By Alex McCray and Stacy Moser

Mimmo Alboumeh

Mimmo Alboumeh

Just like the sumptuous tacos he serves, the ancestry of chef Mimmo Alboumeh traces a route from Lebanon, Spain, Italy and Mexico. It’s said that the concept of most tacos first originated in Mexico with food brought by Lebanese immigrants, later influenced by spicy Spanish flavors. A self-proclaimed taco addict, chef Mimmo draws on his heritage to create the Mexican cuisine of his popular Red Pepper Taqueria restaurants, including the brand’s 3,600-square-foot Briarcliff Road locale.

Q: How does your heritage influence your views on diversity? What steps have you taken to make inclusion a priority at Red Pepper Taqueria locations?

Mimmo Alboumeh: As a Lebanese American, I know how it feels to be prejudged. First and foremost, I want my work family to be good, hardworking people who take pride in what they do. I like to give other immigrants the opportunities past employers gave to me, so you will see a very diverse staff at Red Pepper. I feel the same way when it comes to our diverse clientele. Everyone is welcome.

Q: What has been the key to your success as an entrepreneur?

MA: Loving what I do. To still be pursuing my passion for more than 20 years is success to me.

Assortment of tacosQ: Can you give us the scoop on Red Pepper Taqueria’s exciting new menu items?

MA: We added a prime beef burger named after Buck Lanford of FOX 5 Atlanta, a spicy beef menudo soup, chicken wings, a twist on a fried chicken sandwich, a hibiscus margarita called Espolón Rosa, and new tequilas. We want to always keep the menu fun, seasonal, and full of spice.

Q: You often host charitable events at your restaurants. What new philanthropic initiatives are you focused on?

Beef Menudo Soup

Beef Menudo Soup

MA: We are blessed. So, if I see someone in need, I will respond. My team and I are actively involved with the community and have donated time, resources and funds to many local nonprofits. All of the charities we support are special, but my heart is softest for children. Most recently we’ve supported Sporty Girls, Inc. [dedicated to encouraging minority girls to participate in athletics]; Reese’s MaGIC Fund [committed to pediatric cancer research and to prevent and cure germ cell tumors]; Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc. [a volunteer group with a commitment to women’s health and Jewish values]; and more.

Q: When you’re off the clock, where do you like to go in Intown?

MA: I like to dine at locally-owned restaurants, especially Kevin Rathbun’s [KROG BAR, KR SteakBar]. I also like to stroll Whole Foods and Your DeKalb Farmers Market to check out new, fresh ingredients to whip up something at home. eatredpepper.com/decatur

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By Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates

element5-digital-XQ5QWR8eZ5I-unsplash Thanksgiving dinner complete with turkeyFrom gravy boats and turkey dinners to decadent desserts and Champagne toasts, our tummies endure a lot during the holiday season. Don’t let digestive symptoms get in the way of your festive gatherings.

Here are five helpful tips to keep your tummy happy.

1. Focus on your favorites.

Overeating triggers symptoms of heartburn and bloating. Instead of filling your plate then going back for more, indulge a little in the foods you like most and pass on the other items.

2. Find balance.

When you’re not at parties and potlucks, be mindful of your other meals. Choose high-fiber breakfast and lunch options filled with vegetables and whole grains. This will keep your digestive tract moving regularly and avoid constipation.

3. Chew and eat slowly.

Enjoy your food! By thoroughly chewing your food, you’ll prevent food from getting “stuck” on its journey to your stomach. Food impaction is both uncomfortable and alarming, making it a common reason for emergency room visits this time of year.

In addition, eating slowly is extremely beneficial in both suppressing appetite and preventing overeating.

4. Limit alcohol.

Alcohol can irritate the digestive system in many different ways and is also a major trigger for heartburn. Moderation is key.

5. Move around.

After eating, stretch your legs. Adding in a light walk will keep your digestive tract moving and prevent symptoms of bloating, gas, and acid reflux.

Atlanta Gastroenterology | 1.866. 468.6242 |www.atlantagastro.com

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Man outside in winterBy Scott D. Miller, MD

As winter approaches, shorter days can shortchange your health. Cold weather can hamper our activity and less sunlight can bring us down. However, minor adjustments to our routines and attitudes will yield dividends to our health.

When we spend more time indoors, we tend to move less and eat more. An easy way to reverse this trend is to take a brisk walk prior to any between-meal snack. Better yet, remove unhealthy munchies from reach. Those summer activities such as swimming and yardwork must be replaced with scheduled exercise.

We often only think about drinking extra water when we sweat or when we are thirsty. In reality, heating the indoors dries the air we breathe and hastens dehydration. In addition, when the lining of our airway becomes dry, we weaken the barrier against viruses that cause the common cold and the flu. Start your day with a big glass of water to make up for the dehydration that happens when we sleep.

More time inside means more time close to others. When it comes to preventing the spread of winter ailments, the answer is clear—frequent handwashing and annual flu shots. Last year, more than 80,000 people died from the flu. Don’t fall for excuses such as, “it causes the flu” or “it’s only 30% effective this year.” Of course, washing your hands between every activity makes sense. Interestingly, most of these respiratory viruses can spread by direct contact with infected surfaces, in addition to breathing in the small droplets. Bonus tip: always wash your hands before touching your face.

When the sun goes down, so can our mood. Men, in particular, tend to mask the symptoms of depression. Here are some suggestions for sidestepping gloominess:

• Make a point of taking short breaks to go outside several times each day

• Plan extra social activities with family, friends, and other loved ones

• Take a vacation

• Incorporate daily stress reduction techniques such as time management, meditation,
and exercise

• Bolster your sleep routine with light exposure shortly after awakening

As the year comes to an end, you may have forgotten about your annual well- visit with your primary care physician. It’s OK to schedule that appointment in advance for January (after the year-end rush).

In the meantime, here are a few more easy winter health tips:

• Use sunscreen (exposure is often underestimated in the winter)

• Check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (you should have both)

• Ensure proper ventilation with replaces, vehicles, and other sources of combustion

• Enjoy libations only in moderation and only travel with someone sober behind the wheel

Screen Shot 2019-10-11 at 4.29.56 PMFor those who do not like cold weather, “winter” is a word that can become a sentence. Hopefully these tips will help you break free. Look for my article on “Men’s Health Habits: Make Them, Don’t Break Them” in the next issue.

Scott D. Miller, MD, is the Medical Director of Robotic Surgery at WellStar North Fulton Hospital. He is a urologist with WellStar Urology in Roswell and has practiced in Atlanta for over 20 years. WellStar North Fulton Hospital offers the Know Your Heart Screening that can determine your risk of heart disease, stroke and other serious conditions. Call 770-956-STAR (7827) to learn more or schedule an appointment.

Scott D. Miller, MD WellStar North Fulton Hospital • (470) 956-4230 • www.scottdmillermd.com

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Submitted by Trip Baisden

Elizabeth Pietrusza and family.

Elizabeth Pietrusza and family.

Elizabeth Pietrusza

What made you choose Windy Hill Athletic Club as your fitness club?

Windy Hill has always felt like a safe place. There are smiling faces everywhere you look. The equipment is clean and the spaces are well lit. The staff at KidTown are kind and well qualified. The trainers are knowledgeable. The general manager Trip Baisden’s door is always open. It was important for me and my family to choose a place that made us feel valued. It was also important for us to feel welcome, at all stages of our fitness journey. The club continues to exceed our expectations.

What do you like to do when you’re at Windy Hill Athletic Club?

I like to think that I spend just as much time using the amenities at the club as I do participating in the classes. We love the pool when it is warm outside. We are regulars at the café. My husband and I both enjoy massages at the spa. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

What example do you want to give to your children and other moms about fitness?

I hope to show my family and friends that a healthy lifestyle is about maintaining a balance. I am grateful the club offers more than exercise so I can practice what I preach.

Our promise to members is to inspire you through movement, community, and personal attention. Do you believe that we do that?

Without a doubt! It is not ironic that the most active and enthusiastic I have ever been in my life began once I joined the club. It feels like home. It is home.

 

Audrey Schemer holding a tennis racket.

Audrey Schemer

Audrey Schemer

When did you become a member?

I joined in 1989.

What is your favorite way to stay active?

My favorite ways to stay active are varied but I enjoy swimming, spinning, and tennis the most.

You are a busy lady. Do you give yourself a moment just for you here at Windy Hill. If so, how?

I enjoy the days I don’t have to be on a tight schedule, where I can work out and have conversations with fellow members during my time spent at the club. I also enjoy watching my teammates play in tennis matches.

Being active is a big part of who you are. How do you set an example for your family and friends to live this kind of lifestyle?

I joined Windy Hill for the nursery and during this time, my family has seen that working out is a priority and is primary to my well-being.

If you were helping a person start their fitness journey, what advice would you give to them?

I would suggest they always keep in mind the goal of progress, not the finish line. Fitness is always evolving and a work in progress. I hope to keep on keeping on till I cannot anymore.

Windy Hill Athletic Club • www.windyhillclub.com • 770-953-1100

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By Reuben Sloan, MD

Visual showing the piriformis muscle

The piriformis muscle

What is piriformis syndrome?

Piriformis syndrome is what we, in medicine, call a “zebra.” You might ask, “What does that mean?” I will get to that later in this article.

To fully understand what piriformis syndrome is requires breaking down the words.

The piriformis is a muscle in the inferolateral (lower outer part) of the buttock and is mainly responsible for rotating the hip and leg externally (outwardly).

A syndrome is defined as a collection of signs and symptoms associated with a specific health-related issue.

So, piriformis syndrome is a collection of signs and symptoms attributable to the piriformis muscle. More specifically, it’s sciatica that is not attributable to the low back. In other words, it is not attributable to a herniated disc, stenosis (tight nerve canal(s) due to arthritis) or some other nerve compressive condition originating in the back. Rather, it is attributable to an issue in or abnormality of the piriformis muscle. It is extremely rare for the lumbar spine to not be responsible for sciatica, which leads to piriformis syndrome being termed a “zebra.”

During many arduous years of medical education, medical students and residents are trained to think in terms of differential diagnoses. When a patient presents with a collection of signs and symptoms, we are taught to go through a mental checklist of all of the possible diseases or conditions that could be responsible, even unusual or rare ones. While we were encouraged to (and often rewarded for) come up with unusual or exotic “differentials,” our professors would often redirect our tangential thinking by saying, “When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras!” Meaning, common causes are far more likely to be responsible—common is common, unusual is rare.

What causes piriformis syndrome?

• Microtrauma/repetitive trauma due to prolonged sitting on hard surfaces

• Overuse of the piriformis muscle due to long-distance walking or running

• Direct compression or “wallet neuritis” compression of the piriformis and, hence, the sciatic nerve due to sitting on a fat wallet

• Anatomical variations

• Typically, both divisions (peroneal and tibial) of the sciatic nerve pass underneath the piriformis muscle (89%)

• One of the divisions runs superior to (above) or through the piriformis muscle (11%)—and is more susceptible to compression

How common is piriformis syndrome?

It depends on the source, but prevalence is estimated to range from 0.3 to 6%, or anywhere from three cases per 1,000 to six cases per 100. Regardless of what the actual prevalence is, it is not very common. Nevertheless, someone with pain radiating down the leg will have piriformis syndrome.

Signs and symptoms:

• Tenderness and pain in the buttock area

• Sciatic-like pain with tingling and numbness and/or weakness radiating down the back of the thigh, calf, and foot

• Worsening of symptoms after prolonged sitting, climbing stairs, walking or running

A person experiencing Sciatica painsDiagnosing piriformis syndrome:

• While signs and symptoms are often identical to sciatica attributable to the spine (aka lumbar radiculopathy, or nerve- root irritation or impinging in the spine) there are a couple of defining features seen only in piriformis syndrome

• Sciatica-type symptoms in the absence of a herniated disc, stenosis or other condition of the lumbar spine on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

• Electrodiagnostic (EMG/Nerve Conduction Study) revealing sparring of muscles proximal to (above) the piriformis muscle, namely the lumbar paraspinals and some of the gluteal (buttock) muscles

Treating piriformis syndrome:

• Anti-inflammatory medications: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and/or oral steroids

• Stretching program, mainly focused on the piriformis muscle, often physical therapist directed

• Therapeutic ultrasound and/or iontophoresis (the use of electric current to transport solubilized medication across the skin barrier)

• Massage

• Injection(s), typically of an anti-inflammatory medication such as methylprednisolone (cortisone), preferably with guidance (ultrasound or fluoroscopy) in an attempt to relax the piriformis can be utilized if other, non-interventional treatments fail

• Alternative treatments such as acupuncture and chiropractic care may be appropriate in some cases

• Botulinum toxin (BOTOX) injections have been used in rare, extremely refractory cases to relax the piriformis muscle for an extended amount of time when other injection treatments have provided relief, albeit temporary relief

Preventing piriformis syndrome:

• Avoid the causes mentioned above, including prolonged sitting on a hard surface or thick wallet, long-distance running or walking

• Maintain piriformis muscle flexibility

• Stretch frequently! It’s better to stretch 20 times for one minute than one time
for 20 minutes

Though horses are far more common, zebras do exist!

Resurgens Spine Center • Non-surgical & Surgical Spine Care • 24 Convenient Atlanta Locations • wwwresurgensspine.com

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A BenchMark PT helping a patient through Manual Therapy

A BenchMark PT helping a patient through Manual Therapy.

Physical therapy conjures images of exercising on stair-climbers or parallel bars, but the power to heal—and heal quickly—also rests in the hands of skilled therapists delivering manual therapy.

Through manual therapy, trained therapists utilize hands-on pressure and manipulation to restore flexibility and relieve pain. When combined with the traditional exercises of physical therapy, manual therapy can hasten recovery and minimize the need for medication.

What is manual therapy?

The American Physical Therapy Association defines manual therapy techniques as “skilled hand movements and skilled passive movements of joints and soft tissue.” A trained physical therapist uses hands-on manual therapy to improve flexibility, increase range of motion, induce relaxation, and reduce pain and swelling—in short, minimize the consequences of surgery and injury, and restore lost functions.

While almost any physical therapy (PT) patient can benefit from manual therapy, it’s especially beneficial for:

Orthopedic surgery patients: Orthopedic procedures promise new lives to those suffering from deteriorating joints, but the aftermath includes pain, swelling, and stiffness. Manual therapy offers a speedier recovery from any orthopedic procedure, including knee replacement, knee or shoulder arthroscopy, ACL reconstruction, and rotator cuff repair.

• Low back pain: At some point in their lives, 80% of American adults will experience low back pain. Whether the cause is a physical condition, heavy lifting, or long hours at a desk, manual therapy realigns and strengthens the spine’s complex system of bones and tissue to reduce pain and improve movement.

• Injuries: Mishaps can happen at any time. The pain and stiffness of sprains and strains can make it hard to report for work or care for family. As long as the injury doesn’t require surgery, research shows that the sooner manual therapy can be delivered, the faster the recovery.

How manual therapy helps:

The first visit to a physical therapist starts with an assessment to determine pain levels and movement limitations. In many cases, the primary goals of the resulting treatment plan will be to reduce pain and swelling in order to increase the range of motion.

In delivering manual therapy, physical therapists might move joints through their range of motion without any help from the patient, or conduct “joint mobilizations.” That’s when physical therapists use their hands to zero in on micromovements at key bone linkages, conducting manipulations that patients can’t do themselves, and encouraging flexibility by degrees. The small advances in movement add up to improved mobility for the entire structure, known as the joint capsule.

Manual therapy techniques may also include:

• Soft tissue mobilization using rhythmic stretching and pressure to loosen tense muscles.

• Strain and counterstrain to reset muscles to the point of greatest comfort.

• Muscle energy techniques, which is when the patient contracts a muscle for a few seconds while the practitioner applies a precise counterforce, with the goal of mobilizing restricted joints and lengthening shortened muscles.

A key benefit of manual therapy is an efficient use of the time spent in PT. Trained practitioners direct their efforts to the areas of greatest need. A “test-treat-retest” approach continually assesses the effectiveness of each technique, finding those that work and discarding those that don’t deliver progress.

BenchMark Physical Therapy LogoBenchMark Physical Therapy is a family of physical therapists, occupational therapists, and hand therapists committed to inspiring and empowering people to reach their full potential. Its providers know that connecting with patients on a personal level helps to build trust. This trust is crucial in allowing patients and therapists to work together to make the best use of advanced certifications and refined techniques. A focus on proven methods and a hands-on approach help the BenchMark team achieve the goals of the patient in a safe and effective manner.

BenchMark Physical Therapy • www.benchmarkpt.com • 1-844-264-5307

 

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Large fake elephant at Nia Pediatric DentistryBy Azi Nia, DMD

Congratulations on the arrival of your baby! Are you prepared for the arrival of your baby’s first tooth? Follow these guidelines and your baby will be on his or her way to a lifetime of healthy smiles.

Caring for Gums

Even before your baby’s first tooth appears, his or her gums can benefit from your careful attention. After breast- or bottle-feeding, wrap one finger with a clean, damp washcloth or piece of gauze and gently rub it across your baby’s gum tissue.

The Colorful Nia Pediatric Dentistry OfficeBaby’s First Tooth

When that first tooth makes an entrance, it’s time to upgrade to a baby toothbrush. If your little one doesn’t react well to the introduction of a toothbrush, don’t give up. Switch back to a damp washcloth for a few weeks and try the toothbrush again.

Brushing with Toothpaste

When a few more teeth appear, you can start using toothpaste with your child’s brush. The
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that you start brushing Kid-friendly waiting room at Nia Pediatric Dentistryyour baby’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste. If your child is 2 or younger, use a smear of toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice). For children 2 or older, a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste will be enough.

First Visit to the Dentist

It’s important that you bring your baby in for a visit within six months of the first tooth’s eruption—usually around his or her first birthday. Since decay can occur in even the smallest of teeth, the earlier your baby visits us, the more likely he or she can avoid problems. We’ll look for any signs of early problems with your baby’s oral health, and check-in with you about the best way to care for his or her teeth.

Dr. Azi Nia

Dr. Azi Nia

Azi Nia, DMD, is a board-certified pediatric dentist. Dr. Azi (as her patients call her) attended Georgia State University and continued on to the Medical College of Georgia to earn her Doctorate of Dental Medicine. In order to become a specialist in pediatric dentistry, she completed a 3-year residency at Colorado Children’s Hospital, where she also served as chief resident. Dr. Azi is dedicated to providing excellent pediatric dental care and building confidence in her patients. Creating a positive dental experience customized to each young patient is central to her practice’s philosophy.

Nia Pediatric Dentistry • (770) 479- 9999 • www.niadentistry.com

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By Laura J. Downey

Cycle ElanAlex and I love checking out workout classes around the city so we can share our finds with fellow readers. Recently, we visited Cycle Elan for its 45-minute After Work Corporate Grind Ride. What we really enjoyed about the session was the hip-hop music, colorful overhead lighting, comfortable Schwinn bikes, and motivating instructor, Caroline. Sometimes when you go to a cycling studio, it’s hard to find your bike number after everyone is already seated. So we were happy about the smaller class size, which made it easier for us to locate our bikes. And even when we were waiting for class to begin, it seemed as if everyone knew one another. There is a sense of community here that makes the place special. After class, we were given chilled towels to help us cool off. Honestly, it was the perfect way for us to end our workday.

Details: 4585 S. Cobb Dr. SE., #600, Smyrna; cycleelan.com

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YEAR UP GREATER ATLANTA STUDENTS MODEL TEAMWORK AS THEY DEVELOP INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS DURING THE SIX-MONTH LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT PHASE OF THE PROGRAM.

YEAR UP GREATER ATLANTA STUDENTS MODEL TEAMWORK AS THEY DEVELOP
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS DURING THE SIX-MONTH LEARNING AND
DEVELOPMENT PHASE OF THE PROGRAM.

Driven by the notion of “a hand up, not a handout,”                  Year Up Greater Atlanta provides underserved youth ages 18 to 24 with an intensive 1-year training program to help them move from minimum wage to a meaningful career. Students spend the first six months in a classroom environment and learn professional and technical skills like business communications and app development, then earn a six-month internship with a corporate partner such as    Cox Enterprises, Inc. Support the nonprofit by signing up to speak to a class, become a mentor or tutor, and more.

Details: https://yearup.org

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Screen Shot 2019-10-06 at 11.03.11 PMHave your little ones don their favorite fairy wings, cape, or costume and join Best Self Atlanta at 10 a.m. on Oct. 20 as we partner with                      Children Helping Children to present the Fly-K Fun Run. Kicking off the LOVEFEST-Free Family Festival, during the Fly-K, kids can race around The Meadow at Piedmont Park and receive a necklace each time they complete a lap. Plus, participants of this pup-friendly event will get first access to a yoga class immediately following.

                                                                                                     Details: https://chcatlanta.org/lovefest

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