Tampa Bay February 2014
IGNITE THE SPARK WITHIN YOU
FOR WHAT HE KNOWS IS REAL
READ MY LIPS
HEART HEALTHY CHOCOLATE WHEN “LOVE” GOES WRONG DOES SPENDING MONEY MAKE YOU HEALTHY www.PanacheVue.com
DO YOU REALLY NEED BACK OR NECK SURGERY? US Patients Paying Astronomical Costs for Unwarranted Back and Neck Surgeries
ore than 465,000 spinal fusions were performed in the United States in 2011. It is estimated that patients spent over $200 million on those surgeries. The United States leads the world in spinal surgeries and fusions. In fact, on average the United States performs up to 4 times more back and neck surgeries than any other nation. BUT DID All Of These Patients Really Need Surgery?!?! As a chiropractor in the Tampa Bay area for more than 14 years, Dr. Carl Conforti, D.C. and his team of doctors have been fighting to reduce those numbers and provide a safe, surgery free options for patients who truly want to be well.
LET ME SHARE A STORY:
Unfortunately, we have patients that walk into our offices every day with stories of failed neck and back surgeries. Some come in with stories of years of struggle, some with recent trauma from a motor vehicle accident, but they all have one thing in common. They want relief from the pain that prevents them from living their lives and they do not want to have to go under the knife, or take harmful shots and pills to mask the pain. DRX9000
Dr. Carl Conforti, Dr. Todd Bodanza, & Dr. Damien Rogers, Chiropractic Physicians After consulting with various doctors and reviewing his treatment options, one of our most successful patients told us that a spinal surgeon told him after he questioned the finality of surgery that spinal decompression “couldn’t hurt, but more than likely wouldn’t help.” In fact, the surgeon told this patient that he wished him luck and would see him in a few months for surgery. Well He Was Wrong! Luckily our patient took charge of his own health and continued researching our spinal decompression with the DRX9000. The DRX9000 that we have in our offices is used to treat neck and back pain caused by disc problems. Our patient came into my office, we completely reviews his MRI’s, x-rays, and medical history and determined that not only did he qualify, but he was the perfect candidate for the spinal decompression treatment. At the end of his plan, he was completely pain free for the first time in 15 years. And He Didn’t Have To Take A Hand Full Of Pills With Every Meal!
LET’ SEE WHAT OUR PATIENTS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT OUR TREATMENTS!
SO NOW YOU ARE WONDERING, HOW DO I KNOW IF I WOULD BE A GREAT CANDIDATE FOR YOUR TREATMENT?! WELL, TYPICALLY WE TREAT PEOPLE WHO EXPERIENCE THE FOLLOWING:
NOW IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO WRITE A SUCCESS STORY OF YOUR OWN!!
• Back pain due to sciatica • Sleepless nights • Back or neck injury as the result of an accident • Back or leg pain when seated • Numbness in your hands or toes • Herniated and bulging discs • Toothache like pain that goes down your leg or in one of your buttocks • Relapse of neck or back pain following surgery • Spinal stenosis
“I went to Conforti Chiropractic Centers and met with Dr Conforti and Dr Bodanza. They recommended spinal decompression. At the time I could barely walk and after the second visit I was pain free and was able to do normal activities. The care and professionalism exhibited by these Doctors was amazing. I was a doubter but I would recommend this to any person suffering from back pain.” Terry O. – Trinity, FL “Spinal decompression saved me from another back surgery. I suffered through my first surgery and recovery only to find myself back in severe pain within a year. After my relaxing treatments in the Benttree Clinic, I no longer have pain, and I did not even have to suffer to get pain free. In fact, after most of my treatments, the staff would have to wake me because they create such a relaxing setting. Check it out, Dr. Rogers has something special going here.” –Tim S. – Tampa, FL
The DRX9000 is a very specific technology that uses your spinal condition, your current body weight, and precise angles and measurements to customize the treatment for each patient. We believe that every person that suffers from back pain, neck pain, spinal stenosis, sleepless nights, and numbness in the extremities deserves the opportunity to learn as much as they can about the treatment alternatives to painful surgeries. My team and I want the opportunity to review your current condition and provide you with the knowledge that the surgeons do not want you to know about. We will provide you with a consult, exam, and x-rays (if necessary), and provide you with the knowledge that will ultimately change your life forever.
WITH 3 TAMPA BAY AREA LOCATIONS TO SERVE YOU:
Pinellas Conforti Chiropractic & Wellness 4040 Tampa Rd Oldsmar, FL 34677
Pasco Conforti’s Crossroads 1811 Healthcare Dr Trinity, FL 34655
Hillsborough Benttree Clinic 10935 N. Dale Mabry Tampa, FL 33618
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Fighting for What He Knows Is Real
26/HOUSE OF DALI Have You Been Provoked?
Why Should I Forgive?
30 Tampa Bay February 2014
IGNITE THE SPARK WITHIN YOU
30/WATER FITNESS BENEFITS
FOR WHAT HE KNOWS IS REAL
READ MY LIPS
32/HEART HEALTHY CHOCOLATE 36/WHEN “LOVE” GOES WRONG
HEART HEALTHY CHOCOLATE WHEN “LOVE” GOES WRONG
DOES SPENDING MONEY MAKE YOU HEALTHY www.PanacheVue.com
PHOTOGRAPHER | LISA SIBLEY MODEL | CARL CONFORTI
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PANACHE VUE’ www.PanacheVue.com THE PATIENT AND ANY OTHER PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYMENT HAS A RIGHT TO REFUSE TO PAY, CANCEL PAYMENT, OR BE REIMBURSED FOR ANY OTHER SERVICE, EXAMINATION, OR TREATMENT THAT IS PERFORMED AS A RESULT OF AND WITHIN 72 HOURS OF RESPONDING TO THE ADVERTISEMENT FOR THE FREE, DISCOUNTED FEE, OR REDUCED FEE SERVICE, EXAMINATION, OR TREATMENT.
DEPARTMENTS FEBRUARY 2014
VOLUME 5, ISSUE 2 FEBRUARY 2014 Publisher | Editor In Chief Nina Stanley Executive Art Director Shaun Drees Fashion Editor Dali Hernandez Photographer| Photo Editor Lisa Sibley
24 HEALTH & WELLNESS
18 38 34/Nuts
2/Do You Really Need Back Or Neck Surgery?
9/Kissing May Not Be Good For Your Health
19/The Bad Haircut
15/Ignite The Spark Within You
21/Read My Lips
18/Fruit For Thought
TRAVEL & ADVENTURE
20/Juice Fasting 22/Does Spending Money Make You Healthy? 6
Media Consultants Tallia Keene Milinda O’Daniel Erica Turchin
38/Discover The Wonders of the Sea of Cortez
IT | Social Media Director Jason Longo Founder | CEO Nina Stanley CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Andrew Ashton Dr. Laurie De Luca Dr. Cesar Lara Dr. Larry Lieberman Audrey Mabrey Dana Martinez Krutika Patel Zac Pease Patricia Welter Panache Vue’ Magazine PO Box 14033 Clearwater, FL 33766 Telephone: 727- 459-2361 Letters to the Editor: email@example.com Advertising Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org www.PanacheVue.com Panache Vue’ Magazine is published by Panache Group. All rights reserved. Copyright 2008-2014. Reproduction of or use of editorial, pictorial, digital, advertising or design content in any manner is strictly prohibited without written permission of the publisher. Panache Vue’ Magazine is not responsible for statements made by advertisers and writers.
hile working on this month’s edition, I thought of my dad very often. I lost him more than twenty five years ago to a sudden heart attack and only wish that he was here with me now. Years ago we really were not as educated on heart disease and the simple steps we could incorporate into our everyday lives to avoid being a statistic. Planning for prevention is the key. Although February is American Heart Month, we all need to take heart disease seriously every day, especially women. This edition also moves us into a new direction. We will be promoting more Health, Wellness and Beauty than in the past years. These are all topics that are of interest to me more now than ever and I feel they are to our readers as well. I have to thank Dr. César Lara for giving me the encouragement to move in this direction. He is someone I have always respected and admired, his words of wisdom to me are priceless. Please email us at email@example.com with topics you would like to know more about, ideas, suggestions or events you feel we should be a part of. Don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook at www. facebook.com/Panachevue and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Panachevue. Read featured articles from our industry experts in our magazine and on our website at www.panachevue.com. Most of all please support all of the advertisers and organizations within the pages of Panache Vue’!
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KISSING MAY NOT BE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH
Debbie & Larry Lieberman, D.D.S.
alentine’s Day with its cheesy Hallmark cards and roadside flower stands is a great day to honor and cherish the one you love. In my house, bringing home a romantic card, flowers and delicious chocolate is almost a guarantee to receive some warm hugs and kisses. Those loving kisses, however, may not only be sharing your affection with your sweetheart – they have serious potential to also share the harmful bacteria that causes and spreads periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is an oral condition which involves the breakdown of the structures
which support the teeth such as the bone surrounding each tooth and the fibers which anchor the teeth to the gums. Currently, it is felt that the start and progression of periodontal disease (also known as periodontitis) is determined by the body’s response to infection caused by bacteria in plaque. Research has been done investigating whether or not the bacteria which cause periodontal disease can be passed between people through kissing, or among family members, much like the way the flu or a cold can be spread from individual to individual. Adults with periodontal disease may indeed be a source of infection of these bacteria to their partners or family members. However, it is important to recognize that a person may have these bacteria in his/her mouth, but not develop periodontal disease. How can you prevent developing periodontal disease if your partner has it? You, your partner and family members can: 1) Practice better oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly after meals and before bed. By reducing the amount of plaque you leave on your teeth and gums, you also reduce the amount of bacteria in your
mouth. 2) Seeing your dental hygienist who can alert you to potential problems sooner rather than later. Our hygienist’s, Laura and Marla recommend many service and product options that help this problem. In addition, for over 10 years our office has used lasers to treat and heal gum disease. The first in our area to use this state of the art technology, we have enabled many patients to avoid the “cut and suture” traditional gum surgery and replace it with a faster, more comfortable and long lasting laser procedure. If you notice any of the following you may be at risk of having some form of periodontal disease: bad taste in your mouth, bad breath that doesn’t go away, itchy or bleeding gums, loose teeth, pus coming out of your gums or a change in the fit of your denture. As I’ve mentioned before, periodontal disease can affect not only your dental health but medical condition as well. I urge you to take this disease seriously and get treatment just as you would for a medical disease. It is my wish that you have many years of healthy, sweet and loving kisses with all of those you care about. Larry Lieberman,DDS
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35691 US 19 N, Palm Harbor (Next to the Longhorn Steakhouse)
THE PATIENT AND ANY OTHER PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYMENT HAS A RIGHT TO REFUSE TO PAY, CANCEL PAYMENT, OR BE REIMBURSED FOR ANY OTHER SERVICE, EXAMINATION, OR TREATMENT THAT IS PERFORMED AS A RESULT OF AND WITHIN 72 HOURS OF RESPONDING TO THE ADVERTISEMENT FOR THE FREE, DISCOUNTED FEE, OR REDUCED FEE SERVICE, EXAMINATION, OR TREATMENT.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY LISA SIBLEY
FIGHTING FOR WHAT HE KNOWS IS
anache: When and why did you decide to become a chiropractor? Carl: As a young child, I suffered from asthma, sore throats, and chronic headaches. The doctors sent me for MRI’s and CT scans and tried numerous medications to cover up the symptoms and try to make me feel better. I missed countless days of school and spent afternoons in my room instead of playing with my friends. My parents’ hearts ached for my pain and suffering and looked for a solution. Finally, a family friend referred my parents to a chiropractor. Like most people, my parents initially thought that chiropractic was just for neck and back pain, but thank God, they were willing to give it a try. After reviewing my x-rays, the chiropractor established that my neck was completely straight and lacked the necessary curve that allows my body to function at its optimal levels. Within 3 months of treatment, my headaches, asthma attacks, and sore throats were gone and I was able to return to the normal life of being a kid again. In fact, my mother still tells stories of how I was a whole different child. At that point, I realized that I wanted to be a part of helping people experience life through chiropractic. Panache: What one memory stands out to you the most early on in your career and one more recently? Carl: Working with families is truly my passion. I had a patient whose son suffered from severe ADHD
and bipolar disorder. She would come in for her regular adjustments and share stories of her son causing problems in school and getting picked on by other children. She said that the doctors kept changing his medication, but nothing seemed to help. I explained to her how interference in the spine can cause some of the ADHD symptoms that made her son’s life so difficult. She scheduled him for a consultation, and within 4 weeks of corrective chiropractic care and changing his eating habits, he was off 5 of his 7 medications and his behavior issues resolved. Providing that child with the ability to function on a daily basis reminded me of my story as a child. It is still one of my fondest memories in my early chiropractic years. In more recent times, I had a patient come into my office expressing that his 68 year old father, who exercised daily, ate well, and looked fit suddenly dropped dead of a heart attack. He said that his father showed no symptoms of heart disease or distress. I sat down with this patient and explained that only 10% of the body feels pain and 90% of our body that will never express symptoms until quite often it is too late. In fact 60% of heart attack patients never show any signs or symptoms until they are lying on the floor. Understanding that health is not measured by how you feel, I was able to get him on a path to health through corrective chiropractic care and living the 5 essentials. I take pride knowing that this young man can prevent a similar cardiac emergency because I was able to share that the absence of pain does not represent health. This encourages me to continue our mission! PANACHE VUE’
PHOTOGRAPHY BY LISA SIBLEY
“Our involvement in the community is a large part of who we are as a team” — Carl Conforti
Panache: What is unique about your business compared to the competition? Carl: According to the World Health organization, out of the top 37 most industrialized nations in all aspects of health, the United States ranks DEAD LAST, number 37!!! We are only 5 % of the world’s population, and currently utilize 75%-80% of the medications in the world. We spent $2.7 trillion in healthcare and are on track with Obama care to spend $4.1 trillion this year. So we spend the most money on healthcare, yet we are the sickest out of the top 37 nations. If we were the healthiest nation, the cost would be worth it, but that is not even close to the case. This makes me sick. Our offices belong to a worldwide group of doctors called Maximized Living. Our purpose and mission is to transform the way people view and manage their health today, because the current system we have in place is not working. What sets us apart from the typical office is that we are not just focused on pain; we focus on correction and implementing the 5 essentials of health.
Panache: How are you involved in the community? Carl: Our involvement in the community is a large part of who we are as a team. Providing health and wellness to our community as a whole helps us in our mission to change the vision of healthcare. Our view that true health care and not sick care is what our community needs. For example, we provide community “lunch and learns” in local businesses. This gives us an opportunity to work with local business owners in providing their employees with the knowledge that will allow increased productivity and less work lost due to injury and sickness. These programs are customized for each business and include stress management, nutrition, ergonomics, and various health screenings. Our patients are our greatest resource for these connections in the community, but we are constantly looking for the opportunity to commit our time to our neighboring businesses. We also coordinate with all 6 offices and put together large community health makeovers that allow us to reach our current patients and
sential #2 focuses on increasing nerve supply by eliminating interferences. Essential #3 maximizes nutrition through providing proper fuel for your body to function. Essential #4 increases lean muscle and oxygen supply through 12 minute daily workouts. Essential #5 minimizes toxins that prevent your body from healing. Together, the 5 essentials maximize your health and minimize disease. Panache: What are your personal and professional mottos and how do you apply them to life and business? Carl: It sounds trite, but I truly believe in practicing what I preach. I live the 5 essentials that I teach my patients each and every day in my own life. I instill those principles in the people that I surround myself with daily including my friends, my family and my children. I feel so strong that the current system is flawed, that I REFUSE to allow my family, my friends, or my patients to become victims of the current system. I am determined that they will not end up being one of the 5 in 6 Americans that end up with cancer or heart disease. My friends, family, and patients know that I am a valuable resource both personally and professionally for truth in wellness care.
their guests. We are excited about our Total Food Makeover that we are having at Generations Church on February 22nd. This is our opportunity to teach the people of our community the lifestyle changes that will transform their New Year’s resolutions into a lifestyle revolution. Call 813-818-7499 to reserve your seat TODAY! Panache: Do you apply any new methods of chiropractic care on your patients today that you did not when you first started your practice many years ago? Carl: Currently studies show that 5 out of 6 people in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer or heart disease. With statistics like that representing our “health care” system, changes in our current system are more necessary than ever. After joining the Maximized Living team, we integrated whole health corrective care and the 5 essentials of health into all of our practices. We work with all patients’ to teach them the 5 essentials of health. Essential #1 includes maximizing the mind and changing your limiting beliefs. Eswww.PanacheVue.com
Panache: For someone who has never been treated by a chiropractor, what would you say to them as to why they should? Carl: We can go 30 days without food, 3 to 4 days without water, 3 to 4 minutes without air, but not one second without nerve function. Therefore, attaining overall health and wellness is directly associated to maximizing your nerve supply. Nerve supply is directly controlled through proper alignment of the spine. It controls every organ, cell, muscle and tissue in our body. We brush and floss our teeth to prevent cavities, we change the oil in our cars to prevent engine breakdown, but we tend to forget or neglect taking care of our nervous system which is vital to our overall health and wellness. We, as corrective care chiropractors, of course want our patients to “feel” great, but our main purpose is to achieve and maintain true health which is having your body function and heal at 100%. Panache: You are considered to be one of the most successful chiropractic physicians in Tampa Bay. What do you contribute your success to? Carl: You are making me blush. Thank you!
It all comes down to being real! I have the most amazing team of doctors and staff that anyone could dream of. We pride ourselves on being honest and treating every patient like family. I come from a large Italian family, and I was taught that we must always be honest and caring to others and have great values. You must always find the best in people and treat them as you would want to be treated. Our patients are our family; there just is no other way. I thank my parents and siblings for the love that I was brought up with, because of them, I am who I am today. Panache: Any new changes in your practice that you would like to share with our readers? Carl: We want to give patients the ability to be in charge of their own health. With all of the changes in our so-called HEALTH care system over the past couple of years, patients are losing the ability to make their own decisions on their health. We are seeing far too often that insurance companies are telling patients which doctors they are allowed to see and when they are allowed to see them. In an effort to provide true HEALTH care and not sick care to our patients, we have expanded our practice to include 6 offices in the Tampa Bay area. With each new office, we are getting closer to our mission of providing true health and wellness care to our entire Tampa Bay community. All of our doctors are highly trained in spinal corrective care and focus on teaching our patients the 5 essentials of health. Panache: What would you like to be remembered for most? Carl: I would like to be remembered as being an honest, loving, and compassionate doctor that was dedicated to changing the health of the community and fighting for what I know is real. If our current system was working, then we would not be spending the most money on sick care and we definitely would not be ranked last in the top 37 industrialized nations in the world in overall health. The pharmaceutical companies and health insurance companies should not be given the rights to determine our health and I refuse to allow my children to grow up in a society where we treat symptoms rather than locating and correcting the cause. I want to be remembered for providing truth in healthcare and for giving my patients the knowledge and power to truly be well. PANACHE VUE’
14 wild ways to break free from junk food BY MARILYNN PRESTON
f I had my magic wand back -- I was carrying it in the Halloween parade and it vanished -- I would wave it and Shazaam! All processed foods would disappear. It’s harsh, I know. I love my Sour Cream and Onion Ruffles as much as the next person. But the truth is processed foods -- the ones that come in colorful packages or cans with a long list of perfectly legal ingredients stacked under the label -- aren’t good for you. In fact, they’re bad for you. You can discover just how bad in books, videos and all over the Internet. Go there and be educated. It’s no secret that processed foods contain chemicals, additives, preservatives, artificial dyes, flavors, colors and other suspect ingredients that are linked to a variety of health problems, and not in a good way. It’s not restful to dwell on the known negatives: the weight gain, the strokes, the fatigue, the diabetes, heart disease,
cancers, and annoying digestive upsets that then must be addressed with little purple pills. Instead, I’m going to share a positively intriguing resource for weaning yourself off processed foods, a 14-week plan that should be a required course in schools everywhere. This step-by-step approach, created by the crusading Lisa Leake for eatLocalGrown.com, consists of mini-pledges that you take week by week, alone or with friends or, best of all, with your entire family. Each week is another way to experience more real food and less junk. By the time 14 weeks are over, you’ll be closer than ever to eating clean. I’m not saying it’s easy -- “the perfect is the enemy of the good” -- but the cumulative rewards are remarkable. When you eat clean, you feel lighter and more energetic. Chances are you’ll lose weight. Aches, pains and other symptoms that sent you to the doctor will lessen and might disappear because, (SET ITAL) food is medicine (END ITAL). When you eat the real stuff, your body can thrive and heal itself. For more along these lines, go to Leake’s website 100DaysofRealFood. com and feast on her informative blogs. And if you’re still not convinced that weaning yourself off processed foods is important, never mind. You’re not ready to change. You have a big fat disconnect between what you eat and how you feel. That’s OK. Your doctor probably strug-
gles with the same problem, since she or he learned next-to-nothing about nutrition in medical school. (How crazy is that?!) Ready for action? Here’s the challenge: Week 1: (“I pledge to...”) Eat at least two different fruits and or vegetables -preferably organic -- with every meal. Week 2: Your beverages are limited to coffee, tea, water and milk. Don’t choke. Give it a go. One cup of juice is allowed per week, and wine, preferably red, is allowed in moderation. (Thank you, Lisa.) Week 3: All meat consumed this week is locally raised. Limit yourself to threeto-four modest servings a week, treating meat as a side dish not the main course. Week 4: No fast food or deep fried food. (Gulp!) Week 5: Try two new whole foods you’ve never tried before. Week 6: Eat no food products labeled as low fat, “lite,” reduced or non-fat. Week 7: All grains must be 100 percent whole grains. Week 8: Stop eating when you are full. (This means listening to internal cues.) Week 9: No refined or artificial sweeteners. No white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, Splenda, stevia, agave, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, brown rice syrup and cane juice. Your food and drink can only be sweetened with modest amounts of honey or maple syrup. Week 10: No refined or hydrogenated oils. That means no vegetable oil, soybean, corn, canola, organic canola, margarine, grape seed oil. Week 11: Eat at least one locally grown or raised food item at each meal. That means local honey, eggs, nuts, meats, fruits, vegetables. Week 12: No sweeteners! Not even honey and maple syrup. (You’ve come this far ... you can do it!) Week 13: Nothing artificial. Avoid all artificial ingredients. Week 14: No more than five ingredients. Avoid packaged food products that list more than five ingredients, no matter the ingredients. Week 15: Email me at MyEnergyExpress@aol.com and let me know how well this worked, or, if you insist, how miserable you were.
César A. Lara, M.D.
IGNITE THE SPARK WITHIN YOU
alentine’s Day reminds us to show our appreciation and love to those people who have special meaning in our lives. Marketing people capitalize on the day with flowers, candy, and jewelry among other items. Many people become engaged or get married on February 14th as a testament to their love for each other. Love is definitely the word of the day, and yet we use the word so often to describe things other than a person. We love our pet, we love our car, we love our job, we love chocolate cake – you get the idea! What then, do we really mean when we say “I love you”? And then the question is, can we love another before we really understand and appreciate ourselves….. before we practice self love? Self love sounds a little prideful – maybe even arrogant, as we have been taught to not boast or brag. Many times, we don’t even think about bragging about ourselves because so many old messages play in our brain that knock us right back down if we get too strong. People without self love tend to get lost in relationships because they become a mirror of someone else’s hopes and dreams. We spend so much time and energy focused on others that we forget to recharge the source of that energy. It is only when we are well that we can have the energy and
internal resources to make a positive difference and help others. This is a simple, yet powerful concept that can dramatically improve our wellbeing, effectiveness and mental health. Sometimes, our overall energy levels and excitement for life have deteriorated slowly so that we really are not able to objectively see how far from our “normal” self we have fallen. We blame the extra birthday on having less stamina and less energy and accept that feeling as if it should be that way. We may remember when we were able to work all day, get the family settled in for the evening and still have a spark left for our partner at night. Now, it’s all we can do to get through the day, and there’s no spark left for anyone. And here comes this “love” holiday when expectations are set for fireworks! In fact, we need to step outside of ourselves and look objectively to see what has happened. Maybe we have picked up a few pounds. When we are overweight, we tend to not love ourselves. We probably aren’t eating right which in turn makes us gain weight, and then we feel sluggish and maybe even our health is affected. Cholesterol may be higher as we are eating processed foods, blood pressure may be elevated, and our glucose (sugar) may be higher. We are on the road to metabolic syndrome, which does have long-term health effects if it continues. We help patients stop that cycle every day in our centers. They become empowered and learn to appreciate themselves again. That self-love then turns outward to family and partner. At mid life, our body begins slowing down the manufacturing of hormones. We need testosterone, estrogen and optimal thy-
roid to feel good. When we are not making much, we tend to have mood swings, feel irritable, do not get quality sleep, and sometimes experience “brain fog”. Who can feel at their best and sexiest for their partner when they feel like that? Those symptoms are exactly what are treated with bio-identical hormone therapy. Your hormones are in balance as they were when you were younger and you feel more energized and positive. Your pleasure neurons begin firing again and you feel sexy and more energized – yes, even love yourself again. Patients tell me over and over how much better they feel and how they got their spark back. Take some time for yourself during this season of love. A long walk, a beautiful sunset, a relaxing bubble bath are just a few ideas for taking care of you. Reflect on the qualities that others love about you and appreciate who you are. Once you realize that you are very special, you will better understand how someone else can feel that way about you. And from my heart to yours, may the energy of love inspire and guide your visions as you dare to actualize your dreams. Happy Valentines! If you have questions about getting your spark back, join Dr. Lara on Wed. evening, March 5th for wine and cheese, and a discussion on hormonal imbalance and obesity; how they affect your optimal sexual health and quality of life. See our website for details: www.bestmedicineforweightloss.com. César A. Lara, M.D. is a Board Certified family physician and a leading expert in the field of medicine, the treatment of obesity, and weight loss management. For more than 20 years, it has been Dr. Lara’s passion to become a positive force in America’s evergrowing obesity crisis…one patient at a time. Dr. Lara’s dream of helping men and women overcome diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and other chronic conditions related to obesity was realized with the emergence of the César A. Lara, MD; Center for Weight Management as a premier weight loss center in Tampa Bay. A graduate of the University of Iowa, Carver College of Medicine, Dr. Lara is known for his strong personal faith and his generous contributions to the Tampa Bay community. Dr. Lara regularly appears on television as a medical contributor to Brighthouse Network’s Bay News 9 en Español and WTSP-TV Studio 10. He frequently participates in corporate health fairs promoting an active lifestyle and healthy weight loss options. He is the founder of St. Michael’s Free Clinic and Weight Away Tampa Bay, charitable organizations that provide free medical treatment to those who cannot afford it.
S E A S O N
DISCOVER SOMETHING NEW+LOCAL
New episodes Thursdays at 8 p.m. www.wedu.org/artsplus | #WEDUArtsPlus Bright House channels 3 or 1003 HD | Verizon FiOS channels 3 or 503 HD
The Florida Orchestr a
Upcoming Concerts Tampa, St. Pete & Clearwater Raymond James Pops
An Evening of Rodgers & Hammerstein Feb 14-16
Tampa Bay Times Masterworks
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Feb 21-23 © JM Lennon
Charlie Chaplin: The Gold Rush Fri, Feb 28, 8pm, Tampa Theatre, Tampa Sat, Mar 1, 8pm, The Palladium, St. Petersburg Tickets: $35 general admission
Tickets Start at $15
727.892.3337 or 1.800.662.7286 www.FloridaOrchestr a.org
TFO-Panache Vue-Feb.indd 1
12/27/2013 10:52:31 AM
CULTURE & ARTS
Kevin Grass, Thirteen, 2012, Acrylic on panel
ST. PETERSBURG COLLEGE
FACULTY SHOW 2014
his biennial exhibition presents artwork created by the full-time and adjunct visual arts faculty of St. Petersburg College. The show demonstrates the commitment and dedication of the faculty to art education while also displaying high standards for their own artistic development. The public is invited to view the exhibition free of charge on opening day, Sunday, March 2, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. On view through April 20.
Opening mid-February in the Works on Paper Gallery, this exhibition is designed to challenge the viewer to determine the famous person depicted. The show includes 12 portraits of wellknown figures from the fields of art, literature, popular culture and politics.
Barton Gilmore, Plant Wars, 2014, Photograph
Each portrait was created by an artist who, in capturing the recognizable likeness of the person, also interprets the image through their own aesthetic. Next visit, put yourself to the test!
LEEPA-RATTNER MUSEUM OF ART EARNS ACCREDITATION
The American Alliance of Museums, Washington, D.C., recently announced its decision to award Accreditation to the LeepaRattner Museum of Art based on completion of several years of a rigorous, self-study and peer review process. Accreditation is the museum field’s highest mark of distinction and, in congratulating LRMA, Dr. Ford Bell, President of the AAM, noted that only about 6% of the estimated 17,500 museums in the United States have earned this honor.
At St. Petersburg College 600 Klosterman Road Tarpon Springs, FL 727-712-5762 www.spcollege.edu/museum Spring Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Thursday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday 1 – 5 p.m. Closed Mondays, 5-8 pm March 13, and all weekend March 15-16 Admission: $6 adults $5 seniors Free to children, college students and active military Sunday admission free – suggested donation $5 Parking: free
FRUIT FOR THOUGHT BY SCOTT LAFEE
ou know the Welsh adage about an apple a day keeping the doctor away? Well, a recent report published in the British Medical Journal found that in people ages 50 and older, the positive effects of eating an apple a day on cardiovascular health are comparable to those of taking a cholesterol-lowering statin drug. Researchers at the University of Oxford calculated the health benefits of 70 percent of Britons older than 50 eating one apple daily compared to the same group consuming a statin. They estimated that by eating apples, 8,500 deaths would be avoided annually versus 9,400 lives saved on statins -- based on a total population of 17.6 million people. Apples are rich in antioxidants, flavonoids and dietary fiber, which is particularly useful in cardiovascular health. A Florida State University study, for example, found that older women who ate apples daily had 23 percent less bad cholesterol, or LDL, and 4 percent more good cholesterol, or HDL, after just six months. The researchers wryly noted that on the negative side, apples cost more than statins and are not covered by health insurance. On the plus: Apple consumption has no known adverse side effects.
BODY OF KNOWLEDGE
An adult human spine compresses roughly
0.59 inches from morning to night.
GET ME THAT. STAT!
The “total” cost of depression in the United States is estimated to be $44 billion: $12 billion in direct costs of treatment; $8 billion in premature death; and $24 billion in absenteeism and reduced productivity, according to Raymond Lam and Hiram Wok, authors of “Depression” (2009). The estimate does not include out-of-pocket family expenses, costs of minor and untreated depression, excessive hospitalization, general medical services, and diagnostic tests.
A single serving of canned tuna (284 grams: Albacore, solid white, in water) contains 70 calories, 0 from fat. It has 0 grams of total fat, or 0 percent of the recommended total fat intake for a 2,000-calorie daily diet. It also contains 25 milligrams of cholesterol (8 percent); 140 milligrams of sodium (6 percent); 0 grams of total carbohydrates; and 16 grams of protein.
18 -- Percentage of Americans polled who said there should be no minimum age requirement to purchase the morning after birth control pill 17 -- Percentage who said a prescription
should be required, regardless of the buyer’s age 61 -- Percentage who said the morning after pill should be covered by health insurance Source: NPR Truven Health Analytics
Anhidrosis -- the abnormal absence of sweat
PHOBIA OF THE WEEK
Chiroptophobia -- fear of bats
NEVER SAY DIET
The Major League Eating speed-eating record for fruitcake is 4 pounds, 14.25 ounces in 10 minutes, held by Sonya Thomas. Warning: Thomas set the fruitcake record 10 years ago, which is coincidentally about the time it takes to entirely digest most fruitcakes.
“He who laughs, lasts.” -- American author Mary Pettibone Poole
The famed Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe died in 1601 from complications of a burst bladder after refusing to leave a dinner table to relieve himself because it would have been a breach of etiquette.
THE BAD HAIRCUT!!!
ANDREW ASHTON OF LAPOSH SALON
Andrew Ashton LaPosh Salon
o we all have gotten that bad haircut. The haircut that just doesn’t work out no matter what you do and seems to never grow out. A great haircut can make or break your morning rituals. A morning of stress free hair styling and looking at yourself in the mirror and loving what you see doesn‘t have to be a dream. This is what you can have with a great haircut. Finding the right Stylist is the key. A consultation is the first and best way for you and the Stylist to communicate. During this conversation you both should talk about what you are looking for, what you like and more importantly, what you don’t like. It is up to the Stylist now to take that information and use his or her talents to give you a cut that will work. When I have a consultation with a client, the things I look at are face shape, hair texture, density of hair and root growth
direction. All these components go hand in hand to create a great haircut that will work best for your hair type. Remember that hair is a frame for your face which is why face shape plays an important role. Accentuate the positive and downplay the areas you don’t like. Hair texture and density of hair will be the make or break on whether a certain style will work for you. This will decide how much styling work will go into creating the style also. Root direction is important when we are dealing with bangs, the crown area and the nape area in short haircuts. We tend to use the word ‘cowlick’ when we are talking about root direction. I get clients that come in wanting something that their hair is not capable of doing. It is my job to let you know if it will or will not work and help you work with what you have. So if you have experienced a bad haircut, come in for a free consultation with any of our talented Stylists.
class, elegance and luxury...
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2566 D McMullen Booth Road - Clearwater
JUICE FASTING Why juice fasting is safe and more than just a fad diet AIMEE KUVADIA
oe Cross had a choice: Get healthy or die. “I’m 41. I’m fat. And I’m sick,” the Australian native humbly admits in his 2010 aptly named documentary, “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead.” “You don’t have to be Einstein to figure out what’s next.” For over 20 years, Cross was the archetypal businessman, caring more about his entrepreneurial endeavors than for himself. “I was focusing on my wealth rather than my health,” he laments. His lifestyle was laden with shortlived pleasures: smoking, excessive drinking and food, most of which was processed. As a business expert, he should have known everything comes at a price. Cross gradually began packing on the pounds, not stopping until he weighed just over 300 and found himself with a debilitating autoimmune disorder, one requiring him to take a panoply of prescription drugs -- including the powerful corticosteroid prednisone -- and often preventing him from doing such seemingly simple tasks as carrying a shopping bag. At age 40, getting over the hill, Cross was finally able to look down at his life and realize that not too much of it would be left if he persisted on the same path. He decided to repurpose his business skills -“my capacity for action, determination and discipline” -- toward benefiting his health.
As Cross was a man who preferred extremes, he went from a diet of predominantly factory-produced food to one of only food growing in the ground, which he didn’t eat but juiced. For 60 days, he didn’t consume anything but the pulp of fruits and vegetables. Not eating for a few days, let alone two months, seems irresponsible if not downright dangerous. But unlike trend diets -many of which harm the body and promote only provisional weight loss -- juice fasting actually promotes overall health. Stacy Kennedy, a senior clinical nutritionist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston featured in Cross’ film, confirms juice fasting is indeed safe and a great way to reboot the body. “So, in juice fasting, you’re still eating something. You’re drinking nutrients, particularly a lot of micronutrients that are coming from fruits and vegetables,” she says. “And because it’s a liquid, its more rapidly absorbed. So it’s a quick easy way of giving your body a very potent source of healthy nutrients.” All food falls into one of two categories: micronutrients or macronutrients. Micronutrients, which are essentially vitamins and minerals, comprise vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and beans. They’re needed for both major and minor body functions, everything from building muscle and immunity to preventing the flu. Macronutrients are everything else. With a typical American plate consisting of half meat, a quarter overcooked vegetable or potato, and a quarter of some other white, refined side, it’s no surprise Americans are lacking micronutrients. The contemporary world eats too
many processed foods and animal products, according to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, who specializes in treating obesity and chronic illness with nutrition therapy. It’s why so many people suffer with their health. “The point here is we have an unprecedented opportunity in history to be healthier and live longer than before,” says Fuhrman in the documentary. “We simply don’t have to be demented when we get older. We don’t have to have a heart attack. We don’t have to get strokes. And we can dramatically reduce the risk of cancer.” Fuhrman monitored Cross during his fast, advising him to get a blood test every 10 days. If committing to a strict dietary regimen that will likely alter the body permanently, a physician should be consulted, as everyone is different, and what is good for one person might be harmful to another. Cross maintained a positive attitude throughout the 60 days, making his fast seem almost effortless. But it was far from that. “The first few days are the toughest. Not eating ... It’s kind of like you’re cutting yourself off from society when you’re not eating food,” he says. “It just doesn’t seem normal.” For those who don’t need to lose a significant amount of weight, Cross recommends doing just a 10-day fast, which still does wonders for the body. A woman he recruited to try it felt a considerable improvement in her migraine headaches. After two months of just juicing, Cross was virtually unrecognizable, having lost over 70 pounds. He also had achieved his primary goal of getting off all his medication. It’s important to ease back into eating following a juice fast. Cross consumed only vegetables, fruits, nuts and beans for over six months, but an average person doesn’t require so extreme a transition. Juicing, says Fuhrman, is a way to “retrain your taste buds.” A fast will have been successful if it motivates an individual to remain healthy for the long term. “Permanent results only come from permanent change in lifestyle and diet style,” Fuhrman concludes. “You don’t get permanently well unless you permanently change the way you live.”
READ MY LIPS
BY VALERIE KELLEY
s far as beauty trends go, plump pouts are here to stay. That’s not to say that thin lips aren’t’t beautiful. Think Meryl Streep or Jodie Foster. However, every time you turn around, some model or actress is showing off her newly “enhanced” kisser. And why shouldn’t’t they? Soft, full lips just seem youthful and healthy, sensuous and sexy. Here’s the truth: As we get older, collagen and elastin, which give lips their fullness, collapse over time, not only deflating the shape, but increasing lines and wrinkles. Once these lines become etched into the skin, there’s even less definition, less fullness. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to renew those youthful puckers that Father Time has taken away. For a fast temporary fix, try any number of lip-plumping products found on
the beauty aisle. Typically, these products swell the lips with cinnamon, peppermint or capsaicin, increasing blood flow to the lips, giving them a plump appearance. While this may work to increase the volume and softness of your lips, the result is short-lived. Most of the effects will wear off in about an hour. Permanent makeup, or tattooing, is a tactic used to outline and color the lips, giving the illusion of fuller lips — much like expertly applied lip liner. Again, this is a temporary fix and it does fade over time. Of course, if you’re looking for something longer lasting, than it’s time to consider fillers. To recreate a youthful, heart-shaped outline, Botox, used off-label, can be injected along the edges of the upper and lower lip line, temporarily relaxing the muscles that can cause wrinkling. The procedure requires no anesthesia and takes mere minutes. Patients report fuller lips for up to 4 months. To further enhance the contours of a thin, wrinkled lip line, your dermatologist or med spa professional may also suggest a hyaluronic acid filler like Restylane® or Juvederm® for increased volume. The results are visible immediately. Fullness can last up to a year, depending on which product is used.
“It is extremely important for patients to find a qualified, injection artist with considerable experience in the procedure. Poorly done lip enhancements rightly earn the infamous name “troutpout.” says Dana Martinez, owner of Lecada Medical Artistry. Which is why Martinez encourages a “less-is-more” approach. “Most skilled injection artists are conservative with the amount of filler used in the first injection. The results should look good, but not disproportionate, so a second injection is typically needed to achieve the best, most natural outcome.” Martinez also remarked that many men and women are under the wrong impression that once the use of hyalouronic or collagen-based injectables ends, his or her lips will deflate or sag as the filler wears off. “This is, simply, not true,” she says. ”As fillers gradually disappear, lip volume returns to its original size, but no less full than it began.” Contact Lecada Medical Artistry at 813874-2332 for a complimentary consultation on safe, non-surgical ways to bring back the full, luscious lips of your youth. Lecada is located at 3710 West Azeele Street in Tampa, FL 33609.
DOES SPENDING MONEY MAKE YOU HEALTHY? 22
WE CURRENTLY HAVE SICK CARE, NOT HEALTH CARE
Last year Americans spent $2.8 trillion on healthcare. That is around $8,000 per person. So does this mean that we are all healthy and living well? Absolutely NOT! In fact, we lead the world in heart disease, obesity, and cancer. Astonishingly, 5 out of 6 Americans will be diagnosed with either heart disease or cancer. If we were spending the most money in healthcare and had the healthiest people, maybe it would be worth it. But we are spending the most money AND have the unhealthiest people. In a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, of 37 different developed countries the United States ranked 37th (dead last) in terms of overall health of the population.
SO WHERE ARE WE SPENDING ALL OF THIS MONEY?
When we are sick or in pain, we go to the doctor. We get prescriptions to help cure and prevent illness and pain. What do we do when that medication has a side effect or no longer works? We go back and get more medications for the next side effect. Americans take up 5% of the world’s population, yet we consume 85% of the world’s medications. You would think that if drugs make you healthy then we would be the healthiest nation, and that is far from the truth. We had 1.1 million people die last year because of drugs and these are not street drugs like heroin or other illegal drugs. These are prescription drugs that were prescribed for the right condition, the right amount, the right time. Prescriptions are not the only culprit,
a large amount of that money is spent in nursing homes and cancer treatment centers. We have so many sick and ailing people in our population that we are seeing more and more long-term nursing facilities. People may be living longer, but we are not living better.
TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH
A lot of people believe that genetics are to blame for the disease we see in our society today, but only 2-5% of degenerative illnesses are actually caused by genetics. So that leaves 95-98% of disease that is caused by lifestyle. The foods we eat, the drinks we drink, and the habits we live are the main cause of the increase in disease. Our offices are focused on HEALTH care. We recognize that health is not just about what you eat and whether or not you exercise. Our offices implement maximized mind, maximized nutrition, maximized nerve supply, maximized oxygen and lean muscle. We personalize each care plan and work with our patients to establish health and wellness goals that create a healthy lifestyle that maximizes each patients’ quality of life.
BUT WHAT TRULY SETS US APART FROM ALL OTHER WELLNESS CLINICS It is our dedication to whole health well-
ness. Our patients are not just adjusted and sent on their way. We spend time focusing on spinal CORRECTION not just spinal alignment. By providing our patients with in office and at home stretching, strengthening, and lifestyle changes, our patients are the healthiest they can possibly be without introducing toxins. It is truly about balance and focus on health.
WHAT DOES CORRECTIVE CARE MEAN? If your spine and Central Nervous System are “abnormal,” there is a need for corrective chiropractic care. This type of care will restore “normal” spinal position and alignment. By properly restoring normal curves to the spine and aligning the vertebrae, it will eliminate interferences allowing your body to function and heal “normally.” This optimizes your chance to live at 100% of your body’s peak performance. A healthy spine will allow your body to express a normal body temperature, a normal blood pressure, and other measureable norms for the spine itself. Much like braces straighten teeth, it is our aim to restore the proper alignment of your spine. Recent research allows us to now know the measurements and proper alignment of your spine. There is a normal body temperature, a normal blood pressure, and there are measureable norms for the spine. We take the necessary steps to restore the regions of abnormal alignment to nor-
Dr. Carl Conforti Chiropractic Physician
mal through whole health wellness. Take the next step and allow your body to function at 100% of peak performance.
$27 NEW PATIENT EXAM ($295 value) Includes exam, x-rays, and consultation with our team of doctors. CHIRO OFFER EXPIRES 03-15-14.
THE PATIENT & ANY OTHER PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYMENT HAS A RIGHT TO REFUSE PAY, CANCEL PAYMENT, OR BE REIMBURSED FOR ANY PAYMENT OR ANY OTHER SERVICE, EXAMINATION, OR TREATMENT WHICH IS PERFORMED AS A RESULT OF AND WITHIN 72 HOURS OF RESPONDING TO THE FREE, DISCOUNTED, OR REDUCED FEE, SERVICE, EXAMINATION OR TREATMENT.
WITH 6 TAMPA BAY AREA LOCATIONS TO SERVE YOU 4040 Tampa Road Oldsmar, FL 34677
1811 Healthcare Drive Trinity, FL 34655
10935 N Dale Mabry Tampa, FL 33618
10935 N Dale Mabry 2312 Crestover Lane Tampa, FL 33618 Ste. #102 Wesley Chapel 33544
2206 4th Street N. St. Petersburg, FL
1502 S. MacDill Ave. Tampa, FL 33629
Dr. Carl Conforti has been practicing as a licensed Chiropractor since May 1999, helping to free people from pain in his Pinellas Chiropractic Clinic, where he practices with Dr. Michael Turner. His primary goal as an experienced Chiropractor is to promote the health and well being of his patients. Dr. Conforti believes in using a “whole person approach” to care for his patients. By combining the very best state of the art physiotherapy procedures, hands-on-technique, and providing the newest and best natural dietary supplements on the market today, Dr. Conforti focuses on helping you to accelerate and/or maintain your journey to good health. • University of Florida • Life University • Florida Chiropractic Society • Florida Chiropractic Association AND WELLNESS CENTER, INC. • Certified in Cox Flexion/Distraction technique
GROUP FITNESS The decline of religion in America and Cher JACK NEWCOMBE
her. Seal. Madonna. Prince. Sting. Elvis. Adele. Mononymous entertainers permeate pop culture and have done so for decades. But there is a new one-named craze in town. In fact, there are a few. Pilates. Barre. Yoga. Spin. CrossFit. Even combining crazes does not produce the need for a second word: YAS (yoga and spinning); Spinoga (spinning and yoga); Yogalates (yoga and pilates). Group fitness has taken the U.S. by storm -- just like many one-named singers have in the past. All of these exercise trends are rooted in traditions. Relative newcomer, CrossFit promotes “the Caveman or Paleolithic model for nutrition.” Yoga has most likely been around since the sixth and fifth centuries B.C. And the very basic movements of running, squatting and pushing your body up from a ground position are entwined in the fabric of human evolution. Despite being around for a while, the popularity of group fitness continues to gain steam. As technology allows us to be more connected, we are becoming discon-
nected from human interaction. Group fitness fills that void. Furthermore, people long to feel as though they are part of a group. Sixty years ago that group was the local church. People would go to church, see people they knew and have a shared experience. That’s not happening as much anymore. According to the Washington Post, the number of people who identify themselves with no religious affiliation is growing. “In the 1950s, this [group] was about 2 percent of the population. In the 1970s, it was about 7 percent. Today, it is close to 20 percent.” And it is not just the big cities that are causing the atheism of America. “These gains can be found in all regions of the country, including the South. The trend is particularly pronounced among whites, among the young and among men.” Why more people are becoming less religious is irrelevant for the purposes of this story. However, what is relevant is that people used to have a community and now they do not (or it has lessened). Moreover, people are finding that community in spin classes, yoga studios and group fitness classes. There are a lot of different ways to get involved. Most gyms offer a variety of fitness classes as part of one’s membership. Luxury gym Equinox has extensive, proprietary classes like Stacked (two circuits that contain six different exercises) and Shockwave (rowing machine combined
with other exercises). Yoga studios can be found on every street corner from Venice Beach to Louisville, Ky., to SoHo in Manhattan. The company Yogaworks has 28 locations, the majority of which are in Southern California. Yoga can be a spiritual experience with Sanskrit, incense and chanting or it can be more similar to a nightclub with fogged windows and classic Tupac Shakur blasting through the room -- such as the classes found in Steve Ross’s class at Maha Yoga in Brentwood, Calif. Barre method has taken off more recently. This exercise is based on the warm-up and drills that ballerinas and other dancers do in their training. It is popular because it is low impact and works nontraditional parts of the body. CrossFit is the mixed martial arts of group fitness: meteoric rise in popularity with many critics. Those who love CrossFit swear by it. They love the competition and high intensity of the workout. The CrossFit naysayers say that it might be a good way to get injured. Most notable of the injured CrossFiters was Makimba Mimms. Injured in 2005, Mimms sued CrossFit and was awarded $300,000 in damages. Soul Cycle has reinvented spinning. Class participants pay about $35 per class for 45 minutes on a stationary bike. Soul Cycle has figured out a way to tap into that need to be part of something bigger than one’s self. Soul Cycle encourages their riders to, “Take your journey. Change your body. Find your soul.” Of all the group fitness crazes, this sounds the most similar to a religion and that is why people love it. Even before Elvis and way before spin, there was Jesus, Muhammad, Moses, Buddha and Krishna. Being known by one-name appears to be a theme in our society, whether you are a religious prophet, a singer-songwriter or a fitness trend. Most likely this is coincidental. Most likely. What is not coincidental is the fact that people yearn to belong to a group and enjoy a shared experience with other people. This can take place at a Prince concert, a spin class or a mosque. That’s about where the similarities between those three things end.
SUNCOAST P I L A T E S
<3 PILATES BY PATRICIA WELTER
n February, thoughts turn to love and how to honor our loved ones. It is also a time to reflect on heart health. Consider the benefits of Pilates exercise. The objective of the Pilates regimen is to achieve a balance between flexibility and strength; increasing muscle size is not a goal. In developing his method, Joseph Pilates emphasized “Contrology” or the science and art of coordinated bodymind-spirit development through natural movements. Joe combined the By Patricia Welter, B.S. PMA®-CPT, eastern approach to exercise (calmLolita San Miguel Pilates Master™, ness, centeredness) with the western Second Generation Pilates Teacher, approach (motion, muscle tone and strength) to develop what he considBalanced Body Faculty and ered the ultimate form of fitness: exSuncoast Pilates Owner ercise that cultivates power and grace. Joe Pilates also designed various apparatuses to accommodate the hundreds of exercises he developed over time. Some of the principles that guide the Pilates method include concentration on each movement, use of the abdominal and back muscles, flowing movement patterns that are precise and not jerky and a steady and controlled breathing. Depending on the exercise, Pilates routines can be performed on specially-designed apparatuses or on a mat. In addition to its ability to build physical strength and improve flexibility, the Pilates method has been credited with helping to strengthen the immune system, decrease stress and alleviate body ailments like back or neck pain. Performed correctly (and at least initially, under the supervision of a Certified Pilates instructor), the Pilates exercises are safe for adults, seniors, pregnant women and children.
PILATES AND HEART DISEASE PREVENTION NORTH PINELLAS COUNTY’S FIRST AND PREMIER PILATES STUDIO Offering One-on-One, Duet and Group Pilates Equipment Training Mat Pilates Classes Barre Classes Authorized Balanced Body® Pilates Instructor Training Facility Listed under the PMA® Registry of Schools
WWW.SUNCOASTPILATES.COM 34080 US Hwy 19 N. Palm Harbor PHOTOS COURTESY OF EXULTING IMAGES
The best type of exercise for primary and secondary prevention of heart disease is aerobic exercise. Although the Pilates system is not considered to be aerobic in nature, it is an excellent adjunct to a regular aerobic program (such as walking, cycling, or swimming). In particular, its potential stress reduction features promotes long term heart health.
OTHER PILATES BENEFITS ARE: • • • • • • • • • •
Improves balance, coordination and circulation Improves performance in sports (e.g., golf, skiing, skating, dance) Streamlines and lengthens the body Improves postural problems; can alleviate back pain Increases core strength/stability and peripheral mobility Helps prevent injury Enhances ease of movement Balances strength and flexibility Heightens body awareness Can be customized for a broad range of fitness and ability levels, from post-rehab patients (including cardiac rehab patients) to elite athletes • Strengthens the immune system Consider giving the gift of health to a loved one – give a present of Pilates exercise to another or to yourself.
HOUSE OF DALI
HAVE YOU BEEN
recently got the opportunity to team up with Dana Blickensderfer, a fellow New Yorker, Fashionista and Contemporary Artist. Dana specializes in custom artwork, murals and paintings. Through her art she hopes to evoke reflections on religion; a sober realism of society and passion and zeal for life. Dana is vibrant, full of contagious energy and creative ideas. Dana states “I am very aware as a visual artist to the connection between art and fashion. The energy speaks to, and socially influences the other. In the fashion world, art can be infuse and interject influences from color to pattern design and material selection. It is quite amazing to see fashion as the experimental voice for many designers. Sky is the limit and the influences from which they derive are constantly in motion. For me, I look to fashion among other influences, and allow it to inspire my contemporary designs. “ Dana Blickensderfer, Provoke Art. Recently, Dana exhibited her work in SCOPE Miami and New Material Art Fair during Art Basel in Miami, Florida. Dana has frequently been a participant displaying her art at Fashion Week in the Tampa Bay Area. Preview more of her art online at Dana’s online art gallery by visiting www.provokeart.com. Make sure to connect with Provoke Art on social media for upcoming shows and exhibitions.
Kevin Kelii Photography Location 715 Franklin St. Tampa, Fl Hairstylist Shawna Rourke Makeup Artist Autumn Boisvert
Dali Hernandez is the Creative Director and head designer for House of Dali. She is also a Real Estate Agent operating in the Tampa Bay area. Dali’s arrival to the fashion industry has been making numerous headlines; however designing is nothing new for this NY native. She recalls her childhood’s obsession with fashion magazines, and with the help of a pair of scissors, she would cut various designs to mix and match and ultimately transform her bedroom walls into the latest fashion show. The days she went fabric shopping with her mother gave her an early perspective on quality variation and how the same design can be completely altered due to fabric choice. Dali’s fashion line is for the woman who still maintains her social status and is not afraid to make a fashion statement. She feels that there shouldn’t really be a target age or group for her line, because she feels that women are sexy and edgy at any age. Dali was featured on FOX13, What’s Hot Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay Pulse, Vocess International, Creative Loafing, tbttimes, St. Pete Times, Panache Vue, Remark Magazine, Libertine Magazine, Envie, and was Semi Finalist for “Fashion Star” NBC. Follow me Website: www.houseofdali.com Instagram: @houseofdali Facebook: www.facebook.com/dalifashiondesigner Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/houseofdali Twitter: twitter.com/HouseofDali E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.PanacheVue.com
WHY SHOULD I FORGIVE? BY AUDREY MABREY
f you are a human being, chances are someone throughout the course of your life has hurt or betrayed you. Perhaps they broke a promise, broke your heart, deceived you, abandoned you, or even violated you. Although forgiving them may seem as impossible as driving your car to the moon, I can assure you that just as we are all capable of inflicting pain on one another, we are also capable of forgiving anyone for anything. I know because despite the fact my ex-husband attempted to murder me by bludgeoning me with a hammer and setting me on fire in 2009 I have been able to forgive him.
However, knowing we are capable of forgiveness is one thing but understanding why we should forgive is completely different and often foreign territory. Imagine yourself driving on the freeway. Someone side swipes you and your car starts spinning out of control until it abruptly stops once you’ve hit the guard rail. Your steering wheel air bag deploys but you still have a broken arm and a gash on your forehead. Naturally EMS is called and you’re taken to the hospital for a doctor to properly tend to your injuries. Being hurt by someone isn’t very different in that we need to tend to our wounds. If the doctor ignored your broken arm it would eventually heal but it definitely wouldn’t heal correctly which would mean you could still function but not to the best of your ability. Anger and pain are internal wounds that INFECT our hearts and spirits. It is vital to our mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing for us to remove the thorn from our hearts by forgiving those who have hurt us and also forgiving ourselves. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean that we agree with or condone whatever it is
they did to us. Instead it means we recognize that not only is it beneficial to us but it is a choice. After being brutally attacked I realized life was about choices. Forgiveness wasn’t the first choice I made but it was the most important one. Knowing it was not only a choice but MY choice gave me back my sense of power and actually forgiving brought me an endless amount of peace. This further led me to feeling empowered. Being at peace, feeling in control, and feeling empowered brought forth happiness and happiness is what we’re all after anyway. So this means part of achieving happiness is forgiveness. To further understand why we should forgive we need to go back to a time when someone we deeply cared for forgave us. For me, I immediately think of God. There have been many times I bowed my head, closed my eyes, and asked God to forgive me. There have also been many times I felt unworthy of his forgiveness but he believed I was worthy and so he forgave me. The fact that he forgave me filled me with joy and gratitude. So, if someone we care for can forgive us and in turn we experience the joy, relief, and gratitude it brings then we should comprehend how important and powerful forgiving someone else can be. Acknowledging that in order to obtain mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being as well as recognizing in order to achieve happiness we must forgive is a huge move in the right direction. This process is often difficult but it promotes substantial amounts of self-growth. I urge you to embark on your journey of forgiveness with the hope that once you complete it you will pass the wisdom from your experience along. If you have any questions regarding life, love, family, faith, or career please email me at AskAudrey30@outlook.com
In November of 2009 Audrey Mabrey was attacked by her estranged husband and nearly lost her life. Since then she has become an advocate and public speaker and travels around the world sharing her story in the hopes of raising awareness and inspiring others to believe in themselves.
HEALTH & FITNESS
he unique properties of water combine to offer one of the most effective environments for an exercise program. Water fitness is the great equalizer – participants of a wide range of skill and fitness levels can enjoy this low-impact, total body conditioning workout. With the addition of high-quality equipment, the benefits of a water workout are endless.
GETTING FIT: TOTAL BODY CONDITIONING
• Studies have shown convincingly that water workouts decrease body fat as effectively as land-based exercise programs. • Without performing a single sit-up, a water workout tones and strengthens the abdominals as a result of maintaining a vertical posture against the water’s resistance.
• Water offers a three-in-one workout for cardiovascular and muscular conditioning and enhanced flexibility. This timeefficient, total body conditioning workout results in increased strength and endurance, and improved biomechanics and balance. • Low-impact aquatic workouts can prevent the injury, strain and re-injury common to many land-based exercise. Water supports 90 percent of the body’s weight – resulting in reduced stress on joints, muscles, tendon and ligaments. • Water is a natural and instantly adjustable weight-training machine. Resistance is approximately four to 42 times greater in water than air. A workout can be as vigorous or light as desired by effectively utilizing the water’s resistance. • Unlike most land activities, water provides resistance in all directions, so both sides of the muscle pair can be strength-
ened simultaneously. For example, an arm curl works both biceps and triceps, since there is resistance to the movement in both directions. • An upright water workout can be more effective than swimming, because the body’s vertical position increases resistance 75 percent over swimming laps. Water Fitness Benefits -- 2
FEELING GOOD: FITNESS FOR A LIFETIME
• A regular water fitness program can result in the permanent reduction of blood pressure. Water’s hydrostatic pressure helps the heart circulate blood, which accounts for lower blood pressure and heart rates during deep water exercise versus similar exertions on land. • Practical daily movements such as walking, lifting and reaching can be incorpo-
• Buoyancy equipment, such as the patented AquaJogger® belt, suspend the body securely and comfortably, supporting the head and neck out of the water, so hair stays dry and glasses can be worn. Water Fitness Benefits -- 3 • Especially beneficial to individuals with disabilities is the fact that water workouts offer a greater range of motion and freedom of movement than many land-based exercise.
LIQUID ASSETS: INJURY PREVENTION AND HEALING
rated into a water fitness workout to enhance functionality. This can result in the ability to enjoy and perform the activities of daily life with greater energy and ease. A water workout can be a social activity just like fitness walking or riding side-byside stationary bikes. With access to an indoor pool, water exercise becomes a great year-round activity, as well as a safe workout option during inclement weather. It can also be an affordable alternative to at-home workouts which often involve more expensive equipment. Water exercise is both exhilarating and therapeutic – reducing stress-related symptoms such as high blood pressure and muscle spasms. The water’s full body massage action provides a vigorous yet deeply relaxing workout that is usually pain free. Water exercise involves all muscle groups, yet virtually eliminates muscle soreness – leaving the muscles relaxed instead of
tight and sore.
WATER WALKING: NO SWIM SKILLS REQUIRED
• Water walking and running movements are simple to learn and require no swim skills, making deep water workouts accessible to virtually everyone – from those just beginning a workout program to those looking for a great cross-training option. • Whether in peak condition or recovering from surgery, the water’s forgiving environment supports and offers a light or challenging workout according to the person’s need – for both fragile physical therapy clients and intense athletes. • The water’s buoyancy helps even the uncoordinated land exerciser achieve a measure of grace with movements that are easy to learn. The fact that water obscures less than stellar bodies also makes this exercise appealing to the self-conscious.
• Water exercise demands the continual use of the abdominal and back muscles as well as the arms and legs in order to maintain erect body alignment and balance. This strengthening of the core abdominals and back can assist in managing and preventing back pain. • Water exercise enables a person to preserve as much fitness and function as possible while rehabilitating an injury. Many people heal to over 100 percent of preinjury strength and may actually improve their fitness level. Some individuals who have committed to aquatic therapy found their recovery time is reduced by half. • Heat is lost 25 times faster in water than air, allowing for longer and more comfortable workouts. This natural cooling of the body is particularly beneficial for people who tend to overheat during exercise, and in conditions such as pregnancy or multiple sclerosis, where maintaining a lower core body temperature is very important. • The water’s pressure helps the heart circulate blood which accounts for lower blood pressure and heart rates during deep water exercise. As a result of this hydrostatic pressure, water exercise may be one of the best and safest activities for cardiac patients. It also helps reduce swelling, allowing many people with arthritis or injuries to exercise. n To find a retailer near you visit www.AquaJogger.com or call 1-800-922-9544. AquaJogger® is a division of Excel Sports Science, Inc.
HEART I HEALTHY DARK CHOCOLATE BY CHARLYN FARGO
s it really true? Chocolate is good for your heart? Yep, and it’s just in time for a guilt-free Valentine’s Day. Here’s the real deal about dark chocolate, according to the latest issue of Environmental Nutrition. Chocolate is made from beans harvested from the cocoa tree. Chocolate manufacturers remove cocoa beans from their pod, and ferment, dry, roast and grind then into cocoa liquor. The beans may be further processed into cocoa butter and cocoa powder. Cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, sugar and vanilla are then combined to make chocolate. Dark chocolate contains higher amounts of cocoa solids and smaller amounts of sugar compared to milk
chocolate, thus it has a richer, deeper flavor. Dark chocolate also has high levels of flavonols, antioxidants (from flavonoids) found in cocoa and chocolate. Those flavonols are what gives it its health-protective antioxidant qualities, which are thought to help fend off heart disease, diabetes, dementia and stroke. Dark chocolate helps your heart by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol and may protect the heart by improving endothelium function (the cells that line the heart and blood vessels) and insulin resistance, a predictor of diabetes, according to a November 2013 study in the journal Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition Metabolic Care.
As to brain help, a study in a 2013 Neuroscience and Biobehavior Reviews Journal found that long-term flavonol consumption may have protective effects against cognitive decline. And in addition, the study in a 2013 Journal of Psychopharmacolgy found a square of dark chocolate may improve mood. When shopping for dark chocolate, choose 70 percent or higher cocoa content. Ingredients should include cocoa butter (but not other fats such as palm or coconut oil), sugar and vanilla. An ounce of 70 to 85 percent dark chocolate has 168 calories and 12 grams of fat -so it’s best not to eat too much. Pair it with heart-healthy almonds or red wine (in moderation) to boost those flavonols even more.
Q: Is magnesium as important as I have been hearing lately? If so, what foods are the best sources? A: Magnesium is a mineral involved in DNA repair, control of cell growth, blood sugar metabolism and insulin signaling, among other roles. The good news is that we don’t need huge amounts of magnesium to lower our risk of diabetes and heart disease (including high blood pressure). The Recommended Dietary Allowance is 320 milligrams for most women and 420 mg for most men. In one study, researchers looked at magnesium intake of obese people with metabolic syndrome (a group of risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure and high triglycerides), which means they were also at increased risk of developing diabetes. Those who met recommended amounts of magnesium were 63 percent less likely than those who didn’t meet the RDA to develop insulin resistance, the starting point of Type 2 diabetes. An analysis of eight population studies shows that people consuming the most magnesium were nearly 20 percent less likely to develop colon cancer than those with lowest intake. Unfortunately, Americans are eating more refined, processed foods, which are
low in magnesium. Foods like dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts and dried beans are rich in this mineral. The average American gets about 50-70 milligrams less than recommended amounts, a gap easily remedied with a few adjustments in food choices. For example, you can replace some of the refined grains you usually eat with whole grains or include a dark green vegetable on your plate. Work dried beans, seeds and nuts (especially almonds and cashews) into salads, stews or snacks regularly. Learn to include plenty of fruits and vegetables throughout the day. These foods all contain fiber and other nutrients and plant compounds that appear protective against the health problems linked to low magnesium intake, so focusing on making a few small swaps in your current diet is likely to be better for your health than a magnesium supplement. Information courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research.
Nutrient-packed quinoa is all the rage these days. But just what to do with it? Eating Well magazine offers a recipe for Apple-Cheddar Quinoa Muffins. They freeze well -- to reheat just warp in a paper towel and microwave on high for 30 to 60 seconds.
APPLE-CHEDDAR QUINOA MUFFINS • • • • • • • • • •
1 cup quinoa flour 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour 4 teaspoons baking powder 1 tablespoon sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 large eggs 1 cup buttermilk 1 cup grated peeled apple 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives or scallion greens • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 12cup muffin tin with cooking spray or line with paper liners and spray the liners. Whisk quinoa flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Whisk eggs, buttermilk, apple, oil and chives (or scallions) in a medium bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Add half the cheese and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened; do not overmix. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake the muffins until the golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 12 muffins. Per muffin: 169 calories, 6 g protein, 19 g carbohydrate, 7 g fat, 42 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 306 mg sodium.
An ounce of nuts daily prolongs life and prevents disease DR. DAVID LIPSCHITZ
uts are generally considered bad choices for snacks because they’re so high in calories. It is why experts recommend avoiding cakes or desserts containing a high content of them, and why many of us keep them out of our diets. But in recent years, more and more information has been indicating the tremendous benefits nuts have on improving health. The most encouraging report showed that adding nuts to your diet either prevented weight gain or promoted weight loss. Researchers have found dieters who consume an ounce of nuts daily are more likely to eat less at supper and, therefore, lose weight. And now, from a large population study, comes remarkable evidence that nut consumption reduces the risk of heart disease in both men and women by as much as 50 percent. The benefit is so impressive that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering a proposal to allow foods containing nuts to state on their labels: “Diets containing an ounce of nuts per day can reduce your risk of heart disease.” A massive study recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine shows that increasing nut intake also reduces the risk of many chronic illnesses, including heart disease and diabetes. It appears to reduce risk of death, too. Researchers followed over 75,000 women from 1980 to 2010, and over 40,000 men from 1986 to 2010. Over the 30-year period, compared to those who never ate nuts, those who did once weekly had a 7 percent lower risk of dying, gradually reducing risk even more
as they consumed more nuts. For those eating nuts at least once a day, the risk of death was lowered by a remarkable 20 percent. And further analysis revealed significant reductions in the risk of heart and respiratory diseases, diabetes, infections and cancer. There was some concern at the outset of the study that daily nut consumption could lead to weight gain. The exact opposite turned out to be the case. Those eating nuts most frequently either maintained their weight or lost weight during the course of the study. Nut-eaters were overall healthier: They were less likely to be obese, had lower waist circumferences, lower cholesterols and blood-sugar levels than their counterparts not eating nuts. They also ate less, consumed more fruits and vegetables, and exercised more regularly. For this reason, it’s unclear whether the found benefits of nuts were a result of people committed to healthier lifestyles and living longer being less concerned about their weights and, hence, more likely to eat nuts. There are many ways nuts promote health. They contain the best polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibers, and have high concentrations of antioxidants (phenols and phytosterols). Most experts recommend having an ounce of nuts as a snack in the afternoon
and about two to three hours before dinner. They are calorically dense and take a long time to chew. This, in turn, helps promote satiety, as does their high calorie content. Nuts’ high level of fiber also makes you feel full and less hungry at dinnertime. Nuts make it easier to eat prudently, limiting your risk of becoming obese and making a diet program more likely to be successful. Nuts reduce the risk of heart attacks in a number of ways. Monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids tend to lower cholesterol and decrease the risk of blood clotting. High concentrations of the amino acid arginine promote blood flow, dilate blood vessels and help maintain a lower blood pressure. And high fiber content reduces cholesterol and appears to decrease the risk of diabetes. High fiber and healthy fats in nuts also promote better gastrointestinal function and decrease the risk of colon, breast and prostate cancers. Like an apple a day, an ounce of nuts will almost certainly keep the doctor away. The most important message you can extract from this information is that the best approach to dieting is not necessarily the consumption of lowcalorie foods, but that learning to make the right food choices and eating in the right amounts will lead to a long and healthy life.
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WHEN “LOVE” GOES WRONG BY AUDREY MABREY AND MELISSA DOHME
When we think of February, we tend to have images of red and pink hearts instantly bombard our minds and feelings of love saturate our souls. This is because we have been trained to recognize Valentine’s Day as the holiday to celebrate in February. The act of expressing your love to family, friends, and significant others is a beautiful tradition BUT what if we told you that February is also Teen Dating Violence Awareness month AND 1 in 3 teens have or will experience some
form of abuse from their partner. Since learning Teen Dating Violence (TDV) is currently wreaking havoc on the younger generation, Julie Weintraub’s Hands Across the Bay made it part of their mission to educate as many teens and parents as possible. The days of meeting your significant others parents have slipped away and as a result we often have no idea if our teens are dating, let alone if they are in an ABUSIVE relationship. The most important thing you can do as a parent to protect your teen from TDV is to talk about it! You can start by explaining the difference between love and control. For example, teens may think obsessive texting, checkins, or questions of their whereabouts is a sign of love BUT this is actually a form of control. Reinforce to your teen that dating is a fun and experimental time and shouldn’t be freighting or secretive. Teens are extremely skilled at hiding a number of things and abuse is no exception; therefore, it is VITAL to be on the lookout for warning signs. Abuse has no boundaries! Recognizing the signs early could be the difference between life and death. Perhaps your son or daughter has come home with bruises that seem to always have a “story” or maybe you’ve no-
ticed their friends aren’t coming around anymore and they don’t want to attend family functions. You might have even seen a change in behavior, such as increased anxiety or sadness. These are all red flags your son or daughter may be experiencing abuse. The last thing we want for our teens is for them to be victims of TDV. If your intuition is alerting you and the signs are present then please take action immediately! It is so important they know they are NOT ALONE! Try to be supportive, understanding, and take whatever they tell you seriously. The most dangerous time in an abusive relationship is when the victim decides to leave, so it is CRITICAL that you help them create a safety plan. Remember, it’s not their fault and as a parent it’s your duty to protect them. The only way to truly eliminate Teen Dating Violence is through education and awareness. Please join us in our mission to transform a generation saturated with hate, violence, and crime into a generation infused with love, compassion, and peace. For more information on creating a safety plan, how to talk to your teen, or recognizing the signs of abuse please visit www. loveisrespect.org
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T R AV E L
A super-pod of dolphins surrounds the Safari Endeavour in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico. Photo courtesy of Jim Farber.
DISCOVER THE WONDERS OF THE SEA OF CORTEZ BY JIM FARBER
“The Gulf and Gulf ports have always been unfriendly to colonization. Again and again attempts were made before a settlement would stick. Humans are not much wanted on the peninsula.” -- from “The Log From the Sea of Cortez” by John Steinbeck, 1941. From the bridge of the Safari Endeav-
our the view in the distance seemed to resemble the thin white line of a coral reef that stretched from one shore of Baja California’s Sea of Cortez to the other. But that was impossible. No such reef exists. Our ship, one of the small-scale luxury vessels operated by Un-Cruise Adventures, had set sail from the bustling port of La Paz five days before, heading north with a passenger list of just 28 and a crew of 22, all under the skilled guidance of its captain, Kendra Nelsen. By night we dropped anchor in isolated coves, while our days were spent kayaking into sea caves, snorkeling with sea lions and hiking on uninhabited desert islands. But on the day we spotted the mysterious reef we had been sailing around for several hours in no particular direction, simply in search of the sea life. All the passengers had their binoculars out. As the ship drew gradually nearer we could see that the surface of the water was literally frothing white with plumes of spray and numerous splashes. “It’s a super-pod of dolphins,” our onboard guide and naturalist, Jeremy Saenez, declared, clearly as excited by the spectacle as we were. “It happens when a number of pods come together to feed.”
Moments late the entire ship was surrounded by a mass of leaping and diving dolphins that numbered in the thousands. Interspersed among the dolphins were several gray whales whose graceful flukes were breaking the water. It was a National Geographic moment none of us will ever forget. The Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California, is a large inlet of the eastern Pacific Ocean along the northwestern coast of Mexico. It is enclosed by the Mexican mainland to the east and by the mountainous peninsula of Baja California to the west. The gulf is 750 miles long and an average of 95 miles wide, about 200 miles across at its mouth. It covers a total surface area of 62,000 square miles, making it the one of the largest peninsular bodies of water in the world. Despite its spectacular rugged scenery and close proximity to the United States, the vast majority of the land on the Baja Peninsula -- as well as the multitude of islands that dot the Sea of Cortez -- is uninhabited simply because of a lack of water. Two major exceptions are the fishing port and capital city of La Paz and the tourist mecca of Cabo San Lucas at the southern tip of the peninsula. And aside from tour-
The Un-Cruise ship Safari Endeavour makes stops at serene Bahia de Agua Verde, a cove in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico. Photo courtesy of Jim Farber.
ism, the only commodity that has ever brought treasure-seekers to the Sea of Cortez is its riches in the form of pearls. Fortunately, as a result of its isolation and lack of development, the Sea of Cortez has served as a sanctuary for wildlife for millions of years. It is home to the greatest variety of seals, dolphins and whales in the world, as well as manta rays, turtles, a veritable rainbow of fish and vast flocks of sea birds. Its harsh, rugged landscape of red rock cliffs, chaparral and cactus has hardly changed since the arrival of Nunez de Guzman, who was dispatched by the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes and discovered the gulf in 1532. Because of its limited facilities, the Sea of Cortez (with the exception of Cabo San Lucas) has never become a port of call for the mega cruise ships that ply the Mexican Riviera. But because of its many sheltered islands and coves, the area is a favorite destination for pleasure boating and small-scale cruise ships like the Safari Endeavour. Un-Cruise Adventures specializes in high-end cruises that feature elegantly appointed ships and an intimate friendly environment where 15 minutes after
Leah Webb practices yoga on a deck of the Safari Endeavour in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez. Photo courtesy of Jim Farber.
boarding every crew member knows your name. Everything is included in the cost of the cruise, including all activities from snorkeling and kayaks to early morning yoga classes, sumptuous meals and any alcoholic drink that suits your fancy. The cabins are exceedingly comfortable and available in varying sizes. There are also special programs for kids that involve them in activities that combine fun with education about the Sea of Cortez and its natural wonders. Un-Cruise Adventures, particularly on the Sea of Cortez, are far less structured than many cruise lines. The itinerary for the day is based on what seems best at the moment, though there always seems to be time for snorkeling expeditions, kayaking, paddle-boarding or simply leaping off the ship into the deep blue water. One optional shore excursion that is very popular is a day trip from the port of Loreto across the peninsula to Bahia Magdalena on the Pacific Ocean. This shallow bay is famous as the site where the great herds of migratory gray whales come in the spring to have their calves. Here passengers board small power launches to glide among these gentle giants. Impromptu activities can include a
mule ride to a beachside oasis amid the idyllic setting of Bahia Aqua Verde, a sunset or moonrise champagne boating party, or a dance under the stars by firelight on the beach of a secluded island. And if you’re lucky, you might even encounter a super-pod of dolphins. It is an unfortunate fact that many people have shied away from booking Mexican vacations because of the violence that has plagued the region. This has been far less the case on the Baja Peninsula and should not unduly influence your plans. The Sea of Cortez is one of the most beautiful (and convenient) travel destinations near the United States, and its density of wildlife is on a par with Africa and Alaska. It is one of the great natural wonders of the world.
WHEN YOU GO
The best way to get to the Sea of Cortez is to fly to either La Paz or San Jose del Cabo. Un-Cruise Adventures offers a variety of tours: January through March, June through October and November through December. Book before Feb. 28, 2014, and receive one night pre- or post-cruise free at the Hilton San Jose del Cabo: www.un-cruise.com/mexico-cruises or 888-862-8881.
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