Places to Stay Fit and Healthy in Charleston

Every city has its “go-to” places to stay fit and healthy, and Charleston is no different. In fact, because of Charleston’s charm, the places shared below go above and beyond your average gym or healthy eatery.

Health and fitness have always been an important part of our world. From the use of natural herbs to thwart illnesses, to the ancient Eastern tradition of yoga, humans have a vast history that includes thousands of ways people lived and practiced healthy living.

However, in the recent decade, health has been front and center of our culture. Some would say the growth of the Internet led to the spread of important information about staying fit and healthy. And as a result of America’s deep interest in fitness and health, dozens of new health-focused businesses — as well as already established businesses — have successfully grown here in Charleston.

We’d like to highlight those below.

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OrangeTheory Fitness

OrangeTheory Fitness applies a unique approach to working out.

According to their website, Orange Theory is:

Backed by the science of post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), our heart-rate monitored training is designed to keep heart rates in a target zone that stimulates metabolism and increases energy. The result is the Orange Effect – more energy, visible toning and extra calorie burn for up to 36 hours after your workout!

Their healthy living claim is they can “produce 12 to 20 minutes of training at 84% or higher of your maximum heart rate.” And we know a lot of Charleston locals and guests would be interested in getting better results in less time.

To try this unique approach to working out, check out OrangeTheory Fitness: http://www.orangetheoryfitness.com/

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EcoFitness

EcoFitness is a locally owned and operated health club that offers:

  •  Indoor cycling
  •  Core Barre
  •  Group exercising
  •  Blue turtle yoga
  •  Personal training

When we looked at their website, we discovered they have a ton of different activities and dozens of instructors to choose from. If you’re looking for flexibility in your workouts, and want to make sure you have a trainer available to fit your schedule, EcoFitness is worth checking out.

View more about EcoFitness on their contact page: http://www.ecofitness.com/about/contact/

Alluette’s Cafe (Holistic Soul Food)<alt="Alluette’s Cafe"/>

Did you know there’s a southern food eatery in Charleston that’s both mouth-watering delicious AND healthy?

Alluette’s takes southern favorites and transforms them into healthier specialties by using natural ingredients. They also avoid frying their foods, yet they still find a way to make it just as good as the “real thing.”

Just about everything is homemade, including the ketchup and cole slaw (with no mayo). You can even finish off your meal with freshly baked vegan cookies — what a treat!

Hmm… farm fresh, vegan friendly, and tasty food. This one’s definitely staying on our list!

Find more info about Alluette’s here: http://www.alluettescafe.com/contact

Charleston Farmers Market

Last, but not least, on our list is the amazing Charleston Farmers Market. There was absolutely no way we could leave this one out.

At the Charleston Farmers Market, you’ll always find what’s in season. You can be sure to find the latest produce as well as live entertainment each Saturday at Marion Square. Come check it out!

Details and times included in the following link:

http://www.charlestonfarmersmarket.com/

October 15: BRA Day USA

BRA day usa ribbon

BRA DAY USA
Closing the Loop on Breast Cancer

It’s a fact: many women eligible for breast reconstruction following cancer surgery are not being properly informed of their options.

The Breast Reconstruction Awareness Campaign–a collaborative effort between the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, The Plastic Surgery Foundation, plastic surgeons specializing in breast reconstruction, nurse navigators, corporate partners, and breast cancer support groups–hopes to change this.

Statistics show:

  • Eighty-nine percent of women want to see successful breast reconstruction surgery results before undergoing cancer treatment.
  • Less than a quarter (23 percent) of women know the wide range of breast reconstruction options available.
  • Only 22 percent of women are familiar with the quality of outcomes that can be expected.
  • Only 19 percent of women understand that the timing of their treatment for breast cancer and the timing of their decision to undergo reconstruction greatly impacts their options and results.

 

Breast cancer does not discriminate, and while every journey is unique, all breast cancer patients have the right to know their reconstruction options. Click here to meet our team and learn more about our practice, success stories, and natural reconstruction surgery.

Mammograms 101: What You Need to Know

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According to The United States Preventive Services Task Force, women aged 50 to 74 should get a mammogram every 2 years. As for women younger than age 50, they should talk to a doctor about when to start and how often to have a mammogram.

If you haven’t talked to your doctor about getting a mammogram, you should. When you get a mammogram, you’ll receive a low-dose x-ray that looks for irregularities in your breasts. Unlike a breast exam, an x-ray will uncover changes in breast tissue that cannot be felt or seen. All women have breast changes as they age. But without a mammogram, you don’t know if the differences in size, shape, and feeling is a natural occurrence or a result of something more serious.

 

How to Detect Breast Cancer ASAP

The best way to detect breast cancer is to get a mammogram and breast exam from a doctor. The earlier you take preventative measures, the better your chances of catching possible cancer and treating it. The faster your cancer is detected, the better your chances are of eliminating it.

 

What’s It Like to Have a Mammogram?

Mammograms are not an arduous process. Your doctor will place your breasts in a special x-ray machine. The machine will flatten your breast to get a clearer look at the tissue. The pressure may cause some discomfort, but any pinching that happens will only take place momentarily. Considering the alternative, a few seconds of minor soreness is worth it.

 

What Your Doctor Looks For

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Picture courtesy of the National Cancer Institute

If your mammogram is clear, then your doctor will let you know and you can breathe a sigh of relief. If you’re wondering what your doctor is looking for, here are some things she’ll look for:

  • Lumping of tissue. If you see a “building up” of tissue, this could be a sign that something’s irregular. If the lump has a clear edge, chances are it’s benign (at a very early stage). If the lump can’t be distinguished clearly, then it could be cancer.
  • White spots. There are two types of white spots you may see on your x-ray — one is normal and the other may be a sign of cancer.

 

How to Prepare for a Mammogram

Here are few things you can do to make your mammogram go smoothly:

  • Avoid unnatural products before your mammogram. The chemicals in deodorants and other hygienic products may disrupt the x-ray process. It’s best to not use any sort of make up, lotions, etc. when you proceed with your mammogram.
  • Schedule accordingly. The best time to make an appointment for a mammogram is one week after your menstrual cycle because this is when your breasts are the least tender.
  • Male or female. It’s okay to ask for a male or female doctor to conduct your exam if that’s what makes you most comfortable.
  • Dont drink coffee. Also, skip the energy drinks or any other type of stimulant. Why? Because the caffeine my increase breast tenderness, which will make the x-ray process more painful.

 

Where to Get More Information

Contact the following organizations for more information about breast cancer and mammograms.

American Cancer Society

Phone: 800-227-2345 (TDD: 866-228-4327)

Breast Health Access for Women With Disabilities

Phone: 510-204-4866 (TDD: 510-204-4574)

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, HHS

Phone: 800-633-4227 (TDD: 877-486-2048)

National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program

Phone: 800-232-4636 (TDD: 888-232-6348)

National Cancer Institute, NIH, HHS

Phone: 800-422-6237

Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Phone: 877-465-6636

 

Photo Credit: kristiewells

Why Yoga is Best for Mind, Body, and Spirit

<alt="yoga"/>Yoga is now a major part of Western culture. It started off as a trend, but now it’s now deeply integrated into our mainstream culture. Most cities in America have several yoga studios and it’s become a major part of millions of people’s lives.

Is yoga here to stay? We think so. People love how yoga benefits the mind, body, and spirit. If you practice yoga, you will relate to this article. For those curious about yoga, perhaps this article will persuade you to try it out.

Yoga Improves Your Mind

Because yoga involves a series of poses while in a flow-like state, you strengthen your mind as you work out your body.

Yoga benefits your mind because it teaches you how to breathe deeply and slowly. Unlike short and nervous breathing, long and controlled breaths train your brain to focus on consistent thinking. If you feel like you’re constantly distracted, a yoga session will bring attention back to your inner thoughts.

If you’ve ever been in an anxious state, you know what it’s like to feel your heart rate climb and you lose your ability to think clearly. Because yoga puts you in a state of calm and control, you become more familiar with your body’s way of coping with stress.

Yoga Benefits Your Body

Doctors recommend at least 30 minutes of activity to increase your heart rate every day. A typical yoga session lasts for one hour—twice the minimum requirement for living a healthy life.

Because yoga is a flexible workout, you can receive the health benefits at your own pace. Unlike intense workouts like Crossfit or a high-impact sport, you can go about your yoga poses at your own pace.

Plus, it’s a challenge to see how much better you do each session. You may struggle with certain poses, but as you practice over time, you will eventually amaze yourself at what you can do with your body. Practicing yoga allows you to become more fit and flexible.

Yoga Benefits Your Spirit

Yoga is more than a physical and mental workout—it’s a lesson in spirituality, too. Yoga has no affiliation with religion, so you can do yoga regardless of your religious background or lifestyle. The spiritual benefits of yoga are simply universal ways you can use a yoga session to connect yourself to the world.

For example, many people remain in a state of calmness after yoga. Even if you’re not a spiritual person, you cannot help but feel closer to the Earth when you practice yoga. Yoga opens up your senses, so you can experience more of what life has to offer you.

How to Get Started With Yoga

Here are several things to keep in mind if you want to start practicing yoga:

–    DVD or face-to-face? You don’t need to visit a class to do yoga. With a DVD or online program, you can practice yoga in the comfort of your own home. It’s entirely up to you. You may want to begin on your own first so you’re familiar with the poses before a class. It’s a personal decision. There’s zero judgment in yoga, so even if you know nothing about yoga, you can still take a class and not feel unwelcome.

–    Learn the basic poses. A quick YouTube search for “basic yoga poses” will give you all you need to practice a downward facing dog, cat-cow, and warrior’s pose. This BuzzFeed list may also help.

–    Buy a mat. While yoga studios normally offer mats, you probably want to use your own. You will sweat quite a bit during your yoga sessions.

–    Dress appropriately. Wear light clothing that won’t get in the way during poses. Most retail stores carry yoga clothing now, so it’s not hard to put together an outfit that’s suitable for yoga.

–    Find a class you like. If you go a class and dislike it, don’t let it discourage you. You may just need to find an instructor who teaches in a style you prefer.

Getting started with yoga is easy. You simply show up, do your best, and feel good when you’re done. Namaste!

Photo Credit: BrittneyBush

Ask The Doctor: I’m looking for a surgeon that performs DIEP procedures.

<alt="pink roses"/>This week, Dr. James Craigie of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction answers your question.

QUESTION: I was diagnosed with lobular carcinoma in situ breast cancer and am looking for a surgeon that does DIEP, sensory nerve reconstruction, and vascular lymph node transfer. Does your team perform these procedures?

ANSWER: We have been specializing in the procedures you asked about since 2002. If you would like to have me give you my opinion about your specific situation let me know. My partner and I have performed approximately 1,200 muscle sparing breast reconstructions together. We also reconnect sensory nerves and are experienced in vascularized lymph node transfer. We do phone consults if you’re interested in discussing this more. Thank you!

James E. Craigie MD

Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction

Have a question about breast reconstruction or post-surgical care you’d like answered from our surgical team? Just ask us!

10 Breast Cancer Fundraising Ideas

<alt="fundraising"/>If you’re looking for a different approach to raising awareness for breast cancer, we’ve got you covered. The list of ideas below will help you get interested people to participate in a worthy and very important cause. Use these tips for yourself, or forward this list to your favorite business, colleagues, loved ones, and friends, and get them involved in the fight against breast cancer.

 

  1. Get active. You will see plenty of 5k runs and walkathons for breast cancer, but those are not the only physical activities you can participate in or host to support this cause. You can also swim, play tennis, or even golf for breast cancer. The more people who support breast cancer, the more money your community can raise for research.
  2.  Dress up. Get your office to wear pink for an entire week. Surely this will get the attention of clients, guests, and coworkers. It also gives a great chance for you to explain why’re everyone has pink clothes on, allowing you the perfect opportunity to ask for a donation. Make sure to post photos of your group on social media, in company emails, etc. to spread the word. Maybe your office isn’t onboard with this idea? Do this with a group of friends.
  3.  Check Meetup. Meetup is a website for people to form groups and participate in face-to-face activities. Check Meetup for breast cancer fundraising activities in your city, and get involved with your community.
  4.  Have a yard sale. Have a lot of stuff piling in your garage? With a yard sale, you can get rid of things you don’t need, make money, and forward all profits to a breast cancer organization of your choice. Plus, people are more likely to buy your stuff when you support a fantastic cause!
  5.  Create fliers. Fliers are great way to raise awareness. You can make thousands of them for just pennies, and you’ll reap the rewards in a big way. You can use fliers to show that your business or organization supports the fight against breast cancer, and you can promote upcoming awareness events, 5Ks, walks, and fundraisers.
  6.  Organize with your local Chamber of Commerce. Create partnerships with other local businesses and groups who support breast cancer. Doing so will broaden your message to a larger group of people. Referrals a great way to get people to donate.
  7.  Have a car wash. Get your neighborhood together and get the word out about a donation based car wash. Offer to wash cars for free and mention that you’re raising funds for breast cancer research. People will love the idea of having a clean car, and they’ll thank you for your commitment to raising awareness for breast cancer and donate to your cause.
  8.  Volunteer. You don’t have to start your own fundraising movement—there are many fundraising organizations out there who need help and lots of volunteers! This is something to keep in mind if you’re struggling to come up with an original breast cancer fundraising strategy, or you don’t have the time to create your own event.
  9.  Have a BBQ. Ask a local BBQ place to offer food at a significant discount in support of breast cancer. Tell them you will organize the event, and they just need to bring the grub! They’ll be able to support a good cause, you’ll raise money, and they now have new customers who have tasted their food. They get free marketing and PR for partnering with you at your event.
  10.  Create a trend. Surely you’ve seen the popular ice bucket challenge happening right now. The sensation has currently raised $44 million dollars for ALS! You can create a similar trend for breast cancer. If it catches on, you could be responsible for millions of dollars for breast cancer research!

The most important thing to keep in mind when starting a fundraiser is to take action. Someone has to get out there and get the ball rolling—it could be you.

 

Photo Credit: HowardLake

Ask The Doctor – Will My Weight Impact My Breast Reconstruction Surgery Goal?

<alt="pink rose"/>This week, Dr. Richard M. Kline of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction answers your question.

QUESTION: Hello, I’m a breast cancer survivor. My doctors will not do a reconstruction because they say I have to lose weight. The medicine I’m taking causes me to have body aches and pains, and I’ve gained weight because of it. I’m also afraid that my cancer will return. I’m financially strained and really feel left behind when it comes to improving my body; I want to feel whole again and wanted. I just turned 50 and have been cancer free since June 2011. I’m excited to have another chance to live, but I want to feel like a whole woman again with complete confidence. What are my options? Thank you for your time.

ANSWER: Hi there, I’m sorry you’re having these problems, but we will help if we can. We have learned from hard experiences that it can be dangerous to do reconstruction with your own tissue (we do not do implant reconstruction, as a rule) in patients who are significantly overweight. That being said, the guidelines for using tissue are not strictly rigid, and it depends to some extent on how the extra fat is distributed in your body. If you would like to investigate further, we could have our nurse Chris or PA Kim call and chat with you. Thanks again for your inquiry. Have a great day!

Dr. Richard Kline

Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction

Have a question about breast reconstruction or post-surgical care you’d like answered from our surgical team? Just ask us!

DYI Facial Masks

<alt="home Facials"/>Keeping your skin healthy, hydrated, and clean is your top priority. It’s imperative that you maintain great skin care—especially on your face—to keep your skin looking younger, brighten your complexion, and regularly hydrate your pores to prevent adult acne, blemishes, and skin discoloration.

There are countless facial cleansers, scrubs, and masks on the market, but many are filled with harmful chemicals and unnatural ingredients. We suggest creating your own at-home facial mask to ensure that you’re putting only the very best mixture on your precious skin!

At your next “girls’ night,” mani-pedi day, or personal relaxation time, try mixing together one of these DIY facial masks for a fresh, clean, and bright face:

Olive Oil Facial Cleanser

Combine 2 teaspoons of high quality olive oil, half a teaspoon of lemon oil (NOT lemon juice), and 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt. Rub the mixture into your skin and leave it on your face and neck for a few minutes. Try not to leave it on for too long! Wipe the mask away with a warm washcloth. You can use this mask every day, and we recommend using it as soon as you wake up in the morning. Your skin will be refreshed and softer than you could imagine! Remember to use very high quality olive oil and lemon oil. This mask combats acne and moisturizes dry skin.

Teatime Toner

It’s important to use toner on your skin, especially on the delicate skin around your eyes. This toner treatment is designed to reduce swelling, relax your face, and bring energy and revitalization back into your skin. To create this “Teatime Toner,” choose a high quality green tea and brew a cup. Let the tea sit out and cool (DON’T put ice cubes in this, or it will dilute the solution). Take a round makeup sponge and soak it in the tea. Gently squeeze out the excess and place the makeup sponges directly on your eyelids, or around that area. Keep these sponges on your face for 15-20 minutes before bed, and you’ll notice tighter skin and cleaner pores in no time. Forget the alcohol-based toners. This one is skin-friendly and smells great, too!

The Dry Skin Solution

In a bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of honey with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Add this sticky mixture to a cleaned, washed face for 20 minutes or more, and then gently remove the mask from your skin with cold water. Use this mask when you’ve spent the day at the beach, outside, or after a workout. Your skin will be refreshed, moisturized, and healed.

Oatmeal Scrub

For a great at-home skin exfoliator, try this facial scrub: combine 1 teaspoon honey and 1 teaspoon olive oil in a bowl. Take a packet of plain oatmeal (just the original kind—no flavor), use slightly less water than the packet calls for, and cook it. Mix this together and ensure you’ve created a sticky paste. After the oatmeal cools, add the honey-oil mixture to it. Take the oatmeal mask in your fingers and apply small amounts to your skin, and anywhere on your body you may need to exfoliate. You’ll end up with beautiful, soft skin!

Photo Credit: Neeta Lind

Do you make your own facial masks? Share your favorite recipes and combinations with us below.

Summertime Treats for Better Health

<" alt="cherries" />Summertime means sunshine, picnics, and an abundance of seasonal foods like the ones we feature below.

You might commonly associate the word treat with candy, ice cream, or pastries. While those are treats, they’re not the only kind of treats out there. The dictionary definition of the word treat means “something that gives great pleasure.” A strawberry pie may taste good, but fresh and juicy strawberries taste good AND are healthy…two treats in one!

Here are some of our favorite healthy summertime treats to enjoy this summer:

Corn

Fresh and sweet corn is a staple summer treat. Corn also has way of providing you protection from the sun. Thanks to two antioxidants in corn—lutein and zeaxanthin—eating corn assists in the formation of macular pigment filters. Additionally, corn helps combat age-related macular degeneration: the leading symptom responsible for blindness in people over the age of 60.

Tart Cherries

Drinking cherry juice is a common way to get better sleep and combat workout fatigue. But juice isn’t the only way to get the benefits of cherries: you get a full spectrum of health benefits from eating them whole. (Minus the pits, of course.)

Researchers found tart cherries provide weight management benefits. The test subjects in the study that ate cherry powder did not gain as much weight or belly fat as those who did not. Additionally, cherry eaters had lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Tomatoes

Fighting the burning sun requires sunscreen. Layering on a protective lotion or oil keeps you safe from UV rays. The next time you consider what sunscreen to put on, consider what you can put in your body to protect yourself, too! Nature provides a wide assortment of natural sun blocking foods, one of them being the tomato.

Eating tomatoes obviously should not replace wearing sunscreen to protect your skin, but consuming them does provide a much-needed extra boost of natural protection, thanks to their high lycopene content.

Iced Tea

When the sun is beaming, there’s nothing better than an ice-cold drink. Instead of reaching for a sugary juice, satisfy your thirst with some iced tea instead. It provides the same treat-like satisfaction and has way more benefits than processed drinks.

Tea contains antioxidants called flavonoids, which lower the risk of Alzheimers and diabetes, and provide healthier teeth, gums, and bones.

It doesn’t matter what variety you choose to drink—black, oolong, green, or herbal—because all tea contains flavonoids. To preserve the flavonoids in the tea, squeeze a lemon inside the pitcher before storing it in your fridge. The citric acid and vitamin C in the lemon (or lime or orange, if you prefer) will work its magic on its own.

Watermelon

There’s no doubt the best thing you can do during summer is drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated keeps your body from overheating. Thanks to watermelon, you get both the benefit of hydration (because watermelon is 92 percent water) and skin-protection (thanks to lycopene).

Additionally, eating foods full of water, like watermelon or kale, keeps you satisfied on fewer calories. Out of all of the treats shared here, watermelon is our favorite and most nutritious choice.

Do you have a favorite treat to eat in the summertime? Please let us know and share it in a comment below!

Photo Credit: motumboe

How to Unwind After Work

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Is it just us, or does time seem to slow down toward the end of the workday?

Don’t get us wrong – we’re passionate about what we do! But even if you enjoy your career or business very deeply, unwinding is important for your health. In fact, taking time off leads to even greater productivity and increased happiness.

Shutting down your workday means not opening any work until tomorrow! Even if you have several more things to do in the evening (we know what it’s like to be a woman with a lot responsibility!), you must make time to unwind. Just one hour of “me time” can make a day’s worth of difference.

One hour is recommended, but even if you spend fifteen minutes by yourself, you’ll get the benefits of ridding stress and tension. Here’s how:

Unwind by Napping

Being well-rested is key to regenerating your energy for the following day. A small nap in the evening provides the perfect transformation from “work mode” to “home mode.”

According to the National Sleep Foundation, there are three different ways to nap.

1. Planned napping. This is when you nap before you’re sleeping. It’s like keeping your gas tank half full instead of full or empty.
2. Emergency napping. If you feel extremely fatigued after work, then you need this kind of nap. Don’t try to fight drowsiness. Nothing is more important than your health.
3. Habitual napping. These are scheduled naps you take daily. When you know in advance what your evening looks like, you can take planned naps.

Of these three, habitual napping is the best way to unwind. Why? Because when your body is used to always resting at a certain time, it will provide you a deeper period of sleep.

Get Physical

Are you having trouble sleeping at night? Try doing 15-30 minutes of exercise in the evening. Even if your mind is racing, having a tired body will kindly force you to rest. It’s a win-win, because you’ll wake up feeling healthier and rested (aside from the sore muscles).

Working out to unwind may seem contradictory. Just keep in mind how your post-workout euphoria will put you at ease.

Make New Friends

Sites like meetup.com provide a place for you to go and make new friends. Perhaps you have a hobby like painting or hiking. With Meetup, you can schedule regular gatherings in the evening.

Many people share the desire to unwind after work. Mingling with like-minded people may be that helpful boost in energy you’ve been looking for!

Social Media Time

You don’t have to leave home to catch up with friends. Sites like facebook.com are a way to see what everyone is up to. Instead of using Facebook throughout the day, try Facebooking on a schedule (as weird as it sounds, this is a healthier way to use social media):

Schedule a time to use Facebook (e.g., 6:00-6:30 P.M).

Post something positive, leave positive comments on your friend’s posts, and share things you like on your wall.
At 6:30, shut down Facebook. Don’t let it suck you in — it will still be there tomorrow.

These are just a few ways to unwind after work. Do you have a favorite way? Please let us know by sharing it in a comment below!

Photo Credit: alexcoitus