Health, Nutrition and our Temple: Part 1

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Statistics show that African-Americans lead the country in a number of diseases that may be preventable with changes of lifestyle. With April being Minority Health Month, we should all focus on the 2014 theme, “Prevention is Power: Taking Action for Health Equity.”

Nearly 20 percent of all African-Americans 21 years or older have diabetes, which is unbalanced compared to other races.  Cancer, heart disease and stroke are only a few of the many diseases that plague the African-American community, and according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, these are three of the ten leading causes of death for African-Americans.  To add, over a third of adults in America are obese.  Obesity not only increases the risk for other diseases, but also causes a lack of energy and poor physical performance.

Fitness experts Alex and Ashley Poptodorov have both helped people reach their peak in health and wellness though their business, A+A Wellness.  Of health, Ashley says, “The preservation of health is the greatest gift you can give yourself and those you love.” Alex and Ashley maintain that aside from reducing the risk of these diseases, better nutrition also helps one to think more clearly:  “Many of the chemicals, food additives and preservatives in the mainstream food supply today are responsible for “foggy” thinking, and much of the processed foods are being linked to Alzheimer’s, dementia and other nuero-degenerative diseases.”

Many of the diseases and health disparities in our community can be prevented with better eating habits, but trying to make these changes is difficult because of the cost and the limited access many of us have to foods that are beneficial to our well being.  Educating ourselves through the Internet and trainers can be challenging as well, because of the inconsistencies: “While taking control of your nutrition may not be the ‘easiest’ thing to do, it is by far the most beneficial and will give you back ten times whatever it is you give up,” says Ashley.

There are so many diet and weight loss trends out there, but few are nutritionally beneficial.  A change in mindset needs to happen. Quick fixes aren’t necessarily healthy practices, and your outer appearance isn’t always an indicator of what’s going on inside of your body.  Weight loss does not equal health; however, taking control of your nutrition can help you reach your weight loss goals much faster. What’s most important is that optimal nutrition can give you a quality of life that most people lack due to our nutrient void foods and standard American diets.  In the end, we are left scrambling to improve our health, so prevention is key.

On another level, our bodies are our temples, the vessels through which we reach our God-given potential and purpose.  Alex faithfully stands by 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 as his motivation for not only a Christian lifestyle, but also a healthy one: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”

Taking control of your health matters, because African-Americans are becoming ill and are dying at higher rates than ever before, at a time when we have the most measures and knowledge to prevent these diseases.  We need to understand how our daily practices affect our overall health.  Speaking of healthy eating, Ashley says, “Caring about what you are putting into your body shows you care about yourself. When you take the time to educate yourself and make healthy changes, you give yourself a chance to live the optimal life you deserve!”

They will help us understand how food affects our bodies. Comment and send us your questions, and we will answer in the coming weeks!  Stay tuned!

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About Alex and Ashley Poptodorov:

A+A Wellness owners Alex and Ashley Poptodorov have 24+ years experience in helping people achieve overall health and wellbeing. Together they run A+A Wellness in the Atlanta area and offer a variety of programs to help people achieve their healthy lifestyle goals. A+A Wellness has been going strong for 10 years and helped countless people achieve amazing results. Currently, Alex is in school to obtain his N.D. Degree to become a Holistic physician, and his passion is helping people through nutrition. Visit their website at www.aandawellness.com and on Facebook.

Jazmyne Butler is Copy Editor for Urban Cusp who earned a BA in Mass Communication and Journalism from The University of Southern Mississippi. She is a Mississippi Associated Press Award Winner for College Television Newscast and was awarded Most Outstanding Student in Broadcast Journalism. As an undergraduate, she completed a thesis, delving into topics such as media framing, feminism, and gender roles. Jazmyne is also an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. She is a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi but currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia. You can follow her on Twitter at @SimplyJazmyne.

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