Take away the glitz, the glamour, the television cameras, the after parties with their certainly taxable, obviously extravagant goodie bags, the highly paid comedian to host the ceremony; subtract Joan Rivers and her couture commentary since there's no red carpet in cyberspace... and you've got The First Annual Dr. Manny Awards.
There would be bald gold statues awarded, but due to potential legal issues we nixed that idea, but we have kept the idea of giving credit where credit may be due. Celebrities live their lives in the spotlight, and while they may not always lead, they may often provide example. So at a time when the substance abuse, eating disorders, and other unhealthy habits of popular celebrities are dominating the news, we've singled out a few celebrities who provide us with examples of healthy living and use their fame to promote good health in their own way.
Best Body Attitude Award
Everyday, women are bombarded with unrealistic images of what society--or at least the fashion-entertainment industrial complex in the United States-- considers the ideal of female beauty. Although these images and ideals of beauty may not change in the near future, perhaps--thanks to the recipient of this award-- more women will become more accepting of their own bodies, and less concerned with what the media or advertisers decide their bodies should look like.
Being healthy begins in the mind, and the decisions we make and the attitudes we hold affects the health of our bodies. We have to accept our bodies for what they are and understand that the decisions we make about our health, good and bad, will affect the "base" we were born with.
Women need to be very strong mentally to arrive at such a place. For this reason, the Dr. Manny Award goes to Tyra Banks for exposing the reality behind some recently published unflattering paparazzi photographs of her.
On her television show, Tyra addressed the fallacy of the "normal" body--how magazines can make celebrities's figures look much better than they actually are, and how the paparazzi works hard to take photographs that make stars look worse than they are.
The unflattering pictures may leave women thinking that Tyra needs to get on the treadmill, but realizing that celebrities look not-so-different than the rest of us when they're not strategically posed for a photo shoot, honing their bodies for a film role, or being touched up with the magic of technology could help all of us develop a more positive outlook toward our own bodies.
The Break Up to Shape Up Award
Would you be a bit stressed-out if your husband left you for another woman? How about if that other woman were Angelina Jolie? Yes, that might cause more than a little bit of stress
This award goes to Jennifer Aniston, who turned to yoga to help recover from her break-up with Brad Pitt. Surely the actress was under a lot of stress, and exercise, particularly yoga practice, with its calming nature, is an excellent remedy to relieve stress and depression and can even increase your libido.
Perhaps her yoga therapy will help put some romance into her next relationship.
The Raw Foods, Raw Power Award
More and more people have been trying to get back to basics when it comes to food and nutrition. Buying organic foods is one way to eliminate the additives in processed foods, genetically-modified ingredients and insecticides, from your diet. Take it one step further, and you've got a raw foods diet.
Heating food causes the natural enzymes in food to break down, so the goal of the raw foods movement, according to its advocates, is to preserve the enzymes in food by eating only foods that have not been heated above a certain temperature--typically, 118 degrees. Food rich in enzymes is not only healthier, say raw foods advocates, it is also more easily digested and will help you feel more energetic and even look younger.
Raw foodists consume fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, and nuts, though some also add fish, meat and dairy products. There are concerns that individuals might not get all the nutrients they need from a diet that eliminates meats, fish, dairy, and processed foods, but having people think about the health benefits of foods in their more natural states might have more people making healthier choices with their cooked foods.
This Dr. Manny Award is to be shared between former super model Carol Alt and Woody Harrelson. These two celebrities have probably been the most visible in spreading the word on raw foods.
The SuperFoods Award
So-called "superfoods" are nutrient-rich foods that can make us healthier and feel more energetic. Some say superfoods can even help us to look younger. Superfoods making headlines recently include acai berries, blueberries, cranberries, pomegranates, and omega-acid rich fish like salmon.
The latest addition to the superfoods family is watercress. Recent studies show that this leafy vegetable, rich in iron, calcium, and Vitamin C, may reduce the risk of cancer.
Actress Elizabeth Hurley gets a Dr. Manny award for raising the awareness of superfoods with the revelation and accompanying media flurry that watercress soup helps her stay slender. (The actress also uses her fame to promote the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.)
While we hope Liz Hurley is not making watercress soup the sole element of her diet, superfoods can be a valuable source of nutrition and an important part of your overall diet.
Superfoods are a safe way to get vitamins and nutrients in an unprocessed form, easily absorbed into your body.
The Lifetime Achievement Award
One Hollywood celebrity has for years used her star power to help make a better life for thousands affected by a serious disease.
Elizabeth Taylor will mark her 75th birthday on Feb 27, and for her tireless efforts to raise awareness and funding for AIDS research, we honor her with the Dr. Manny Award for Lifetime Achievement.
After helping to start the The Foundation for AIDS Research in 1985 following the death of friend and co-star Rock Hudson, she went on to create the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation in 1991 and has raised nearly $300 million to date to help fight this deadly disease worldwide.
Last year, following the New Orleans tragedy, Elizabeth Taylor personally donated a mobile medical unit to the New Orleans AIDS Task Force.
Elizabeth Taylor has for many years now demonstrated how to use celebrity for the good of all, and set an example for all Hollywood stars to follow. Happy Birthday, Elizabeth. And Thank You.
It's A Wrap
While the lives of many Hollywood celebs serve more as "cautionary tales" of how not to live, there are more than a few members of the entertainment industry who provide us with the inspiration and example to better our own health. Maybe, through their celebrity, they simply make us aware of alternative ways to be healthy or help improve the health of people around us.
So there you have it; the First Annual Dr. Manny Awards for outstanding contributions to healthy living by celebrities. No lengthy acceptance speeches. No annoying commercial breaks. No flashes to Jack Nicholson in the audience. But maybe we'll need some bald statuettes next year. It's just not an award ceremony without them.
FOXnews.com Health writer Lawrence La Raia contributed to this report.
For more great information on living healthy through every decade of life, click here to check out Dr. Manny's book The Check List (Harper Collins, 2007).
Dr. Manny Alvarez is the managing editor of health news at FOXNews.com, and is a regular medical contributor on the FOX News Channel. He is chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Additionally, Alvarez is Adjunct Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at New York University School of Medicine in New York City.
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as FOX News Channel's (FNC) Senior Managing Editor for Health News. Prior to this position, Alvarez was a FNC medical contributor.
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