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Health & Fitness: Advice for fitness newbies

Donald Creagh, general manager at LA Fitness in Ansley Mall, says making sure a person follows through with a fitness plan starts in the head.

• Make a decision that this is going to be a lifestyle change, not a temporary diet. “Don’t put a deadline on yourself. That takes pressure off,” Creagh says.

• Think about what you are going to eat tomorrow today, he says. That way you can purchase the proper food to prepare instead of rushing to a fast food joint.

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Health & Fitness: Homophobia hurts your health

Homophobic attitudes don’t just hurt feelings. They also have a direct impact on LGBT health.

“The stigma and discrimination that the LGBT community faces is a primary factor in the health disparities that affect our community,” says Hector Vargas, executive director of the national Gay & Lesbian Medical Association.”

Access to quality healthcare is a key issue.

“One of our surveys shows that LGB people delay seeking medical care at almost twice the rate of the heterosexual population,” Vargas says.

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Health & Fitness: Top 10 health concerns you should discuss with your doctor

GAY MEN

HIV/AIDS, Safe Sex That men who have sex with men are at an increased risk of HIV infection is well known, but the effectiveness of safe sex in reducing the rate of HIV infection is one of the gay community’s great success stories. However, the last few years have seen the return of many unsafe sex practices. While effective HIV treatments may be on the horizon, there is no substitute for preventing infection. Safe sex is proven to reduce the risk of receiving or transmitting HIV. All health care professionals should be aware of how to counsel and support maintenance of safe sex practices.

Substance Use Gay men use substances at a higher rate than the general population, and not just in larger communities such as New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. These include a number of substances ranging from amyl nitrate (“poppers”), to marijuana, Ecstasy, and amphetamines. The long-term effects of many of these substances are unknown; however current wisdom suggests potentially serious consequences as we age.

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Health & Fitness: Mental health matters, too

New Year’s resolutions typically focus on physical health. But paying attention to mental health is also important, experts say.

Luckily, some of the same steps you can take to improve your physical health also have mental health benefits.

“Air is good for the brain like the rest of the body and regular exercise is the best support for good mental health,” says Franklin Abbott, an Atlanta psychotherapist in private practice.

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Health & Fitness: Food for body and soul

Spice Market's vegetarian bento box

If you made a resolution to eat healthier food and have a positive outlook on life, then World Peace Café is the perfect place to start your year. Luckily we made it there before the snow-pocalypse. It’s a vegan/vegetarian café built on donations and run by volunteers. The café is owned and operated by Kadampa Buddhist Center, so the restaurant will reward you with peaceful karma and healthy cuisine.

The café has a modern Buddhist temple feel with high ceilings and hanging Asian lanterns. They’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday-Thursday from 7 a.m. - 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

I’ve only tried lunch and dinner but their breakfast menu looks unique with “Corned Peace Hash and Eggs” and Vegan Cranberry-Orange Pancakes. For lunch I had a hot and spicy vegan burger made with roasted veggies, topped with a zippy buffalo sauce and melted bleu cheese. The flavor of this healthy burger was explosive.