The Whole Truth: Health and Wellness

By Fay Grant Guide contributor | Jul 23, 2014

Five Feel-Good Things To Do This Week


1) One day this week, cut the meat. Take a big fat break this week and celebrate Meatless Monday, the global movement with a simple message: once a week, cut the meat. Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel. If and when you do eat meat, try to eat grass-fed, hormone-free and locally raised options whenever possible. (via

2) Join the movement. This Saturday, join the Yoga Rocks the Park movement - a collective of over 25,000 international yogis, yoga teachers, community members, musicians, yoga studios, festival partners, non-profit organizations and mindful businesses - to grow the practice of yoga, give back to the community and join family and friends to play, move, love and celebrate each other. Yoga Rocks the Park features an outdoor, all-levels 75-minute yoga class (beginners welcome!) and parents are invited to bring their little yogis for Camp YRP, a fun interactive yoga class hosted by some of the world's leading children's yoga teachers. Specially designed for children ages 3-10, it starts a few minutes before the main Yoga Rocks the Park class and ends a few minutes after to ensure parents can enjoy their full practice and savasana. Tickets and information via

3) Clear your mind. This week, try and quiet your continuous internal dialogue and practice the art of meditation. Meditation is said to be one of the best ways to counter the brain’s negativity bias, release accumulated stress, foster positive experiences and enjoy the peace of present moment awareness. Research has established that having a regular meditation practice produces tangible benefits for mental and physical health - including decreased blood pressure and hypertension, lowered cholesterol levels, stress reduction, more efficient oxygen use by the body, improved immune function and decreased anxiety, depression and insomnia. (via

4) Splash around. Did you know that water-based exercise (and play time) could decrease depression and improve your overall health and mood? Get some sun and splash around this week at The Lake Junaluska Aquatic Center, open daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day each year. The center includes an outdoor pool and canoe, kayak and paddleboat rentals. Pool passes and boat rentals may be purchased at the Lake Junaluska Soda Shop, which is located in the Kern Center. When in the water, make sure to wear sunscreen and protect yourself and others from illness and injury by practicing healthy and safe swimming behaviors.

5) Explore the magic of baking soda. Skip out on the environmental pollutants from cleaning and personal care products by exploring the countless uses of baking soda. Conventional cleansers contain an array of toxins, and most personal care products are packed with unhealthy additives like synthetic fragrances and parabens. Baking soda can be used for cleaning, cooking, maintaining and much more - so try some (or all) of these healthy alternatives this week:

  • Treat Insect Bites & Itchy Skin: For insect bites, make a paste out of baking soda and water, and apply as a salve onto affected skin. To ease the itch, shake some baking soda into your hand and rub it into damp skin after bath or shower.
  • Septic Care: Regular use of baking soda in your drains can help keep your septic system flowing freely. One cup of baking soda per week will help maintain a favorable pH in your septic tank.
  • Fruit and Vegetable Scrub: Baking soda is the food safe way to clean dirt and residue off fresh fruit and vegetables. Just sprinkle a little on a clean damp sponge, scrub and rinse.
  • Relieve Diaper Rash: Put two tablespoons in your baby’s bathwater to help relieve diaper rash.


  • Keep Flowers Fresh: Keep cut flowers fresh longer by adding a teaspoon to the water in the vase. (via

IN SEASON: Summer Squash

Zucchini and yellow squash are a deliciously low-fat and cholesterol free way to deliver several health benefits to your diet this summer. Boasting with a rich nutritional profile, thanks to its phytonutrient, mineral and vitamin content, eating summer squash can help you lose weight, prevent infection and block the ability of free radicals to harm cells and cause cancer. You can find them at most local farmers markets, roadside fruit/veggie stands and grocery stores.

*Helpful tip: Look for summer squash that’s firm, brightly colored, blemish-free and less than eight inches long.

Summer Squash Pizza


1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into (1/4-inch-thick) slices

1 medium yellow squash, cut lengthwise into (1/4-inch-thick) slices

Cooking spray

1 (12-inch) packaged whole wheat pizza crust

2 plum tomatoes, cut into (1/8-inch-thick) slices

1/4 cup (1 ounce) finely grated pecorino Romano cheese

2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano


1. Prepare grill.

2. Combine oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, zucchini slices, and yellow squash slices in a large bowl, tossing gently to coat. Place squash mixture on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 2 minutes on each side or until tender.

3. Reduce grill temperature to medium.

4. Lightly coat pizza crust with cooking spray; grill 1 minute on each side or until lightly toasted. Arrange zucchini and squash over crust. Arrange tomatoes over squash; sprinkle with pecorino Romano cheese. Grill 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from grill; sprinkle with basil and oregano.




recipe via

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