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Healthfest offers beauty and wellness tuneup

June 17, 2007|by DON AINES

If people came with dashboard warning lights like their cars, Dr. Ingrid Kohlstadt said they might change their oil - to something like extra virgin olive, toasted hazelnut or sesame seed oil.

That was one of several useful pieces of advice that Kohlstadt and other experts handed out Saturday at Healthfest, a Beauty & Wellness Fair at the Bridge of Life.

"Many of us take better care of our cars than our bodies," said Kohlstadt, a physician nutrition specialist with Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. The problem is made worse because most of our body parts are not replaceable, she said.

"If we had a user's manual, we'd be better off," Kohlstadt said. Dieters need to make sure they are losing fat rather than muscle when trying to drop pounds.

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To begin with, Kohlstadt recommended dieters have their body mass analyzed, not just their weight, to determine how much of their body weight is fat and muscle. A bioelectrical impedance analysis runs a mild current through the body, determining the amount of muscle based on its resistance to the current, she said.

Bioelectrical impedance scales now are available for the home, said Kohlstadt, who also said proper hydration is another key to losing fat rather than muscle.

If we are what we eat, then many Americans are a junked car sitting up on blocks because of a diet rich in trans fats, refined sugar and other processed food, along with inactivity.

"Oxidation is one reason people age. Inflammation is another aging process," said Simone Heurich of Smithsburg, a fit-looking 53-year-old yoga instructor who held a seminar titled "Cooking for the Health of It."

"There's lots of foods that have antioxidants and are anti-inflammatory," Heurich said. Her best piece of advice - "Eating whole foods is what your body will do best on. Predominantly fruits and vegetables."

Healthy can be tasty, as Heurich proved with people sampling and resampling her sweet potato salad with Indian spices and lentil salad Italiano.

"The quality of what we bring in dramatically changes the way we operate," said Michael Campbell of St. Joseph Institute in Port Matilda, Pa. "If you eat well, you can avoid diseases that are rampant in our society."

Campbell also spoke about ways to reduce stress and achieve balance through proper diet, rest, exercise and other lifestyle changes.

At least for people attending Healthfest, the message on living a healthy lifestyle appears to be having an effect.

Fran Beitler, a nurse with the Washington County Health Department said about 50 blood pressure screenings had been done, and most people were within acceptable limits. That was not the case in past Healthfests, when she said some people's blood pressure measured in the "scary" range.

"We want to inspire people to make healthy choices ... and be able to live life to the fullest," said Naomi Byler, a member of Bridge of Life, one of the Healthfest sponsors.

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