The Whole Truth: Health and Wellness

By Fay Grant Guide contributor | Jul 09, 2014

Five Feel-Good Things To Do This Week – July 9

  1. Get some deskercise. Everyone knows that sitting at a desk all day is bad for you, so take some time to get in some deskercise this week! Neck and shoulder pain are a common result of a sedentary job and hunching over your keyboard can cause strain to the cervical spine and stiffen your shoulders. Next time you have a moment to yourself at the workplace, gently pull each elbow to the opposite side overhead or try extending your legs while remaining seated and reach toward your toes.


  1. Fight stress and find serenity. Yoga is one of the many reasons people love Asheville - and the 2014 Asheville YogaFest from July 11-13th is the perfect place to fight stress and find serenity this week. It includes three full days of asana workshops with ten of the most revered teachers from Asheville. They span a range of styles, feature true talent and demonstrate the modesty of the yoga tradition. Full weekend passes will be available at $155 through Thursday, July 10th. Tickets at the door: $175 for the full weekend pass. (via


  1. Go bird watching. Get outside for a day of “Wildflowers, Butterflies and Birding” and see why bird watching continues to capture the interest of nature-lovers worldwide. This favored hobby is known to have emotional, physical and mental benefits, providing a sense of peace to both your mind and body. Locate various bird species (including White-breasted Nuthatch, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Blackburnian and Canada Warblers, Brown Creeper and Winter Wren) while taking in the fresh air, stretching your legs and listening to the beautiful, stress-reducing tunes of birdsong on this 2-3 mile walk to the higher reaches of the Blue Ridge and Mt. Mitchell. You’ll start by driving the Blue Ridge Parkway to Mt. Mitchell, stopping at the Balsam Gap Overlook and hiking a short distance into a forest community full of ferns, False Hellebore, Blue-bead Lily foliage, asters, goldenrods and other wildflowers. Expect to see showy butterflies such as Eastern Tiger and Pipevine Swallowtails and panoramic views at the top of the observation tower. A delicious picnic lunch will be provided - and don’t forget your binoculars! (via

When: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 at 9am

Where: Carpool from the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 382 and drivers will be given directions from there.

Cost: $45 per person

  1. Cut down on sugar. As most of us already know, a love affair with sugar can lead to a consumption of too many calories, equaling larger waistlines. This week, try skipping the soda, sugary cereals or dessert and be weary that sugar has many sneaky names, like sucrose, glucose, corn syrup and fructose. Small, healthy diet changes can make a huge difference over time and are an easy way to drop unwanted calories without feeling too restricted.


  1. Soak it up. Research has shown that Dead Sea salts have an array of medicinal benefits due to their balance of magnesium, potassium and calcium chloride. Magnesium is important for combating stress and fluid retention, slowing skin aging and calming the nervous system and calcium is effective at preventing water retention, increasing circulation and strengthening bones and nails. Potassium is known to energize the body, balance skin moisture and is a crucial mineral to replenish following intense exercise. This week, fill up the tub and relieve your nervous system and tired, sore muscles with its renowned therapeutic effects. (via

IN SEASON: Garlic & Shallots


Garlic, also called the ‘the stinking rose’, is known to boost your immune system and aid in the prevention of multiple types of cancer. The shallot, a close relative to garlic with a uniquely sweet and delicate flavor, packs twice the vitamin C of an onion and contains antioxidants that clear harmful free radicals from the body. We all know that comfort food is good for the soul and the added health benefits of these flavor-packed bulbous plants are astounding…so dig in and enjoy a mouthwatering version of this Southern classic.


Spiced Shrimp with Smoked Gouda Grits

(Yield: 4 servings)


  • 8 strips applewood-smoked bacon, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 1 portobello mushroom cap, sliced
  • 1/4 cup diced scallions
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste

Smoked Gouda Cheese Grits:

  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/4 cups grits
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 heaping cups shredded smoked Gouda


To make the grits, bring the chicken stock to a boil in a large saucepan. Slowly stream in the grits while whisking vigorously. Reduce to a low simmer and cook for 40 minutes, stirring frequently. Add some of the cream if the grits become too thick. When the grits are cooked, mix in the remaining cream and butter. Add the Gouda cheese and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.


To make the shrimp, sauté the bacon in a large sauce pot over medium heat until it begins to crisp, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and shallots and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the butter and wine; when the butter is half melted, add the shrimp. After about 2 minutes, or when the bottom halves of the shrimp are just pink and opaque, flip them over and add the spinach, mushrooms, and scallions. Sauté for 2 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Remove the shrimp and set aside.


Add the heavy cream to the pot and continue cooking, stirring continuously, until it has reduced by a third, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Return the shrimp to the pot and stir.


To serve, spoon the sauce and shrimp onto heaping mounds of cheese grits.



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