driving force for Kristen Ledlow, the Atlanta radio personality and NBA TV host who will chair the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund’s Ovarian Cycle event on March 22. Ledlow says. “According to current research, about one of every 10 cases of ovarian cancer can be linked to a family member. Because my grandmother was diagnosed with the disease when I was very young, my mother took necessary steps to prevent the diagnosis herself. My own risk increases due to my family’s history with the disease.”

Ovarian Cancer Cycle

Both to honor her grandmother and to help raise awareness about ovarian cancer, Ledlow came on board as the chairperson for OCRF’s Ovarian Cycle event. Participants can register as individuals or as teams for a six-hour stationary bike ride.  Fundraising minimums are $600 for the whole six hours or $400 for less, but ovarian cancer survivors are welcome to ride for free. To get you ready for the event, Midtown Athletic Club offers free training rides on Saturdays through March 15.

This disease is especially crucial to be aware of because, unlike many other cancers, there is currently no ovarian cancer screening program. You must simply know your body and be aware of symptoms  and early signs like bloating, pelvic and abdominal pain and frequent, urgent urination. Ledlow points out, “Many believe that ovarian cancer is only diagnosed in its final stages. However, current research suggests that women actually do experience warning signs early on. the key is recognizing those signs.”

Details: Midtown Athletic Club. 135 Interstate N. Parkway NW, Atlanta, GA, (770) 953-1100, www.ocrf.org/ovarian-cycle

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Dr. Jeffrey Kovacic from Orthopedic Surgery & Sports Medicine Center answers a reader’s question about joint pain.

Dr. Jeffrey Kovacic

Q: Do “natural” joint supplements, such as fish oil, that are advertised and sold in stores actually work to help alleviate joint pain?

A:  Only a few “natural” joint supplements have ever been scientifically investigated. The majority of available data is on chondroitin and glucosamine. Some studies show a reduction of osteoarthritis pain with their use, while other studies show no effect. I recommend a three-month trial of chondroitin and glucosamine to my patients who don’t have certain allergies or other medical conditions.

Do you have questions for our doctors? If so, please email your questions to editorial@bestselfatlanta.com. 

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Hello everyone! I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend and enjoying this fantastic Atlanta weather. Weather that is this nice makes me want to be outside 24/7 and gets me so excited for spring and summer time. These seasons always put me in the mood to eat healthy and fresh foods all the time, which is perfect for my clean eating quest this month.

So this morning I woke up and made my way to Your DeKalb Farmers Market to pick up some super fresh produce. This was my first time to go to this farmers market, or any farmers market for that matter. Let me tell you, this place is awesome. It was overwhelming in the best kind of way. Farmers MarketIt is basically a huge warehouse with rows and rows of fresh fruits and veggies, fresh spices, fresh baked goods (which I managed to stay away from), flowers, baking supplies, coffees, nuts, and anything else you could ever want. The produce is very fresh and less expensive than the average grocery store. I basically fell in love with this place and plan on making it a weekly routine. It was really hard for me to stick to my grocery list, but I was able to stay well within my budget and got all of my produce (which is a lot), a big thing of quinoa, a big thing of lentils and all of the spices I don’t have already for the week. If you love food as much as I do I would definitely suggest checking it out as soon as possible! But my one suggestion is to go during the week; it was a total mad house today which made it a little hard to peruse the great selections of everything they have.

Okay now it is time for my first week of clean eating progress report! So far this experience has been pretty great. Once I got over that two day funk at the start of the week, my energy levels have been way up and I feel really fantastic.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are my new favorite sweet treat

One of the other side effects of eating clean I have experienced is that I am sleeping so much better. It used to take me so long to fall asleep at night (maybe due to my nighttime sweets habit) but this week I feel asleep so much faster after getting into bed. This was not a change I was expecting but I am so happy about it.

Another benefit to eating clean is that I have actually lost a couple of pounds this week. I know that a lot of that has to be from my body detoxing out the processed foods and me starting to exercise more regularly, but it is a side effect I would love to keep happening. It is almost swimsuit season after all! I will keep y’all posted about any other side-effects that might happen this next week.

I also learned a couple of things this week. The first thing I learned is that I can not eat a whole pot of beans in one week. It is not possible. So now I know I don’t need to make nearly as many as I did last week. The second thing I have learned is that soup is the absolute easiest thing to take to work for lunch. I plan on eating a lot of soup for lunch this week, as you can see in my meal plan below. Lastly, I have learned that I can survive without red wine. Which was previously thought to be impossible by many.

Now I am going to get in the kitchen and make some big batches of food to eat throughout this week. Also, my meal plan for the week is looking so delicious, I included it below. I hope you all have a great Sunday and didn’t forget about the time change! And as usual, feel free to shoot me an email at lstroud@bestselfatlanta.com if you have any tips, questions or recipes!




-Lizzy Stroud

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Life Coach and Author Karlicia Lewis is here to give her best advice about toxic relationships.

Karlicia Lewis

How would you define a toxic relationship?

An unhealthy situation that exists between two or more people. It has potential to cause mental, physical, emotional, financial and even sexual harm.

What are the pitfalls of allowing a toxic relationship to continue?

It can cause a decrease in self-esteem, turmoil in other relationships, depression and health problems.

Why do people allow toxic relationships in their lives?

Some people allow toxic relationships for the comfort of having someone around as a quick fix for loneliness. Some have associated toxic behavior with relationships since they were younger, due to being exposed to this behavior from their parents.

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

Make up your mind that you really want out. Then create a plan, including a support system to remove yourself in the safest way possible. Once removed, take the appropriate time to evaluate your past and understand your pattern of choosing the partners you choose so you won’t make the same mistakes in the future.


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Hello there! Is everyone ready for the weekend? I know I am. Now, as I mentioned in my first post, I have something of a sweet tooth. It has been a lifelong friend, but now it is something of a foe. One of the aspects of my clean eating plan is to cut out sugar, and I have been successful so far. But when I say cut out sugar, I don’t mean naturally occurring sugars like those found in fruits and vegetables. I mean added sugars, like those that come from sodas, baked goods, candy or simply adding sugar to your coffee or tea. Those are the things I am cutting out of my diet. No refined, ultra-processed white table sugar for me, or anything else with added sugars for that matter.


Honestly, I have wanted to cut out added sugar from my diet for a while. I have been reading too many articles on how bad it is for your health to want to continue using it. From what I have seen, you get no added health benefit from eating sugar—it is pure energy, can cause a whole host of health problems and diseases, and is highly addictive.

Having said that, most of you are probably wondering how in the world I am going to survive these 30 days without my sweet fixes. I was feeling the same way before this month began. But that was before I discovered some great alternatives to sugar and to the sweets I loved so much.

First of all, I can still add a little sweetness into my day without using refined white sugar. White sugar is basically pure sucrose and gets stripped of all of its good qualities, like vitamins and minerals, when it gets processed and refined. I found sugar alternatives to add to my food that are pure and unrefined, and therefore still have their good qualities intact. My favorite sugar alternative is honey. While it has near the same amount of calories that table sugar has, it is much sweeter. A little goes a long way. I use natural and organic honey, which is also said to have antibacterial properties.  Honey

While honey is the only added sugar alternative I have used so far, there are a few others that work for a clean eating diet as well. Agave nectar is a sweetener from Mexico that comes from the agave cactus. It is much sweeter than table sugar and also has a few less calories, if you are worried about that kind of thing.

Other popular sugar alternatives for clean eaters are date sugar, coconut sugar and Stevia. I am planning to try some of these throughout the month, and I will keep you posted on how that goes.

This first week, I have tried out a few great recipes to curb my hungry sweet tooth, and they have done the job perfectly! Most of them revolved around fresh fruit, which makes them nice and sweet while still being clean. In my previous post about eating clean on a budget, I talked about cooking big batches of baked applesauce.


The apples… pre-smashing.

This recipe was so delicious and tasted just like apple pie. It has been the perfect light dessert to get my sweet fix after dinner. I plan on making a big batch of this again this weekend to enjoy all next week. I also found a great recipe for almond butter cookies that I am going to try out this weekend. And for the ultimate easy sweet snack . . . honeyed oranges! You just throw some oranges and honey into a bowl and let it sit for a bit. So simple and so delicious.

So that’s my two cents on sugar and sugar alternatives! Here are a few more recipes that I have tried since the last time I posted.

Quinoa Jambalaya from He and She Eat Clean - This recipe makes so much. I have been eating this for lunch for the past two days. I am all about embracing leftovers. I also used fresh diced tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes and chicken breast instead of turkey sausage.

Zucchini Pasta with Spinach Pesto – I am trying to stay away from too much cheese this month, but I used some fresh grated Parmesan for this yummy recipe.

Honeyed Oranges - As I said before, this is as easy as it gets and very delicious.

Check back in this weekend for a progress report from my first week of clean eating and to see my meal plan for next week! And as always, feel free to send any questions, advice or clean recipes to me at lstroud@bestselfatlanta.com! I would love to hear from you. Have a wonderful day!

- Lizzy Stroud

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Recipe adapted from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Clean. 

Yields: 4 servings 

Honeyed Oranges


  • 4 navel oranges, peel and pith removed, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 4 tsp. honey
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon, optional


  1. In a large bowl, toss orange pieces with honey and cinnamon, if using. Let sit for 20 minutes so the oranges can release juice and absorb flavor.
  2. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.

Nutritional Facts: 67 calories, 0 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 1 g protein, 17 g carbs, 15 g sugars, 0 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 0 mg sodium. Serving size: 1/2 cup


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Recipe adapted from Dishing Up the Dirt.

Yields 2-4 servings. 

Zucchini Pasta with Spinach Pesto 

Zucchini Pasta with Spinach Pesto


  • 2 zucchinis, peeled and cut into thin, pasta-like strips
  • 1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes, cut in half length-wise
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • For Spinach Pesto:
  • 4 cups of spinach
  • A handful flat leaf parsley, stems removed
  • 3/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • Pepper, to taste.


For Pesto: 

1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside.

For Zucchini Pasta: 

1. Heat olive oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, cherry tomatoes and garlic. Cook for about 5-6 minutes, until zucchini is tender and warmed all the way through.

2. Remove from heat. Add 1/2 of your pesto to the pan and toss until zucchini is evenly covered. Top with Parmesan and serve hot.

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Dr. Thomas Lyons from DeKalb Medical Physicians Group answers a reader’s question about pregnancy and birth control.

Dr. Thomas Lyons

Q: I’ve been on birth control pills for five years. How long do I have to wait after stopping the pill to try for pregnancy and how long will it take to get pregnant?

A: The overall effect of the pill is to suppress ovulation, but the hormones in the pill don’t stay in the system beyond a day. This means you can start trying immediately after stopping the pill, but it will take about a week of no pill to allow the potential for ovulation and therefore pregnancy. If your cycle is regular after stopping the pill, your most fertile cycle will be the second one after you stop the pill. If you have six regular cycles and are not successful with getting pregnant, see your gynecologist.

Do you have questions for our doctors? If so, please email your questions to editorial@bestselfatlanta.com. 

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