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North Alabama Lifestyle, Arts, Business, & Gossip

Fit forLife.

MAR/APR 2009 $3.95

noalamag.com

Twelve People who will inspire you to be fit Eastern Medicine meets North Alabama Comfort Food you can feel comfortable with Plus party pics, 20 questions, and more!


Digital Mammography at ECM East Women in the Shoals area can take advantage of ECM East’s digital mammography—it’s sort of like a digital detective when it comes to finding early signs of breast cancer. Geropsych will soon be offered on the campus of Shoals Hospital.

BELOW: ECM Hospital has expanded its front lobby and its pre-admission testing area to make our patients even more comfortable.

The J.W. Sommer Acute Rehabilitation Center on the campus of Shoals Hospital has expanded, with more gym space, additional patient rooms and a bigger space to help those who are recovering from stroke, joint replacement or other acute problems. It’s the only one of its type in the region.

2 | No’Ala

The H.M. Perritt Family Chapel at ECM helps us meet the spiritual needs of our patients and families.

www.ecmhospital.com

www.shoalshospital.com


March/April 2009 | 3


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Contents

On the cover: Bridget Gillis strikes the “Warrior II” pose on the banks of the Tennessee River. Above, Hank Self rows away from his dock on a chilly January morning.

in this issue A balanced, healthy life—isn’t that what we all want? From the products that help us and the foods that nourish us to the neighbors who inspire us, you’ll be amazed at the wonderful things we have here in the Shoals!

Every day of the week, every week of the month, every month of the year—active, healthy people push themselves to exercise because it makes them feel good and live longer. In this issue, you’ll meet a dozen of them who have made health their habit!

March/April 2009 | 5


{ contents }

10 22 46 56 66

8 Contributors

Calendar

14

Dr. Alexander Ly brings traditional Chinese medicine to the deep south.

C. Allen Tomlinson Editor-In-Chief David Sims Managing Editor/Design Director Contributing Writers Michele King Troy Youngblood, D.V.M. Contributing Photographers Danny Mitchell Contributing Designers Justin Hall

When it comes to eating healthier, we’ve got a recipe for success.

Business Manager Matthew Liles Marketing Coordinator Jeff Linholm

If your pet’s health care needs a check-up, Dr. Troy Youngblood has the plan.

Printing and Distribution Printers and Stationers, Inc. •••

48

If you’re interested in getting in shape for summer, we’ve got the skinny on some products that may help get you there.

Richard Thigpen takes our questions on his epic weight loss.

58

What’s a Physiatrist? How can I get my child to take his medicine? We’ve got the answers!

Michele King takes on New Year’s resolutions with a sprinkle of humor and a dash of sarcasm.

Plus 6 | No’Ala

•••

Twelve area athletes share the things that motivate and inspire them in our feature article, Fit for Life.

44

March/April 2009 Volume 2: Issue 2

Some great event pictures from all-over the Shoals!

No’Ala is published six times annually by ATSA PO Box 2530, Florence, AL 35630 Phone: 256-766-4222 | Fax: 256-766-4106 Toll-free: 800-779-4222 Web: www.noalamag.com Standard postage paid at Florence, AL. A one-year subscription is $19.95 for delivery in the United States. Signed articles reflect only the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors. Advertisers are solely responsible for the content of their advertisements. © 2008-2009 ATSA, All rights reserved. Send all correspondence to Allen Tomlinson, Editor, at the postal address above, or by e-mail to atomlinson@atsa-usa.com. Letters may be edited for space and style. To advertise, contact us at: 256-766-4222, or sales@noalamag.com. The editor will provide writer’s guidelines upon request. Prospective authors should not submit unsolicited manuscripts; please query the editor first.


{ editor’s letter }

BY

DAVID SIMS

Read this issue while you’re on the treadmill.

T

he nicest thing my Dad ever did for me was force me to take up a sport in high school. It was 1975 and I was a fat kid. I stood 5’6” tall and weighed 185 lbs. Anyone remember the “Husky” section at Sears? I do. The tryouts for the Pensacola Catholic High swim team looked like something out of a John Hughes film—dozens of seasoned, cocky 14 year-old club swimmers and me. Fortunately, all those summers at the YMCA pool with my Dad paid off and I made the team knowing only one stroke. In that first year, I learned the backstroke, the breaststroke and the butterfly, and lost over 40 lbs. I also learned some valuable life lessons. I learned that with hard work and a little encouragement, I could compete and have fun. And, even if I didn’t have the natural talent of some of the other swimmers, I could still achieve my goals and feel proud of my accomplishments. That fall I became an athlete for the rest of my life. I made exercise a habit. I swam throughout my twenties and thirties, and I’m still swimming today. Two years ago I joined the Shoals Sharks, a group of masters-level swimmers, and we practice and compete together all over the country. Some of the Sharks are profiled in this month’s feature, “Fit for Life.” They’re joined by several other athletes who all have a passion for

fitness. It’s a fascinating look at the habits that many elite athletes share. I hope you can apply what they have learned to your own fitness regimen—or be inspired to exercise for the very first time. It is never too late. We also profile Dr. Alexander Ly, a Chinese physician and acupuncturist who lives and practices here in the Shoals. His story is remarkable, but not nearly as remarkable as the stories of his patients—five of whom we interviewed for the story. Allen Tomlinson takes a look at several medical specialties you may not know exist here, and Dr. Troy Youngblood, a Shoals veterinarian, shares his advice on the health of your pet. We also feature a recipe for a chocolate cake that will deceive the most refined sweet tooth, and showcase some health and fitness related products from right here in the Shoals. Richard Thigpen answers our questions about his amazing weight loss in 20 Questions and Michele King (one of our featured athletes and my teammate) rounds out the issue with her take on New Year’s resolutions in this issue’s Bless Their Hearts.

March/April 2009 | 7


{ contributors } Troy Youngblood

Keep it coming.

Troy Youngblood was gracious enough to take the time to write his article on pet health while he and his wife, Mary Cecilia, were welcoming their third child. That’s multi-tasking! Michele King is a true Renaissance woman. She’s a coach, a teacher, a writer, and an amazing athlete. We’re thankful she slowed down long enough to write this issue’s “Bless Their Hearts.” She’s also profiled in our “Fit for Life” feature alongside of one of her star athletes, Molly Waddell. Danny Mitchell is pulling double duty this issue. Not only did he take another round of beautiful photographs, but, like Michele, he is featured as one of our elite athletes. We knew he was fast at picture-taking, but this is ridiculous!

Michele King

Danny Mitchell

Allen Tomlinson never seems to rest. In addition to running a successful business, he also managed to write two feature stories for this issue. He interviewed Dr. Alexander Ly for our business focus and dreamed up our article on some unique medical specialties. Allen Tomlinson

8 | No’Ala

Want to keep No’Ala coming to your door every other month? Want to give it to a friend, to show them what a cool place the Shoals can be? A one-year subscription for six issues is just $19.95! Use your credit or debit card and subscribe online at www.noalamag.com, or send a check for $19.95 and your mailing address to: No’Ala Magazine, c/o ATSA, P.O. Box 2530, Florence, AL 35630. Thanks—and bless your heart!


Serving Your Health for Over 40 Years Body Building Products · Natural & Organic Foods Allergy Foods · Vitamins & Herbs

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Bride’s Parents: Kevin and Cindy Williams; Roger and Michelle Thompson Bride’s Grandparents: Jerry and Betty Shields; John (Bud) Williams and the late Ruby Williams; Bob and Julia Speck Groom: Thomas Bradley Alewine Groom’s Hometown: Tuscumbia, AL Groom’s Parents: Steve and Vicki Alewine Groom’s Grandparents: Lynn and Shirley Liverett; Doris Alewine and the late Burral Alewine

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...and Still Do.

Photographer: Sharié Crittenden, Portraits by Sharié, Florence, AL Videographer: Right Angle Productions, Florence, AL Caterer: Victorian Tea Room, Muscle Shoals, AL Hair Stylist: Tammy Hutcheson, Lana’s Salon Honeymoon: Paradise Island, Bahamas Registries: Target, Wal-Mart, Belk

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March/April 2009 | 9


Calendar

The Alabama Symphony “Rocks” the Shoals on April 17, 2009

of events

March March 1 The Shoals Symphony at UNA presents The Planets, Viljar Puu Weimann, Conductor; 7:00pm, Shoals Theatre, Florence March 5-8 George Lindsey Film Festival; Various locations throughout the Shoals March 6 First Friday, downtown Florence March 7 Alabama Outdoors presents a Shoal Creek Preserve hike; Moderate level; Meet at the Big Star on Old Jackson Highway in St. Florian; Free, but registration is required; 764-1809 March 12 – 14, 8:00pm, and March 15, 2:30pm Shoals Community Theatre presents the Gingerbread Players Production, Holes; Shoals Theatre, Florence March 13 – May 9 New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music Tennessee Valley Museum of Art, 511 North Water Street, Tuscumbia, Alabama; Sunday: 1:00pm – 3:00pm; Monday – Friday: 9:00am – 5:00pm; Free admission The Tennessee Valley Museum of Art is the first of six venues for an Alabama tour of the Smithsonian Institution’s exhibition, “New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music.” The exhibition identifies the cultural exchange that reshaped musical traditions of many peoples into the sounds of one people: Americans. In conjunction with the Smithsonian exhibition, the Tennessee Valley Museum of Art, Alabama Music

10 | No’Ala

Hall of Fame, the Muscle Shoals Music Association and Music Preservation Society have collaborated to develop a second exhibition and educational programs that identify the cultural exchange that reshaped the musical traditions of our own community: traditions that produced artists whose “new harmonies” impacted music around the world including “The Muscle Shoals Sound” and W. C. Handy. March 26 Bill’s Khakis Trunk Show, South Port, English Village, Florence March 31 Rejoice Dear Hearts! – An Evening with Brother Dave Gardner, a new play by David Anthony Wright; 7:30pm, Ritz Theater, 111 West 3rd Street, Sheffield; Tickets: $10.00 in advance, $12.00 at the door This much-praised new play follows the life of Dave Gardner, or as Jack Paar later named him "Brother Dave", from his humble beginnings as a drummer in a struggling band all the way to the superstardom he achieved on The Tonight Show and beyond. To create this play, David Anthony Wright uses a unique blend of Brother Dave’s classic stand-up routines and his actual life stories. The result is an often hilarious and always compelling portrait of this appealing man and performer.


April April 3 First Friday, downtown Florence

Stephanie Anecia

Thompson

April 4 The Country Shindig, 7:00pm, Muscle Shoals High School Auditorium

Florence, AL

Family-oriented country music show featuring the host band “Showdown” and a variety of Shoals-area talent; Tickets: Adults, $7:00, Children 6-12 years, $5.00; Children 5 & under, free April 4 Kids Fun Hike, led by Summer McCreless 10:00am; Any age level and experience welcome; meet at Alabama Outdoors, bring water and lunch; Free, but call 764-1809 to register April 16 – 18, 8:00pm, and April 19, 2:30pm Shoals Community Theatre presents the Zodiac Production, Love, Sex, and the IRS; Shoals Theatre, Florence April 17 On Stage presents the Alabama Symphony in concert, The Symphony Rocks; 7:30pm, Norton Auditorium April 24 Individualized Custom Shirts Trunk Show, South Port, English Village, Florence April 25 Shoals Earth Day Festival Festival events include music, arts and crafts, children’s art and activities, and public service booths; 11:00am – 6:00pm, Wilson Park, Florence; Free April 25 Swampers 5K & 1 Mile Run/Walk 8:00am, Muscle Shoals Middle School; Flat, fast certified course; walkers and runners of all ages are encouraged to participate, all runners will receive medal, duffel bag and t-shirt

Engagement Photo for No’Ala by Sharié Crittenden, Portraits by Sharié

Bride’s Parents: Reverend Ronald and Ruby Thompson Bride’s Grandparents: Early and Odelle Thompson; Maple Ingram and the late Robert Ingram Groom: Dennis James Martin, Jr. Groom’s Hometown: Pontiac, Michigan Groom’s Parents: Dennis and Linda Martin Groom’s Grandparents: Levorn Martin; the late Lee and Beatrice Smith Bridesmaids: Angie Byrd, Sherease Qualls, Brittany Vinson, Keyosha Emerson Groomsmen: Douglas Byrd, Joel Frank, Joshua Perkins, Bryan Stewart Flower Girl/Ring Bearer: Jada Yarbough, Jordyn Byrd, Hollis Martin, Omarion Martin Ushers: Jeremy Ingram, Roderick Fuqua, Dominic Fuqua Ceremony: May 23, 2009, 6:00 p.m., Cypress Lakes Golf & Country Club, Muscle Shoals, AL Officiant: Reverend Randy Miller Rehearsal Dinner: Historic Montgomery Place, Sheffield, AL Reception: Cypress Lakes Golf & Country Club Wedding Coordinator: Fab Events LLC., Birmingham, AL Bride’s Gown: Maggie Sottero gown from Juanita’s Fashions Bridesmaids Gowns: Landa Designs from Juanita’s Fashions Tuxedos: Burch & Hatfield Wedding Bands: J.B. Robinson Florist: Something Elegant Photographer: Sharié Crittenden, Portraits by Sharié, Florence, AL Videographer: Right Angle Productions, Florence, AL Caterer: Scottie’s of Cypress Lakes Golf & Country Club

April 26 Time Out for Theatre presents Charlotte’s Web 2:00pm, Ritz Theater, 111 West 3rd Street, Sheffield; Tickets: Adults: $5.00; Students: $4.00

March/April 2009 | 11


{ guess who I saw }

Dennis Upchurch, Keith Fraser, and Morris Cracraft

Jeffrey Huang, Brad and Rebecca Reeves, Christopher Whitney, and Matt Del Rosario

Pam and Jim Favenesi

Dennis Upchurch, Sheila Walters, and Kelly Gaputis

Dancers Christopher Whitney and Jeffrey Huang

Bruce and Rhonda Dillard

Dancer Jenny Mendez

Dancer Annika Sheaff and Noel Beck

On Stage Presents the Pilobolus Dance Theater NOVEMBER 18, 2008  NORTON AUDITORIUM, UNA C AMPUS

Dancer Jenny Mendez and Faye Vines

Christopher Whitney and Katherine Rice Bernard and Beth Borosky

Jeffrey Huang Cellie Morgan, Sharon and Robert Curtis

Beth Borosky and Dancer Matt Del Rosario Cellie Morgan, Annika Sheaff, and Van Morgan

12 | No’Ala

Brad and Rebecca Reeves


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atsa-usa.com March/April 2009 | 13


{ everybody’s business }

EAST MEETS NORTH ALABAMA Dr. Alexander Ly Brings Traditional Chinese Medicine to the Deep South

TEXT BY ALLEN TOMLINSON PHOTOS BY DANNY MITCHELL

14 | No’Ala


Dr. Alexander Ly is an Auburn fan. He doesn’t look like your typical Auburn fan; he’s a soft-spoken man who looks a lot younger than his 62 years—and he’s Chinese. But he graduated from Auburn University with a degree in biochemistry and science, and when he talks about the Loveliest Village on the Plains he smiles. And why Auburn? “I was still in China, and we got a letter from the President of Auburn telling me I had a scholarship there,” said Dr. Ly with a smile. “That impressed my father.” So did the fact that Auburn was listed alphabetically in a university directory, which placed it near the front; in China, a position near the front of a directory signifies upper status, another fact that made the choice appear to be fate. The fact that this man graduated from an Alabama university and settled in Muscle Shoals, where the terrain reminded him of his home town in mainland China, isn’t all that remarkable. What he does at his clinic here, though, is. The history and traditions of his family, who have practiced Chinese medicine for generations, adds another dimension to his life; his standing in the world as a practitioner of acupuncture and herbal medicine adds another.

Dr. Ly in his Muscle Shoals office

March/April 2009 | 15


We treat a lot of arthritis problems, and a lot of liver and gall bladder problems which we call the ‘peanut butter syndrome.’

The day we visited Dr. Ly, his waiting room seemed like a typical doctor’s office. There was a mixture of old and young, men and women of all shapes, sizes and colors, and the room was packed. Some of the people sat quietly, reading magazines; others smiled when we walked in and seemed happy to be there. Others were obviously in pain, waiting for the doctor to take his turn with them to relieve whatever stresses they were suffering. “When we started this clinic in 1982, most of the doctors in the area told their patients that it would be fine for them to come see us because it couldn’t hurt anything. As time went by, more and more doctors began referring to us, and now we have doctors who are our patients,” said Dr. Ly. He’s a pleasant man, trim and fit; the reason for his fitness became obvious to us as the interview went on, but our first impression was that this is a man who deeply cares about each of his patients, and has dedicated his life to helping them achieve balance in their lives. It’s a tradition in his family. Dr. Ly’s father and grandfather practiced acupuncture in China, and his brother and nephews are also acupuncturists (Dr. Ly is also a registered Chinese physician). Dr. Ly began to learn the art of Chinese medicine when he was six years old, and began his schooling in Hong Kong at the age of 15. He received his degree in Chinese medicine at the age of 25, and then traveled to the United States to study at Auburn. He received his certification to practice acupuncture in the United States in 1981. Even his daughters have an interest in medicine; although neither went to Auburn, both are in med school at UAB, both are interested in neurology, and both are interested in blending eastern and western schools of thought about treating patients.

16 | No’Ala

Although the waiting room looks like any other family practice in the Shoals, the basic philosophy behind treatment here is a little different. Chinese medicine is based on the philosophy of the Tao, which is the belief that the body needs balance. The Chinese believe that God has created our body with the ability to heal itself, through the balance of the yin and the yang. Energy flow, called the Qi (pronounced “chee”) and blood flow are the central elements of the body, and the Chinese believe that when either of these is blocked the body becomes ill. “We begin a diagnosis by checking the tongue, the eyes and the pulse,” said Dr. Ly. Traditional Chinese medicine identifies 14 different channels in the body, including the nervous, immune and lymphatic systems, and acupuncture uses needles and sometimes heat to unblock or redirect flow and stimulate the immune system to heal itself. But Chinese medicine is not just about needles. In fact, that’s a very small part of what Dr. Ly does in his clinics in Muscle Shoals, Huntsville, Memphis and Nashville. Nutrition is a very important part of his treatment, and he is likely to prescribe nutritional supplements and dietary changes to help your body heal. Like shark cartilage. “When I was a young boy, my father would give us soft chicken bones to chew on, because he believed that eating bones of this type would strengthen our own growing bones,” he said. “I use shark cartilage pills sometimes when a patient needs to strengthen bones because it supplements the food they eat.” A lot of other nutritional recommendations appear more Western, such as vitamins or minerals, but every patient’s prescription is different and depends upon the condition being treated.


March/April 2009 | 17


18 | No’Ala


Your body needs to rest at night, and if you’ll notice, animals don’t eat or drink after sunset; this allows the body to properly rest and rejuvenate itself.

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” the doctor says, a tip we’ve heard before, of course. “Supper should be eaten earlier and should be less, and although you should drink plenty of water before supper you shouldn’t eat or drink anything afterward. Your body needs to rest at night, and if you’ll notice, animals don’t eat or drink after sunset; this allows the body to properly rest and rejuvenate itself.” When it comes to eating, there are three key components to a healthy diet, says Dr. Ly: quality, quantity and variety. Fresh vegetables are of utmost importance, but he does not advocate a strictly vegetarian diet because meats provide essential amino acids. Instead, there should be variety in the diet, and most importantly we should watch the amount we eat and not overindulge. Most of the diet problems he observes in this area come from an unhealthy diet and a lack of exercise. “We treat a lot of arthritis problems, and a lot of liver and gall bladder problems which we call the “peanut butter syndrome,’” Dr. Ly said with a smile. (Peanut butter, cheeses and fried and greasy foods are no-nos.) Dr. Ly also works with stroke patients and those suffering from cancer, especially breast, colon and prostate cancers, and although he’s quick to say he cannot cure cancer he is able to improve the quality and length of life for cancer patients.

“Dr. Ly said I was the sickest human being he’d ever seen.” [ Jolene ]

At this point, duty calls and Dr. Ly has to attend to a patient. We’re introduced to two patients, Ann and Pam, who drive from near Pickwick, Tennessee, to see Dr. Ly. They are happy and smiling and eager to share their experiences with Chinese medicine. “My daughter is a pharmacist,” said Pam, “and I suffered from severe sciatica and was waiting for my appointment

March/April 2009 | 19


with a neurosurgeon. My daughter filled a prescription for a woman who had been a patient of Dr. Ly’s in his Memphis clinic, and she struck up a conversation and learned about this woman’s success with acupuncture. She called me and told me I should try this, and I was all ready to get in the car and drive to Memphis. I was delighted to learn that there was a clinic in Muscle Shoals, because that’s an hour closer!” Pam’s treatments with Dr. Ly produced almost immediate positive results. So did Ann’s treatments for chronic sinus problems, and so did Ann’s husband’s problem with a facial tic. In all three cases, Dr. Ly combined needle treatments with nutritional supplements and dietary changes, and in all three cases the patients felt better quickly and Pam no longer needed to consider surgery.

[ Pam ]

Jolene’s story is even more amazing. Twenty one years ago, she was a very sick woman, diagnosed with a severe and rapidly moving case of Lupus, an autoimmune disease that is very painful. Her medical doctor had referred her to just about every specialist available, and she had even visited the Oschner Clinic near New Orleans. A specialist there recommended she try acupuncture, and she felt she had nothing to lose.

[ Ann ]

20 | No’Ala

[ Ralton ]


“Dr. Ly said I was the sickest human being he’d ever seen,” she says, able to smile at that now. “I noticed the difference after my first treatment, and I have been a patient ever since.” So have other members of her family; there is no trace of Lupus in Jolene, and hasn’t been for years. We spend a little time with Ralton, from Tuscumbia, who had been suffering from tension headaches and reflux, neither of which occur anymore. “The hardest thing for me was to cut out peanut butter and my favorite snack, cheddar cheese melted on bread,” he said with a smile, but the changes in his health are worth it. We actually get to watch as Dr. Ly performs acupuncture on Ralton, gently and quickly inserting needles in his hand and near his elbow and showing us the direction of energy and blood flow from the shoulder to the fingers. It doesn’t appear to hurt Ralton; he doesn’t flinch or jump when the needles are inserted, so our own queasiness about the use of needles is calmed. (Ruby, the practice manager, tells us that Dr. Ly always opens a new box of sterile needles with every treatment, and that they go through thousands every month.) Although he spends a lot of time on the road, traveling to his clinics in other cities, the Lys make their home on the shores of Lake Wilson, where he can admire the view every morning as he exercises, prepares his breakfast and gets ready to see a steady stream of patients. Is it possible to reconcile this eastern philosophy of health care with western medicine? Definitely. In fact, as we speak, Dr. Ly is preparing for a visit from officials from the Taipan Medical System, doctors who want to work with Dr. Ly to see if they can create a blend of eastern and western care to help with the side effects of chemotherapy for cancer patients. And there are the patients. Even as we leave, the waiting room is full with a new group, waiting for their turn with the good doctor. That’s the most visible proof that east and west can work together; these patients use Dr. Ly and their traditional western medical resources to find ways to feel better. That’s exactly what generations of the Ly family have helped people do—and hopefully, when Dr. Ly’s daughters graduate from medical school, the tradition will continue in north Alabama. N

March/April 2009 | 21


Fit forLife. PHOTOS BY DANNY MITCHELL

“It will give you a sense of peace you get from no other activity.”

22 | No’Ala


Yoga Bridget Gillis Age: 49 Tuscumbia, Alabama Yoga Teacher It all started… I was recuperating from an automobile accident and observed someone attempting a yoga posture and decided to attend a yoga class as soon as I was released from my doctor. I started doing yoga three years ago. What I do and when… Besides the three or four yoga classes I attend a week, I practice at home. I also attend cycling classes and several floor aerobic classes a week. It makes me feel… I have become stronger inside and out and I am more centered than I was before starting my yoga practice. My inspiration is… My Aunt Madeline who is 73 and very fit. She swims everyday, plays golf, hikes and looks fantastic. I do it because… I have lost several immediate family members as a direct result of unhealthy habits and not participating in regular physical activities. I would love to try… Tennis—I played a good bit in years past and still do whenever possible. Here’s my two cents worth… Becoming involved in a consistent yoga practice will create strength, balance and flexibility of the body and mind. It will give you a sense of peace you get from no other activity I have ever been involved in. Come with no expectations of what you think a yoga class is like.

March/April 2009 | 23


Fit for Life.

“Beat yourself. Don’t beat yourself up.”

Triathlon Larry Baskin Age: 58 Florence, Alabama Lead Pastor of Grace Church It all started… In some sense, the activities I’ve participated in “chose me.” I started long distance running in earnest about 18 years ago, when I was forty. A physician friend of mine advised this way to relieve the stress of a complicated and demanding ministry during my Greenville, South Carolina years. He patiently encouraged me from my first two miles with him to the marathon distance of 26.2 miles. We ran several marathons together that included qualifying for the 100th running of the Boston Marathon in 1996. So I guess my start was part friendship, part therapy. But then the thrill of going long distances kicked in and gave running a motivation all its own.

24 | No’Ala

What I do and when… One constant is this, from the start I only run three days a week. Any more than three days, for older runners especially (late bloomers), the potential for injury increases exponentially. Depending on the goal (say a marathon), training will vary day to day with different elements like hill repeats, track intervals, and the staple of distance running—the “long slow run.” So my weekly mileage totals grow from 15 to 50 miles. That’s on a three-day-a-week regimen. Now I don’t always have a goal that demands careful, planned, specific training. When there’s no race to prepare for my runs will vary from five to ten miles during those three days a week. So when I run, I’ll go for at least five or six miles. Also, if I’ve got a long-range commitment like a marathon (or now this triathlon), I tell everyone not to brag. “Telling” makes me really own my goal—makes me accountable, you could say—for the time when the schedule gets jammed or I just get lazy. I’m not bragging, but… With my kind of running you compete against yourself, your last or best time. My proudest accomplishment was qualifying for and running in the 1996 Boston


Marathon. But preparation for that race (any marathon, really), that preparation was a proud moment. I did my qualifying run in Charleston, South Carolina and got exactly what I needed, a time of 3 hours, 25 minutes. It makes me feel… In a material way running has meant health (a strong, resting heart; low blood pressure), endurance, strength, fitness, and energy. Relationship-wise you have instant rapport with people of all ages and backgrounds— sometimes rapport becomes friendship. Runners like flat courses and, relationally speaking, running levels life; the mutual modeling of a healthy lifestyle happens in a crowd like that. I get a lot of thinking and stress reducing done. My inspiration is… Two women come to mind; they finished first and worst in the 1984 Olympic Marathon in Los Angeles. It was the first time for women in the Olympic competition at that distance. Joane Benoit-Samuelson the American winner. Trained through the cold of Maine. She won—preparation. Gabriela Andersen-Schiess the Swiss runner finished horrifyingly: dangerously dehydrated, electrolytes so out of whack she ran splayed around the track in the L.A. Coliseum. Medics whisked her away once she crossed the finish line. She finished—determination. My goals… My goals for this year are to finish the St. Jude Marathon in Memphis, and to finish the Gulf Coast Half Ironman in May of this year. That will mean over a mile of swimming in the Gulf, biking fifty-six miles, then running a half marathon—13.1 miles. Notice how often I use the verb “finish.”

Not just windows to the soul.

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When I’m not feeling 100%… When I tore up my shoulder on a skiing accident two years ago I could still get behind a kick board in the pool or do vertical kicking in the deep end. I guess what keeps me going is my training or fitness “bank account.” I have such an “account.” And once you have an account like that, you like to keep making contributions and deposits—big and small. No matter. Here’s my two cents worth… Get going! Wear good shoes. Get with friends. Condition yourself gradually; don’t be in a hurry. Never stop adding to your fitness account. Beat yourself, don’t beat yourself up. Thank your parents for your genes and the One who made you to run.

The Xtravagance Groovy Girls

1605 Darby Drive · English Village · Florence 256-764-1018 · XtravaganceBySusan.com March/April 2009 | 25


Fit for Life.

2

“Competing taught me the balance of life—

that winning and losing were both a part of success.”

26 | No’Ala


Multi-Sport Rilly Winkle Age: 48 Sheffield, Alabama Personal Trainer It all started… My parents put me in swimming at the age of 6 because I was so bored while my brother swam. I began to run at the age of 8 because my dad and brother ran. I guess you could call it a “family affair”. What I do and when… I workout with weights 6 days a week, at 5:00 a.m. In the afternoons I swim 3,000 yards, four times a week. I also run 5 miles, four times a week. I’m not bragging, but… I was featured in Sports Illustrated for swimming when I was eight. I was captain of the Boston University women’s swim team and broke records at the Eastern Seaboard Championships. During college I was ranked 6th in the Nation in the 50 yd. freestyle and was MVP of the women’s team my junior year. In 2006, I was inducted into the Lauderdale County Sports Hall of Fame for my running and swimming careers. Just how important is fitness? It has been a part of my life for 42 years. I can’t imagine not working out. I am a type “A” personality, so my emotions run high. And when they are high I go to the gym and workout, swim, or run—exercise kicks in those endorphins and calms me.

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My inspiration is… My parents. They always believed in me and were supportive of anything I chose to do in life. When I’m not feeling 100%… Being so active in competitive sports my entire life, I learned to work around injuries and “tired” was never an excuse to miss practice. One of my clients shared with me a great slogan that inspired him—”Do it. Do it right. Do it right now.” I keep a copy of it at home on my computer desk.

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I would love to try… Ballroom dancing. I love to dance, but sometimes time does not allow. Here’s my two cents worth… It’s a mind set. It takes time and commitment. But it’s all worth the reward of the accomplishment you feel when you have given your very best. March/April 2009 | 27

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Fit for Life.

2

Lynch at the St. Jude Memphis Marathon

“I run for the sense of freedom I feel when I’m out on the road. It’s a great time for personal reflection and thought.”

Running Sandy Lynch Age: 39 Florence, Alabama Homemaker It all started… I started running in 1988 while taking a “walk-jog-run” class at UNA. I began with fast walking. After the third week of class, I added a short sprint in-between. The farthest I could run at that time was about a half mile at a very slow pace. As the weeks passed, my running distance increased until I was only running. Gradually, I noticed a difference in my energy level—I was happier, and just felt great overall. I continued to increase 28 | No’Ala

my distance and speed. By the time the semester was over, I was hooked! I’ve now been running for 21 years. What I do and when… I prefer to run outside. During the winter months I usually wait for the sun to warm things up a bit, (at least 30 degrees) so I start around mid-day. During the summer months, I prefer early morning runs. I usually start with a slow to moderate pace for the first mile to get warmed up. At the end of my run, I like to bring my heart rate down by walking a block or so. Then, it’s important to take time to stretch. I’m not bragging, but… I am very competitive. I participate in approximately 20 5k and 10k races each year. Since I began marathon running a little over a year ago, I’ve completed seven marathons. My proudest accomplishment is definitely


the Boston Marathon—it’s the super-bowl of marathons! Since my early running days, I’ve had a goal to run Boston, as it is the oldest and most prestigious marathon. In order to run the Boston, participants must have a certain qualifying time at a certified course. I ran the 112th in 2008 and will be going again in April of 2009. It makes me feel… Running has affected my life in so many ways. It allows me to stay in great shape by doing something I love. It increases my energy level, is a great way to reduce stress, and gives me a sense of accomplishment. Also, as a great side benefit, I get to eat what I want! Being physically fit is extremely important to me. Exercise is a big part of my life. I run not only to be “fit for life”, but for the sense of freedom I feel when I’m out on the road. It’s a great time for personal reflection and thought. My inspiration is… My husband, Brad. He inspires me with his constant optimism and joy of living life. He’s always happy! He is my biggest fan and supporter. He always encourages me and prays with me before every race. The athlete who most inspires me is Katherine Switzer. She made women’s distance running what it is today by being the first woman to enter and run in the Boston Marathon in 1967. When I’m not feeling 100%… I know when my body needs rest. Adequate sleep is very important. I try to avoid mental fatigue by adding a variety of things to my runs, such as sprints, which force my body out of its comfort zone during a long, steady paced run, or adding hills to break the monotony, and varying my routes. I also keep a training diary to record my runs and use as a review to later analyze what I’ve done. I would love to try… Cycling and swimming. I’ve always wanted to participate in a triathlon. Here’s my two cents worth… Running is one of the best exercises you can do to keep in shape. You don’t have to be a member of a gym, you don’t have to participate in a class, and you can do it at anytime that is convenient to you. I would suggest getting involved in your running community. In this area we have T.R.A.C. (Tennessee River Athletic Club). This allows you to get to know other people who enjoy the same thing you do, informs you of local races, and offers different group runs throughout the week. The important thing is to get up, get out, and get fit for life!

March/April 2009 | 29

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Fit for Life.

“It is as integral to my life as eating or breathing.”

30 | No’Ala


CAKE COUTURE

Rowing Hank Self, Jr. Age: 58 Florence, Alabama Lawyer It all started… I had seen sculling on the Charles River and [a friend] had a scull in stock. Since I love the lakes around here, and considering that it is a low impact, full body workout that takes place amidst nature, it was perfect for me. I started rowing in 1983. What I do and when… I check the Weather Channel each morning and plan my day around rowing. I row every day—either outside for one to two hours, or on a rowing machine inside for up to 45 minutes. I also lift weights three times a week. Just how important is fitness? I have done some form of strenuous exercise almost every day of my life. There is no gap of inactivity to compare. It is as integral to my life as eating or breathing. It is the one part of every day that I refuse to give up. I always feel better afterwards. Any role models? Ned Hanlan, a world champion when sculling was as popular as horse racing in the early 20th Century. He is depicted by Nicolas Cage in The Boy in Blue. My inspiration is… Tiger Woods. I followed him for five days at Torrey Pines last year. For a man who could hardly walk, he showed the “Heart of a Champion” in winning his 14th major tournament. When I’m not feeling 100%… I know that just getting out on the water is guaranteed to make me feel better. If that fails there is always cold beer! I would love to try… Alpine ski racing because I enjoy the speed and the apres ski. Here’s my two cents worth… If your joints are suffering from pounding on pavement, treadmills or elliptical machines, and you want a full body workout with bald eagles, raccoons, gulls, herons, muskrats, foxes, gars and the flora and fauna of our area as your companions, then rowing is something you should look into. It takes five minutes to learn and only has two rules: Keep your oars in the water and your right hand low. Google “sculling” to get started. March/April 2009 | 31

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Fit for Life.

2

Adams at the 2008 Alabama State Bodybuilding Championships

“You can never go wrong with having a healthy body.”

32 | No’Ala


Bodybuilding

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Jason Adams Age: 31 Florence, Alabama Business Owner It all started… I started lifting weights 12 years ago to get bigger for wrestling and started competing in bodybuilding two years ago. What I do and when… I train seven days a week, one body part per workout, so I don’t spend all day in the gym! I’m not bragging, but… My proudest accomplishment was winning the Dan Puckett Most Muscular Award at the Tuscaloosa show this year. He was the person who convinced me to compete in my first show. It makes me feel… I lead a much healthier lifestyle because of bodybuilding, and I am far more disciplined than I was before I started competing.

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When I’m not in the gym… I try to spend as much time possible with my wife and son. I would love to teach my son how to skateboard. My inspiration is… Justin Swinney has pushed me to become a much better bodybuilder and to push my physique to a level I didn’t think was possible. He has also inspired me to become more educated about nutrition. I look up to Jerry Mills for his life-long passion for bodybuilding and dedication to the fitness lifestyle. Just how important is fitness? Fitness is very important! From the time my eyes open in the morning until they close at night, my day revolves around my training, so I can improve every day. My goals… I want to put on more quality muscle so I can move up a weight class when I compete again in 2010.

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When I’m not feeling 100%… I look at the three 2nd place trophies above my computer—I need to add a first place trophy to the bunch. Here’s my two cents worth… Just to get in there and do it. People are sometimes apprehensive to go in to the gym, but you can never go wrong with having a healthy body. March/April 2009 | 33

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Fit for Life.

“It’s important to me to be active—and there’s always something going on to get involved in.”

34 | No’Ala


Tennis Lori Lovelace Age: 38 Florence, Alabama Guidance Counselor, Florence High School It all started… I’ve always been athletic, but I started tennis at age 14 at Austin High School in Decatur. Bryce Bishop at UNA offered me a scholarship to play at UNA. I’ve always been competitive and wanted a sport I could play all my life. I love all sports!

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What I do and when… I play at least twice a week. I’m not bragging, but… I’m rated 4.5, and travel to Mobile to compete. My proudest accomplishment was coaching the 2004 Bradshaw Boys Team, when they won the state championship. Just how important is fitness? Very! Toning is important. It’s important to me to be active—and there’s always something going on to get involved in. Plus, it’s given me great friends. Any role models? Early on, Martina Navratilova, Gabriela Sabatini and Chris Evert. When I’m not in the gym… I love songwriting. I also work out at Gold’s Gym. Here’s my two cents worth… You can develop great friendships through tennis. It’s a wonderful sport, but you have to love it enough to work on the mental side of the game. Get involved early with youth leagues and the USTA.

March/April 2009 | 35

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Fit for Life.

“Golfing keeps me active year-round. As a side benefit, it allows me to meet new people every day.”

36 | No’Ala


DIVE IN!

Golf Will Fisher Age: 30 Muscle Shoals, Alabama Head Golf Professional, Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at The Shoals It all started… I started playing golf when I was four years old because my father was also a golf professional.

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What I do and when… I do a half hour of cardio and an hour of lifting weights, five days a week. On competing… I do compete still—just not as much as I would like. I played college golf and won a couple of events, but by no means am I Tiger Woods! When I’m not in the gym… I just enjoy spending time with friends, and believe it or not I enjoy my career as a golf professional!

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My inspiration is… My father—just because he is a good man, good husband, and a wonderful father. I also have a friend on the PGA Tour and I really proud of him—professional golf is a tough career to choose! Just how important is fitness? Very important! I like to stay in shape, and I hope that I live a long, healthy life. It also keeps me active yearround. As a side benefit, it allows me to meet new people every day. My goals… I want to continue to stay competitive and enjoy the game for life. When I’m not feeling 100%… Well I don’t play if I’m injured, and when I am tired I just enjoy the competitive sprit.

Classic never goes out of style.

I would love to try… I really enjoy playing basketball, however I am not the tallest guy around. Here’s my two cents worth… Master the basics first and then work hard from there. Most of all enjoy yourself!

March/April 2009 | 37

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Fit for Life.

“It’s not just a sport—it’s a way of life”

38 | No’Ala


Martial Arts Spring is a great time to buy or sell a home.

Bill Strong Age: 65 Florence, Alabama Professor/Department Head, UNA Geography Department It all started… I ran cross country in college in Austin, Texas, in the mid 1960s and was looking for a way to train off-season. I’m not bragging, but… I am a seventh level black belt, and studied under the guy who brought Tai Kwan Do to America. It makes me feel… This is something you can do all of your life, and there is always something new to learn. I’ve been teaching here for 30 years, consecutively. Tang Soo Do is as much mental as it is physical. Both of my daughters do this, too! When I’m not in the gym… I’m the head of the Geography Department at UNA.

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Just how important is fitness? Very important. Martial arts is an activity you can pursue your entire life. Here’s my two cents worth… This is not just a sport—it’s a way of life.

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March/April 2009 | 39


Fit for Life.

“My proudest accomplishment was spending quality time with my boys.”

Danny Mitchell (left) and his training partner, Almon Poole, before a long Sunday ride

40 | No’Ala


Cycling

Where Kids Grow Up and Parents Love to Shop

Danny Mitchell Age: 60 Muscle Shoals, Alabama Photographer

Girls

It all started… I started racing at age 45 because it was something I could do with my three sons. We camped and went to many mountain bike races throughout the South. The boys are in their 30s now, but we still plan bike trips. This spring we have planned a mountain bike adventure in the in the Rockies near Moab, Utah.

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What I do and when… I try to train three or maybe four times each week, but work gets in the way some. I also spend one or two hours each week hiking with my dogs. On competing… When my sons were home, we competed in many mountain bike races, but I only go to two or three races a year now. My proudest accomplishment was spending quality time with my boys; however I have won or finished in the top three in a couple of national and state races. It makes me feel… I think being active gives me the physical and mental strength to better meet the day-to-day challenges. When I am training I have more energy and a better mental outlook. I like being active and participating in active pastimes. When I’m not in the gym… My favorite pastime is hiking with my two dogs Wendy and Mac. People in my neighborhood and on the foot trails along the Tennessee River may not recognize me, but they remember my Dalmatian and Weimaraner. When I’m not feeling 100%… I guess it’s just a guy thing: I just don’t like to admit I can’t keep going. I would love to try… I think I might like snow skiing. It would give me a good excuse to get to the mountains. Here’s my two cents worth… Start out very easy. That way you don’t hurt yourself. If your routine is fun you are much more likely to stay with it. Keep it easy at first and add more sessions. Gradually work up to harder sessions or rides.

March/April 2009 | 41

1633-A Darby Drive · English Village · Florence Monday-Saturday 10am–5pm · 256-767-0097


Fit for Life.

Michele King (right) and one of her student athletes, Molly Waddell

“I am extremely proud of all my swimmers—their success gives me more pride than any awards I have won.”

42 | No’Ala


Swimming Michele King Age: 27 Muscle Shoals, Alabama Head Coach, F.A.S.T. (Florence Alabama Swim Team) and Florence High School Swim Team; Adjunct English Instructor, UNA It all started… Swimming was actually chosen for me by my mom. I wanted to be a gymnast. That first year my poor coaches threatened to kick me off the team because I refused to put my face in the water. As a swim coach now, I completely sympathize with my former coaches who were told I “could swim like a fish”. What I do and when… I like to spend my mornings on the treadmill running. It gives me a sense of clarity that I’ve never experienced with swimming. I try to run between two and three miles in the morning and then run and lift weights in the evenings. I don’t like monotonous routines, so I’m always trying to add different elements of exercise. I’m not bragging, but… I’ve been competing for 21 years. My proudest accomplishment in my own competitive career would be winning Junior Nationals in the 100 fly in 2000. I am also very proud I managed to graduate from UA as an All-American in only three years. At the beginning of my third year I realized if I took 21 hours both semesters I could finish early. Managing the course load in addition to training was tough, but I left Alabama with two school records (one has since been broken), the second fastest 100 backstroke in school history and as a two-time NCAA Division I All-American. And the best part was leaving school without student loans. I was fortunate enough that swimming provided me a means to an education. But my biggest accomplishment in the sport is still developing. I am extremely proud of all my swimmers—their success gives me more pride than any awards I have won. When my coaching tenure ends and I can look back and say that I coached and mentored athletes to develop into better people with a passion for their sport. Just how important is fitness? Exercise is a priority in my life. Swimming has made me partly committed, but mostly obsessed, to every task I undertake.

When I’m not in the gym… I’m in my second semester of Russian. I also studied Japanese for seven years. Most people don’t know this about me, but I’m also a published poet. I love writing. My inspiration is… The people who inspire me are the swimmers in the heat before me. When they finish their race and I’m about to get called on the block I tell myself; “if they finished, I can finish.” I would love to try… I guess if I were able to commit to training full time for another sport it would be boxing. I like aggression. Here’s my two cents worth… Do it! Have a blast! Don’t be afraid to compete. There is always someone older, younger, faster, slower, fatter, slimmer, better, or worse than you.

Molly Waddell Age: 15 Florence, Alabama Student, Florence High School It all started… My sister got me swimming when I was five years old. What I do and when… I swim Monday through Friday every week. Before school I work out for 90 minutes—usually running, lifting, and swimming. In the afternoons I swim for another 90 minutes—between 4,000-5,000 yards. I’m not bragging, but… I won two state titles when I was eight, and I won the 50 free at Southeasterns when I was 10 and 12. Just how important is fitness? It has taught me discipline and other valuable life lessons. It helps me relax, and it’s fun! My inspiration is… My coach, Michele King and one of my former team mates, Reese Shirey—he didn’t have anyone to train with or a good training facility—but his determination got him to the 2008 Olympic Trials. My goals… To make Senior Nationals and to go under a minute in my 100 fly. Here’s my two cents worth… Don’t get discouraged. It is so easy to get discouraged when you don’t get the time you want. Everybody hits barriers, but you have to keep going, because in the end all your hard work will pay off. March/April 2009 | 43


This cake is healthier than it looks (We promise!)

This slice that previously occupied this location was moist and fudgey. Serve warm for best results!

44 | No’Ala


Most of us know that we need to eat a little better, and we either have no idea of how to do that or we’re afraid food won’t taste as good. Most of all, we’re afraid we’ll have to give up our comfort foods, those dishes Mom used to make that always made us feel better if things weren’t going right, or made us extra-happy when they were served for dinner. Are we really doomed to tasteless, bland food if we want to be healthy? Not according to Jill Englett, of the Human Environmental Sciences Nutrition and Culinary Arts Center at the University of North Alabama. Jill and her students say that a tweak or two to our favorite recipes can turn them into healthier versions without sacrificing taste or “comfort.” That’s great news! Here are some tips. According to these UNA students, food is made up of three nutrients that contribute to their content:

carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Each gram of carbohydrate and protein is equal to four calories; each gram of fat is equal to nine calories. The fastest way to lower calories is to cut out the fat. To do that, here are some substitutions to consider: If the recipe calls for: Butter, shortening or oil in baked goods Substitute: Half or equal amounts of applesauce or prune puree Eggs Substitute: Two egg whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute for each whole egg Full-fat sour cream Substitute: Fat-free or low-fat sour cream, or plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt. Whole milk Substitute: Reduced fat or fat-free milk

Mayonnaise Substitute: Reduced-calorie mayonnaise-type salad dressing or reduced-calorie, reduced-fat mayonnaise Evaporated milk Substitute: Evaporated skim milk Bacon Substitute: Canadian bacon, turkey bacon, smoked turkey or lean prosciutto (Italian ham) Full-fat cream cheese Substitute: Fat-free or low-fat cream cheese, Neufchatel or low-fat cottage cheese pureed until smooth Nuts Substitute: Half the amount called for by the recipe and toasted to bring out the flavor with fewer calories Heavy cream Substitute: Evaporated skim milk

Jill and her class also shared a recipe for a classic comfort food, chocolate Bundt cake, to show the difference between the regular recipe (at 422 calories per serving) and a recipe using low-fat substitutes (at 179 calories per serving.) We’re presenting both recipes here, but defy you to tell the difference from just tasting them!

Original Recipe

1 pkg yellow cake mix (1) 4-oz pkg instan t chocolate fudge pudding 4 eggs 1 cup oil 1 cup sour cream (1) 12-oz pkg. choc olate chips Servings: 16 slices 422 calories cake mix 1 pkg yellow stant chocolate 44 gm carbs in (1) 4-oz pkg ee fat-free pudding 4 gm protein fr fudge sugar- ters 26 gm fat a e b g g e 1 cup 335 mg sodium uce sa le p p a p 1 cu sour cream s e e ip 1 cup fat-fr chocolate ch (1) 12-oz pkg slices Servings: 16 s e 179 calori 48 gm carbs 4 gm protein 8 gm fat ium 338 mg sod

pe Low Fat Reci

The low-fat recipe contains 37% fewer calories and 69% less fat…but has 100% good taste!

ctions for Baking dire both cakes: ept redients exc Blend all ing chips. inutes. Stir in Beat for 4 m s ip chocolate ch d into a grease Pour batter Bundt pan. t 350˙ F 5 minutes a Bake 45 to 5 ve minutes r fi Let stand fo pan Take out of

March/April 2009 | 45


{ by the way }

DON’T FORGET THE PETS Pets are part of the family, and their health matters, too! TEXT BY DR . TROY YOUNGBLOOD

46 | No’Ala


ets occupy such a special place in our hearts. They give us unconditional love and years of happy memories. It has been well documented that people with pets live longer and happier lives than their hairfree home counterparts. Maybe it’s the long leash walks, or perhaps just the companionship? Perhaps it is the need to take care of something other than ourselves? In any case, we are comforted by their presence and hate to see them injured or sick. Keeping our animal companions in good health is not really different from following the recommendations our family physicians would make for us (Okay so except for the flea prevention). A quality diet, routine exercise, a clean environment, dental care, and preventative medicine should suffice. It sounds pretty simple, but our clients prefer a bit more information. So here are some of the most frequently asked questions and problems we see in our practice. Questions about what to feed, how much to feed, and whether or not Fluffy is too fluffy are very common. Usually we have to point out that Fluffy needs a smaller bowl. Pick a quality pet food, feed only that diet, and follow the manufacturer’s recommendation with respect to quantity. Feeding one cup does not mean the souvenir cup you got at the football game! You wouldn’t make your favorite cake recipe using that for measurement, would you? Use common sense about your pet’s body condi-

tion. If you can feel his/her ribs but not see them and he/she has a waist your pet is probably fairly fit. Feed accordingly. How much exercise should she get? (Cat owners may skip this question.) Breed differences will dictate how much exercise your dog should get and how often and vigorous it should be. If you have a large sporting breed they should have at least one hour of vigorous exercise daily

daily. Look in your pet’s mouth weekly for red swollen gums, plaque, and discolored teeth. How often does my pet need to be seen by the doctor? Most veterinarians recommend that your pet should be seen at least once a year for a complete check-up. Some pets may need to be examined more often because of certain medical conditions, especially older animals. Your veterinarian may

Most of us have a good feel for what is “normal” for our pets, like how much they drink, eat, activity level, etc. When these significantly change it should be noted as a possible problem. if their health and joints allow it. On the other hand, a miniature Poodle may just need a couple walks around the block. Your dog will usually let you know by their eagerness or reluctance to participate. It is best to be consistent and avoid the weekend warrior games of fetch. This may create some sore hips come Monday if your dog is not used to this level of exercise. Do I need to brush my pet’s teeth? Well, yes, but many of us are lucky to get our children’s teeth brushed on a daily basis. To that effect, do the best you can but make no mistake about it—dental disease runs rampant in the pet population. We estimate that we can find dental disease in 50% of the patients we see in our practice on a daily basis! Ultimately your pet will probably need a professional cleaning but to postpone that as long as possible use dental chews, treats, diets, drinking water additives, and the dreaded brushing weekly, if not

recommend parasite screening or blood tests at these annual exams as well. Vaccinations should always be catered to your pet’s lifestyle, age, and exposure to potential pathogens, and are generally given annually. How do I know if I should bring my pet in for an illness? Most of us have a good feel for what is “normal” for our pets, like how much they drink, eat, activity level, etc. When these significantly change it should be noted as a possible problem. The most common reasons we see sick animals in our practice are (in this order) skin and ear disorders; vomiting/diarrhea; lameness; urinary tract issues; eye problems; and respiratory problems. If you can’t decide if your pet is having a problem, give your veterinarian’s office a call. Sometimes just hearing sound advice from a familiar voice is enough! N

March/April 2009 | 47


{ shopping } Brooks Adrenaline GTS-9: $105 ASICS GT-2140: $100 Total body alignment and structural analysis when fitting shoes: Free First Place Athletics 256-766-0966

The perfect fit!

Synergy Organic & Raw Drinks: $2.89 Valley Health Foods 256-764-5340/256-381-4260

Super comfortable

Jelly Belly Sport Beans: $1.25 All American Swim 256-718-2070

Vibram Fivefingers KSO Shoes: $85 Alabama Outdoors 256-764-1809

—Just like the competitive divers use! Speedo AquaBeat Waterproof MP3 Player: $100 All American Swim 256-718-2070

Aqua Towel Super Absorbent Towel: $13 All American Swim 256-718-2070

48 | No’Ala

Listen to music and keep water out of your ears!


Speedo Buoy Watershoes: $35 All American Swim 256-718-2070

Green & Black’s Organic Dark Chocolate: $3.79 Endangered Species Chocolate: $3.19

The anti fanny-pack!

Glutino, Gluten-Free Pretzel Twists: $8.19 All Natural Stevia Plus Sweetener: $12.49 Valley Health Foods 256-764-5340/256-381-4260 Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 Competition Goggles: $18 All American Swim 256-718-2070

Marmot, Grinnell Lumbar Airflow Pack: $60 Alabama Outdoors 256-764-1809

Fresh produce, imported/domestic cheeses, honey, herbs, local products Thursdays 3:00pm– 7:00pm; Saturdays 9:00am– 2:00pm Garage Road, Muscle Shoals, AL Jack-O-Lantern Farms: 256-386-2335

No more plastic water bottles! Buy local—it’s fresher! Sigg Insulated Bottles (.5L-.6L): $21.99-$24.99 Alabama Outdoors 256-764-1809 March/April 2009 | 49


{ guess who I saw }

Jeanette and Jim Holladay

Ed and Susan Borden Mary and Dick Blue Judy and Don Armstrong Wanda and Carl Bailey

Liz and Billy Don Anderson

Joyce and Bill Coussons Georgia and Larry Osborne

Cabaret Supper Club Winter Formal JANUARY 17, 2009  TURTLE POINT YACHT & COUNTRY CLUB

Cellie and Van Morgan

Rob and Marg Webb

Donna and Olin Mefford Ian Berry and Rev. Jaina Anderson Cindy and Mack Fraser Rosario and Stephan Tomlinson

Ann and James Marks

50 | No’Ala

Mayor Ian and Nancy Sanford

PHOTOS BY JORDAN CRACRAFT


Come out and enjoy the local color.

BRIDAL REGISTRY · YVES DELORME PARIS · HAVILAND · ARTE ITALICA · NAMBÉ · BEATRIZ BALL · ROSANNA · ARCHIPELAGO · UCHI AND MORE!

Florence, behind the Kangaroo’s at Cox Creek Parkway & Darby Drive (256) 764-7008 · www.davidchristophers.com

If you know someone who is scared at the thought of going to the dentist, sedation dentistry is just what they need! With oral sedation dentistry, patients can accomplish their dental care in as little as one visit, with little or no memory of it and absolutely no pain. There are fewer than 4% of the dental practices in the country that are trained and certified in Oral Conscious Sedation dentistry —and we are one of them. Visit our website at www.sedationdentistryshoals.com for more information. Below: Dr. Curt Abercrombie, Dr. James A. Ryerson, & Dr. Mary Leigh Gillespie

1013 E. Avalon Avenue Muscle Shoals AL 35661

256.381.2100

March/April 2009 | 51


{ guess who I saw }

Tony Passerello and Abbott Victor Clark

Teresa Dodd, Connie Wilson, Jack Johnson, Frank Niedergeses, and Tim Corley

Mayor Lewis Stumpe

Alan Eckl, Abbott Victor Clark, Paul Bernauer, Mayor Lewis Stumpe, and Father Edward Markley

Abbott Victor Clark

Paul Bernauer

St. Florian Historic Marker Dedication FEBRUARY 1, 2009  ST. FLORIAN, ALABAMA

Lessie Shimer, Anne Bernauer, and Steven Suh

Members of the St. Florian Historical Society Allen and Cecily Wall

Mr. and Mrs. Gene Tackett

Anne Bernauer and Carolyn Eck

52 | No’Ala

Chris Connolly, Tony and Mary Beth Passerello

Jennie and Tim Corley, Brown Nolen, and Brian Corley PHOTOS COURTESY OF ANNE BERNAUER


OPENING DOORS IN THE SHOALS BJ Baskin Associate Broker, CRS, ASP, e-PRO, ABR, SRES

Suzanne Morris

256-810-2347

256-366-5416

bj@bjbaskin.com

suzbmorris@aol.com

Associate Broker, ASP

As a new team working for Renaissance Realty— combining the hometown advantage of Suzanne and the relocation expertise of BJ—we can offer our customers a full range of professional marketing services. We are excited about our new association with Renaissance Realty!

Watch for BJ and Suzanne’s monthly door contest— featuring some of the most beautiful and historic doors in the Shoals.

409 East Mobile Street · Florence, Alabama 35630 · 256-740-0706 · 256-740-0490 (FAX)

F R E S H . F U N . FA B U L O U S .

Floral Design & Event Planning · (256) 383-2299 · 214 North Montgomery Avenue · Sheffield, Alabama

March/April 2009 | 53


{ guess who I saw }

Kristina and Barbara Keenum

Betsy Rice and Kenny Byrd

Melanie and Melinda Musgrove

Robert Willis and Jean Morgan Molly Forsythe and the Auburn White House Girls

Rob Jones, Michelle Forsythe, Sarah and Brad Holmes

Dr. Hisham Ba’albaki and Nada

Shoals Debutante Cotillion FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2009  M ARRIOTT SHOALS HOTEL CONFERENCE CENTER

Melissa Kimbrough, Lauren Williams, Kristina Keenum

Richard Wilson and Sydney

Johnny and Leigh Ellen Landers

Francis Morton and Davis Burgess

54 | No’Ala

Dr. Jack McLendon and Grace

Mary Martin Mitchell, Amy Cook, Megan Tucker, Frances Fox, Sima Ba’albaki and Ashlie Roberson

Margaret and Molly Forsythe

PHOTOS BY VANCE JAMES


Whether you’re looking for wide, sweeping porches or modern contemporary styles, if you’re interested in buying or selling a home in the Shoals, Cypress Realty Group sells them all. Large or small, in every price range—call us to help you with your American Dream!

620 Sam Phillips Street, Florence • www.cypressrealty.net

256-764-6151 • 888-764-6151

March/April 2009 | 55


{ 20 questions } The hardest thing about losing weight is realizing your excuses for not working out are just that… excuses. Get over it. If you watch even just one sitcom a night, you have time to workout. If you have feet, you can run. If you are hungry, then eat—just don’t eat garbage. What is garbage? Processed foods, animal fats, chemicals, refined sugar and refined flour. Don’t smoke or drink alcohol. Work out until you sweat, and keep sweating for at least 20-30 minutes—at least three times a week, every week. That’s less time than watching one movie, once a week. There is a benefit to all of this. You will feel better than you ever have in your life. You will have much more energy, and you will have much less stress. Seriously. You can do it. That’s not a really long time. For me, that is only 1/70th of my life to save my life. I’m 6’6’’ tall and went from 315 lbs to 215 lbs. I’ve kept it off for over a year. I plan to keep it off. For you to do something like that, it just takes six months to lock down your new life. It’s only the time of one football season.

20 Questions for Richard Thigpen, Big Loser Richard is an attorney with Potts and Young, L.L.P. in Florence, Alabama.

The one thing I will never be able to give up is sweets! I definitely have a sweet tooth. I said don’t eat sugar, and I meant it. (Also, don’t eat artificial sweeteners because they are chemicals and may cause insulin swings just like sugar). When I was cutting weight, I ate fresh fruit to satisfy my sweet tooth. Now that I’m at the maintenance level, I indulge responsibly. If you are just starting out, you cannot do this because you will not lose weight. When I talk sweets, think extremely high quality and very little quantity. Savor it slowly, and you’ll find you don’t need 1000 calories to satisfy. I try to limit myself to one medium sized dessert a day—like a child’s sized scoop of ice cream from LeBeau’s. This was not an option when I was cutting weight though. When I decided to maintain my target weight, adding this reward back into my routine was a daily treat! I’m a vegetarian because I’m an animal lover of sorts. This has been a personal choice, and I do not fault anyone that loves meat in any way. I won’t bring up the specifics in conversation unless someone asks me my view. After I had been a lacto/ovo vegetarian (cage-free cheese and eggs are okay!) for about a month, I really began dropping weight to a healthy level. The first to go was gut fat. The increased energy, reduced stress and improved physique have been excellent motivators. People treat me differently because I look and feel so much healthier. I have a better attitude and a spring in my step. It‘s also a nice feeling to get a “Wow!” from someone you haven’t seen in a long time. When I began my weight-loss regime, I didn’t know that I wouldn’t see results for months. That said, it’s so worth it. I went from a 44 waist to a 42; then it took forever to get to a 40. Then all of a sudden, it seemed like no time to drop to a 35. Now I buy 35 waist/36 length pants. You’d be surprised how tasty Whey Isolate 28 vanilla protein powder (from GNC) is. With lifting and sticking to a meatless diet, I have to make sure I get enough protein. I mix the powder with a little water, and it’s an awesome base for a fruit shake (add fruit and soy milk or milk), a chocolate or strawberry shake (add NesQuik), or quick breakfast replacement (after it’s mixed with water, it can be added to coffee). The coffee drink tastes as good as a Starbuck’s latte, and it actually fills you up until lunch.

56 | No’Ala


My secret indulgence is a strawberry cake cookie with white icing from Sweet Basil’s or a piece of carrot cake from Dish. The easiest part of my exercise regime is lifting. It’s a blast! Basically, when you see results and you start looking forward to your workouts, you’ll find your own personal favorites too! I promise! When I see someone who’s overweight, I want to pray that the Good Lord will provide influences in their life and the desire to help them change their lifestyle habits if they are unhappy or suffering from the possible ill effects associated with obesity. I get my inspiration from the incredible feeling I get after I work out. (Trust me, it takes awhile, but you will come to love it!) I worry most about losing ground I’ve gained. It will happen. I just married my beautiful soul mate in early December. The wedding, honeymoon, the Christmas

tor at Redeemer Presbyterian, to meet me at ECM, because he would probably have a heart attack on that 10%. After that, Kathryn and I would start planning an adventure-packed vacation. Sadly, most of it would go into boring stuff like paying off the mortgage and funding conservative investments, but I’m sure I’d get a nice media room and a Viking kitchen out of it somehow! The one thing people don’t realize about me is that I’m a lawyer (with Potts & Young, L.L.P. Thank-you for helping me answer that one, Ashley Winkle.) As a newlywed, I am enjoying everything! My bride is amazing! She’s a heartfelt Christian, an intellectual, a knock-out, a cut up, a sweet heart, an excellent Optometrist (at Valley Eye in Florence,) and a budding chef. I’m very, very blessed. I think the secret to success is realizing that it’s all down to the basics. Treat people with kindness, work hard, learn from your mistakes, be ethical and, most importantly, trust in God. Be rational. If you are over-

“No fad diet will ever work. Doing something for one month won’t work. Waiting until this weekend, waiting until you get the time, waiting until you get the money, waiting until you get the energy, or even waiting until tomorrow night won’t work.”

season, and a full schedule at work played a little havoc with my workout routine. When Kathryn and I returned to our routines from three weeks off, I had lost endurance, strength, and felt unmotivated. You just have to push through those excuses that pop in your head and get right back to it. I always wished that I secretly had a superpower. Even a silly one. Secretly, I admire Christian Bale. He’s the exact same age as me to the day (born January 30, 1974). He has a great training regimen, and, well, he’s Batman. I’d like to have dinner with Alton Brown. I love his show on the Food Network called “Good Eats.” He spends thirty-minutes telling you how to make the most basic dishes in the best possible way. He’ll not only explain how to make something that tastes good, he’ll explain the science behind why it tastes so good. Also, I think he’s absolutely hilarious.

weight, realize that you are consuming too many calories, and you are storing these calories because they are not being utilized though physical activity. It’s very basic: Calories you eat overtime minus exercise overtime equals weight. No fad diet will ever work. Doing something for one month won’t work. Waiting until this weekend, waiting until you get the time, waiting until you get the money, waiting until you get the energy or even waiting until tomorrow night won’t work. I limited my calories by eating less of them, and I upped my calories burned by beginning to exercise every day. Do not reward yourself. You have already gorged on rewards. You won’t see any noticeable benefit for a long, long time. This is okay. If you put in the effort over time, I guarantee you will see a dramatic change. If you want to be a healthy person, you can do it. Accept it. It’s not hard—just go do it. If I could change one thing, I would have gone to a high school with a football team… and a mascot. Every day, I’m thankful for God and Jesus Christ.

If I won the lottery, I’d tell Scott Barber, our new pas-

March/April 2009 | 57


Alternative Medicine

58 | No’Ala


TEXT BY ALLEN TOMLINSON PHOTOS BY DANNY MITCHELL AND DAVID SIMS

W

hen it comes to keeping your family healthy, the Shoals is a great place to live. We’re well represented with almost every medical specialist you can think of, we have access to healthy food and clean water, and our climate gives us plenty of opportunities for exercise. But there are some wonderful special things here in the Shoals that you might not know about. Medicine, disguised to look and taste like lollipops; a phsyiatrist; doctors of osteopathy; a place to have varicose veins removed; sedation dentistry, and more. Huh? Here are some details.

Surgery Without Stitches It’s the dreaded diagnosis from your dentist: you have gum disease and you need to go to a periodontist. It used to be that treatment at a periodontist included surgery of the gums, where incisions were made and stitches given. You could pretty much count on a day or two of pain pills and milkshake dinners. But Dr. John Lane, a local periodontist, has invested in the area’s first laser surgery equipment that allows his practice to perform many surgical gum procedures without incisions and stitches. The laser procedure takes less time to perform, heals faster, and causes less pain than traditional gum surgery, and costs about the same as the old-fashioned cut-and-stitch method. That’s good news if you’re facing surgery!

An Anxiety-Free Dental Visit Almost a third of the people in the Shoals don’t go to a dentist regularly because—well, because they are terrified. But a new procedure, called sedation dentistry, offers a relaxing and anxiety-free dental visit for those who are frightened, and it’s offered at Cosmetic Dentistry of the Shoals by

March/April 2009 | 59


Dr. James Ryerson, Dr, Mary Leigh Gillespie and Dr. Curt Abercrombie. The dentists use a mild sedative to calm and relax the patient so that a dental exam is nothing to be afraid of.

“There are only about 5,000 of us in the entire country,” …it’s a small specialty, but we are Board Certified in physical medicine, nerve and muscular problems.”

Medicine That’s Like Candy North Alabama Radiopharmacy is the only radiation pharmacy in the area, providing nuclear medicine to the hospitals and medical clinics in the Shoals and in Huntsville. It’s a highly specialized field, and it’s especially vital for patients who are undergoing tests or treatment for various forms of cancer. But NARP is also a compounding pharmacy, which means they can do some amazing things with medicine delivery. If you have trouble taking a pill, NARP can mix it into a topical cream, or if you want to encourage a child to take a medicine, NARP can blend it into a lollipop. They can mix veterinary medicines, too, so if Rover hates his heartworm medicine, NARP can mix it into a treat he will love.

A Physiatrist There’s only one in the Shoals, and his name is Dr. J. Stephen Howell. “There are only about 5,000 of us in the entire country,” said Dr. Howell, “and it’s a small specialty, but we are Board Certified in physical

60 | No’Ala

Dr. Stephen Howell


“About 6% of all physicians in the country are D.O.s, although that number is growing… many locate in rural areas where specialists are not always available.”

Five things you can do to refresh and rejuvenate your spirit Having special medical services here in the Shoals is a good thing, and is certainly part of a balanced life. But a balanced life also includes a healthy diet, the opportunity to exercise, and the ability to do things apart from your normal routine, which gives you the chance to focus on something different and keep your brain active. Guess what? The Shoals is full of those things too, things you might not know are here!

medicine, nerve and muscular problems. I work with stroke, spinal injuries, trauma, and rehab for hip and knee replacements.” Dr. Howell spends some of his time at the area’s only acute rehabilitation center, the J.W. Sommer Rehab Unit at Dr. Richard Cunningham Shoals Hospital; the rest of the time he is at North Alabama Bone & Joint Clinic. And by the way— it’s pronounced “Fizz-eye-a-trist.” Physiatrist!

Here are five things to try in the Shoals to refresh and rejuvenate your spirit: Add some variety to your diet. Visit the Farmer’s Market at Cox Creek Park in Florence or go to Spring Park on Thursday evenings to see what’s there. Stroll through the Oriental Pearl, near the corner of Tennessee and Court Streets in Florence, an oriental grocery store, or Cazadores Mexican Grocery on Woodward Avenue in Muscle Shoals. There’s a hydroponic market on the TVA Reservation, called Jack-O-Lantern Farms. Hannelore’s Restaurant on Ana Drive in Florence serves German cuisine; Frank’s in downtown Tuscumbia serves Italian. Step away from the fried chicken and mashed potatoes and try something new!

Holistic Healers Dr. Howell is a D.O., and so is Dr. Richard Cunningham, a family practitioner in Florence. There are six or seven in the Shoals, but this type of physician is becoming more well-known; look up a listing in the Yellow Book’s yellow pages and you’ll find them listed as “Physicians—M.D. & D.O.” But what is a D.O.? “A Doctor of Osteopathy is a fully licensed physician, but we’ve been taught medicine using a holistic approach,” said Dr. Cunningham. “We work with the entire body as a system rather than focusing on an individual system or symptom.” In 1874, Dr. A.T. Still started a medical school in Missouri that taught from this perspective, which incidentally considers preventative medicine to be very important. About 6% of all physicians in the country are D.O.s, although that number is growing; 65% of these are involved in primary care, and many locate in rural areas where specialists are not always available.

Take a hike. When was the last time you visited Wildwood Park, behind the campus of UNA? Have you and your family traveled to the Natchez Trace and walked the nature trails there? The TVA Reservation and Diebert Park have great walking and running trails, and a trip to the Old Railroad Bridge is scenic, historic and good exercise. Or, just gather the family and walk through downtown Florence or Tuscumbia and look at the variety of architectural styles there. It’s a great way to spend a spring morning, and it’s good for you, too!

Oxygen Treatment for Wounds There’s a part of this that almost seems futuristic; the

Shop in a new spot. If your car almost automatically heads for Wal-Mart or the mall, it’s time for a fresh perspective. Downtown Florence and Tuscumbia March/April 2009 | 61


have great specialty shops, and there are wonderful surprises at English Village, the Seven Points antique stores, and along Wilson Dam Road in Muscle Shoals. Lola’s in downtown Sheffield is always a treat, and Leighton and Rogersville have treasures for those who are looking for the unique and have time to drive a little. Shopkeepers won’t mind a bit if you browse and wander… so put on your strolling shoes and go explore!

Wound Care Center at ECM East uses hyperbaric chambers to speed recovery from wounds that just won’t heal otherwise. Hyperbaric chambers were originally used to treat decompression for divers. The units use a purer oxygen than we normally breathe, and deliver it in an enclosed space that has a higher atmospheric pressure. It was discovered that the higher pressure and purer oxygen also helped people heal faster, especially if they had lingering wounds that just didn’t seem to heal on their own. The Wound Care Center in Florence has a series of hyperbaric chambers that are used every day, and is the only specialty clinic of its type in the Shoals.

Better Looking Legs The Shoals Vein Center, located on the Helen Keller Hospital campus, specializes in the treatment of unsightly varicose and spider veins. The Center uses a minimally invasive office-based procedure that treats varicose veins and their underlying cause, venous reflux. Dr. William A. Collignon, Jr., and Dr. Shelby K. Bailey, both surgeons, administer the Clinic, which has already brought relief to hundreds who either suffer pain from their varicose veins or embarrassment because of the way their legs look. N

62 | No’Ala

Take a stay-cation. Make a reservation at the Marriott and pretend that you’re a tourist. Go see all of those museums and attractions you haven’t seen since your elementary school field trips; you’ll be delighted at how interesting the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, Ivy Green and the W.C. Handy Home really are now that you’re all grown up and can appreciate them! Have you seen the Coon Dog Graveyard? The Wall? The new River Heritage Park? Have you ridden the train at Spring Park since you were seven years old? Did you know that the Tennessee Valley Art Museum has a petroglyph that is older than written history? That the Indian Mound Museum will tell you the story of people who lived here before our ancestors got here? Pamper yourself. Have a massage— from the Spa at the Marriott, or from Bodies Kneaded, followed by a new haircut and a manicure from Andy’s or Dwight Cox. Have a healthy lunch at Dish or Sweet Basil or Ricatoni’s; drop by the Wine Seller on Court Street for a special bottle of wine, and pick up some of Momma’s Cheese Straws at The Gourmet Shoppe. Find something special to wear, from Kennedy’s or Lilly’s or Addiction or Marigail Mathis or Audie Mescal, Lynda’s Loft or the Village Shoppe. Plan dinner with someone special at 360 Grille, atop the tower, or George’s; take a romantic stroll through Spring Park to watch the light and music show, or meet friends for after dinner entertainment at On The Rocks. The rest is up to you—but could there be a better way to relax? Most of these suggestions don’t require a lot of money—just time to stroll, to look, and to indulge. Who says there’s nothing to do around here? This place is loaded with fun, healthy and relaxing options!


The Nature of Art. Each of our designs are as unique as the shells from which

they are made. Our many designs include sand dollars, sea biscuits, urchins, combs, terebras, spindles, cockles, starshells, fans, driftwood and many more!

If you’re hurting, you want relief. At Garrett Chiropractic Clinic, we’re here to help. With advanced technology, like our decompression equipment, and a caring staff, our mission is to do everything we can do...to make you feel better. Active Release Certified Providers

SHELLS IN SHADOWS

See our entire line at shellsinshadows.com. Available at The French Basket in English Village

Dr. J. Cary Burnley, Dr. Leann Phillips and Dr. H. Keith Garrett

Garrett Chiropractic Clinic Located one mile west of Shoal Creek Bridge on Highway 72 256-757-0023 • Open Monday - Saturday

call for entries

No’Ala

Renaissance Awards Now accepting nominations for Shoals area individuals who have made remarkable contributions in the following areas: Arts & Culture Business & Leadership Education Service & Spirituality Science Submit your nominees (with details) by email: award@noalamag.com Award winners will be featured in the March/April, 2010, issue of No’Ala.

March/April 2009 | 63


Member, Professional Photographers of America

DANNY MITCHELL PHOTOGRAPHY Weddings · Portraits · Commercial · Advertising · Events · Sports · Interiors · Product · Stock 116 South Main Street · Tuscumbia, Alabama 35674 256-386-0944 (office) · 256-627-3056 (cell) www.dannymitchell.com

64 | No’Ala


March/April 2009 | 65


{ bless their hearts } A Resolution Solution Another holiday season has come and gone—a distant foggy memory as arbitrary as another season of American Idol. There were some high points, some good cheery moments, but now spring is on the horizon. Just the thought of spring is enough to ignite a spark of hope to the smoldering camp fire winter had nearly extinguished. Spring is the earth’s re-birth a time when life is pumped back through the roots of trees and blades of grass. We all turn our faces to the sun and feel the warmth penetrate to our very core. Spring is when life begins. Yet, even with the resurrection of life all around, there is one light that tends to fade as spring engulfs us with her beauty.

BY MICHELE

KING

For every birth there must be a death, so as we celebrate the return of long days and not scrapping ice off our windshields, our well-intended New Year’s resolutions are quickly evaporating faster than the morning dew. I’ve always thought the idea of a New Year’s resolution was the ultimate universal irony—for those who make the resolution to lose weight anyway (there are some resolutions that stick like sending more pictures to grandma or not letting the laundry pile up). But for those poor people who resolve to lose weight are only setting themselves up for failure. Not that the inspiration isn’t there. Think back to January when gyms advertised no joining fees and special promotions to entice resolutionists to robotically join the flock like little stuffed geese. The gyms grew crowded with people who I like to call Proprietors of Short-term Exercise Regimes or “Posers” for short. A general caveat for Posers is that their resolution steam engine train leaves the station at full speed, but quickly runs out of the Christmas lump of coal left in their super-sized stocking. What is to blame for this lack of resolution? There are many known suspect excuses. First of all, why make a resolution in January? Whoever thought it was a good idea to convince people to lose weight when it’s cold outside must have had a good laugh and a residual chuckle. As I said before, it is the ultimate universal irony. A coup d’état of sorts; the human mind versus Mother Nature. It’s January. It’s cold outside. People are perfectly content with being fatter in January. Bears do it. We wear too many clothes in the winter to worry about what our body looks like underneath. For a Poser who has to walk the dog before going to the gym, 4:30 a.m. in January is not worth being skinny. Why not make New Year’s resolutions in April when life is birthed back into the flora. With the return of warmth comes the de-saturation of clothing and people naturally realize they need to lose their winter fat. The resolution success rate would skyrocket thus increasing overall morality. People would feel accomplished, happy, and balanced. World peace would ensue. Alas, the reason why resolutions fail is much simpler than forces of Mother Nature and the inconvenient timing of New Year’s. After an exhausting scientific study I have found the absolute reason why Posers fail approximately two months after the initial resolution is conceived. My unknowing test subject was my loyal boyfriend, bless his heart. Want to know why weight loss resolutions fail?

Michele King is the head coach for the Florence High School and F.A.S.T swimming teams. She is also an adjunct english instructor at UNA.

The answer is simple. Our running shoes start to smell like kitty litter. Not new, fresh out of the sack, kitty litter—rather litter that has soaked up ammonia and has sat in the kitchen garbage can with rotting onions. I know this because I spent $100 on my New Year’s resolution Brooks running shoes. I run in them every day, but I recently caught a whiff of the familiar odor and asked my sweet boyfriend to smell my shoes. He didn’t hesitate to oblige. He grabbed my shoe and took a deep inhalation. His expression told me that it had never occurred to him his sweet angel princess could produce some horrific smells. All other excuses aside, the smelly cat is out of the gym bag. This is why Posers give up their resolutions: their gym gear stinks and it’s too expensive to replace. However, I know the antidote, the panacea, the resolution solution. Go swim!

66 | No’Ala


MEMBER FDIC

Five convenient locations to serve you: Main branch at 301 South Court Street, Florence: 256-718-4200 1027 E. Avalon Ave., Muscle Shoals: 256-718-4242 1455 Highway 72, Killen: 256-718-4273 5145 River Road, Ford City: 256-718-4255 4350 CR 47, St. Florian: 256-718-4282 Mortgage Department, 303 N. Pine Street, Florence: 256-718-4237 www.firstsouthern.com March/April 2009 | 67


March/April 2009 | 68


No'Ala March/April Issue 2009 (Health and Fitness)  

Twelve People who will inspire you to be fit Eastern Medicine meets North Alabama Comfort Food you can feel comfortable with Plus party pics,...

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