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We've all heard the old adage "You are what you eat." Now, more than ever, experts are concluding that eating fresh foods and avoiding sodium and preservatives will not only make you feel better, but will help to prevent diabetes, cancer, heart disease and other illnesses.

When Kimee Armour hears people complaining about how difficult it is to lose weight, she immediately pulls out a picture of herself and shows them what she used to look like.

They call her a terror; they say she's mean and she lies. But Lex Bitner, a personal trainer with attitude, wouldn't have it any other way and neither would her clients.

Meditation is a practice of self love that helps to relieve stress and chronic health problems.

While most of us have heard about the benefits of taking vitamins and dietary supplements, knowing what to take - and when to use it - can be confusing at best. But with the new year under way, now is a good time to begin getting healthier. By listening to some expert advice on what vitamins you need - and following a good diet and exercise regimen - chances are you'll be feeling better in a short time.

Lift and Firm Spa offers non-invasive alternatives to liposuction and micro-abrasion as well as several lines of skincare products that reduce wrinkles, preserve and hydrate, soothe and conceal.


Acupuncture. It's a Chinese practice dating back at least 2,500 years. In the past 30 years, it has been finding its way into the medical mainstream. Millions of Americans have tried it. In the 2002 National Health Interview Survey, (the latest available), 8.2 million U.S. adults have reported making use of the technique at least once.


As speech-language pathologists in the Springfield School District, Sandy Koepke and Katie Stoddart agree that not much surpasses giving a child the gift of becoming a better communicator.


Charlene Young of Springfield has always wanted to go on a medical mission and take a safari.


Derek Crouch caught five passes and gained 62 yards for Chatham Glenwood in the Titans' upset loss to Lincoln High School on Oct. 3, but the senior wide receiver felt no disappointment when he was walking off the field with a teammate after the game.


Richard Battles wishes pink wasn't the color representing breast cancer awareness month. The American Cancer Society campaign in Springfield this fall asked men to wear pink in support of women who have breast cancer. "Real men wear pink," the advertisements read. Battles says: "Real men have breast cancer."


Bob Russell learned something long ago about practicing medicine. The Springfield plastic surgeon took it to heart when he was counseled that part of his duty was to give back.


Shopping, baking, participating in sports or hobbies, playing with toys, going on outings, styling hair, visiting friends or taking a walk are simple tasks for most people. But such activities can present enormous hurdles for people with debilitating injuries, illnesses or conditions.   

I can't take full credit for being in shape at 47. Oh, no. You see, I gave birth to my own personal trainer nearly 17 years ago, and she has been unrelenting ever since. My daughter, Jessica, came out screaming and didn't stop for three months.


So you tell a few little white lies when you go in for your regular checkup, or you're too embarrassed to talk to your doctor about a certain symptom you've been experiencing?

The only one you're hurting is yourself.

"Be honest with your provider because this is a partnership," advised Dr. Janet Albers, a family physician with Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.

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