By Laura Bijnsdorp

Yotam Sandak is best described as an avid traveller, musician and photographer. The roguishly handsome artist has been to many corners on his journey to balancing and pursuing all of these passions. Today, he is either in Sint Maarten, on stage rocking out on his guitar or otherwise off-island at a luxury fashion shoot surrounded by models.

Yotam grew up in Tev Avis, Israel, to parents who had run away from the war in Europe, as many other Jews at the time. Contrary to the man I know, he describes himself as a ‘shy’ kid. He fell in love with photography at a young age: “I was seven when my uncle gave me a stack of National Geographic magazines. I lost hours of time just staring at the many amazing photographs. It made me very curious about the world.”

It was the 80’s and photo cameras were very expensive, and thus not a usual consumer item at the time. The only people who owned cameras were the rich, photographers and architects; his mom was the latter. “When I was about twelve, my mom allowed me to use her camera once in a while on family trips. Soon, I was ‘borrowing’ her camera so often that she gave it to me. I was fascinated with the human condition and so people became my favourite subject to photograph” Yotam remembers.

At 15, photography had to make way for Yotam’s newfound love of music. Yotam delved into not just playing music, but producing and managing artists as well. In search of adventure, Yotam ended up in Cape Town, where he studied sound engineering and furthered his career in the music business for eight years. Yotam: “Those were some amazing, but also tough years. I was working and performing 24/7. It wasn’t strange that I eventually got a burn-out.”

So Yotam took a break and started to work behind a bar, and as many a story evolve, he met a girl. Yotam grins: “She was a travel journalist, I fell in love, she inspired my photography, and we became a team and started to travel together.” The love story did not last that long, but Yotam’s renewed love of photography did not fade together with the romance. It might’ve been serendipity or Yotam’s charm that struck, but on Yotam’s first day back in Cape Town, he met another girl.

She did not offer romance, but she did offer an opportunity. “She was a stylist, and she and her team were looking for a photographer. We worked well together and she motivated me to take my craft seriously. Fashion photography is fun; it takes you to amazing locations with gorgeous models; what man would not enjoy that!?”

His photography career took Yotam to England, which was good for work, but bad for his spirit. Tired of the cold, he followed advice of another good friend, who also just happened to be a woman and went on vacation to Sint Maarten.

“At this point you might’ve noticed that women tend to steer my life, ha-ha!” Yotam smiles broadly and adds: “It was also a woman who gave me my first opportunity to work for her magazine, which spurred me to stay on Sint Maarten, and make it my base.”

Yotam has been living on the island for almost five years now, where he enjoys spending time with his friends and playing his music. Most of his work is abroad, satisfying not just his love of photography but also his wanderlust.

Although he dabbles in many forms of photography, his main income stems from fashion-related work. His work is breath-taking, but Yotam humbly does not accredit just his skills to this fact: “Fashion photography is not just about my job, which is finding the best light and angles. It is about whomever is on set, such as the client, location manager, stylist, assistant and model. Often people underestimate how much work the latter, the model, puts in. Good models are very creative people and need to know just as much as the photographer does to create a perfect visual.” These shoots often last more than 12 hours, but according to Yotam the long days are worth it once you see the completed images.

Being a fashion photographer, Yotam is obviously often surrounded by gorgeous women. Yet beauty is something the photographer says goes beyond physical appearance. Yotam: “Many of my favourite models are smart, live a healthy lifestyle, and have good relationships and care about the world. It might sound cliché, but honestly, love of self is key to true beauty.”

Check out Yotam’s work on www.yotamsandak.com.

What happens when you stop consuming sugars?

Last month and a week ago marked the beginning of what was possibly the hardest month of my life; cutting down on my sugar intake. This journey into existentialism all began with a visit to Dr. Gen. It was this trip that opened my eyes to what was really happening with my body and how my lifestyle choices were adversely affecting my health. Sick of receiving the same diagnosis from my doctor, and wondering why I couldn’t manage to be healthy for more than two weeks at a time, a close friend suggested I go to Holistic Health Care. Frustrated, but hopeful, I went for an assessment and treatment of the symptoms. Traumatized at being labelled a hypochondriac, I held close to thoughts that I was overreacting, and half expecting I’d receive my regular diagnosis.

Based on how I answered the initial questionnaire required before seeing Dr. Gen, she was able to pinpoint part of the problem. The particular issue at hand started with me consuming as many forms of gummy candies I could get my hands on, while also maintaining a diet rich in starches and even more hidden sugars. A major reason for this unhealthy lifestyle was my long stints of being too busy to eat. When it did cross my mind that would be followed up by ingesting as much food as possible to compensate for having missed those meals. If I did remember to eat, it would be a hand of gummy bears kept around to provide sugar rushes strong enough to provide energy through the day. The dangerous part of all this is that I wasn’t gaining or losing weight, so there were no real tells besides partial changes in how my brain functioned. But, don’t we all blame work and stress for how tired we are? I slept more and needed more caffeine to get me through the day. The entire visit felt like a confessional; I was drowning in sin, and Dr. Gen, the key to my absolution.

At the end of the visit I left feeling much more hopeful than I did when I first stepped in. But, how would I be able to live on a diet where even the smallest amounts of sugar were now restricted? No refined sugars or starches would pass my lips for the next 28 days. When you hear the term, sugar free, it’s often associated with artificial sweeteners that promise to be a healthier alternative to the common sugar problem. However, this was not the path I was taking. Dr. Gen signed me up for an app that would give me a list of the available foods along with a few helpful recipes to ease the user into the process of clean eating, and artificial sweeteners were not something on those lists. Why I am always stuck with the least fun projects is a mystery to me. But, here we go again.

Everyone breathing was irritating me at some point. Cutting down on sugar really caused me distress. I was constantly being bombarded with sugary indulgences, then someone in the office had the audacity to treat us to cake for their birthday. I had none and was not in the least bit happy about it. The entire survival of the first week was based solely on simply avoiding all foods that weren’t on the spectrum of a vegetable. There was a lot of hunger and there may or may not have been angry tears, so I sought help from Dr. Gen. Once she unlocked the knowledge of healthy fats, e.g. avocados, coconut oil, salmon and olive oil, the weeks got better. Weeks two and three were experimentation weeks, because once I opened up my mind to what I could have there was more room for growth and fun projects. Thanks to Pinterest and YouTube I was able to find recipes for things like gluten- and wheat-free bread; I even blended oats and created my own flour, which made cooking for myself a lot easier.

By the fourth week, my cravings were all but gone and I felt liberated. I’d lost more than fifteen pounds and all my symptoms had subsided or completely disappeared. Aside from my clothes not fitting anymore, or sugar tasting like acid now, I’m pretty content with the choice I made to stick with it. I’m currently working on a proper balance between my sugar intake, as well as no sugar at all. It’s a process; slowly but surely hopefully I’ll get to a point where I don’t even crave sugar at all. 

The Truth About Cholesterol and Fat

 

Is eating fat bad? Can eating fat improve your cholesterol? I know it is confusing. There is so much out dated research that continues to saturate the airwaves about what increases your cholesterol and worsens your risk for heart disease. The truth about cholesterol is that it’s more complicated that just eating fat.

By Laura Bijnsdorp

Lucinda Audain, today known by many as the artist La’Rich, has found a way to transform people with her art. These transformations, made by the tips of her paintbrushes, transport her subjects and spectators to realms built on her imagination.

With her company Funtopia, Lucinda is sharing her talent with the dozens of teenagers who work with her. Under her warm-hearted, yet disciplined wing, La’Rich guides, trains and teaches these youngsters skills they can use to improve their art, career and most importantly their life.

Thus, upon closer inspection, you realize that the magic of her art does not just dry at skin’s surface, but seeps through, travelling deeper affecting the mood, character and spirit of those around her.

Lise Coats is fulfilling her passion by helping others realise their goals as a life coach and an image consultant.

Coats discovered her love for image consulting and life coaching after she began working as an instructor at the Learning Ladder in 2014. “I realised that I had a deep passion for working with people and helping them achieve greatness in their lives and be more fulfilled.”

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