Fall 2017 – Healthy Living

Inside Jacksonville October Edition: Healthy Living



Happiness By Way of Meditation

By Morgan Yonge and Josh Hodges

With the constant hustle of trying to keep up with the daily stresses of life, people are starting to turn inwards to find a cure to the depression that has become an all too familiar ailment to a large portion of society.

For Natalie Peery, dealing with those stresses is all a state of mind. Five days a week, Natalie practices meditation and yoga with a personal trainer. For Natalie, this practice is all about getting to a state of understanding herself and knowing what she wants from life.

“Happiness comes from within, so you have to decide who you are, how you want to be and get up and do it everyday. If you’re happy, you’ll attract happy people. I you’re not, you won’t,” said Natalie.

For Peery, happiness is a choice you make everyday. She says it is not always easy and it is hard work, but it is still something we have to decide for ourselves.

According to a study by Harvard Medical School, meditation has been proven to decrease stress and anxiety by reducing heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and easing respiration. Also, apart from its application towards stress relief, some have even looked into meditation as a form for treating other mental ailments like PTSD.

Jonathan Scott is a Navy Veteran and suffers from PTSD. After serving five years in the Navy from the age of 18, Scott left the service with a diagnosis of combat related PTSD. To help cope with such a disorder, Scott practices meditation by way of slack-lining–a form of rope walking that requires balance both mentally and physically.

“You have to focus on just your body’s movement on this line that’s floating in the air. And when you do this it’s kind of a forced meditation. And meditation has just taken it above and beyond what anything can do. What any medication can do, what any therapy can do,” said Scott.

As stated by Psychology Today, a 2016 study on meditation’s effect on PTSD showed significant improvement for those who practiced it. Out of the 74 participants who participated, 50% practiced meditation, and the other 50% did not.

Among those who did use meditation in addition to their other therapy, after a month, 83.7% had either rolled back, or stopped taking medication as part of their treatment.  For those who didn’t meditate, only 59.4% eased back their medication and unfortunately, 40.5% actually had to increase to medication.


The Use of Diet Supplements in Everyday Lives

By Katie Connors and Hannah Simmons

We all want to feel good and have energy. Eating and exercise are two large components that effect how we feel. Uncontrollable situations and health issues make it difficult to live healthy. Diet supplements are an outlet for those who are struggling to be healthy. Some supplements help you lose weight while others help you improve your wellbeing.

When wanting to lose weight, many people turn to counting calories or cutting out meals. Diet supplements encourage healthy eating and normal exercise, while adding further nutritional value through vitamins and other natural ingredients.

For Kathy White, the meal replacement program Visalus has not only increased her health but has also changed her daily lifestyle. She has tried a variety of different diets throughout the majority of her life, but she was never able to maintain the results. When she began Visalus, she was able to add consistency to her life. Now, she has maintained losing 20 pounds.

Another life changed through a supplement is Melanie Harper. She was diagnosed with the auto immune disease Lupus. After suffering from excruciating pain, she began searching for an out. She discovered the program called Plexus through a friend’s Facebook page. After starting Plexus, she has been taken off all of her prescribed medications. In the process, she has also lost twenty pounds.

Are diet supplements healthy? Recent graduate in nutrition, Jordon Garman, takes on this question. He says that supplements can be beneficial as long as they are properly used. He highly recommends a doctor’s opinion, as well as, personal research on any supplement. Garman says living a healthy life style is all about balance. For some people diet supplements are part of that healthy balance.

Extreme Sports

By Joslyn Simmons and Marielisa Martinez

Exercising is one of the main way to stay in shape in the world full of diets and alternative methods straight from the television. For some, it takes more than just walking around the block to get their adrenaline pumping.

Donnia Walton stays in shape through running such as in the 5k ZERO Prostate Cancer race/walk with her husband and his friends.

“When you running, it covers every muscle in your body, everything. Your face, your arms, your legs, everything,” Walton said.

According to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, with only five minutes of running a day, a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease is reduced.

Dr.Tracy Alloway, an UNF psychology professor see the benefits increasing if a person takes a different approach, running barefoot.

“So if you’re studying for an exam and you need that extra benefit for your active memory, take of your shoes, go to the track and do a few laps around there,” Alloway said.

If running isn’t for you, there is another option that even more intense, crossfit.

While it may seem dangerous at first glimpse, Jacksonville Beach Crossfit Owner Justin Henderson said that safety is the first priority.

No matter how one trains, making small steps can go a long way in overall health for the future.


By Nikeya Heath and Jackie Hellett

Red LED (Light Emitting Diodes) light therapy was originally discovered by NASA to find a solution for plant growth and feeding astronauts while in space. Now, it is also a proven method of physically reducing the appearance of your skin.

LED is not new. Red, infra-red and blue lights are already popular in the world of skin care. What is new is how this device delivers the light.

Donna Fox, Director of Planet Beach Spray and Contempo spa, said getting this treatment is quick and easy. All it takes is a squeeze of face moisturizer and thirty minutes out of your day.

This therapy provides many advantages such as reducing painful side effects due to skin Cancer, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, eliminating sun damage and it improves the overall appearance of your skin, and all you must do is recline in a chair and let the light do its job.

Treatments are known to diminish hyper-pigmentation, fine lines and dark spots in less than two months and Foxx says the results are “hard not to notice.”

Living in Florida, it is essential that you change your skin regimens to ensure that your skin is protected and healthy.

Not everyone has access to Red LED Light therapy, but Spokeswoman Piper Prinzi says taking care of your skin should be top priority and Mary Kay has customizable products that can be used from the comfort of your own home.

“A lot of people don’t think about sunscreen unless they’re going to the beach or to the pool and put it on their body, but our face is needing to have that sunscreen protection for incidental sun exposure every day.” Prinzi said.

Prinzi promotes moistening and cleansing your skin twice a day to keep it protected and fresh. She also suggests for Floridians to find the most appropriate skin regimen for their individual skin types.

Whether you’re into skincare or not, your face is the largest organ on the body and should always be protected.

Healthy Kids

By Sarah Carter and Corin Gainey

Florida is in the top 5 among the worst rated states for childhood obesity. The effects of childhood obesity range from physical to psychological and the social problems are never too far behind. The problem many parents have had is finding a healthy balance between diet and exercise.

We asked dietician and nutritionist Emina Rovcanin. She says one of the keys is to analyze your own family’s behavior and then adjust accordingly . A family that is especially active but regularly visits McDonalds may do well to cut back on the fast food and focus on eating at home. A family that eats right most of the time but is too busy to exercise can take advantage of little opportunities to get more active. Simple tasks like walking the dog in the mornings and family bike rides in the evenings can be priceless.

The easiest tip to focus on is to cut fast food and cleaning out your pantry. Breakfast cereals and shakes are full of sugar that aren’t going to keep you full until the next meal. Instead try to incorporate more lean meats, fresh vegetables and trying new fruits. If your child is particularly picky, try dipping your vegetables in hummus or dips. Don’t be afraid to try again, despite a tantrum. Kids are more likely to get used to eating something new if they see if all the time.

When it comes to diet and exercise neither is more important than the other. Jakob Harding is a soccer coach for the Jacksonville Armada Youth Academy. He stresses that the most important thing is to start habits young. Keep your goals small and gradual. Stay patient with yourself and you’ll be surprised how quickly you can get accustomed to newfound healthy habits as well as breaking the bad ones.

Diets and Fads

By Julia Netwon and Kelton Givens

Health and fitness is something more people are become aware of. With technology, people are able to more easily access the tools they need to live a healthier lifestyle. Even if one is unable to access these tools they maybe able to find someone they know to help them along the way. From different diets to the next big trend, there are two people who know all to well the importance of living a healthy and fit lifestyle here in the Jacksonville area.

It may seem cliche to say but for Kenneth Jenkins, living a healthy lifestyle literally saved his life. He started Ken’s Fitness as a license personal trainer in 2013. During the next couple of years he worked to change and improve the lives of the people in his community. One day he got into a horrible accident that left him weak and immobile. Because Kenneth was so fit and healthy he was able to recover faster than most and is now able to live his life as a personal trainer and inspiration to the community.

Another Jacksonville native who has experience with living a healthy lifestyle is Alexandra Ellis. As both a full-time student and part-time worker, it is important that Alexandra is able to keep your body healthy so she can function throughout her daily routine. She also suffers with epilepsy and recently relapsed after being two and a half years seizure-free.

After her last seizure, Alexander decided she was going to take a healthier stance on her life and change both her diet and fitness routine. She now exercises multiple times a week and incorporates the keto diet with in her life. Alexandra does this to battle of her epilepsy after she decided to do research on her own and discovered the diet.

It may not always be easy but it can be seen how important living a healthy lifestyle is. Some people  are not always trying to look good but trying to live a better life, a more healthier one such as Kenneth and Alexandra.


The Cost of Healthy Eating

By Tierney Harvey

With the holidays right around the corner, healthy eating is on a lot of minds this time of year. For some people, the struggle is all about self control, but others face bigger obstacles.

According to Jenna Braddock, a registered dietitian and faculty member at the University of North Florida, there are several main barriers to healthy eating: access, affordability and education.

A 2013 Harvard School of Public Health study found a healthy diet costs about $1.50 more per day than an unhealthy diet.

People who don’t have any grocery stores in their area and do not have cars may struggle to find healthy food, Braddock said, and people living paycheck to paycheck might buy inexpensive, unhealthy food to try to stretch each dollar. And for others, the issue could be that they simply don’t know how to prepare healthy food, or if they would even like it.

However, she said, some of that is changing. She said recent food trends have brought specialty health items into the mainstream, making it easier to find the right foods to suit any diet.

“There was a time when you could only find certain products at a natural food store,” Braddock said. “And now, we’re seeing those products become available at the mainstream grocery stores, which I think is exciting.”

One store that specializes in healthy, organic options is Earthfare. With two locations in Jacksonville, the store offers fresh food and affordable prices.

Earthfare store manager Dan Taupier said, “Our tagline is Healthy Food for Everyone.”

The store has “guaranteed meal days,” Taupier said, where they offer a meal to feed a family of four for only $2.50 per person. He said the guaranteed meal days are offered five days a week.

Local nonprofits, such as Dig Local, are helping, too. Dig Local is a network that aims to bring people all across the city access to affordable, sustainably grown food. The organization runs three weekly markets and two community gardens, as well as work on outreach and education.

Devin Ritch, the chair of the board and lead market manager, said their main goal is “healthy food for all.”

Ritch said they chose the location for their ABC Market – held every Friday on Mayport Road in Atlantic Beach – based on the lack of grocery stores in the area. Dig Local tries to give farmers an outlet to sell their produce directly to consumers, which according to Ritch, has several benefits for shoppers.

“They’re talking to the person that grows their food, so there’s a sense of connection and community,” Ritch said, “and also, the nutritional value of produce that was picked this morning versus picked six weeks ago.”