Cover Story

Health & Fitness

Health & Fitness

From the vanguard of medical technology to tried and true healthy diet tips, leaders in Acadiana's health care sector offer all you need to know about living well and living long.

Health & Fitness

From the vanguard of medical technology to tried and true healthy diet tips, leaders in Acadiana's health care sector offer all you need to know about living well and living long.


More than a marketing gimmick, Lafayette's accredited
centers of excellence offer advanced care in a range of specialties.

Burnishing their expanding reputation as a health care hub in South Louisiana, Lafayette's traditional hospitals are sharpening their focus toward specialty care through a widening array of centers of excellence. That means more and more local patients are staying here for care, and Lafayette is also drawing patients from neighboring communities and, more recently, from across the state.

"While many providers and facilities in Lafayette are nationally ranked, the patient market served by the Acadiana health care industry is largely local, those within an easy commuting distance," says Paula Carson, Ph.D., UL's assistant vice president for institutional planning and effectiveness. "Local patients who traveled away for treatment typically do so for either second opinions' or because of rare diagnosis and intervention needs, where specialists see a larger volume of similar cases."
Carson stresses that communication, visualization and biomedical technologies - as well as strategic alliances developing in Acadiana between regional institutions and those located elsewhere around the nation - should further mitigate the need for patients to travel outside of Lafayette.

There are now nearly a dozen such centers of excellence in the Hub City employing a legion of specialists providing expert treatment in bariatrics, weight loss, stroke treatment and more.

In alphabetical order by hospital, here's a rundown of Lafayette's specialty centers:

Lafayette General Medical Center is home to three centers of


Bariatric Surgery
Accredited by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery as well as the Surgical Review Corporation, LGMC's Bariatric Surgery Center is the world's largest such center for weight-loss, performing laparoscopic gastric bypass, laparoscopic adjustable gastric band and laparoscopic gastric sleeve procedures. The center of excellence designation makes BSCOE eligible for Medicare coverage and offers free educational sessions twice per month.

Center for GI Procedures and Surgeries
The center has received a 5-star rating for gastrointestinal treatment by HealthGrades, including a Gastrointestinal Care Excellence Award and General Surgery Excellence Award. The center is rated in the top 10 nationwide for overall GI services and general surgery in 2012. HealthGrades reports that patients treated at 5-star centers face a 73 percent lower risk of death and 63 percent lower risk of complications.

Stroke Center of Lafayette
Beneficiary of the Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval, LGMC's Stroke Center specializes in comprehensive assessment, treatment and rehabilitation. Seven neurologists and nine neurosurgeons comprise the staff, backed by a phalanx of critical care specialists versed in the protocols that meet national best-practices benchmarks. Sensitive to the social consequences of stroke, the center also hosts a Stroke Support Group once per month.


Bariatric Surgery
Accredited by the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, Lourdes' BSCE team includes a certified bariatric nurse and a team of surgeons certified by the Surgical Review Corporation who specialize in an array of weight-loss procedures along with long-term weight-loss management that includes nutritional education, behavior modification, spiritual support and exercise.

Heart Hospital of Lafayette
Designated a Cardiovascular Center of Excellence, HHL is the only hospital in the state with a Joint Commission-accredited program for treatment of congestive heart failure. HHL has earned the highest national rank for patient satisfaction for two consecutive years and was named one of the nation's 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals, a designation based on outcomes, survival rates and complication rates.

Louisiana Stroke Network
Acadiana's first fully certified stroke center of excellence, the LSN consistently ranks among the nation's best for stroke response and care and consists of seven neurological clinics and two sub-specialties that provide round-the-clock access to the hospital's neuromedical teams. Lourdes partnered with Opelousas General Health System, Iberia Medical Center and Jennings American Legion Hospital for this ground-breaking network.

Lourdes Cancer Network
Comprising Louisiana Oncology Associates, Lourdes Imaging Network and OncoLogics Inc., Lourdes Cancer Network builds on the hospital's award-winning focus on dedicated cancer care that began in 1983. The network has garnered seven American College of Radiology designations for its multi-disciplinary approach to cancer care. The inpatient unit is accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer.


Chest Pain
Regional Medical Center of Acadiana is the fourth in the state and first in Acadiana to receive the highest designation possible in the treatment of chest pain: the Cycle III Chest Pain Accreditation by the Society of Chest Pain Centers. RMCA's specialists emphasize the importance of standardized diagnostic and treatment procedures and rapid treatment of patients experiencing chest pain and other symptoms of heart attack.


Elaine M. Junca Women's Imaging Centre
An award-winning breast imaging center, the Women's Imaging Centre earned designation as a center of excellence in 2011 by the American College of Radiology. The center is accredited in mammography, breast ultrasound/biopsy and stereotactic breast biopsy and has also earned accolades from the National Consortium of Breast Centers Inc. for its commitment to high-level breast health care.

Kids ER
WCH's unique Kids ER was awarded Gold Bear status by the Louisiana Emergency Medical Services for Children and the Governor's Advisory Council for its premium pediatric emergency-care operation.

Burn patient Timmy Lasseigne and clinical nurse Redessa Besse

Proximity is Important

Grossman Burn Center offers state-of-the-art care right here in Hub City.
By Lisa Hanchey

On March, 11, 2010, Timmy Lasseigne was putting a metal roof on a building while working in New Iberia when his worst nightmare happened - the trim he was installing arced and hit a high power line above him. He was electrocuted with 19,800 volts, burning 50 percent of his body including the entire left side of his face and ear, upper torso, right leg down to his knee and part of his left leg. Paramedics airlifted him to the Grossman Burn Center at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette. "I didn't even know they had a burn unit here," he says.

When he arrived at the hospital, Timmy's wife of 25 years, Lisa, barely recognized him. "He was predicted to not survive," she recalls.

Initially, Timmy was transported to the burn unit's hydrotherapy room, where the nurses cleaned his wounds with an antibacterial soap and dressed them with Silvadene. Then, he underwent several surgeries, where doctors debrided him and placed homografts (cadaver skin) and autografts (his own skin) on top of the burns. He had lost so much fluid from the electrocution that he received 36 gallons over a 24-hour period. During the healing process, he was wrapped from his head to knees in a body cast. "The only things sticking out were my fingers," he says.

Timmy remained in the hospital for 34 days. When admitted, he could barely walk and needed help with the most basic daily activities, including dressing and bathing. Every day, he had hyperbarics, where he received oxygen therapy to promote healing, and underwent painful hydrotherapy. "He had one or two hydrotherapies a day, where we bathed him, cleaned his wounds and dressed him according to our protocol," explains outpatient burn clinic nurse Redessa Besse.

"The nurses did everything for me," Timmy says. "I couldn't ask for better nursing."

Lisa drove daily from their home in Breaux Bridge to see Timmy at the burn center. "When they told me they had a burn unit here, I was like, Thank God,'" she says. "I knew it would have been 10 times harder to go somewhere else because I had a 14-year-old at home and still was working. So this has been a godsend for us, as far as it being here in Lafayette." The Lasseignes have three sons Logan, now 23, Tyler, 21, and Caleb, 14.

Lasseigne shortly after his accident

After discharge, Timmy followed up weekly in the outpatient clinic for several months, then progressed to biweekly. The nurses trained Lisa to clean his wounds daily at home. "She did a lot," Timmy says. "I couldn't have done without her. She literally had to scrub me really hard to get the dead skin off for three or four months, which was a two- or three-hour process every day."

Timmy had multiple steroid injections to help soften his scars. Additionally, he underwent reconstructive surgery, where Dr. Steven Delatte removed skin from the right side of Timmy's eye and transferred it to the left so that his eye could close completely. Following that operation, he wore a clear silicone facial mask as often as possible. His last operation was a Z-plasty, where Dr. Dave J. Barrios released the contractors in the axillary area of Timmy's right arm, which had stiffened from scar tissue.

In December, the Grossman Burn Center celebrated its second anniversary with a Celebration of Life Party for burn survivors and their families. Timmy attended the first survival social last year. He also shares his experience with other burn patients and attends the Burn Survivor Support group facilitated by Dr. Jimmie Cole at the center.
Timmy is in the recovery stage. He reports to the burn unit every three months for follow up and has physical and occupational therapy at a private clinic three times a week. He wears a compression garment 23 hours a day to smooth out his skin grafts. "He probably will have to have more surgeries in the future," Besse notes. "But as of now, nothing. He is in the healing post-surgery stage."

When looking at Timmy today, it's hard to believe that he had only a 1 percent chance of survival after his accident. "He's a survivor," Lisa says. "He's so strong. I'm so proud of him. He's worked so hard to get where he is. Our kids are so thankful - they thank him every day for being a survivor."

Mark and Tyla Hudspeth celebrate the Ragin' Cajuns' Dec. 17 New Orleans Bowl victory.

Keeping Up With the Hudspeths
By Paul Angelle

Tyla Hudspeth, physically exhausted the evening after finishing her fourth marathon, tried her best to talk as she fielded punts off the foot of her 23-month-old son, Major.

"I started to feel really sick on Friday; Saturday my voice was completely gone, and on Sunday I ran a marathon," says Hudspeth in a whisper. "The marathon was in Baton Rouge. It was so well-organized and the route was gorgeous."

Hudspeth, who is the wife of UL Head Football Coach Mark Hudspeth, ran a 3:38 and qualified for the Boston Marathon. She achieved a goal she only recently learned she had the ability to achieve.

"I ran most of the race with some Naval Academy graduates," adds Tyla. "As they ran they sang in cadence, Anchors Away' I believe is their song, and it was nice. It was nice until about mile 17, and I never wanted to hear that singing or any human voice ever again."

While it was her husband who let her know she could qualify, it was her training that gave her the tools to make it happen.

"Mark gets the credit," admits Tyla. "Just like he does with his players, he put it in my head that I can do anything. He would always ask, What's holding you back?' He definitely gets credit for making me believe I could do it. He and Major were there at every mile marker cheering me on Sunday up until about 20 when they moved to the finish line and they were there when I crossed it."

Becoming an accomplished marathon runner requires a serious commitment to training. "Two or three days a week my alarm goes off at 3 a.m., and I hit the street before 4 [a.m.] to run with a girlfriend I met at the airport when we first moved here," she says. "Five days a week I train with Rusty Whitt, the head strength trainer at UL. We train exactly like the football team. We do mixed martial arts, hill sprints, and bear crawls. He even had me carry a taped-up, eight pound weight as I ran stadiums so I could know what it was like for him when he trained in the military."

The inaugural Louisiana Marathon was Tyla's fourth marathon, but she says she's run many races in her lifetime - and even convinced her husband to join at least once.
"There's a half-marathon in Nashville that I've run for 10 years in a row," notes the whispering athlete. "I talked Mark into running it with me, and he did it. He thought he had a stress fracture and needed to be carried back to the hotel, but he finished. He's training with me and he's keeping up. He's lost 10 pounds since Christmas."
Hard-core training is a way of life now for Tyla, a life in a place she is happy to call home. She's let her husband and anyone who will listen know that Lafayette is where she wants to be.

"I'm not sure if everyone believes me or not, but I love Lafayette and I don't ever want to leave," she says. "The energy and the culture here fit Mark and I perfectly. I've hung pictures on the walls. I've unpacked every single box. I'm home."

Nadine Robin

Modern Medicine

Electronic health records sweep Louisiana.
By Lisa Hanchey

In the past, doctors used paper charts to track the progress of their patients. During visits, patients often waited for hours while records passed from the receptionist to the nurse to the doctor and back. In between, staff scrambled to find test results faxed or mailed from other facilities. Then, the impatient patient had to take the doctor's written prescription to the pharmacy and wait again for the order to be processed.

But all this changed with the advent of the electronic medical record. "An electronic health record, in the simplest form, is an electronic software program typically used to capture the same type of patient information that historically we would have used a file with paper records for," explains Nadine Robin, program manager of the Louisiana Health Information Technology Resource Center. "So, it's able to capture all the same information, except it's in a computer format. The real advantage is that it is easier to have all of the information in one place at one time, rather than having to search through paper files. Everything can be summarized, and it's more accessible for the provider. Instead of having to pull paper charts and fax things, you can now send them electronically."

With an EHR, the receptionist can electronically notify the physician that a patient has checked in, then the doctor can pull up the patient's records immediately. By the time the patient checks out, the doctor's orders are already at the receptionist's desk, and the prescription is at the pharmacy ready for pick up.

To get physicians and hospitals motivated to enter into the electronic age, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services offers Electronic Health Records Incentive Programs. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 included new funding for health information technology, including $17 billion to support incentives for doctors who adopt EHRs. Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, doctors and hospitals receive incentive payments as they incorporate EHR technology into their practices. Through November 2011, Medicare and Medicaid paid nearly $2 billion in EHR meaningful use incentive payments.
In order to receive the full incentive, physicians must demonstrate "meaningful use," a series of criteria designed to meet Congress's requirements for use of EHR technology. Beginning in 2016, Medicare providers will be penalized if they do not meet the meaningful use requirements. Currently, Medicaid providers are not subject to legislative penalties. "For Medicare providers, if they do not achieve meaningful use by 2015, then there is the authority to implement penalties, which are a 1 percent reduction in the provider's reimbursement per year," Robin explains. "So, in 2016 it would be 1 percent, in 2017 it would be 2 percent, and it can continue up to 5 percent."

In November, more than 100,000 primary care providers committed to adopting electronic health records at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology's Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. The Louisiana Health Information Technology Resource Center, which is part of the network of 62 Health IT Regional Extension Centers, has enrolled 1,072 primary care providers to date. "From what we know, we have about a third of the primary care providers in Louisiana who are enrolled at our center that are working on achievement of meaningful use," Robin reports. "So, they are all in the process of getting their practices on an electronic health record system if they don't already have one."

This number represents only those physicians who have registered with the LHIT Resource Center. Many more Louisiana physicians, including specialists, have purchased the EHR software. "Everyone is moving at a very fast pace to try to implement EHRs and achieve meaningful use," Robin says. "There are definitely a lot of specialists who are working on meaningful use and purchasing EHRs as well."

Administered by the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum, the LHIT Resource Center offers technical assistance, guidance and information to navigate providers through the EHR adoption process. After enrollment, the Resource Center assigns someone to work with the provider's practice. "If they already have EHR in their practice, then we look at how they are using it and where they need to start doing some things better to meet the guidelines that the federal government has laid out for incentives," Robin explains. "If they don't have an EHR, we'll help them look at their practice and help them choose an EHR and implement it, and then help them use it in a meaningful way as defined by the federal government. Once they are able to achieve all of the core objectives of meaningful use, which includes things like tracking vital signs in the EHR, e-prescribing and exchanging health information electronically, then we are able to help them file all of their paper work with the federal government to receive incentive payments."

Louisiana providers who are enrolled with the LHIT Resource Center are already receiving incentives from the federal program. "We actually have nine providers and three hospitals working under our program who have attested for meaningful use," Robin reports.

One of the LHIT Resource Center's core functions is to work with providers on e-prescribing. Sending prescriptions electronically is faster and more accurate than with the paper trail. "Sometimes it can be very difficult to even read what's on that prescription pad," Robin observes. "Before, the course was taking a piece of paper, passing it around, showing up at the pharmacy and having someone else type up the information. Now, all of that can be moved electronically. The prescription is there waiting on you when you get there. And because it's all encoded electronically, it reduces the risk of an error happening."

Practices using EHR are reaping the benefits. "What we're seeing already is providers who find that they are able to more efficiently see patients because they have more information at their fingertips," Robin observes. "We're also seeing providers using this data to more effectively manage chronic diseases in their practices. And then as we move forward, we are going to have more empowered patients. We are going to have patients who know more about their information and can start to manage their own care. This will result in better care for that patient and better health outcomes."

Edwina Mallery

A Click Away

The electronic health information superhighway has come to Acadiana.
By Lisa Hanchey

Imagine being diagnosed with a rare condition and seeking treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota during the holidays. Although the clinic is ready to accept you, it doesn't have access to your diagnostic tests and medical records, and the doctors' offices back home are closed. So, you have to fly back to Louisiana, get your test results, then pay for another flight to Minnesota for your treatment. By that time, two months of critical time have passed.

It is this very type of situation (based on a true story) that the Louisiana Health Information Exchange is designed to prevent. On Nov. 4, the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum launched LaHIE, a network to facilitate the electronic exchange of health information, at the state conference for the Louisiana Chapter of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. "It's patient-centered so that all of the different facilities that could care for a patient - hospital, provider, pharmacy, labs - will be providing information into the system so that anywhere a patient goes, the Health Information Exchange has the information on the patient," explains Jenny Smith, LaHIE's program manager. "It's basically like an information superhighway for Louisiana."

Lafayette General Medical Center and Opelousas General Health System were selected as the first two hospitals in the state to pilot LaHIE, an initiative of LHCQF, a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing initiatives to improve the health of Louisiana residents. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, LHCQF received $10.6 million in federal funding from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to create LaHIE. Acadiana was chosen for pilot primarily because of Lafayette Utilities System's fiber network.

"We are very excited in providing this new opportunity of expansion of health care services," says Edwina Mallery, assistant vice president of information systems at LGMC. "This initiative will allow LGMC to facilitate our mission to restore, maintain, and improve health. This is a secure exchange of health information for authorized providers and health care facilities across Louisiana."

How will this high-tech system work? Beginning in December, patients who went to LGMC's emergency department were asked to sign an authorization form, electing to have their medical information shared through LaHIE. Upon the patient's approval to participate, the emergency department will have access to their medical information from other health care providers also participating with LaHIE. For now, the only participant is OGHS.

Prior to LaHIE, when a patient was seen in the emergency room at OGHS and transferred to LGMC, the Lafayette ER doc had to wait for diagnostic tests to be found and faxed, wasting precious minutes of time. LaHIE will allow these records to be transmitted instantaneously. "If a patient is transferred from Opelousas General to Lafayette General, the emergency physician can log on, go into the exchange and, with the patient's consent, be able to access the patient's records," explains Jared Lormand, OGHS's chief information officer. "The records would be all diagnostic tests that were done at Opelousas General, which could be lab results, radiology results, and any dictated or surgical reports that were done by a physician at our campus. Normally, the other hospital would have to call here to get a chart, then we'd have to find it and fax it over. You could save as much as 30 to 60 minutes on the delay in getting that done."

In late December 2011, LaHIE went live at the two hospitals. Following the pilot program in Acadiana, LaHIE plans to implement the program statewide. "By the end of 2012, I think it's a realistic goal to have about 35 hospitals connected statewide," Smith says.

For more information about LaHIE, visit or e-mail [email protected]

Dr. Andy Blalock

Bright Light

Installed in February as the youngest-ever president of the Louisiana State Medical Society, Dr. Andy Blalock looks to the future of health care in Acadiana.
By Walter Pierce

When you think president of the medical society, the image of a stodgy, old doctor comes to mind. Don't tell that to Andy Blalock.

The fresh-faced - boyish may be a better term - 37-year-old nephrologist and chief medical officer at Our Lady of Lourdes is taking the reins of a venerable, 133-year-old institution, and he hopes to bring vigor to an organization and an industry facing monumental change.

A Baton Rouge native and LSU alumnus - both undergraduate and medical school - Blalock is the quintessential family man. He met his wife, Callie, here in Lafayette while doing his internal medicine residency at UMC, adding that following his fellowship at LSU/Ochsner in New Orleans, he "couldn't wait to return to Lafayette."

When he isn't making the rounds at Lourdes, the father to 8-year-old daughter Elise and sons Alex, 5, and Colin, 2, says he spends most of his spare time with his wife and kids - until Christmas approaches, that is. Then Blalock's energy turns to his "obsession."

"My favorite thing to do in my spare time is to spend time with my family," Blalock says. "Unless it's the month before Christmas - then it's in a cherry picker putting up Christmas lights. I'm up to 15,000 lights this year and counting. I'm a little fanatical."

On a more serious note, Blalock is taking the helm of the LSMS - and moving into the heart of his career as a physician - at a critical time. Representing 13.7 percent of the overall workforce, health care is the largest employment sector in the Lafayette metro area, generating nearly 20 percent of Lafayette Parish's gross domestic product and impacting the economy to the tune of $3.2 billion.

But despite those robust numbers, physicians in Acadiana and across the country face uncertainty due to federal health care reforms.

Ind: What do you see as the biggest issue(s) facing the health care sector in Louisiana and nationally in 2012 and going forward?

Blalock: Health care is facing several serious issues in 2012 and going forward. The greatest single challenge will come as physicians struggle to accommodate the new demands of health care reform as mandated by Congress.

The increasing mandates and decreasing reimbursements will continue to challenge physicians' ability to provide adequate care and medical access to their patients. Providers will have to meet the increasing time demands of computerization and quality mandates, while attempting to provide care for the millions of patients added to the system with the new insurance requirement.

Changes to Medicare and Medicaid will have the biggest impact on patients and physicians. Nearly half of Louisiana's population is insured by the state's Medicaid program or Medicare, so even seemingly minor changes will have a major impact.

The trends show those percentages increasing in our state and across the county. By 2014, an estimated 800,000 new patients will be added to our state's Medicaid rolls, while approximately 7,000 baby boomers were newly eligible for Medicare each day in 2011.

With fewer physicians to see them, patients may have a harder time seeing their physician or getting the care they need in a timely manner. There are solutions out there - and we have to keep patients and physicians engaged in the process to ensure the best possible outcomes.

Ind: What, in your opinion, are the coming trends in health care in Lafayette, Acadiana, Louisiana, the U.S.?

Blalock: The biggest trends in health care are social media engagement by patients and physicians alike, and the drive to exchange information electronically.
This nationwide trend toward sharing information quickly and easily is changing everyone's habits. Many physicians are practicing mobile medicine using their smartphones and pad devices to share information with their offices and in some cases their patients.

Ind: Do you believe federal reforms will impact jobs in the health care sector in Acadiana?

Blalock: Federal health care reform will certainly impact jobs in the health care sector throughout the country.

Like every other industry, health care will have to examine every expenditure and justify every position. I do not see a real net change in the overall numbers, as the increases in mandates will ensure that significant numbers of people will be needed to meet these demands.

However, positions and responsibilities will certainly change. Technology should streamline some of the more repetitive tasks but will push demand to people with expertise in the tech sector, as well as knowledge of process improvements and quality.

The Bureau of Labor is predicting that health care will add more jobs over the next five years than any other industry nationwide. Here at home, I expect that these areas will see sizable additions to their current labor forces.

Ind: Was there a single experience or series of experiences that directed you toward medicine as a profession?

Blalock: I knew I wanted to get into medicine from an early age.

From adopting and rescuing animals to watching MASH - still one of my favorite shows - I realized that medicine spoke to me as an opportunity to help and make a difference.

Ind: A reader familiar with your career speculated that you may have a future in politics, following fellow physicians like Charles Boustany and John Fleming into elected office one day. Do you have political aspirations?

Blalock: Politics has always been of interest to me. I want to be an agent of change here in my community and when possible, at the state level. 
Today, my priority is being a dad. My kids are young - my daily role in their lives trumps politics. In the future, nothing is off the table.

OLOL's Kate Neustrom Bishop

Healthy Dining Guide

Eat well. Live long.
By Lisa Hanchey

Living in the city known for the "Best for Food" in America can be a challenge, especially when trying to keep New Year's resolutions. Luckily, Lafayette has a plethora of dining options, even for those watching their weight. The Independent consulted Acadiana's registered dietitians and fitness experts to get the best tips for making healthy choices while eating out.

"Many of us are concerned about our health and fitness level, as well as our weight," says Mary Miller, a dietitian at Women's and Children's Hospital. "Others may have a reason to watch what they eat, perhaps a health issue related to diabetes or high cholesterol. We can all still enjoy dining out; we just need to make good choices while doing so."

Unfortunately, the dishes served at most restaurants are usually loaded with calories and fat, so making healthy choices is not easy. "If you are at a restaurant, it's almost easier to say what is not very high in calories and fat," Miller says.

When going to one of Lafayette's fine dining establishments, some people blow their diet with high-calorie cocktails, hot bread and real butter, entrées with rich sauces and calorie-laden desserts. Miller advises focusing on one specialty item and cutting back on the rest. "Start with water with lemon or iced tea with Splenda instead of a cocktail," she advises. "Skip the bread and get that appetizer, entrée or dessert the restaurant is known for."

Dietitian Kate Neustrom Bishop of Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center recommends filling up with a side salad (dressing on the side) at the beginning of the meal to get adequate fiber. Then, choose an entrée that is grilled or baked, instead of fried or drenched in sauce. If you do want the sauce, have the kitchen put it on the side. For side options, select grilled or steamed veggies, sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes, hummus and fruit. Ask for whole wheat grain bread, pita, pasta and pizza crust when available.

Portions at Acadiana's food hotspots tend to be huge. To control that, Bishop suggests splitting courses with your dining companion. You can both order a side salad or soup, then share an app or entrée. Or, before you start, ask your waiter to put half of the course in a go-box.

Mike and Stephanie Morris, employee wellness coordinators for Opelousas General Health System and the fitness experts behind Full Circle Health, a new health club under way in Sugar Mill Pond, advise that consumers be assertive when ordering. Ask for changes that make your choice healthier, they say. For instance, if an item is fried, ask for grilled. If it comes with French fries, ask for a baked potato or a salad. Ask to triple the vegetables as another choice and offer to pay extra; based on the Morrises' experience, most restaurants will not charge you.

The rules differ for dining out, depending on whether you consider it a luxury or a lifestyle. "If going out to eat is a once-a-month event, you may eat your favorite foods and not worry about it; you can eat light at home the rest of the time," Miller says. "If going out is part of your daily, busy lifestyle, you may need to make an effort to focus on salads with light dressing, grilled meats, steamed veggies, sauces/extras on the side, split portions, calorie-free beverages and sharing meals."

The good news is that you can dine out and still eat healthy. "My new term is better choices,'" Miller says. "You could drop in at any place right now in Lafayette, and if you watch your beverages, sauces and sides, you can make a good choice almost anywhere. You just have to think about it."

And even better news, you can afford an occasional splurge. "Splurge once in a while!" suggests dietitian Sarah Romero of Lafayette General Medical Center's Nutrition Services. "Allow yourself to enjoy a meal once in a while without worrying about calories, and don't feel guilty about it."

Here are the top dining tips from Acadiana's area health experts:

Kate Neustrom Bishop, Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center

1. Begin meals with a side salad to provide "fullness" with few calories. Ask for dressings on the side to avoid excessive calories and fat.

2. Choose an entrée that is grilled or baked versus fried. Fried foods tend to be high in caloric value and unhealthy fats. Avoid foods cooked or "drenched" in sauces, which often have extra calories and fat. Ask for sauces to be placed on the side of food items or to be sautéed in olive oil instead of butter.

3. Choose side options such as salads, grilled or steamed vegetables, sweet potatoes, hummus and fruit salad.

4. If pastas or breads are your desire, consider whole grain pasta or whole grain pizza crust to provide healthy benefits.

5. Portion control can be a sure way to watch calories. The best way to ensure that is to share or split courses. You can both order a side salad and share an appetizer, entrée or dessert. You can also ask your waiter to place half of the entrée in a to-go box before bringing food to the table.

6. Avoid high calorie beverages such as sugary mixed drinks and stick to your wine of choice instead. Enjoy alcoholic beverages in moderation. For women, that means one drink a day; for men, two drinks daily.

Mary Miller, dietitian, clinical nutrition coordinator, Women's & Children's Hospital

1. Watch your beverages. Drink water with lemon or lime wedge, diet soda, iced tea with Splenda. You can easily take in 100 calories per beer, 250 per large soda, and 400 for a frozen daiquiri. Fancy coffee drinks with whipped cream can have 450.

2. Watch your condiments and toppings. Try to use as little as possible. Adding two tablespoons each of margarine, sour cream and shredded cheese to your baked potato adds approximately 400 calories. Adding a slice of cheese and two strips of bacon to your burger adds about 180 calories. Some servings of regular salad dressing given at restaurants can have 300 calories or more.

3. Watch your portions. The correct portion of most items is the size of the palm of your hand, or the amount that would fit in your cupped hand. A large steak, a large baked potato or a large bowl of pasta may really be four servings.

4. Going to a certain restaurant because you love the appetizer or the dessert? Why not have the appetizer and then a house salad with low fat dressing on the side? You do not need to add the entrée. Or dine on a light salad and enjoy that favorite dessert.

5. If you are specifically having to lower fat and cholesterol, avoid fried foods. There are great grilled options. Ask your server to hold the butter or olive oil if possible. Again, there is much fat in the "toppings" such as cheese, bacon, mayonnaise, sauces, etc.

6. If you are specifically watching carbohydrates or sugars, you likely want to avoid regular beverages and desserts. You may ask them to hold the bread basket as well. Ask if the potato or rice can be substituted with a side salad or steamed veggies.

7. For those people who like to crunch numbers, note that even the most active and fit adult does not need to eat more than 600-800 calories per meal. One piece of cheesecake or three refills of a large regular soda can add up to 800 by itself.

Stephanie and Mike Morris

Mike and Stephanie Morris, fitness experts and employee wellness coordinators for OGHS

1. Try double appetizers. If there is a nice selection of seafood and vegetable based appetizers, consider that as your meal.

2. Do the fork dip. The best way to combine salad dressing with salad is to get your dressing on the side and dip your fork into the dressing, then skewer a forkful of salad.

3. Ask the waiter to skip the bread basket and substitute with a plate of raw vegetables or breadsticks.

4. Watch out for foods that are described as creamy, breaded, crisp, stuffed, buttery, pan fried, au gratin, Thermidor cheese sauce and scalloped.

5. Top a baked potato with toppings from the salad bar. Or ask for salsa, great topper in terms of flavor and health.

6. Order fish. Make sure it is not fried and choose either steamed, baked, broiled, sauteed, blackened or grilled. Ask for sauces on the side.

7. Drink water throughout the meal. It will slow you down and help you feel full.

8. Skip the fancy drinks. If you must order an alcoholic drink, forget the margaritas, pina coladas, and other sugary drinks. Opt for a glass of wine, a light beer, a vodka and tonic or a simple martini without the chocolate liquor, sour green apple schnapps or triple sec.

Sarah Romero, Lafayette General Medical Center Nutrition Services

1. Order the lunch portion. It is usually smaller, and some restaurants allow customers to order the lunch portion for supper as well.

2. Skip the "before meal bread." Ask the waiter/waitress not to bring the bread and crackers before your meal. If you want bread, have it with your meal. This way, you are less likely to eat the whole bread basket.

3. Order one dessert and share it with others at the table. That way you are satisfied with a couple bites instead of feeling guilty about eating the whole thing.

4. Drink water instead of soft drinks, order water with lemon wedges and squeeze lemon juice in for flavor. If you order a soft drink, order it with your meal and do not ask for a refill.

5. Fruit instead of fries. Many fast food restaurants have fruit options you can sub instead of fries (Even for Kids Meals!).

6. Do not Super Size. Order the regular sized meal, or even a kid's meal. We often order the larger size because we are hungry and then eat all of it even though we are full after eating half of the food.

7. Order baked chips instead of fried chips.

8. Be careful! Cheese, bacon, cream sauces, cream dressings add a lot of calories on salads. Choose salads with more vegetables and grilled chicken with a vinaigrette dressing on the side.

11. Order sandwiches and dinner plates with grilled or broiled chicken and fish instead of the fried meats.

Alison LeGros, dietitian, director of Food and Nutrition Services, OGHS

1. The best advice for anyone trying to eat healthy while eating out is to do your homework. Knowing how many calories your body needs to meet your health goals is the first step to properly nourishing your body.

2. Although ignorance may be blissful, it can sabotage your efforts in a hurry. Use the wealth of nutrition information available in restaurants and online to make educated choices. This will keep you from ordering a 1,200-calorie salad, thinking you are making a low calorie choice.

3. Know the pitfalls and healthier choices of different cuisines. Research or ask questions about food options you that are less familiar. For example, spring rolls are a great alternative to deep fried egg rolls if you are eating Chinese food. Dolmas and hummus are great if you are in the mood for Greek food, but you may want to avoid foods with ghee, which is clarified butter. Mexican food can be very healthy if you choose grilled options rather than those with cheese sauces and refried beans. Try avoiding the "free chips and salsa," as 10 chips actually costs you about 200 calories.

4. Get a visual image of appropriate food portions. One of the most effective techniques I have used in counseling clients on healthy eating is to show them appropriate portions of foods, then have them compare those portions to items in restaurants and take out plates. Having them scoop out four servings of food from one "to-go" box and doing the math to figure out just how many calories we can pack into those plates is a real eye opener.

5. Just like it is a bad idea to go to the grocery store hungry, you should not go to a restaurant hungry. Eat a low-calorie, high-fiber snack before you leave; otherwise those beautiful pictures and mouth-watering descriptions will be nearly impossible to resist.

6. Slow down and enjoy the experience. Most of us go out to eat to socialize. Focus on your company. Enjoying good conversation during your meal will help slow you down and give your stomach a chance to send the signal to your brain that you have had enough to eat. Most importantly, when you get that message, STOP. Ditch the "happy plate" for a healthy, happy body.

Restaurants with Healthy Dining Options

Lafayette's restaurants are renowned for their spicy, but saucy, Cajun cuisine. "Government surveys find that the food you typically eat out is nutritionally worse in every way than home-cooked food," Stephanie Morris says. "The good news is that it is changing. Nearly all chains have added healthier options to their menus."

That includes local dining establishments, too. "Most restaurants have healthy options, particularly low fat/low carb options," Romero says. "I think people can eat healthy at most restaurants around our area. It's about the foods they choose from the menu. In general, pick restaurants with a variety of menu items (a larger menu), and you are more likely to find healthy options."

Here are some local restaurants and chains recommended by our experts:

Applebee's With almost 2,000 locations across North America, Applebees has a menu of items under 550 calories, including Roasted Garlic Sirloin, Sizzling Chili Lime Chicken and Sizzling Asian Shrimp & Broccoli.

Charley G's Since launching in 1985, local favorite Charley G's has been known for its wood grilled specialties. Nightly specials offer a fish of the day and fresh vegetables combos. Try the grilled seafood with vegetables and the special seasonal salad for a healthy, delicious meal.

Dean-O's Pizzeria Yes, you can have your pizza and eat it, too! Dean-O's own Ashley Metcalf, a dietitian, developed heart-healthy items for the menu, including the guiltless pizza. "A complete pizza, which uses whole wheat crust, chicken and olive oil, has about 500 calories," Bishop says.

Jason's Deli This cafeteria-style restaurant features a "Lighter Side" menu with options such as a Club Lite, Spinach Veggie Wrap, Mediterranean Wrap, Turkey Reuben, Chicken Salad Wrap and Turkey Wrap. "Jason's has a light portion of their menu, plus you can get a turkey sandwich on wheat bread, the salad bar and soups that are not creamy, so they are not overdone," Miller says.

La Pizzeria The locally-owned pizza place offers healthy pies like the Low Carb Delight with a special kibbi crust, and guiltless pizza with special wheat or chargrilled crust with chicken, veggies and vegetarian cheese. "La Pizzeria tries to really focus on having their guiltless menu, so that's kind of helpful" Miller notes.

Subway This popular sandwich franchise boasts 45 locations just in Lafayette and offers a Fresh Fit Choices menu including Black Forest Ham, Oven Roasted Chicken, Turkey Breast, Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki and Veggie Delite. "You can get sandwiches with lots of veggies, and say, Hold the mayo,'" Miller suggests.

Wendy's Now the nation's No. 2 fast food chain, Wendy's offers a variety of salads and healthy sides. "As far as the burger places, Wendy's has more sides, like the low-fat yogurt, bananas and chili," Miller observes. "You can do a lot more at Wendy's than, perhaps, you could at one of the other burger franchises.

Zeus Café "You could switch to more vegetarian things at Zeus, and make some good choices," Miller says. "The key is to make better choices."

Zoë's Kitchen The casual River Ranch hot spot offers healthy Greek-inspired options, including hummus, kabobs and salads. "They are just top-notch," Bishop says. "You can get chicken kabobs and a side salad or a hummus plate with a side salad instead of a hamburger, French fries and sandwiches and chips."

A Pretty Wild Ride

After 12 seasons in the Big Leagues, Lafayette's Paul Bako turned his focus and energy to coaching kids.
By Paul Angelle

"I was a kid who really enjoyed playing baseball," says Paul Bako on what he remembers about the game as a youngster in Lafayette. "As far back as I can remember, I just thought it was fun. I was always looking forward to playing. I don't remember if we won or lost the games; I don't remember if we had great teams. It was just fun."
Bako, who met a lot of people and experienced a lot of places during his professional baseball career, played for 11 teams in 12 seasons. He's been coached by some of the great ones in Bobby Cox, Dusty Baker and Buddy Bell. Bako has had the pleasure of becoming friends with superstars, traveling the country and getting paid real money to play the game that he loves. But he's home now in Lafayette, trying to instill his love for the game into his 10-year-old son, Will.

Bako grew up playing SLYSI baseball "right there" in Neyland Park. He can't help but notice that a lot has changed in youth baseball since those days.

"You played a season," says Bako. "You either made All Stars or you didn't. If you didn't you went swimming with your friends. Today it's much different. There is more of an opportunity to play, to play longer, to develop and to play against the appropriate skill level. Little League baseball is more organized and the officiating is better.

When we were kids, the umpire was usually someone's older brother. You used to have to wait until high school to really learn the important nuances of the game. Kids today are learning those things at a much younger age."

Bako avers that the changes can be a double-edged sword, as there may be too much competition among the new generation of players.

"Some of the parents are literally living and dying over wins and losses," warns Bako. "To me, the goal should be to learn the game of baseball and to learn to love it. While I know there is a natural instinct to compete and win, learning how to win and lose as a team is what's important."

Bako believes the lessons learned from a loss can be more important in life after baseball than the lessons learned from a win.

"I'm helping coach my son Will," says Bako. "My goal is to instill the love for baseball that I have into him. My coaching aspirations right now involve my son, but after that who knows? My family could use some stability right now, but down the road I'll probably have some desire to coach. I'd be good at it I bet."

It's also undeniable that the sport is a great way to keep kids active and promote the lifelong physical and psychological benefits of regular exercise. Baseball kept Bako in top physical shape, but after a long professional baseball career, the habits of year-round training can end as quickly as they began. Bako admits that he likes to move around and stay active as much as he can, but he does so for different reasons.

"Since I've retired, I've started running twice a week," Bako says. "I'm also working out a little at Red's, trying to stay as active as I can. It's different. I used to dread running because it was part of what I had to do. Running to me now is a nice way to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. It doesn't seem like it while you're running, but running creates energy. I know running gives me energy, and I think it gives me peace of mind."

A version of this story was first published in the youth sports magazine Quick Slants.

Health Clubs

24/7 Fitness Center:1515 S. Ambassador Caffery Pkwy., Lafayette, 337-408-3222, Open 24/7, 365 days a year. Staffed hours: Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sat. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Balanced approach to fitness, including flexibility, mind/body and state-of-the-art strength training and cardiovascular equipment. Personal training and massage included in membership.

American Bodyworks: 3814 Ambassador Caffery Pkwy., Lafayette, 337-456-3779, Hours: 24/7 fitness center, staffed 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Fri. and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat. Neighborhood-style gym with cardio equipment, including elliptical, bikes and treadmills. Tanning services, lockers and showers also available.

Anytime Fitness: 4517 Johnston St., 337-988-8350; 1915 Moss St., 337-706-8385; 3524 Kaliste Saloom Rd, 337-988-9348, Lafayette, Twenty-four hour gym and coed fitness center with state-of-the-art security. Customized personal training programs, cardio, treadmills, elliptical and exercise bikes. Tanning bed and showers available.

Big Poppa's Fitness Gym: 210 W. Gloria Switch, Lafayette, 337-896-2639, Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 5 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. 5 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Full-service facility including tennis courts, outside track, outside workout equipment, steam room and youth gym. Also offering classes in aerobics, personal training and children's programs, as well as a drive-thru for smoothies and protein shakes.

Cajun Fitness: 163 N. Bobcat Drive, Eunice, 337-550-7878; 818 Fortune Road., Youngsville, 337-857-6610; 1225 Church Point Hwy., Rayne, 337-334-7060; 2930 S. Union St., Opelousas, 337-594-9297, Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 5 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. 5 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (Rayne location opens at 7 a.m.), Sun. 12:30-5 p.m. Included in a Cajun Fitness membership is the use and access to all four locations; members must provide your exclusive membership key tag for entry and use of privileges. Membership includes programs such as Body Pump, Body Flow, Body Combat, Body Step, Zumba and RPM, use of the swimming pool at the Rayne location, personal training and Cajun Fitness Interactive. Cajun Fitness Interactive is an online account, where a unique username and password will allow you to track workouts, nutrition and progress online, be a part of the exclusive Cajun Fitness online community and also take your account mobile with your own Cajun Fitness Interactive online app.

City Club at River Ranch: 1100 Camellia Blvd., Lafayette, 337-406-2582, Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 4:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. 4:30 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat. 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m.-5 p.m. A full-service fitness facility offering state-of-the-art cardio, Pilates, yoga, Zumba, cycling and weight equipment, group exercise classes, tennis courts, separate youth facility, kids' programs and nursery. The club also includes City Club Grill & Bar, an aquatics facility, steam rooms, whirlpools and saunas for men and women and a snack bar with fresh, healthy wraps, salads and healthy organic meals. Degreed personal trainers available for private and semi-private instruction in total health, Pilates, yoga, tennis and Zumba.

Lafayette Health Club: 2905 Kaliste Saloom Road., Lafayette, 337-981-6250; Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 5 a.m.-11 p.m., Fri. 5 a.m.-9 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Full-service health club featuring two swimming pools, basketball court, five tennis courts, cardio room, aerobics room with classes, coed gym, ladies gym, free weights, racquetball court and men's and women's wet areas with lockers, showers, sauna, steam room and whirlpools. The club also has a snack bar serving protein bars, power and energy drinks. Nursery on site.

Planet Fitness: 3559 B Ambassador Caffery Pkwy., Lafayette, 337-412-6972, Open 24 hours; staffed hours: Mon.-Fri. midnight-9 p.m., Sat. & Sun. 7 a.m.7 p.m. Newly opened gym with cardio and strength training equipment and free fitness training available to help members with a great workout experience in a "judgment-free zone." More than  400 locations nationwide.

Red Lerille's Health & Racquet Club: 301 Doucet Road., Lafayette, 337-984-7738, Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 3 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri. 3 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat. & Sun. 4 a.m.-7 p.m. A 185,000 square-foot complete health club offering adult and children's fitness programs, splash park for kids, cardio equipment areas, Pilates equipment, group exercise classes, outdoor/indoor jogging tracks and boot camp. Maximum Intensity Training Facility for athletes of all ages. Personal trainers and nutritionist on staff, women's and men's steam rooms, whirlpools and saunas, as well as two outdoor and two indoor pools, a cold plunge pool, boxing ring, basketball court, indoor and outdoor tennis courts and racquetball/squash courts. Additionally, the club has a grill, snack bar, pro shop, lounge, coffee bar and nursery.

Snap Fitness Center: 2800 N. Pinhook Road., 337-232-1955; 3425 W. Congress St., Lafayette, 337-456-7983. Staffed hours: Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Fri., 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Broussard location: 210 Nazaire Road., 337-839-8277. Staffed hours: Mon.-Wed. 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m., Tues.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Fri. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Youngsville location: 803 St. Blaise Lane, 337-856-6564. Staffed hours: Mon.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Fast, convenient and affordable workout with industry's best cardio and exercise equipment. Members have 24/7 access to any location.


Gym: 128 E. Butcher Switch Road., Lafayette, 337-235-6000. Hours: Mon.-Fri. 5 a.m.-9 p.m., Sat. 7 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. A 10,000-square-foot workout facility featuring free weights, weight machines and cardio equipment. The coed gym also has showers, lockers and steam rooms.

The Little Gym of Lafayette: 4422 F Ambassador Caffery Pkwy., Lafayette, 337-504-2623, Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. The Little Gym takes a progressive approach to strengthening skills and helping children discover their talents. Their age-specific curriculum is delivered in weekly lesson plans, with each new skill building on the last. When you enroll in classes, you also become a member of The Little Gym, with access to parent-child classes for infants through 3 years old, preschool-kindergarten gymnastics for 3- 6-year-olds, sports skills development for 3- 6-year-olds and grade school gymnastics for 6- 12-year-olds. The Little Gym also hosts birthday parties and offers free introductory classes.

Health Food And Sports Drinks
Frutti Smoothie: 2865 Ambassador Caffery Pkwy., Lafayette, 337-981-5559. Hours: Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-8:45 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Smoothie café featuring fruit smoothies, protein shakes and coffees.

GNC: 1800 NE Evangeline Thwy. (Northgate Mall), 337-235-3908; 2668 Johnston St. Suite C, 337-264-9044; 5725 Johnston St. (Mall of Acadiana), 337-984-2001; 3211 Louisiana Ave. Suite 102, 337-235-5937; 4710 Johnston St. (Rite Aid), 337-988-7284; 4510 Ambassador Caffery Pkwy. (Rite Aid), Lafayette, 337-988-7290. Hours vary by location. Retail health store offering vitamins and minerals, sports nutrition and protein products, diet and energy formulas, herbs and cleansing remedies, health and beauty items.

Oil Center Health Foods/Whole Wheatery Eatery: 326 Travis St., Lafayette, 337-232-7774, Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (restaurant closes at 3:30 p.m.). Lafayette's oldest established health food store, offering health foods, vitamins, supplements and organic products as well as a daily hot plate lunch and sandwiches.
Planet Nutrition: 4660 Johnston St., 337-406-2348; 3137 Kaliste Saloom, Lafayette, 337-504-2576; 219 St. Nazaire Rd., Broussard, 337-330-8450. Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 7:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun. noon-6 p.m. Offering vitamins, herbs, supplements and nutritional and protein smoothies in a variety of flavors. Wide range of services and nutritional counseling.

Sandra's Health Food Store: 111 Rena Drive. #C, Lafayette, 337-988-0108. Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Health food store and café featuring a full line of natural and organic products, herbs, beverages and supplements. Café features an organic plate lunch on weekdays and a variety of sandwiches and salads.

Smoothie Factory: 125 Arnould Blvd., Lafayette, 337-989-7001, Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun. noon-6 p.m. Smoothie Factory is an established, popular and fast-growing retailer of real fruit smoothies, fresh squeezed juices, wheatgrass, authentic frozen yogurt, light foods and nutritional supplements.

Smoothie King: 3619 Ambassador Caffery Pkwy., 337-989-8187; Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; 4307 Ambassador Caffery Pkwy., Lafayette, 337-993-9963. Hours: Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m.10 p.m., Sun 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; 113 St. Nazaire Road., Broussard, 337-839-9373; Hours: Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m.10 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. A smoothie bar and nutritional lifestyle center offering fresh-blended smoothies, sports beverages, energy bars, healthy snacks, herbs, minerals and sports nutrition products.

Tropical Smoothie Café: 458 Heymann Blvd. Suite B in the Oil Center, Lafayette, 337-456-3933, Hours: Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-9 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m.9 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m.9 p.m. Café menu boasts bold, flavorful food and smoothies with a healthy appeal. Smoothies are made from superior simple ingredients and real fruit. Toasted wraps, bistro sandwiches, grilled flatbreads and gourmet salads are made fresh with high-quality meats and cheeses and topped with fresh produce and flavorful sauces. Also offer delivery, catering trays, boxed lunches and call-ahead ordering.

Vitamins Plus: 505 Bertrand Drive., Lafayette (inside Drug Emporium), 337-261-0033. Hours: Mon.-Sat. 8 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sun. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Health store offering vitamin and mineral supplements, natural and organic foods, fresh organic produce and natural health and beauty products.

Medical Fitness Facilities

Fontana Center and Center for Work Rehabilitation, Inc: 709 Kaliste Saloom Rd., Lafayette, 337-234-7018, Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 5 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri. 5 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Sat. 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Full fitness center including an indoor heated pool.  The gym offers aerobic land and water classes, yoga, Zumba, summer group swim lessons for children, year-round private swim lessons for adults and children, Silver Sneakers Fitness Program and gift certificates for any of the exercise and massage sessions. The facility also offers industrial occupational therapy services and massage therapy.

Lafayette General Medical Center Wellness Center: 111 Pasa Place (in the old Townhouse building), Lafayette, 337-289-8585, Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 4:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. 4:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Open to the public and LGMC employees. Members receive optional fitness evaluations, which include muscle strength, endurance, flexibility, body composition, cholesterol, sub-maximal exercise graded tests. Full-service gym offers cardio and weight room equipment, group exercise classes and fitness evaluations. Wellness classes include yoga, Zumba, inferno training, abs and stretch, fit fusion, hip hop training, cardio plus and step. Lifestyle classes in stress management, yoga for cardiac rehab cancer patients, smoking cessation and weight loss are also available.

Our Lady of Lourdes Fitness Center: 611 St. Landry St., Lafayette (Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital is now in a different location, but the fitness center remains on St. Landry St.), 337-470-2808, Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 5 a.m.-8 p.m., Fri. 5 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Members receive a comprehensive fitness/lifestyle evaluation. Fitness activities include land aerobics, water aerobics in an indoor, heated saltwater pool, yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, Zumba and lap swimming. The facility also offers cardiovascular and strength training equipment, massage therapy and personal training. No registration fee extended through the end of March.
Passive Exercise

Pat Walker's of Lafayette: 4416 Johnston St., Lafayette, 337-988-4375. Hours: Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-6 p.m. A passive exercise weight loss program for men, women and teens.

Studios And Classes

Acadiana Karate Institute: 2464 W. Congress St., Lafayette, 337-233-8838; 814 Fortune Road, Youngsville, 337-856-3900, Classes and hours vary by location. Offering adult, teen and children's karate programs, including Little Ninjas for preschool and kindergarten-age children. Classes include street self-defense, KardioKickbox and traditional martial arts. AKI also hosts a summer camp for children ages 5-12 and specializes in verbal judo classes teaching anti bullying tactics.

Acadiana Yoga And Wellness: 911 Harding St., Oil Center, Lafayette, 337-236-9000, Hours vary by class. Registered yoga center founded and owned by Jerry Smith-Guidry, M.S., ERYT 500, LMT, CPI.  Six certified teachers and 16 classes offered each week. Services include yoga classes and privates, Pilates mat and equipment, Thai yoga, massage therapy and retail department. Retreats and workshops held throughout the year; nationally registered yoga teacher training program.

Bindu Yoga: 3809 Ambassador Caffery Pkwy. Suite 141, Lafayette, 337-258-9597, Bindu Yoga offers an eclectic blend of hatha yoga that includes a wide variety of styles and levels. Choose from Gentle Flow, Open Flow/Hot Flow, Vinyasa/Hot Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Yin & restorative classes. All classes are designed to inspire, strengthen and empower you as they bring attention to your alignment, breath, mind and heart.

CrossFit Lafayette: 4422 Ambassador Caffery Pkwy., Suite 1, Lafayette, 337-205-CFIT (2348), Hours: Mon.-Fri. 5 a.m-7:30 p.m., Sat. 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. CrossFit offers high-intensity functional training classes.

Heaven On Earth Jewelry, Gifts & Yoga: 108 Rena Dr., Lafayette, 337-981-0355, Hours: Tues.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Fri. and Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Specializing in relaxing and meditative approaches to personal health and wellness. Offering ongoing yoga classes Tuesdays, Thursdays (9 a.m. & 6 p.m.) and Saturdays (8:30 a.m. & 10 a.m.). Qi Gong/Tai Chi for meditation and wellbeing classes on most Mondays from 6-7:30 p.m.

In Balance Pilates Studio: 218 Rue Louis XIV Suite A, Lafayette, 337-988-9909, Hours: Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-6 p.m. In Balance is Louisiana's only official Balanced Body host site for Pilates education. The studio offers private one-on-one, duo or trio sessions using traditional Pilates equipment classes, plus a mat class on Wednesdays at 4 p.m.

Oasis Bellydance Studio: 427 Rena Drive., Lafayette, 337-988-2001 (482-6386 for Potpourri classes), [email protected]/. Hours (vary by class): Mon.-Thurs. 6-9 p.m. Beginner through advanced Bellydance and Hawaiian Hula classes offered. A complete schedule, including Potpourri classes, is available at

Pilates Bodies: 112 Republic Ave. Suite C, Lafayette, 337-216-0190, Hours: Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Fully equipped Pilates studio offering private, duet and small group Pilates training with wellness clients and physical therapy using Pilates equipment.

Potpourri (ULL Continuing Education Dept.): Winter classes include Kick & Punch Cardio, Hula Hoop Exercise, Yoga Stretch, Yoga for Women, Pilates for Seniors, Zumba, Hip Hop Dance & Exercise, Belly Dancing and Insight Meditation. Class times and locations vary. For more information, call 337-482-6386 or visit

Sacred Journey Yoga: Shannon Sonnier, E-RYT, registered yoga instructor, 337-519-4997. Yoga classes from beginner to advanced offered at various times and locations. For complete schedule with times and locations, visit

Wise Body: 708 Jefferson Blvd., Lafayette, 337-593-9292, Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Pilates studio offering Pilates mat, private Pilates, equipment, exercise sessions, Qi Gong, and Franklin Method classes. Private and group lessons available.

Training Studios

Strength And Endurance Performance Institute: 203 B Four Park Rd., Lafayette, 337-565-2001,, [email protected] Hours: by appointment. Offers one-on-one personal training, sports performance training and high-intensity boot camps.

Women's Gyms

Curves Lafayette: 112 Youngsville Hwy., Lafayette, 337-839-1112, Hours vary by location. Fitness gym for women offering a 30-minute workout combining strength training and sustained cardiovascular activity through hydraulic resistance. Curves Smart, advanced fitness technology, offers a personal coaching system to ensure maximum benefits based on individual fitness levels. Curves also offers a weight management program.

Personally Fit: 4305 A Johnston St., Lafayette, 337-989-LADY (5239), Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 5 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Personally Fit health club for women provides a non-intimidating, motivating environment in which ladies from various backgrounds are able to improve their health. Membership includes access to classes like Cardio Fusion, Power Pilates, kickboxing, step and yoga, plus a use of the nursery, showers and recovery spaces. Personal training and group weight loss programs are also available.

Physiques Women's Fitness Center: 2505 Verot School Road., Lafayette, 337-984-2226, Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 5 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. 5 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun. 1-7 p.m. Full-service women's club with nursery available. Nine aerobic classes daily, including yoga and Pilates, saltwater swimming pool and Jacuzzi, dry sauna, aroma therapy steam room, cardio and weight equipment and spin classes.