Healthy Life, September 2018

Healthy Life, A Refit Revolution

A REFIT Revolution

“We believe fitness isn’t just for the fit … it’s for the willing.”
By Sharon Holeman

Erika leads a class at the Chapel in the Oaks. Photography by Sharon Holeman of Praise First Media, LLC.

What started as three friends teaching fitness classes at a church in Waco, Texas has turned into a REFIT Revolution! In 2009 Angela Beeler, Catherine Ballas, and Emily Field posted some original choreography on YouTube to help draw people to their classes. Rather than quick-fix results, the trio chose to focus on the joy of the journey – building a community of friends where everyone belongs regardless of their current circumstance. They wanted a place where people would feel acceptance and know when they walked in the door that “you belong here.”

The response to their teachings was astounding. By 2013 they had received enough encouragement and requests from fitness instructors wanting to teach their routines that they launched the REFIT Instructor Program. It combines dance moves to positive music and has been transformational to a great number of people. One of those is Baton Rouge’s Erika Bittner.

Erika was first introduced to REFIT through a friend at church. That invitation led Erika on a journey she was not expecting. “I never did anything related to dance, but as God brought REFIT into my life, a new love and passion surprised me,” she said. After two years of taking classes, Erika became a certified instructor.

“Physical health was a chore for a long time in my life,” she said. “I went to the gym because it was something I had to do. REFIT has changed my life because I enjoy the workout – but it is so much more. It’s a community of real people who do not judge. They encourage each other to be the best versions of themselves. And that gives me so much joy!”

Erika has multiple stories of how she has seen God working in the lives of those who become part of the REFIT community. She recalls with amazement a college friend who reached out to her to learn more about the classes. Her friend attended, and afterward approached Erika with tears in her eyes. The class had given her joy amid an overwhelming season in her life.

“The moment my friend shared her situation with me I knew God was in the details,” Erika said. “Nothing is too big or small for God. He wants us to trust and follow His lead! When we are in tune with the Holy Spirit and do the things we love, big things happen for His glory!”

Despite being a busy wife, dog mom, music teacher, and travel enthusiast, Erika makes time for REFIT. “Not only has REFIT transformed my physical self, but I have gained a new sense of confidence and fabulous community,” she said.

Classes are 55 minutes each, with fun choreography to songs that are positive or neutral. Attendees come to dance, sweat, smile, and laugh. “There is a release of stress,” Erika explains. “Nobody is distracted by cell phones, social media, kids, family, or work. It is a place for people to let go of the burdens of life and worship through dance. I see a huge difference in my attitude and mindset when I am doing REFIT. It is tough to minister to others if we do not take care of ourselves, and I find REFIT provides a place for self-care and stress relief.”

Erika ends each class with a pinky prayer “because we are too sweaty to hold hands!” The group sometimes shares a devotional or does a small activity. “This time really allows us to grow deeper and walk through life together, which is so powerful!” Erika said.

Erika teaches REFIT at The Chapel in the Oaks, along with instructors Morgan Barkas and Jessica Wright. While classes are on a brief hiatus during August, everyone is invited to brunch at The Crown at The Royal Standard on Highland Road on Saturday, August 25 at 10 a.m. Come meet some of the REFIT family!

Fall classes at The Chapel will kick off on Saturday, September 15 at 9 a.m. All classes at this location are donation-based, and everyone is welcome. Follow Erika and her crew on Facebook (I fit you fit REFIT) and Instagram (@ifityoufitrefit).

Other classes in Baton Rouge are held at Elite Gymnastics, Calloway’s Gym, Southern Oaks, and Women’s Center for Wellness. See for more information.

Sharon Holeman is a writer and photographer living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She was the project creator, coordinator, and co-author of the book Backyard Miracles-12 American Women, 12 True Stories, 1 Miraculous God. Previously published in Her Glory and Inspire Louisiana. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio and The Art Institute of Houston. She is currently attending Bethany College to further her pursuit of the Lord and His Word.

Healthy Life, May 2018

Fun in the Sun

Have a Sun-Safe Summer!

When the school bell rings for the last time this year, the kids will be headed outdoors — to the back yard, the local swimming pool, the baseball and soccer fields, or a family vacation at the beach. That means your family’s most important accessory for the next few months is sunscreen!

May is National Skin Cancer Prevention Month, so be sure you keep plenty of sunscreen with you and educate your kids on the importance of using it every time they venture outside. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the best sun protection factor (SPF) is 30 or higher for children. The higher the SPF, the higher the level of protection.

Sun Protection Tips: 

Here are some helpful tips to minimize the harsh effects of the sun:

Try to stay out of the midday sun (10 a.m.-2 p.m.).

While you’re outdoors, apply sunscreen every 2 hours.
Wear sunscreen even on cloudy, overcast days.
Wear sunglasses with UVB protection.

Wear a hat or visor to keep your head covered.

Skin cancer warning signs
Skin damage usually shows up in the form of moles, blemishes, or skin discolorations.

A normal mole is usually evenly colored and can be flat or raised. Some are present at birth, but most appear in childhood or young adulthood. Most of the time, they are harmless.

You should be concerned, however, if you notice that a mole or growth has changed color, size, texture or shape. Check your skin carefully once a month and if you do notice any changes, make an appointment to visit your dermatologist.

Early detection is key to treating and beating skin cancer.

BRCLM Image Therese Pittman
Healthy Life, March 2018

Small Changes Make a Big Difference


Changes Make a



by Therese Pittman

Everyone strives for good health, and many struggle to achieve it. The truth is that making simple lifestyle changes can have a huge impact on your health. Eat a smart diet, exercise regularly, and find ways to manage stress in your life. Here are some other suggestions to put you on the path to wellness.

Q: Based on your expertise, what are some suggestions for becoming healthier?

A: One small change at a time! A healthy eating lifestyle isn’t about deprivation or guilt. We should enjoy the foods we love in the healthiest way we can. Familiarize yourself with the best organic foods to incorporate into your diet. Replace refined sugars and artificial sweeteners with stevia and monk fruit or other low glycemic alternatives. Substantially reduce or eliminate soft drinks and fast foods. Drink a full glass of lukewarm lemon water first thing every morning and eat a breakfast that includes healthy fats like avocado, raw nuts and organic nut butter which will satiate you for hours.

Q: What common mistakes cause us to have less energy and lose motivation?

A: The one small change at a time applies here too. Don’t be hard on yourself or compare yourself to other people’s fitness levels. Our own negative thoughts get in the way of change, so just  start moving. Even simple standing stretches and deep breathing energizes you. Practicing deep breathing as you walk naturally includes core muscles. To get a greater core workout, walk intentionally — swinging your arms and rotating your torso.

Q: What does it mean to come “in tune” with your body?

A: It is about being more aware of how we carry and support our body. A tucked-pelvis position (whether standing, sitting (like slouching!), or lying down) is what some people become accustomed to and what feels normal. They need to retrain and learn “neutral spine” — a small curve at low back. Natural curves are in the back for a reason. They serve as natural shock absorbers against compressive forces under the pull of gravity. Every muscle in our body has a job and if any are improperly working, then the load is placed somewhere else and in the spine it can travel to the lower back and hips.

BRCLM Image Healthy Life

Q: How do you help others with core balance and strength training, and why is this so important? 

A: Posture assessment first to look for any imbalances, post surgeries, or injuries.  This will ensure appropriate exercises to incorporate in their program.   I have several Pilates large and small apparatus as well as balance pads and Power Plate acceleration equipment to help clients increase strength, balance, flexibility, and agility.  Clients practice unique postural correction cues so the exercises can “live” in their bodies.  The essence of the Pilates method is not copying the exercises but meant to correctly practice the mindful movement so you can use it in active daily living effortlessly, not kept in the studio.

Q: Why did you become certified in helping others heal from scoliosis, osteoporosis and breast cancer recovery?

A: I wanted to properly learn about the specialization needs, healing and recovery of clients as circumstances arise. There are a plethora of contraindicated exercises from mat work to small and large Pilates equipment for specialty populations — pregnancy, postnatal, breast cancer surgery, scoliosis and osteoporosis. Several of my clients (and myself) have scoliosis. Practicing proper alignment with strength gained through exercises will help provide pain relief for years to come.

1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men over age 50 have low bone density and are at risk for fractures.  Bone responds differently to exercise at every age. I wanted to apply current research in teaching effective movements for bone health, which will increase strength and reduce the risk of falls and fractures

Q: How do health and vitality affect our spiritual life? 

A: When you stand better, you breathe better, so you can move better, which makes you function and feel better mentally, emotionally and physically. A healthy diet and lifestyle create a state of well-being. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit! Hence with God’s grace, this vitality can bring physical and spiritual movement into worship.

Therese Pittman

Therese Pittman is the owner of the Pilates Center of Baton Rouge. As a fitness professional, she has a solid understanding of anatomy, biomechanics and postural issues. She works with clients from all walks of life and teaches them to be strong and flexible so they can perform daily functional tasks free from injury risk.

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

BRCLM Distribution Team
Click here to learn more!
February 2018, Healthy Life

Keep Your Heart Healthy





Nothing works harder than your heart. at 80 beats per minute, that’s about 4,800 times per hour and 115,200 times per day. imagine how hard your heart works over a lifetime! That’s why it’s important to take care of it — by eating healthy, getting regular exercise, managing stress and seeing your doctor often.

February is National Heart Month, a time when healthcare organizations encourage americans to live a heart-healthy lifestyle. The bad news is that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the country … the good news is that even small lifestyle changes can make a huge difference. 

Here are some guidelines from the american Heart association to reduce your risk of heart disease:

Kick the habit. smoking greatly increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Eat a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean meats.

Limit your intake of sugary drinks, red meats, and foods with high salt content.

Get regular exercise. even 2 or 3 hours a week is beneficial.

Drink no more than one alcoholic drink per day.

Talk to your doctor about managing high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Choose an activity to help you manage stress, such as yoga or a daily walk.

(Information provided by the American Heart Association and Web MD.)

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!
Healthy Life, January 2018

A Happy Healthy New Year! From resolutions to revelations




From resolutions to revelations

It won’t be long before you’re ringing in the New Year and thinking about all those wonderful changes you’re going to make in your life. Unfortunately, those who actually make a list of New Year’s resolutions are pretty disappointed in themselves by the end of January! Turning wishes into reality usually means changing your behavior, and it’s just not easy. Habits are hard to break, especially if we’re trying to get healthy or be a better person. Here are some resolutions that can evolve into revelations – about your character and your commitment to treat your body as God’s “temple.”

Lose Weight

It’s an admirable goal, but don’t commit to losing 30 pounds. Set a smaller, more manageable goal … say 10 pounds. once you’ve reached that milestone, set a new goal. Start with small steps to keep yourself motivated.


Don’t imagine exercising every day, although that’s a great idea. if you start a fitness routine on Monday and skip Tuesday, you’re already discouraged! Plan to exercise 3 times a week, which gives you some flexibility and improves your chance of succeeding.

Pay It Forward

Do something nice for someone every day. it could be as simple as paying a compliment or holding the door open for a stranger. You could also perform an act of kindness by visiting an older relative or offering to babysit for a friend who needs some quiet time. once you start thinking about it, you’ll come up with dozens of ideas on your own.

Get Enough Sleep

Try to get a full night’s sleep every night. Turn off the Tv, put away your cell phone, and unplug the computer or iPad. A healthy sleep schedule increases your energy and improves your mood, your work habits, your relationships, and your outlook

Pray More Often

Maybe you’ve joined a Bible study that begins each session with a group prayer. or perhaps you like to sit alone after Mass and say the rosary. Prayer is personal and there are many ways to speak to god. Be sure to carve out a few minutes of every day to renew your relationship with Him.

Quit Smoking

Yes! You should kick the habit as soon as possible, but if you find yourself “quitting” on a regular basis, you probably need a little help. There are many smoking cessation programs offered by local hospitals, clinics and physician practices. Check into one and start breathing easier.

Stress Less

Get a handle on the things in your life that create stress. Chronic stress can lead to many health problems, including high blood pressure, insomnia, headaches and weight gain. Learn to say no if you’re overwhelmed by work and family responsibilities. Take time each day to relax or meditate. And talk to your doctor if stress becomes a real problem.

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!
December 2017, Healthy Life

Being Healthy takes Practice





by Meredith Atterbery

Achieving good health requires a smart diet and regular exercise.

Success comes to those who wait …

I don’t buy it. success comes to those who work every day to reach their goals and don’t let anything get in their way. if your goal is to be healthy, get ready for a long, beautiful, self-realizing, priceless journey. This daily adventure to learn more about yourself takes patience. “being healthy” is not a destination, but rather a journey.

As a personal trainer, i have worked with individuals ages 8 to 80, each one with specific goals, but all sharing one common goal – being healthy. What does that mean? it means to feel good, to feel confident, and to be physically able. This journey looks a little different for each of us.

Let me introduce you to one of my favorite inspirations – Ms. Karen. When Ms. Karen retired, she wasn’t happy with the current state of her health. For years her career and family took all of her mental and physical energy, so her health was placed on the back burner. She wasn’t where she wanted to be physically. 

Does this sound familiar? With mobility comes opportunity. Ms. Karen started her journey by walking … it was that simple. She would lace up her dusty athletic shoes and go for a short walk around her neighborhood. At first she could only walk about five minutes before running out of breath. After about a week, she was almost doubling her time before running out of breath, and in just over 6 months, this short walk evolved into a 30-minute walk.

Then she was ready for more, but didn’t know what to do next, so she came to the YMCA, and this is where we met. I could see the desire to be healthy in her eyes — she was ready. We started with learning how to move her body in a safe way. Every day we took small steps towards her goal, and celebrated each and every reached goal! The first goal was getting onto and off of the floor. I know this might seem like such an easy task, but if this ability is lost, it can be extremely limiting to our lives. It was a slow process due to her fear of not getting back up, and like all of us, she almost lost her momentum. But she never gave up, she kept going, and then, BOOM, she did it!

Ms. Karen is now doing full-body push-ups (practically popping off of the floor), walking two miles (or more) twice a week, regularly participating in aqua fitness classes at the YMCA, and she has lost 55 pounds. She knows the effects of food on her body and knows how to make smart, healthy choices at the dinner table. She has been on hiking trips and has traveled all over the country living her life to the fullest. She is always saying, “Wow, I feel way better than I did when I retired” or “Meredith, you’ll never guess what I was able to do this weekend.”

Guess how long this has taken? She has been on this journey for over five years, and she will tell you it has been worth every second. No more crash diets or “magic pills” and no more missing out on her life. She stayed focused on the long term goal of being healthy, which kept her going when her progress didn’t feel fast enough or when she hit those small bumps along the road.

Being healthy isn’t easy. It’s something we must practice with every step we take each day and with each bite of food we take. We must actively think, “Am I taking a step towards being healthy or away from it?” Always remember that “being healthy” is not a destination, but a journey.


Meredith Atterbery received her bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from LsU. she is a certified personal trainer, a certified group exercise instructor, and certified kickboxing instructor. Meredith brings her passion for fitness, her love for triathlons, and enthusiasm for all things athletic to her work – through indoor cycling and circuit classes, kickboxing, and one-on-one training. she is now the Wellness Coordinator at the Paula G. Manship YMCA.

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!
Healthy Life, November 2017



Food Insecurity


For many of us, November brings thoughts of turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberries and all the trimmings of Thanksgiving. For others, a large meal isn’t a possibility.

Some in our community who deal with food insecurity consistently throughout the year rely on food pantries to put meals on the table. It means they may not have much choice about the types of food they eat, which can ultimately have a significant impact on health, according to Dr. Candice Myers. She recently created the Social Determinants and Health Disparities Laboratory at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

“We know that food insecurity changes the way you eat and what you eat,” said Myers. It might mean a diet lower in fruits, vegetables and lean proteins, and higher in fats and carbohydrates, which are often less expensive and more readily available in certain neighborhoods.

As a sociologist, Myers became interested in food insecurity when she was attending graduate school at LSU.

“We looked at participation rates in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or what is commonly referred to as food stamps, across counties in the U.S. SNAP is a food assistance program aimed at alleviating food insecurity by providing assistance to low-income families. We found that communities that were more socially vulnerable were home to higher food stamp usage. They were more poverty-prone and experienced economic distress. These pre-existing, poorer community conditions really exacerbated the situation of food insecurity and food stamp usage,” Myers said.

Now, Myers is working to better understand all the elements that play a role in food insecurity, health choices and psychological mechanisms that both cause and result from food insecurity.

“One of Pennington Biomedical’s main research topics is obesity, weight loss and weight management, but if we want to develop interventions to change body weight, it may be more difficult to obtain that goal if people don’t have access to healthy food,” Myers said. “So much of what we know about weight loss comes from upper and middle class people who can afford to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into a healthier diet when they begin a weight loss program or weight loss research study and who have transportation available to join a study at a research center that may not be close to their home.”

That’s one reason that Myers is working with The Shepherd’s Market, a food pantry that is a member agency of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. There, people are able to go into the pantry and choose their own food. Having the option to tailor the food they receive to their dietary needs is integral to maintaining health, Myers said.

“One day I hope my research is able to contribute to the development of targeted programs that make it easier for people who struggle with food insecurity to access healthy options so that people from a variety of socioeconomic statuses are able to live healthier lives.”

Meyers, Candice 04600
Dr. Candice Myers

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!
Healthy Life, November 2017

Healthy Holiday Eating


Healthy Holiday Eating

by Janene Grodesky, Ph.D.

Roast turkey with cornbread dressing. Mom’s marshmallow smothered candied sweet potatoes. Creamy green bean casserole with fried onion topping. Decadent pecan pie. it’s here – the holiday season. but how does one navigate through the season and make healthy choices? Try “mindful” eating instead of “mindless” eating. Have you ever wondered why – or how – you ate that third serving of garlic-mashed potatoes? it’s because you weren’t paying attention!

“It starts with awareness,” said Hilary Shaw, a registered dietitian and licensed professional counselor in Baton Rouge. “When you pay attention to what you’re eating, you can make small changes that make a big difference. Not paying attention to the ‘what, where, why and how’ we eat can be an issue with some of my clients. You cannot eat compulsively and mindfully at the same time.”

Mindless eating is eating just because it’s there, eating for emotional comfort, or eating while you’re busy doing something else (driving, watching TV, or working on the computer). These tips can help guide you toward a more mindful approach to eating:

Plan. Prepare healthy snacks on Sunday for the week ahead. If you know you are going to a big holiday party one evening, plan that day around healthy snacks and have a strategy for mindful eating while at the party. You don’t have to plan your food down to each bite, and it’s important to be flexible especially at special occasions, but be aware you might be changing your eating habits during the holiday season. When you plan ahead, you are also more likely to eat the amount your body needs.

Eat when you are hungry. Don’t eat just because it’s your usual lunchtime. “Listen to your body’s cues,” said Shaw. “If you’re not hungry, wait until you are, but don’t wait until you’re famished because you might overeat.”

Portion control. During the holidays, you know you will have more opportunities to eat festive snacks and desserts. You don’t have to deprive yourself, but eat smaller portions and less often. One trick is to use a smaller plate when you get in the buffet line.

Pay attention. Do nothing else but eat. Not while watching TV, checking Facebook or shopping online. When you’re distracted, you’re more likely to lose track of how much you’ve eaten.

Slooooowwww down. Savor and enjoy each bite and put your fork down while chewing. Take this time for prayerful reflection of each and every nourishing bite. Try taking a drink of water after each bite. This gives your body enough time to trigger your brain that you are satisfied. Again, listen to your body’s cues.

Use technology. As we continue to become increasingly distracted by modern technology, our focus on health can fall to the back burner. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The American Red Cross suggests using our smart phones and other devices to help us. There are now apps that manage food records, count calories, help track what you’ve eaten, and even provide guidance on healthy food choices at the grocery store and restaurants.

Keep a food diary. Whether electronic or old-fashioned paper and pen, note everything you eat, look at it, then identify why you ate it – was it hunger, stress or boredom? Then look for areas where you can make adjustments and incorporate healthy changes. “Keeping a food diary is a fantastic tool for awareness,” Shaw said. “People can be surprised at the amount they’ve consumed when they review their diaries, as well as what they’ve eaten – and why.”

Know the origins of your food versus thinking of food as an end product. Take time to thank and consider all the people involved in the holiday meal you are about to eat – from those who took the time to prepare it, to those who packaged it, stocked the shelves at the grocery store, to those who harvested it, to those who supported them. When you do, you will feel connected and truly grateful. Reflect and send thanks for the traditions that brought you your food, recipes shared with friends and family, or handed down through generations.

The holidays do not have to be overwhelming or difficult to manage when it comes to food. With just a little more mindfulness this season, you may begin to make wiser choices about the food you eat, why you eat it, and where it comes from.


Dr. Grodesky has a Ph.D. in Kinesiology from LSU. She is currently the program director at the AC Lewis YMCA and Healthy Lifestyles/Hospital Partnership director for the YMCA of the Capital Area. She can be reached at

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!
Healthy Life, October 2017

Overcoming Cravings A Science-based approach

Overcoming Cravings

A science-based approach

Have you ever thought about all the ways that many of our favorite foods are linked to even the most casual of traditions? Beyond just turkey at Thanksgiving, consider that movie theatres are linked to buttery buckets of popcorn, wings are a staple of fall and winter football parties, many of us boil spicy crawfish for Easter, and most folks wouldn’t dare plan a birthday party without a cake topped with candles.

It turns out that our bodies are programmed to crave the foods we associate with external stimuli such as watching football, according to Dr. John Apolzan, assistant professor in the Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism Lab at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

Research has shown that even when we’re working to improve our self-control in an effort to resist temptations for unhealthy foods, we still give into cravings 85 percent of the time. “Food cravings correspond to about an 11 percent variation in weight—which is significant—so we wanted to look at how to decrease those cravings,” said Apolzan, whose new research paper, “Frequency of Consuming Foods Predicts Changes in Cravings for Those Foods During Weight Loss,” was published in Obesity in June.

Apolzan and his colleagues found that the best way to stave off cravings is to avoid the stimulus that stokes them — but let’s be honest: we know we’re not going to avoid football games and birthday parties forever, so what’s the next best option?

Apolzan’s study found that eliminating certain foods from our diet all together can help us avoid future cravings in just a matter of three or four days. He suggests replacing junk foods like cookies, ice cream, chips or soda with healthier options. “What this research suggests is that if you crave ice cream, for example, and you’re trying to avoid a craving, it’s best to take it out completely instead of phasing it out slowly,” Apolzan said. “We found that once people increase their intake of other, healthier foods, they begin to crave those foods, too.” 

That’s good news for those who attempt to improve their diet and quit their programs because they can’t imagine living with those cravings indefinitely, Apolzan explained.

So, if you’re looking to improve your diet, the verdict is in: replace junk food with fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, low-fat dairy and whole grains, and after a few days, you should be able to let go of some of those unhealthier vices.


Dr. John Apolzan, assistant professor in the Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism Lab at LsU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!
Healthy Life, Septermber 2017

From Mother to Child Chronic disease risk might begin in the womb




to Child

Chronic disease risk might begin in the womb

Scientists have a hunch that moms might be passing down more to their babies than those big blue eyes or that button nose.

Evidence suggests that moms’ lifestyles before and during pregnancy may be impacting their baby’s metabolism and their lifelong risk for obesity and other chronic diseases, too.

Between 5 and 14 percent of moms in the U.S. are diagnosed with gestational diabetes—putting their babies at risk for birth defects and other conditions such as obesity and diabetes later in life.

“New research is showing that the lifelong risk of obesity and diseases begins in the womb,” said Dr. Nick Broskey, a postdoctoral researcher in the Women’s Health and Reproductive Endocrinology Lab at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

He’s working on the IMAGINE research study, which aims to follow pregnant mothers and their babies after birth to explore how certain characteristics such as metabolism or risk for diabetes may be passed from mom to baby.

“Preliminary data shows that a mom’s health even before pregnancy can really influence a baby’s health,” Broskey said. “That’s why pre-conception fitness and healthy eating habits are important. You can lay the foundation for a healthier pregnancy. As it turns out, the foundation for health — or chronic disease risk — may be laid for the baby just weeks into a mother’s pregnancy.” about how exactly a mom’s health traits may be passed to her baby.

“During the IMAGINE study, we’re measuring body fat percentage, metabolism, and a number of characteristics that we’ll compare between the mom and the baby,” Broskey said, adding that it’s pretty simple for moms to participate and the study takes just two visits to Pennington Biomedical.

“This entirely new field of research is a novel way to approach the prevention of chronic diseases early in life rather than in the later stages,” Broskey said.

Data from this study will provide a new area for clinicians to look into: targeting moms before pregnancy to lower their child’s risk for chronic disease.

“It’s really a new way to think about preventing diseases. If we can help moms improve their health before conception, then we may be able to reduce their baby’s risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease later on in life,” Broskey said.

Pennington biomedical is looking for pregnant moms who have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes to join them for the iMAGiNe research study. they will receive up to $250 for participation in the study, along with other in-depth, personalized medical test results that they can share with their doctor. to learn more, call (225) 326-0546 or visit

Broskey, Nick 02

Dr. Nick broskey, working with the IMAGiNE research study.

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!
Healthy Life, Septermber 2017

Battle Cry! Obstles Course Racing…with a Christian Theme


Battle Cry!

Obstacle Course Racing … with a Christian Theme

by Sharon Holeman

Each year as we welcome autumn with its football games and school classes, i am reminded of the words of King solomon from ecclesiastes 3:1: “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.”

Maybe it’s the hope of a cool evening breeze, but there just seems to be something in the air that breathes of an opportunity for growth or motivation to conquer something new, a chance to become all that the Lord expects, to BATTLE for more. It’s hard not to be motivated after you talk with Krystle Morris. She and her husband Sid birthed BATTLE 6:11, a group that organizes obstacle course races (OCR) in the South. Battle is the acronym for Become All That The Lord Expects and 6:11 comes from Ephesians: “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.” As small business owners and parents themselves, the Morrises understand that sometimes we can get lost in the day-to-day struggles of our lives. That is part of the beauty and the benefit of obstacle course racing. Not only will you move toward a healthier lifestyle, but you find encouragement in the accomplishment of tackling a new obstacle, and you find friendships in a safe place that challenges you to be more than you dreamed.

Each obstacle in the Battle race is given a name, usually by Krystle. She said the names are part of the Lord’s revealing His character. The sand-filled bucket carry is called Breaking Barriers, for example, as God is able to break all the barriers in our lives.

The Morrises partner with local gyms and host joint workouts, encouraging Battle racers to find a home gym, knowing there is value in the everyday workout as well as the event races. The Battle group also hosts a free OCR training workout on Saturdays at various locations throughout Baton Rouge. The free Saturday trainings are a ministry, open to everyone regardless of skill, age or religion. It is a judgmentfree zone, filled with encouragement and physical workouts led by Krystle and Sid, who are both certified coaches. Prayer completes each Saturday morning session.

To share in the benefits of Battle 6:11, learn more about their free trainings or their upcoming Battle Race Championship being on September 9 at BREC Farr Park in Baton Rouge, visit

And here’s to the battle, to Becoming All That The Lord Expects you to be.

Battle Races Championship & Business Expo

Saturday, September 9 • 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

BREC’S Farr Park, Baton Rouge

More than 3 miles of 30-plus obstacles and challenges. And bring your kids so they can compete in the battle Kids Course!

To register contact Krystle Morris: (225) 262-9908

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!
August 2017, Healthy Life

Cauliflower Pizza

Kids’ favorite cauliflower pizza

Cauliflower Pizza Ingredients

1 head cauliflower, stalk removed

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella


  • 1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray pan with non-stick spray.
  • 2. Break up the cauliflower. Shred in a blender or food processor until fine.
  • 3. Transfer to a microwave-safe bowl. Cover loosely and place into microwave for 4-5 minutes, or until softened; let cool.
  • 4. Using a clean dish towel or cheese cloth, drain cauliflower completely, removing as much water as possible.
  • 5. Add remaining ingredients.
  • 6. Transfer to the center of the baking sheet and spread into a circle, resembling a pizza crust. Bake for 20 minutes.Add tomato sauce, desired toppings, mozzarella cheese, and bake an additional 10 minutes.

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!
August 2017, Healthy Life




LSU’s Pennington Biomedical partners with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation to evaluate stencil games as a way to improve kids’ health.

Hopscotch, four square and alphabet trails—those beloved summertime games that help kids wile away the summer—might one day serve as more than just child’s play. Researchers at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center believe that these well-loved games may hold the key to improving physical fitness for some of Louisiana’s youngest citizens.

Right now, one in two children in Louisiana is overweight or obese, putting them at risk for a host of chronic diseases over their lifetime, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and more. Moreover, many children are not engaging in the one to two hours of daily physical activity that is recommended. Health professionals are looking for creative ways to fight the obesity epidemic in our youth in a way that is sustainable over time. Dr. Maura Kepper, a postdoctoral research fellow at Pennington Biomedical, plans to evaluate whether adding stencils to providethese games to childcare centers will get preschoolers moving during recess.

“Stencils are a lower-cost approach that may encourage exercise for kids in a way that’s fun, while also fostering motor skill development like learning how to jump, hop, and run,” Kepper said. “We want to know exactly what kind of impact the addition of these games has on preschool children’s levels of physical activity, sedentary behavior and fundamental motor skills.”

Kepper plans to evaluate the games by assessing the changes in moderate to vigorous physical activity and sedentary time using an accelerometer, which is an activity monitor that tracks the intensity of physical activity. She and her colleagues will also examine children’s fundamental motor skill competency to see if children become more proficient – which is important for building physical activity habits over the long-term. The project will involve Kepper and her team stenciling games for children who attend a childcare center in East Baton Rouge Parish and then comparing children with the stencils versus children at a childcare center without the games.

The endeavor emerged from a Louisiana partnership funded by the Association of State Public Health Nutritionists which aims to reduce obesity by equipping childcare centers in Louisiana with low-cost ways to improve physical activity in kids. The team includes members from Pennington Biomedical, the Louisiana Department of Health, the Louisiana Department of Education, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and LSU’s School of Kinesiology.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation is funding the project over the next year through its New Horizons program – a fund that supports innovation in the health and education sectors across Louisiana.

“We know that if we’re going to solve Louisiana’s most persistent health problems, we’ve got to think differently to make progress,” said Michael Tipton, president of the foundation. “This project, which will explore a cost-effective, fun and safe way to play represents the kind of thinking we think can move our state forward.”

Playground equipment can be prohibitively expensive for childcare centers to purchase, whereas stencils may be a low
cost easily-implemented way to get kids moving—this may be particularly important to reach low-income children who are disproportionately impacted by obesity, said Kepper.

“We are optimistic that this research will add a new strategy to the toolbox for childcare centers when it comes to improving children’s health,” said Kepper. “Ultimately, our goal is to help kids in Louisiana and beyond live better, longer lives by establishing good exercise habits and a healthy weight early on in life.”

To learn more about how you can help advance health research in our community by participating in a study at Pennington Biomedical, visit

To learn more about the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation, visit

Kepper, Maura 02

Dr. Maura Kepper postdoctoral researcher in the contextual risk factors laboratory. Her research explores how the built and social environments may interact or accumulate to impact health behaviors and outcomes in pediatric populations. She received her PHD in 2016 from LSU Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA.

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!
Healthy Life, July 2017

Louisiana Show INCRESE in Diabetes


Louisiana Shows



But lifestyle changes can help you manage the disease

The incidence of diabetes has increased nationwide, but it has become especially worrisome in Louisiana. Two major risk factors for diabetes are obesity and sedentary lifestyle, which explains why Louisianans are so vulnerable.

Our food is famous, but far from healthy, and although we are called the “Sportsman’s Paradise,” our top “sports” — hunting and fishing — don’t burn many calories. Diabetes is a condition in which the body does not produce enough insulin, which is necessary to store and process sugar or “glucose.” When the amount of glucose builds up in the body, it can damage the organs and nerves, and interfere with blood circulation, leading to heart disease, stroke, blindness and other complications.

You should make an appointment with your primary care physician if you notice the following symptoms. Not all of these symptoms indicate diabetes, but it’s best to be tested by a medical specialist.

Frequent urination

Feeling thirsty all the time

Extreme fatigue

Blurry vision

Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal

Tingling/numbness in hands or feet

Early detection is important because your physician can help you make lifestyle changes that will immediately reduce your risk of complications. Simple changes such as eating healthy, losing weight, quitting smoking, getting regular exercise, and checking your blood sugar often can help you manage the disease.

Recent reports from the American Diabetes Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show these statistics:

Nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes, and a third are unaware they have it.

In Louisiana alone, 32,000 people are diagnosed with diabetes each year.

 Nearly 13% of adults in Louisiana have been diagnosed with diabetes, and another 36% have prediabetes .

In 2015, the National Institutes of Health invested nearly $10 million in diabetes-related research in Louisiana.

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spent nearly half a million dollars on prevention and educational programs in Louisiana.

Hispanic, African American and American Indian adults are twice as likely to develop diabetes as non-Hispanic whites.

There is no cure for diabetes, but it can be managed. For the health of yourself and your family, a good place to start is by adopting a healthier diet. It’s easier than you think. Here’s a healthy, but delicious recipe that will make the whole family happy. And for more information on diabetes, visit

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!
Healthy Life, July 2017

Chicken Kabobs Recipe from ALLRECIPES.COM


Chicken Kabobs


Chicken Kabobs Ingredients

  • 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 fresh serrano pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. cooking oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple cubes
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/2 medium red pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 medium green pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces


  • 1. Place chicken in a large re-sealable plastic bag set in a shallow dish.
  • Add cilantro, garlic, serrano pepper, oil, salt and nutmeg to bag.
  • Seal and press bag to coat chicken on all sides.
  • Chill for 2-6 hours.
  • On (8) 10-to-12-inch skewers, alternately thread the chicken, pineapple, red pepper, green pepper, leaving a 1-inch space between pieces.
  • Place kabobs on the rack of an uncovered grill or in the oven for 8-10 minutes (until chicken is no longer pink), turning occasionally to brown evenly.
  • Makes 4 (2-skewer) servings.
  • Feel free to be creative by adding your family’s favorite veggies and fruits, including strawberries, zucchini, cucumbers, mushrooms, etc.

Baton Rouge Christian Life MAGAZINE


Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!

Click here to learn more!