Category Archives: Health & Fitness

Exercising during Pregnancy and the Benefits

Once blessed with the happy and life-changing news of Pregnancy, it is not time to leave the sneakers in the closet or to cancel your gym membership.

It is perfectly safe to do certain exercises once cleared by your Doctor.

Two types of exercises immediately ruled out are jumping and prone (on the stomach) exercises.

My clients train on the elliptical machine, cycle or walk for Cardio and sometimes throw in a bit of step work. However, weight training and resistance exercises for toning are usually the focus.

With time and lack of exercise, the skin will lose its elasticity and it is quite hard to regain. So as long as expecting moms feel comfortable exercising during pregnancy, it should be safe to exercise up to 7 or 8 months and to walk during the last month.

Once there is any discomfort during exercise, you should stop that exercise immediately and move on to the next one.

If cramping or extreme discomfort is experienced, give yourself a break from exercising that day.

Benefits of Exercising During Pregnancy:

● Helps to have a quicker Postpartum Recovery
● Facilitates a faster return to Pre-Pregnancy Weight and Appearance
● Reduces Back Pain and Strain
● Reduces the Risk of Gestational Diabetes
● Shorter Labour and Less Complications requiring Surgery

I suggest the following Exercises to keep active and as toned as possible:

1. Elliptical training

Training on the Elliptical machine (Photo:

2. Cycling (On a stationary bike)

3. Walking

4. Squats

5. Lunges

6. Light arm work with Dumbbells for the Biceps and Triceps

7. Kegel Exercises 

Kegel Exercises also known as Pelvic floor exercises are quite popular during pregnancy. They involve contracting and relaxing the pelvic muscles (kegel muscles) repeatedly.

Kegel Exercise (Photo:

The exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles to help push the baby out easily during delivery. The exercises also support the uterus, bladder, small intestine and rectum. This in turn helps to deal with urinary incontinence that is a common problem during pregnancy.

***Kegel exercises are not strenuous or painful, but some persons may have discomfort so it is a good idea to discuss with your gynaecologist first.***

8. Supported groin and pelvis floor stretch with slight back bend.


9. Yoga Exercises. E.g. Fierce Cat and Cobbler’s Pose

Fierce Cat Exercise


10. Exercises for the Glutes and Hamstrings

Back Leg raises and pulses for the Glutes and Hamstrings (Photo:

By: Gabrielle Burgess (Certified Personal Trainer & Sports Nutritionist)

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FREE Testing and Discounts on Medication at Fontana for Pharmacy Week!

It’s Pharmacy Week and Fontana Pharmacy will be offering FREE Blood Sugar and Blood Pressure Testing along with Discounts on All Prescriptions and Over the Counter Drugs at ALL LOCATIONS, this Thursday, November 23.


Fontana Pharmacy

Locations: Kingston (Barbican Square), Ocho Rios (Eight Rivers Town Centre), Savanna-la-Mar (Beckford Plaza), Montego Bay (Fairview Shopping Centre)

Phone: 1-888-429-5887


By: Gabrielle Burgess

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Yoga Classes in Kingston, Jamaica!

Photo: The Art of Living Foundation

Yoga is the gift of India to the world, thought to be the union of the Soul with God. Yoga equips one with a sound mind, peaceful spirit, healthy body and cures diseases. It does all of this in various ways.

October was Lupus Awareness month and I handed off some information to my Lupus Warriors that they could use for the months and years ahead.

The main areas that Yoga benefits everyone including persons with Lupus, are improved Flexibility and Mobility, Physical Energy, Pain Management, Stress Management, Mood and Coping, Cardiovascular and Respiratory Efficiency, Circulation, Strength and Stamina.

Other than relieving symptoms of Lupus, Yoga also helps with Insomnia, Strengthens the Immune system, Improves the Digestive process and Calms Anxiety.

Therefore Yoga helps to achieve and maintain an overall Healthy Lifestyle.

Lupus Awareness should go beyond the month of October and I would like my Readers to achieve and maintain a Healthy Lifestyle, so I found Yoga Practices in Jamaica that I recommend near you.

Recommended list with Contact Information for some Yoga Studios/Groups in Kingston, Ja:

Afya Jamaica 

Location: 2d Bamboo Ave. Kgn. 6


Bikram Yoga Ja *Open 7 days a week

Location: 17 Latham Ave. Kgn.

Ph: 876-622-4571

Chai Studios

Location: Barbican Business Centre

Ph: 876-946-9595; 876-946-9596


*Yoga classes on Thursdays at 7:35pm

● Banyan Tribe Wellness & Yoga

Ph: 876-564-7559; 876-422-2550



By: Gabrielle Burgess (Certified Personal Trainer & Sports Nutritionist)

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How YOGA can Help with Lupus Flares

As Lupus Awareness month comes to an end, I would like to hand off some information to my Lupus Warriors that you can use for the months and years ahead.

Lupus can negatively impact joint health and flexibility. Persons with Lupus may suffer from a variety of symptoms such as:

● Painful/Swollen Joints

● Chest Pain associated with breathing

● Extreme Fatigue

….and the list goes on.

I have had clients with Lupus that wanted to increase their level of fitness and lose weight, but because of fatigue, they could not handle aerobics.

Yoga is the gift of India to the world, thought to be the union of the Soul with God. Yoga equips one with a sound mind, peaceful spirit, healthy body and cures diseases. It does all of this in various ways.

The main areas of benefit of Yoga and Lupus include improved: 

● Flexibility and Mobility

● Physical Energy

● Pain Management e.g. relieves inflamed, swollen ankles

● Stress Management e.g. increased self-control, confidence, discipline

● Mood and Coping

● Cardiovascular and Respiratory Efficiency

● Circulation, Strength and Stamina e.g. relieves swollen joints and lessens fatigue

Other than relieving symptoms of Lupus, Yoga also helps with Insomnia, Strengthens the Immune system, Improves the Digestive process and Calms Anxiety.

Therefore Yoga helps to achieve and maintain an overall Healthy Lifestyle.

The two types of Yoga to consider are Beginner/Restorative Yoga and Hot Yoga/Bikram Yoga.

For persons with Lupus, especially Lupus flare ups, I recommend Beginner/Restorative Yoga because it is quite gentle, using pillows and blankets for support, which is ideal for joint issues.

Hot Yoga/Bikram Yoga is more strenuous and should be avoided by novices.

***Persons, especially those with Lupus should always talk with a Doctor before beginning New Exercises***

Conditions to be Cautious about when doing Yoga:

● High Blood Pressure: Be careful when bending over

● Neck issues: Instead of looking up, look straight ahead e.g. Warrior pose

● Pregnancy: Cannot do Prone exercises or exercises such as ‘Downward Dog’.

***When there is Inflexibility, use a Block by the Knee. For Back and Hip issues, use a Towel/Blanket***

How Yoga Helps with Stress

Stress is a state of mind. Stress occurs when something feels wrong or you have it on your mind persistently. It is not a disease, but I believe it can give birth to several diseases such as Ulcers, Hypertension, Migraines, Heart attacks etc.

Our minds and bodies are in sync with each other and there are some things that the Doctor cannot help us with all the time. It is how you manage your mind or the stress.

Yoga assists with the control of Breath, especially during Physical Postures called Asanas. It is important during Exercises to Breathe properly and to find strength, balance and comfort within each posture. Breathing properly involves deeply inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. That is just scratching the surface with Breathing Techniques and Yoga.

5 Yoga Poses that Help with Lupus:

***Do NOT Perform Poses Unsupervised and without proper Instruction/Demonstration***

1. Auspicious Pose / Swastikasana  (Seated with hands on the knees. Legs are folded so that left ankle resides between right thigh and knee and vice versa.)


It Relaxes the Nerves and should be done for 5 minutes with one area of focus.

2. Camel Pose / Ustrasana

Helps with Overcoming Pain, Increasing Lung Capacity, Improving Circulation and Respiratory Health.

Gabby from Suga Lifestyle demonstrating how Yoga can help with Lupus Flare ups at the Lupus Foundation of Jamaica’s Annual Seminar last October 23, 2016.

Position should be held for 10-15 seconds.

3. Viparita Karani

Helps to Improve Blood Circulation.

There are two versions but it should be done preferably against a wall.

*Avoid if there are Back issues

Advanced Viparita Karani pose (Photo:

4. Bound Angle Pose / Cobbler Pose/ Baddha Konasana

Photo: Meraki Lane

Seated position with soles of feet together and body bent over with the hips open for 20-30 seconds.

Helps with Fatigue, Menstrual Pain, Stretching of the Inner Thighs, Circulation and Anxiety.

5. Mountain Pose / Tadasana


Performed for 3 – 5 minutes with a gaze fixed forward. It helps with Relief of Pain and Inflammation.

*The soles of the feet should be grounded.

***Lupus Awareness should go beyond the month of October, so stay tuned for Yoga Practices in Jamaica that I recommend near you!***

By: Gabrielle Burgess  (Certified Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist)

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Eating like Royalty at Market 17!

Market 17 is known for local farm fare and their adventurous option of Dining in the Dark.

Their menu has a list of products supplied from farms that meet their standards and are available.

The Dining in the Dark Experience takes place in a special dark room. A Blindtasting menu is served after all food allergies, dietary restrictions and extreme dislikes are declared. The goal is to heighten the senses without the help of sight. The Blindtasting menu starts at $75USD per person, excluding Beverages and taxes).

All of my friends were not in agreement to do the Dining in the Dark Experience, so we decided to go with the main menu.

Two Saturday nights ago, my friends and I were out and ready to dine at 8:30pm. We were pleasantly greeted and seated at our reserved table for seven. Our waiter, Daniel was unforgettable. He reeled off the menu from his head, explaining our options and giving suggestions eloquently. He had a personality that definitely kept the mood light.

He took our orders when we were ready and the Appetizers and Drinks came out quickly. They have a wide selection of Wines, Craft Beers and a few listed Cocktails.

It was said that the Appetizers were shareable, however hints were given as to what we may not want to share.

Grassfed Beef Tartare ($17USD) – Parsley, Black pepper, Giardiniera Relish, Scarlet Frills Mustard, Garlic Crostini

We had the Grassfed Beef Tartare, which was tasty, but a bit on the salty side.

Crispy Miso Pork Belly ($15USD) – Roasted Baby Butternut Squash, Korean Mellon, Pickled Turnips, Radish/Walnut Pesto, Lemon Yogurt

The Crispy Miso Pork Belly was succulent, but the portion was small.

Rock Shrimp, Chicken, Ceviche, Meatballs and Salads were also available as Appetizers. However, their menu changes quite often and the Restaurant’s website is updated accordingly.

The Housemade Charcuterie served with Chutneys and Picklings usually stays on the menu. We made our own platter with our choices of Meats and Cheeses that was delightful.

Housemade Charcuterie – Choose 3 ($15USD); 5 ($25USD); 7 ($32USD)

Just when I started to wonder when our greatly anticipated Entrees were coming out, Daniel informed our table that our Entrees were coming forthwith! They surely did.

Tasting options were available for the Entrees at a reduced cost. When Daniel mentioned the pairing of Antelope Filet with Whole Key West Pink Shrimp at the start of Dinner, it created a ripple effect amongst the Suga Daddies*.

Whole Key West Pink Shrimp ($19/$35USD) – Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Carrot Ribbons, Cucumber, Kale, Red Beet Coulis, Dehydrated Olives, Dill Vinaigrette
Grilled Antelope Filet ($26/$46USD) – Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Grilled Green beans, Okra, Kale, Cucumber, Salad, Relish, Cilantro, Pickled Onion, Mole Nut Sauce

I definitely had to try it. The Grilled Antelope Filet, that was cooked medium rare, did not disappoint. It was tender and juicy with fresh farm to table greens, of which the Okra was a hit. The Whole Keywest Pink Shrimp that I tasted was delish! Sadly, the salt seemed to have gotten away from the Chef again on one of the Shrimp Tastings. This information was relayed to Daniel, who remedied the situation by removing it from the bill, since another serving was not desired at that time.

Tastings of Yellowfin Tuna (left) and Grilled Antelope Filet (right)

The Tasting portions definitely made up for the small portions of Appetizers. Imagine what the actual Entree portion may look like. Persons were satisfied by the end of the night, therefore since the small portions of Appetizers sufficed, perhaps the pricing could be reconsidered.

I paired my Tasting of Grilled Antelope Filet with Togorashi Seared Rare Yellowfin Tuna that was cooked medium rare. It was divine. Have you had Black Rice?! Phenomenal. It was refreshing to get such exquisite healthy options while dining out. Black rice has more micronutrients than Brown and White rice. Ancient Chinese mythology claims that Black rice was reserved solely for the Emperor and the Royal Family, due to its nutritional content and healing abilities. In those days, your life would be in danger if you were caught eating it without permission.

Togorashi Seared Rare Yellowfin Tuna $20/$37USD) – Coconut Black Rice, Tamarind, Cauliflower, Pak Choi, Tomatoes, Celery, Sesame, Clementine, Sambal

The Grilled Grassfed Beef Filet Mignon and Pan Roasted Chicken Breast did not spend much time on the table. They were thoroughly enjoyed.

The Pan Roasted Chicken Breast ($18/$33USD) was accompanied by Spiced Bulgur Wheat, Roasted Cauliflower, Squash, Pickled onion, Kale, Charred Eggplant Pudding and Marinated Tomatoes.

Grilled Grassfed Beef Filet Mignon ($25/$45USD) – Garlic Yokon Mashed Potatoes, Local Mushrooms, Broccolini, Cipollini Onions, Sweet corn, Kale, Red Wine Demi

Dessert topped off the night for a few. Thankfully I did not indulge. Market 17’s strong points seem to be their Entrees and Beverage selections. The Vanilla Cake with Pastry cream was just up to typical standard.

Seasonal Vanilla Cake ($11USD) – Corn and Vanilla Bean Pastry cream, Caramel sauce, Moscato macerated Berries

Dessert Options range from $8 to $18 USD and included Cookies, Brownies, Parfaits, Ice Creams, Sorbets and a Cheese court.

Market 17 is a fine dining Restaurant to dress up and go to with excellent service, delish and unique Entree options, along with fine Beverages. Head to Market 17 and Eat like Royalty!

Gabby and one of her Suga Bears, Jehan Knight

*Suga Daddies – Men who think they are too manly to be called a Suga Bear (Foodie in association with Suga Lifestyle)

Market 17

***Reservations Recommended***

Location: 1850 Southeast 17th St. Fort Lauderdale, FL. USA

Ph: 954-835-5507

Opening Hours: Sun. – Thurs.: 5:30pm-10pm; Fri. & Sat.: 5:30pm-10:30pm

Website (Menu Included):

By: Gabrielle Burgess

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GW Art Delivers for a Lupus Warrior

Lupus is an autoimmune disease, meaning the body attacks itself.

It is a disease of flares and remissions involving issues with mainly the joints, skin and kidneys. My client, who I also went to University with, Danelle Pinnock, has been battling Lupus for 5 years and is currently experiencing a flare-up.

She called upon GW Art to do a commissioned piece for her. The small, canvassed, wall art was to depict Jesus surrounded by purple butterflies. Purple is the colour that symbolises Lupus Awareness. October is Lupus Awareness month as well.

I am happy that I fulfilled Danelle’s vision and request. She felt truly blessed by her GW Art piece and dedicated it to all Lupus warriors, stating, ‘Your restoration is found in Christ’.

GW Art’s (8*10)” Acrylic on Canvas Wall Art commemorating Lupus Awareness Month

Although I have helped to uplift her spirits on the UHWI ward, Danelle’s Lupus condition has developed in a way that causes various complications leaving her in a state where she needs constant care and very expensive medication. Please check the link below to view her story. She would greatly appreciate any assistance she could get, whether monetary or simply just your prayers.

Help Danelle Pinnock’s fight against Lupus | Medical Expenses – YouCaring

In recognition of Lupus Awareness month, here are also some facts about Lupus from Cleveland Clinic, including some that you may not know:

1. Lupus affects nine times more women than men, and more women of color than white women.
Women of childbearing age (13 to 49) are far more likely to be affected.
Genetics also plays a role.

2. Lupus symptoms can differ greatly from person to person. Some symptoms are common to other conditions, which can make diagnosis difficult.

Common Lupus symptoms include:

● Constant fatigue (often misdiagnosed for iron deficiency)
● Achy joints
● A butterfly shaped rash around the cheeks and nose (Often treated by a dermatologist as a skin issue only)
● Hair loss
● Blood clots
● Sensitivity to light
● Chest pain when breathing
● Mouth sores
● Swelling in the extremities or around the eyes (Often misdiagnosed as a circulatory problem or kidney condition)

3. Lupus is a disease of flares and remissions.

Lupus flare-ups can be mild, or they can be severe. At least 75% of people with Lupus have arthritis and skin rashes. Half have kidney problems often shown with swollen feet/ankles. Lupus patients are also more vulnerable to infection than most people.

4. Diagnosis begins with a simple blood test.

An anti-nuclear antibody (ANA) blood test can be ordered upon suspicion. A negative ANA test result usually rules out Lupus.
***ANA test results will come back positive in virtually everyone with Lupus. However, some people will have a positive result even though they do not have Lupus. When the test comes back positive, other criteria have to be examined.

In those cases, the patient’s symptoms are usually compared with a list of 11 criteria for Lupus. If they meet four or more of the criteria, they are usually diagnosed with Lupus.

5. Treatment depends on the type of flare-ups experienced.

Mild swelling and joint pain may be treated with acetaminophen or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen.

Plaquenil, an anti-malarial drug that treats skin rashes, arthritis, and sometimes fatigue.

Rashes may be treated with topical steroid creams and corticosteroids, while immuno-suppressants treat serious kidney problems.

Diagnosis and treatment of Lupus keeps getting better.

Many persons with Lupus have a mild form. Proper medication can help persons with severe Lupus control their flare-ups and live productive lives.

***Stay tuned for tips on how YOGA can help persons with Lupus***

By: Gabrielle Burgess

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Post Holiday Healthy Snacks

There has been a surge of various brands of Banana, Cassava and Plantain Chips on the supermarket shelves lately. After the Soldanza brand (originally manufactured in the Dominican Republic) took off, Brand Jamaica followed suit. That’s a good thing! Soldanza Plantain Chips were actually not that healthy anyway, considering its 10% Saturated Fat content.

Note that as much as we love Banana Chips or Cassava Chips, they have too much Saturated Fat and sodium. Jamaicans are already prone to high blood pressure.

If you are looking for a similar taste with larger sized chips, locally made St. Mary’s Plantain Chips (slightly salted) and National Chachita’s Plantain Chips (lightly salted) are the brands for you! Healthy and tasty. A win-win with enough chips in the bag.


Both brands have 0g Trans Fats, 0mg Cholesterol and an impressively low percentage of Saturated Fat, 6%. They are not equal to or less than the ideal 5% Saturated Fat, but they are close enough. They are also slightly/lightly salted so the sodium content is low enough and not off the charts like others on the market. Another important factor is fiber. Do they keep you fuller for longer? They aren’t whole grain or whole wheat, but have a small amount of fibre that can do the job of sustaining your energy and curbing hunger between meals.


If you decide to have Plantain chips as a side to your meal instead of a snack, that is a good idea as well. For instance, to replace Rice and Peas alongside Jerked Chicken. You will end up consuming fewer calories and it’s a difference from the monotony, especially if you spice up the taste with a little guacamole or chimichurri sauce.

One should eat 5/6 meals per day depending on how long you are awake for and that includes 2 snacks. A typical 5-meal day should have the order of Breakfast, Snack, Lunch, Snack, Dinner.

So keep it Jamaican and incorporate these healthy snacks in your diet today!

By: Gabrielle Burgess (Certified Personal Trainer & Sports Nutritionist)

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