Whole Body, Whole Beauty

Everyday healthy choices can lead to gold-medal beauty

Have you ever noticed how Olympians radiate health? After years of training and personal discipline, they exude the extraordinary beauty of physical fitness from the inside out.

Here, we take a look at unleashing the body’s physical intelligence (strength, flexibility, resilience and endurance) by examining the roles of key hormones and reasons that drove otherwise average people to become fit and make it a lifestyle.

Our Hometown Hero is Ellen Hemrick of SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) and its Mutual Aid Project established to help families facing food insecurity.

Discover your reason to be healthy and pursue it to achieve your personal level of “Olympic” beauty — inside and out.


Move Over, I.Q.

Authors say physical intelligence is the key to wellness

“There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination and wonder.” ~ Ronald Reagan


Intelligence has always been thought to be central to living a good life, but recent studies have shown that intelligence within the body and the mind is critically important to health and wellness.

Physical intelligence — or knowingly dictating chemicals in our brain to influence how we live — was recently documented by Claire Dale and Patricia Peyton, authors of their book on the subject, “Physical Intelligence,” in which they discuss techniques to improve physical intelligence to benefit focus, emotional stability and overall cognitive function.

The book identifies four elements of physical intelligence: strength, flexibility, resilience and endurance.

According to the authors, these qualities are imperative for success, and are ruled by these eight key chemicals:

  • Acetylcholine. This drives the ability to rebalance, renew and recover from pressure.

  • Adrenalin.  Adrenalin releases a burst of energy when needed, but it also makes the nervous system kick in, which can cause difficulties communicating.

  • Cortisol enhances the ability to take on challenges. In a fast-paced environment, it can trigger heightened anxiety.

  • DHEA is a high-performance chemical that supports vitality and cognitive function.

  • Dopamine gives motivation and feelings of pleasure and happiness.

  • Oxytocin gives the feeling of safety and inclusion. Too little of this brain chemical results in a feeling of isolation; too much, and people feel overly dependent on others.

  • Serotonin influences levels of happiness, satisfaction and well-being.

  • Testosterone drives the desire to achieve and compete. Too little can make people reluctant to take risks. Too much can make them arrogant, yet underprepared.

Take the quiz to find out how physically intelligent you are by clicking here.

Avoiding Cancer Screenings can be Deadly

Study predicts increase in late-stage cancers, potential cancer deaths

Lucio Gordan, M.D., president and managing physician of Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute (FCS), and FCS Assistant Managing Physician Michael Diaz, M.D., co-authored a recent national study that details the devastating effect the COVID-19 crisis has had on cancer screenings, diagnosis and treatment.

Conducted for the Community Oncology Alliance (COA) by Avalere Health, and in collaboration with Debra Patt, M.D., PhD, MBA, FASCO, executive vice president, policy and strategic initiatives at Texas Oncology, the study’s findings show a substantial decrease in the number of cancer screenings, diagnosis and treatment for senior adults and Medicare beneficiaries in 2020.


Gordan, Diaz and colleagues were part of the study’s research team of oncologists who reported that they are already seeing patients being diagnosed with later stage cancers, which require more complex treatment and often result in higher morbidity and mortality rates.


“In the early months of the pandemic,” Dr. Gordan explains, “many people chose or had to delay or even skip regular screenings, such as mammograms, prostate exam, PSA testing or colonoscopies, among others. This has resulted in later diagnoses for some patients and delays in beginning treatment. Oncologists are preparing their practices for significant impact in cancer patient outcomes due to these delays.”


Dr. Diaz, who also serves as President of COA, concurs. “If cancers are not diagnosed at an early stage, we could face rising death rates for several years to come,” he said. “It is critical that adults with a family history of cancer, and others who may be experiencing symptoms, do not delay their screenings for the fear of being exposed to or contracting coronavirus. Medical practices now have numerous strategies in place to protect the safety and health of patients, doctors, nurses and other staff members.”

One positive revealed in the study, was the rapid adoption of telehealth and other strategies by community oncology practices, such as Florida Cancer Specialists. Dr. Gordan says, “Community oncologists and their team members showed incredible resilience and resolve to deal with this severe crisis, by adopting telehealth very quickly, reorganizing workflows, enhancing safety processes at their clinics, and migrating staff to work from home, among other strategies.”

The study concludes that further analysis will be needed to evaluate the ongoing consequences of COVID-19 and its probable long-term impact on cancer care and outcomes.


What’s Your Fitness ‘Hook?’

Personal reasons propel us toward achieving fitness goals

by Nicole Fevrier Davis


After my second day working at a new health club, I had a conversation with a woman, who had just reactivated her membership, about staying interested in her workouts.

The woman was in her mid-50s and about 50 pounds overweight. She’d had a roller coaster history of attempted weight loss and fitness, but none held her interest long enough to work.

Aside from the potential problems with chemical or hormonal imbalances that come with being overweight, people need a “hook” — a personal reason to want to work out. We need to “sell” ourselves on the benefits of getting into shape and maintaining it.

This returning member’s reasons for losing weight weren’t compelling enough for her to stick with it, and she would inevitably give up.

When searching for reasons to get fit, think of what is of supreme emotional importance to you.

Over the years, I have compiled clients’ reasons that identify the emotion, memory or stimulus that propelled them toward their fitness goals.

Here are my top 10 favorites:

1. Save your life

~ “I never, ever want to be rushed to the hospital for a stroke and hypertension again. I felt completely out of control and helpless.”

~ “I had a heart attack last April. I’m good now and I want to keep losing weight to make sure I stay healthy and fit.”

2. Save someone else’s life

“Last summer, I saw a boy drowning in a lake. I called 911 and they sent an ambulance, but they couldn’t make it down the steep embankment by the lake. I picked him up and barely made it to the top. I never want to be so out of shape that I couldn’t carry one of my own children in an emergency if I had to.”

3. Enjoy life

“As a child, I was always involved in sports. I was always in great shape. Now, I can barely walk for 15 minutes. I want to be in good shape again.”

4. Self esteem

“I have a wedding in five months and a reunion two months after that.”

5. Self-love

“I spent 24 years raising my children and neglecting me. It’s time for me now.”

6. Get off medications

“My doctor said I am currently 45 pounds overweight. I’m at risk of heart attack and I have adult-onset diabetes. I want to get back to my normal weight and stop being a diabetic.”

7. Longevity

“I want to live long enough to see my grandchildren born and to play with them.”

8. Empowerment

“I’ve been bullied about my weight my entire life. I want to take control and stop being a victim.”

9. Be an example
My father ate well and used an Air Force program of cardiovascular and strength exercises every other day. He was my greatest example, and I choose to be that example for my own children.

10. For the baby

“I’d like to get pregnant, but I don’t want to feel exhausted and weak when I do.”


Ultimately, we have been entrusted with these physical forms, and we need to acknowledge their care. We want to enjoy life without fear, continue to be physically active, be attractive, be there for children and positively impact those we love.

Care for your health wisely – find your hook!


Nicole Fevrier Davis is a sought-after mind and body expert, who effortlessly blends the two worlds of physical science and spirituality.



Dermatology Meets Luxury

New Naples dermatology office provides a range of procedures within a boutique-inspired environment

by Julia Browning


Dr. Paul Graham


Things are stressful enough right now, especially in the world of medical care. So much so, people are looking for a doctor’s office experience to provide an oasis that offers high-end patient care and expert medical service.

Academic Alliance in Dermatology recently opened a branch in Naples led by Dr. Paul M. Graham, a board-certified dermatologist and fellowship-trained cosmetic dermatologic surgeon, to bring that oasis to the Naples community.

“For every patient that walks through the door, the goal is to make them feel like they’re the only patient in our practice,” Dr. Graham says, adding that the practice’s philosophy is to give each patient personalized care and ensure their experience is the No. 1 priority.

Upon entering the state-of-the-art, boutique-style dermatology office, being greeted warmly and taking in the modern, cheerful style of the waiting room, one is not immediately aware that they are in a medical office.

But the stylish wood floors and granite countertops, paired with abstract art and modern light fixtures, are merely the backdrop for the high-end medical office, now going above and beyond to be safe in the COVID-19 environment, where many are wary of public, enclosed spaces.

“We’re taking the extra step to keep our patients safe and keep our facility germ-free,” Dr. Graham says. “Patients and staff are required to wear masks. We limit patients in the waiting room to one family at a time. All communal services and handles are routinely wiped down throughout the day, and we’ve put hand sanitizer throughout the office in convenient places for patients and staff.”

With Dr. Graham’s high level of training in both traditional and cosmetic surgical and nonsurgical dermatology, the practice provides a wide array of services that leave patients feeling expertly treated within a luxurious, spa-like atmosphere.

Having a hand in both the medical and the aesthetic allows Dr. Graham to provide patients with the best possible final outcomes, he says, adding that there is virtually no dermatology service that they aren’t able to provide, from skin cancer screenings and surgeries to injectables like Botox and fillers and laser treatments.

When it comes to managing all the procedures offered, innovation is key, Dr. Graham says.

His treatment of skin cancer sets him apart. He relies mostly on noninvasive surgeries to both treat and prevent skin cancer, using prophylactic or preventative methods, including topical chemotherapy creams and chemical peels.

The office is also unique in its cosmetic procedure offerings, many of which are non-invasive, able to be performed during a lunch break, Dr. Graham says.

“Our practice does procedures that can accommodate patients who have an event coming up in a day or two, or wedding in the next week,” Graham says, referring to procedures that require little down time and minimal discomfort.

Some of those procedures include injectables, such as filler, botulinum toxin, sclerotherapy for refining leg veins, and laser procedures for fine lines and wrinkles.

“Our innovative and state-of-the-art, boutique-style practice is here to serve the Naples community Monday through Friday in all aspects in the field of dermatology… we’re very all-encompassing here,” Dr. Graham says. “Let us show you what a modern dermatology practice can offer you!”


Academic Alliance in Dermatology is located at 870 111th Ave. N., Suite 4, Naples. For more information,
call 239-649-3090 or visit for a full list of services.


Showing Up, Showing Compassion

The Mutual Aid Project feeds 500 families a week

by Julia Browning

It may seem like the coronavirus, racial injustice and food insecurity are separate problems happening at the same time. But, as Ellen Hemrick, co-leader of the Southwest Florida chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), explains, the issues are intertwined— each a thread in an unequal and unjust system.

“White supremacy culture is infused in our society in a lot of ways that white people aren’t aware of,” Hemrick says. “We see that manifested in the current pandemic. It has revealed that people who are Black, ‘Latinx,’ Indigenous and other people of color, are hit harder by the pandemic, health-wise and financially.”

A virus doesn’t discriminate on behalf of race. But if a virus is plaguing a society in which racist systems are in place, from health care to the economy, people of color are going to suffer the most, Hemrick says.

The Centers for Disease Control confirmed this in July 2020, reporting increasing evidence that some racial and ethnic minority groups are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

That’s why Hemrick’s SURJ chapter, part of a nationwide program founded in 2009 to end white supremacy and create a more just society, recently created the Mutual Aid Project to help families facing food insecurity.

Starting in April, the project has fed around 500 families a week, delivering fresh produce and other healthful foods to people’s homes through the help of donors and volunteers. Additionally, it has distributed more than 700 hand-sewn masks.

The project is a brainchild of Hemrick and SURJ volunteer Michelle Eddelman McCormick, who, while designing a website for Eldrige’s Produce (now an equal partner in The Mutual Aid Project), came up with an idea to donate Eldrige’s excess food to the a local food pantry.

This got Hemrick thinking: What about those with no transportation or no documentation to qualify for services? What about those who are too sick or too busy to make it to a pantry?

That’s when they brought in longtime community activist Angela Cisneros to help with the project. Together, they reached out to community leaders and organizations, including Pastor Jean Paul of the Naples Haitian Church of the Nazarene and the NAACP, and quickly received lists of names and addresses of people who need food.

Now, each week, a team of 17 to 25 volunteers gather to sort and distribute quality foods and produce, because, as Hemrick says, “you can’t give poor people poor food and expect inequality to go away.”

IMG_6400 (002).jpg

Ellen Hemrick Photo credit: Lisette Morales


Although the Mutual Aid Project is for everyone, it does aim to prioritize helping people of color to stay aligned with the group’s mission. The organization, incidentally, is made up mostly of white people.

“Many of us see it also as a form of reparation. I know that I benefit from generational wealth,” Hemrick says, explaining that she has relatives who could come to her aid if she fell on hard times.

“There are many people, often people of color, due to systemic racism, who don’t have relatives who are well off to provide that safety net,” she says. “Because I have that generational security, I decided to pay into a program like this.”

Hemrick hopes to see change on the horizon, partly due to the pandemic shining a light on racial injustice. Her goal with SURJ is to keep up that momentum and keep white people thinking about how to be anti-racist.

“It sometimes takes pointing out to people their role in white supremacy culture,” she says. “Not that everyone who benefits from white supremacy culture is racist, but that we’re all participating in a system that’s completely unequal. It doesn’t matter if you want to call that racist or not. It’s a racist system and we are a part of it.  Understanding how to counteract that is really essential.”

For more information about SURJ, go to

If you or someone you know is in need of food assistance, email

Go Gazpacho!

The fresh flavor of this cold summer soup will leave you satisfied with your food choice

by Kathy Grey

This is the basic Red Gazpacho recipe adapted from Mark Bittman’s cookbook, “How to Cook Everything.”

It is a healthy palate pleaser — especially when Southwest Florida temperatures climb upwards of 90 degrees.

I’m blessed to have friends who have found just the right gazpacho balance, adding jalepeños to the original recipe, which gives it a delightful zing. They also note that they’ve used white and wheat bread — instead of Bittman’s recommended stale white bread — and that works just fine.




Four slices of bread

1 English (hothouse) cucumber, peeled and chopped

1 each red and yellow pepper, seeded and chopped

1-2 jalapeños, seeded and chopped

1 shallot, chopped

2-4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 28-oz. can of good Italian tomatoes

Salt, to taste

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 cup quality olive oil

sour cream

fresh basil

freshly ground pepper


- Cover four slices of bread (wheat or white) in water and let sit in bowl.

- Put cucumber, peppers, jalapeños, shallot and garlic into a food processor and pulse several times.

- Add Italian tomatoes and pulse a few times.

- Squeeze the water from the bread slices and add to the food processor. Pulse a few times.

- While the food processor is running, add salt, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil.

- Blend until smooth.

- Chill well and garnish each serving with a dollop of sour cream, fresh basil and freshly ground pepper.



Worth the Watch

In its unique format, “The Social Dilemma” sounds a warning

by Kathy Grey

Netflix describes its production, “The Social Dilemma,” as a documentary-drama hybrid that, “explores the dangerous human impact of social networking, with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creations.”

It’s a heady subject, and the Netflix description just about sums it up.

But the experience of “The Social Dilemma” is more personal than most would imagine. As the film reaches into the consciousness and conscience of each viewer differently, most come away with a reflection of what they have innocently participated in each time they subscribe, click and comment online.


A New York Times review of the docudrama famously carries the subhead “Unplug and Run.” Why? Because the Jeff Orlowski documentary unabashedly ties screen time to addiction and other nefarious social dilemmas.

It might be hard for viewers to willingly suspend their disbelief between the fictional component of “The Social Dilemma” (a multiracial family dealing with the effects of social media addiction) and the documentary-style commentary from some of the tech experts who birthed social media, nurtured its growth and then withdrew from it.

But what ties the production together is that the film’s fictional and factual components ultimately wage war on social networking and the systems that control it and its users.

Delivered into the laps of viewers is the realization of personal susceptibility to the manipulation of social media and the might of little hand-held devices that have the power to hold them hostage.

Once audiences accept the fiction-and-documentary format, the film’s warning bells sound clearly about society’s obsession with social media, something that can affect anyone at any age, and something that has indeed become a social dilemma.